Celebrating our 10-year pioneering partnership with Rab®

In 2013, Rab was the very first outdoor brand to choose our fluorocarbon-free Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD), using this special ‘fill’ for its iconic Microlight Down Jacket. Since then, our shared values of ‘high performance’ and ‘low environmental impact’ have kept outdoor professionals and enthusiasts warmer and drier the world over, safely.

 Why did Rab choose us?
Rab chose to partner with us because we are the best in the business (world leaders, in fact) when it comes to PFC-free aftercare and waterproofing solutions for outdoor gear, and because we have successfully enhanced the performance of nature’s best insulator, down, to create the lightest, most efficient, water-resistant insulation for jackets and sleeping bags available! Nikwax and Rab also share the same brand values, which is that high performance products should never come at an environmental cost. As with all of our products, NHD is water-based – we avoid chemicals that could pose a risk to human and environmental health, plus, the down is also ethically sourced.

‘’Our partnership is successful because we have shared company values. We push the boundaries of performance whilst aiming to minimise the environmental impact.’’ Rab

What is NHD and how does it benefit Rab? 
Although down offers superb insulating properties, it clumps together if it gets wet – gaining weight and losing loft, leaving you feeling cold and damp. Our revolutionary Hydrophobic Down is a water-resistant down fill that is, at least, 50 times more water resistant than standard down, recovering quickly after a downpour by maintaining loft, breathability and, therefore, insulation, without adding weight. It works by adding a flexible Durable Water Repellent finish to each individual down filament, thereby reducing the absorption of moisture – whether from the inside (perspiration, condensation) or the outside (rain and snow). Furthermore, because it stays moisture-free, there’s less bacteria trapped inside a Rab jacket or sleeping bag, which can result in the breakdown of damp down.

Why is wet down a problem?
Wet down loses its insulating properties because water conducts heat away from the body up to 25 times faster than air. It’s also heavier and loses its breathability, resulting in a cold, wet and uncomfortable experience. But a reduction in insulation can also be dangerous and in severe cases can lead to hypothermia. NHD’s radical features provide Rab with more versatility as their products can be used in a wider variety of conditions. In fact, the increased performance of NHD in comparison to similar down filled garments, means Nikwax treated down will continue to be effective in conditions where conventional untreated down filled items would fail.

How have Nikwax and Rab developed their partnership over the last 10 years?
Another milestone for both of us (and an industry-first) was the development of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down Recycled, which Rab first used in their Microlight Jacket in 2020. We created it to support Rab’s wish to use recycled down in their outdoor gear that didn’t compromise on water resistance, loft, breathability and insulation, and it has since been used in many other Rab down products as they broaden their use of recycled materials across their range.

“Our long-standing relationship with Rab is a prime example of how working together with shared goals can achieve more.  We are proud to have produced the best performing PFAS-free Hydrophobic Down and Hydrophobic Down Recycled on a global scale.  Our customers do not have to choose between performance and sustainability, with Nikwax they can have both.” Zoe Hewitt, Head of Marketing at Nikwax

Discover more about NHD here

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