The Essential Tech Wash

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Guest blog courtesy of Giles Babbidge – a commercial and editorial photographer & writer specialising in the outdoor markets. You can find out more about what he does over at his behind-the-scenes website – www.theactivephotographer.com – or catch up with him on Twitter – @gilesbabbidge.

 

TechWash is one of those products which I have come to view as a standard item in my kit cupboard. Some might question why – surely it’s just a maintenance product? – but actually, therein lies the point. Time and time again, the old adage rings true – look after your kit and your kit will look after you.

Ahead of my winter 2014/15 camping activities, I knew that certain items could do with a spot of TLC. In particular, there was one main culprit lurking on the list – my trusty 20-year-old Ajungilak synthetic winter sleeping bag. What better way to see how TechWash really performs, I thought, than setting it to task here?

Now, don’t get me wrong – the bag wasn’t full of fleas(!) or looking like it had never been cared for in its long life. Just general wear and tear, but it was certainly overdue a spring clean.

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One Sunday, I put aside a morning to complete the process. Following the bag’s care instructions (wash at 60 degrees, rinse several times, spin and tumble dry), I added 150ml of TechWash. For 1-2 items of kit, this amount is recommended for medium/hard water areas; in soft water areas, you’ll want 100ml.

So how did it come out? Was it a success or was the passing of time just too much of an adversary?

Well, I kid you not – the results were so good that I would gladly say the bag looked as close to new is it could do, given its age. The sort of dirt you would expect a sleeping bag to pick up through typical use seemingly vanished and in particular, the renewed loft (or ‘fluffiness’) was incredible! Seriously, the pictures you see here don’t do it justice.

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And that’s the important bit, of course. As many of you will know, loft = insulation = warm, comfortable nights spent under the stars in the great outdoors.

Naturally, the real proof of the pudding was always going to be taking it out into the field during a ‘real world’ situation. And so, the first big test was a wild camp/photography trip to Snowdonia, during which I was shooting publicity pictures and bedding down on the snow at night. If you’re interested in hearing more, you might like this edition of my podcast, in which I gave an overview of the trip.

Sure enough, I went to sleep each night with a wry smile on my face; my sleeping bag worked like a treat, and I’m convinced the comfort level was noticeably improved by its recent Nikwax treatment.

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TechWash is ideally suited to revitalising the breathability and water repellency of waterproof gear, including clothes and rucksacks, and certainly as a go-to general purpose cleaning agent, I’ve found it does a fantastic job. If you read the Nikwax Blog regularly, you might remember how I also used it ahead of waterproofing some fleeces with Polar Proof; that article can be found here.