Greenland Wax Guide
A Secret Recipe of Tradition
Since the 1960’s, Greenland Wax has been made in Fjällräven’s hometown of Örnsköldsvik, in northern Sweden. For decades, production has followed the same secret recipe, a unique combination of simple ingredients: pure paraffin and high-quality beeswax. In fact, the same Swedish family business that produced the first run of wax is still the sole producer to this day.
The first step is to melt the paraffin in a large pot, it’s actually the same pot that has been used for producing Greenland Wax since the 1960’s. Once the paraffin reaches the ideal temperature, pieces of beeswax are added. This mixture is then poured into moulds and left to set, before packaging into cardboard boxes. This traditional method of production yields roughly 70,000 blocks of Greenland Wax each year, and each one is made in the same pot.
All Fjällräven products are made with as minimal impact on the environment as possible. With no chemical additives, Greenland Wax is more environmentally friendly compared to other forms of chemical-based impregnation products. Paraffin is oil based, posing no danger to nature and will not irritate the skin. As a matter of fact, it has a softening effect which helps skin retain moisture and elasticity; paraffin can be found in skin products and cosmetics, it’s also used in physiotherapeutic treatment of arthritis. The high-quality beeswax used is completely natural, sourced from bee farms, it’s a by-product of honey production.
Better Together: G-1000 fabric and Greenland Wax
Following a Swedish expedition to Greenland in 1966, Fjällräven founder Åke Nordin noticed the availability of outdoor clothing was far too limited. He decided to make a climbing jacket using an unusually durable fabric that was too heavy for the lightweight tents of the time. After adding a special beeswax and paraffin mixture, the fabric turned out to be perfect for functional outdoor clothing. He went on to name the fabric G-1000 (G for Greenland) and the wax was named Greenland Wax.
Greenland Wax makes it possible for you to easily adapt the function of your G-1000 garments based on changing weather conditions and your chosen activity. More wax results in a more resistant garment that can withstand both rain and wind. The impregnation also increases the durability and life of the garment. With less wax, the garment becomes cooler and more breathable.
How to Wax Your G-1000 Garments
Greenland Wax increases the durability of G-1000 fabric and improves its protective properties to better withstand the elements. It extends the life of G-1000 garments significantly, which means that jackets and trousers can accompany their owners on adventures for many years.
Step 1: APPLY
Hold the block of Greenland Wax in your hand, apply a thin even layer by rubbing in long strokes against the face of the fabric. Make sure all areas of the fabric are well covered.
Step 2: HEAT
Using an iron on low to medium heat and without steam, slowly melt the wax into the fabric. Don’t forget to wipe the iron clean before using it on another garment. A hairdryer or the flame from a camping stove (see below) can also be used for melting the wax. Greenland Wax melts at approximately 55°C to 60°C, that’s 131°F to 140°F.
Step 3: REPEAT
For additional water resistance or to better reinforce high friction points, apply several layers of wax instead of one single thick layer, to areas such as knees, shoulders, hood, and rear.
Examples of areas where Greenland Wax can help to protect against wind, rain, and wear:
A. An additional layer of wax applied to the knees and rear of your trousers will provide extra protection when kneeling or sitting.
B. The front, shoulders, and hood of a trekking jacket can be waxed. However, the back should be left without wax to allow heat and moisture to escape from underneath a backpack.
C. Avoid wetness from hiking in high grass or morning dew by waxing below the knees.
D. Long parkas with an extended back panel can benefit from an additional layer of wax – this will help keep you dry when sitting on wet surfaces.
Waxing Outdoors With Your Camping Stove
After evenly applying wax onto the fabric, hold the garment above a steady flame from your camping stove. Keep a distance of a few decimeters to make sure not to burn the fabric and keep body parts out of the garment to avoid bodily harm. Start from further away and move slowly towards the flame until the wax starts to melt. Stretch the fabric over the heat source and move it back and forth until the wax has melted.
Less Wax = Increased Ventilation
When using your G-1000 garments in warm weather, less wax will help provide better ventilation. You can remove wax by machine washing at 40°C. Two to three cycles will completely remove wax from the fabric. This is a useful tip when travelling to warmer climates.
Greenland Wax and Padded or Hybrid Garments
Down or synthetic padded garments and those made with hybrid materials require additional care compared to those made solely of G-1000.
Down Padded Garments
The easiest method for applying Greenland Wax to a down padded G-1000 garment is by tumble drying on a low setting, with one or two tennis balls to help loft the down. A hair dryer can also be used. The main reason for not using an iron to wax your down padded G-1000 garment is avoid damaging the protective synthetic lining which prevents the down from leaving the garment.
Synthetic Padded and Hydratic Lined Garments
A hair dryer or heat gun on low setting are the best ways to apply wax to synthetic padded G-1000 garments. A drying cupboard set to low temperature can also be used to melt the wax into the garment.
Garments made using a combination of materials, such as our Keb Trousers (G-1000 and stretch), apply wax only to the parts made of G-1000. Then follow the same steps of melting the wax into the fabric, and repeat if necessary. Please note, stretch or MT fabric should not be waxed, as ironing may compromise its original composition.