Washing a cuben down quilt
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Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Washing a cuben down quilt on 02/12/2010 22:13:50 MST Print View

A question for you proud owners of a cuben down quilt? Have you washed it yet?

Can the .33 oz cuben stand up to being washed in a machine (front loader assumed)? How about drying?

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Washing a cuben down quilt on 02/12/2010 23:26:29 MST Print View

I'm still waiting for mine, but...

Why wash it with anything more than a washcloth?

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Washing a cuben down quilt on 02/12/2010 23:41:32 MST Print View

Hey Nia,
I asked the same question a while ago and can't remember who replied, but the general consensus was to just wipe it down with a cloth.

If I were to actually wash the entire quilt. It would be in my bathtub (handwash) like I do with regular fabrics (quantum/momentum) and then sun dry over a couple of days.

I haven't cleaned mine yet, but will let everyone know when I do.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: Washing a cuben down quilt on 02/13/2010 06:28:46 MST Print View

i can't imagine the down needing to be cleaned for a long time, it is very protected by all that cuben. All it'd need is a scrub down with a cloth and some *mild* soap if it even needed soap.

-Tim

Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
shade dry or cool tumble on 02/13/2010 10:49:21 MST Print View

At home you might not want to leave your expensive and UV-degradable cuben in the sun for long enough to dry saturated down fill. If you are in the field, it may be a different story and you just need to get dry NOW.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
washing cuben/down on 02/13/2010 15:22:14 MST Print View

If it doesn't dry well, down will mold.

I can't imagine you would ever want to wash down enclosed
in an impermiable fabric on both sides.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: washing cuben/down on 02/13/2010 15:36:20 MST Print View

"If it doesn't dry well, down will mold."

So is the stripe of breathable momentum90 enough to prevent this? What happens if the cuben quilt gets submerged during a creek crossing, assuming it gets thoroughly soaked?

Edited by nschmald on 02/13/2010 15:37:25 MST.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
washing cuben/down on 02/13/2010 16:09:23 MST Print View

"What happens if the cuben quilt gets submerged during a creek crossing, assuming it gets thoroughly soaked?"

think you'd actually have to work hard to get this down wet. Like opening the quilt out, Momentum side up, and pooling the water into it.

I'm pretty sure that if the quilt is in a stuff sack, or even a bit squashed in your pack, and it gets completely submerged, even for 30 minutes it won't absorb a significant amount of water.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: washing cuben/down on 02/13/2010 16:57:18 MST Print View

"think you'd actually have to work hard to get this down wet. Like opening the quilt out, Momentum side up, and pooling the water into it."

Ok maybe. But what if?

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: washing cuben/down on 02/13/2010 18:18:39 MST Print View

If you did that while sleeping in it, you're probably not going to live to dry it, so no worries there. If it gets wet in other scenarios, like say a bad creek ford, only a few baffles will probably get soaked because they are separated by cuben fiber (in the Epiphany XP), so the quilt won't be completely worthless. Even if it gets wet in a creek ford, it shouldn't absorb much water since it's already compressed. I'm compress it a bit more, as carefully as possible, to squeeze out as much water as possible. Beyond that, I'd try to get some heat into the collapsed baffles. If I'm on the trail, I'd try using the sun, body heat and hot water bottles. Make a serious effort to find other ways to stay warm while your quilt dries, just like you would if you got a down sleeping bag wet.

But if you're really that worried, get a tent or bivy and a few layers of waterproof stuff sacks.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: Re: washing cuben/down on 02/13/2010 19:02:18 MST Print View

"Ok maybe. But what if?"

That's okay, you're carrying your spare synthetic bag in your 60lb pack. And if your tent catches fire while you're drying your down bag, you still have your bivvy and tarp, plus your poncho-tarp. It probably won't though, because you'll most likely use your primary stove plus two of your back-up stoves to dry it off, rather than a real fire.

Or else you light a fire, put on all your clothes, eat an extra dinner, climb under your wet quilt, and tough it out for a night.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: Re: washing cuben/down on 02/13/2010 19:19:22 MST Print View

"Beyond that, I'd try to get some heat into the collapsed baffles. If I'm on the trail, I'd try using the sun, body heat and hot water bottles. Make a serious effort to find other ways to stay warm while your quilt dries, just like you would if you got a down sleeping bag wet."


How do you dry something out that is in a plastic bag?
That is what cuben fiber is, effectively.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Re: Re: washing cuben/down on 02/13/2010 22:25:56 MST Print View

How do you dry something out that is in a plastic bag?
That is what cuben fiber is, effectively.


How do you think air gets in?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: washing cuben/down on 02/14/2010 12:08:20 MST Print View

I agree with Rod-the "what if" factor is beyond any reasonable event I can think of. It *might* happen if you were forced to bivy out for a night without any shelter, in pouring rain. In which case you squeeze out as much water as possible and carry on, just like with any other sleeping bag. It is very unlikely to get much water on board just by a bad creek crossing.

Drying it out will require heat. When the vapour gets warm enough it will eventually find it's way through the Momentum strip, but will likely take longer than a trad sleeping bag. I can't ever see a reason why you would want to actually 'wash' the bag though. Just wipe it down like others mention.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Wetting out a cuben/down quilt on 02/14/2010 13:01:43 MST Print View

I find it hard to believe that submerged in water for 1/2 hour as Rod claims that water wouldn't be able to find it's way through the hole in a stuff sack and in to the 4 sq ft of breathable material. Any one care to test? Afraid the bag might be destroyed?

If on the other hand what Lynn says is true, that it will dry reasonable well although slightly slower than a traditional bag, then no problem.

A bad creek crossing means fording a snow melt fed waist deep creek. Lots of water, lots of force to easily penetrate a stuff sack, unless it's a heavy dry bag made for white water rafting. We could always throw in a water fall to make it fun. This means the pack would need to be dropped to avoid drowning and then found down stream/fall. Plenty of time under water to meet or exceed Rod's 1/2 hour "unreasonable" test.

To me this is unlikely (I'd rather not fall in a creek), but not out of the realm of possibility. Rod's snarky reply not withstanding, I like to think through worst case possibilities and come up with a plan to meet them before they occur. Rarely does this plan involve carrying redundant gear. Funny this type of planning is now mocked a few weeks after the "Be prepared, not equipped" article was generally well received here.

You all seem to be assuming that water will not be able to find it's way in through the 4 sq ft skunk stripe, but water vapor will easily be able to find its out. Seems a bit contradictory to me. Please explain.

As for washing: With a traditional bag, dust and body oil pass through the breathable material and deflate the down. Washing, I like to wash my bag after about a month on trail, is necessary to restore the down to full loft. I would think both dust and body oils would collect on the shell of the bag and then come in contact with the skunk stripe every time the quilt was stuffed into the pack. So yes at some point, certainly less frequently than a traditional bag, I think it will be necessary to wash the down not just the shell. Hand washing and line drying seems to be the only option. Is line drying fast enough to prevent it from molding? I assume so, but...

For an empirical, scientific based group you folks seem to be taking this a little bit on faith. Good luck with that.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Wetting out a cuben/down quilt on 02/14/2010 13:45:32 MST Print View

I envision lying the quilt on a log with the momentum stripe facing up along the center of the log/branhc. The cuben sides draped/hanging over the sides of the log. In my mind, this would allow the moisture from the down to travel up the cuben enclosed area and out through the momentum stripe. I'm thinking this would be your best bet, but without trying it, I really have no idea.

Last year I used my Epiphany for 6 nights on one of the dampest trips of my life. I hung it up when I got home and it seemed dry as a bone within a day or so. It was nowhere even near "wet" condition but it shows that you can dry it to some extent.

As for the sun damaging the cuben, I think the minimal exposure would be fine. I have 4 cuben shelters, my oldest being the MLD poncho tarp with plenty of use. It doesn't seem to be damaged from the sun but I'm not sure how to tell, what is supposed to happen to cuben fiber? They use it on sailboats so it must not break down that fast.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
wet bag on 02/14/2010 14:06:16 MST Print View

If any down bag gets really soaked, you're in for some suffering. Build a fire and prepare to sleep for no more than 2 hours at a stretch. I've been there, fortunately in July.

I always store my bag in either a Silnylon dry bag, or a compression sack with a trash bag liner. Both are pretty bomber unless you go for an extended swim. If I were swimming rivers Arctic 1000 style, I'd bring proper immersion-proof dry bags.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Wetting out a cuben/down quilt on 02/14/2010 14:30:04 MST Print View

"For an empirical, scientific based group you folks seem to be taking this a little bit on faith. Good luck with that."

Hardly. I take most of this on experience. Try taking an ordinary down quilt, stuffed in it's waterproof stuff sack, and submerge it in your bathtub full of water to see what happens. For one thing you will struggle to keep it submerged! Same thing will happen to a cuben quilt, but water penetration will be even slower. Asking water to penetrate into the down in this situation, especially if you take sensible precautions and roll the quilt with the Momentum to the inside, is a very different scenario to asking the same fully lofted quilt, skunk side up on a sunny day, to dry. Add to that my precautions with all my critical insulation to put it in a dry-bag, and I feel prepared (and equipped) to sleep dry at night. Basically being prepared, as the cited article mentioned, is about preparing for the probable, not the ever so slightly possible. I have swum across many a deep river or inlet with this (non-cuben) system, and know for a fact that to get my bag soaked I would essentially have to sleep unsheltered in the rain or in a tarn. A mere river crossing is not gonna dampen my spirits :)

For those that really want to know the facts, I will make a small down-filled cuben/momentum pouch this evening and first wet it, then see how long it takes to dry. No need to try it on a full scale quilt.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Re: Wetting out a cuben/down quilt on 02/14/2010 14:48:36 MST Print View

So does everyone use dry bags for their down gear? I've been using trash compactor bags to keep my stuff dry but the top certainly doesn't seal. The lighter dry bags I've read about have all failed submersion tests and the heavier ones are heavy so I've skipped them. Is this no longer current info?

Haven't tried it, but it seems like a backpack full of water would be enough to drag down the sleeping bag. No?

Lynn, thanks for doing the test. Surface area of breathable fabric to contained down seems like the critical factor.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Re: Wetting out a cuben/down quilt on 02/14/2010 14:53:15 MST Print View

Lynn,
That would be a cool test. Be sure to post some pics/results.