Travel tip: longer life for your technical gear!


Successful family travel means having the right equipment and clothing for the type of travel you’re embarking upon with your kids. However, tech gear is expensive! No one knows this better than me, a mom with three growing boys. For the past few years, we’ve been using Nikwax ( to treat our expensive gear. Nikwax has waterproofing treatments, wash-in detergents designed for technical fabrics, and even solar-proofing for your tents. I know using it increases the life of our expensive apparel.


Using Nikwax is a family travel tip in itself, but as they say, “Wait…there’s more!” Starting this summer (summer 2013), Nikwax has introduced their Gear Rehab program. ( This FREE program allows famiilies to send one gear item or piece of apparel to Nikwax per year, which they will treat for you to repair it or preserve it. It really is as good as it sounds!


We tried out the program with a pair of my eight-year-old’s Columbia trekking pants that I thought were toast. We’d taken them on a backpacking trip, where he got so many stains on them, I was going to throw them away. I had tried to treat them in our washing machine 3x before sending them to Nikwax. I mailed them off, and within 2 weeks, I got them back…75% better! No, Nikwax hadn’t been able to get out every single stain, but they did such a good job with them, we’ll definitely be keeping the pants.


Best of all, along with our pants came a note explaining what treatments had been done, and which products were used, so we could stock up and do better on our own in the future. Turns out, had I treated the pants with waterproofing wash-in before the backpacking trip, most of the stains would have been blocked. Live and learn! In the photo at right, you can see a before and after shot of the pants, and Nikwax’s note. We paid shipping en route to Nikwax in Seattle, then they shipped back free of charge. Give Nikwax a challenge and send them YOUR kids’ gear!

updated: August 27 2013 by pitstopsforkids

About the author

Amy Whitley is a travel writer and founder of family travel website Pit Stops for Kids, the mom of three boys, and an outdoor adventure writer for OutdoorsNW Magazine.

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