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Patagonia makes dry down
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James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: down on 11/06/2012 23:47:03 MST Print View

Samuel, you don't wash your down?
Wow, I have always treated down like regular clothing. Even if I always wear long johns & socks in a bag, oils still build up. 'Corse, mild soap, not detergent and ususally 1/4-1/2 the ammount the manufacturer recommends.

My Super Stretch UL down hugger is still going nearly new after 6-7 years. Even my 40F degree bag, about 11 years old or so, is in excelent condition after about 40 or so washings, though the hood has some stains and there is one patch on it. I typically head out for about 30 nights per year before I retired. The past three years has been closer to 60 or more nights.

Don't send them to the land fill. Send them to me!!!

Seriously, the only problem I have with down is when it gets dirty or wet. Wet is avoidable. Dirt/oil can be laundered out. Down has been known to last longer than 30 years with fairly intermitant use, such as 30-40 nights a year. It's just dam expensive to buy, initially. It should last at least 15 years of fairly constant use, say 180 nights per year. They used to be quite painfull to wash, often about a half a day or more at the laundromat (rinsing, washing, rinsing, rinsing.) Nowdays, with no agitators in my home machine, it goes pretty easy.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: down on 11/07/2012 02:41:28 MST Print View

> Twenty to thirty years from down?
Of course. But the down will need washing with the right Sports Wash.

Hum - my (Oz) Mont Telemark bag (which my grand-daughter just took to the snow on a school trip for a few days) probably dates from about ... 1985 I think. It's still very warm. It's been washed a few times of course.

Actually, I think my grand-daughter said she was the only one on the trip who was warm at night. The others apparently all had Walmart-class bags...


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Allied Feathers Resist-Down on 11/07/2012 02:52:14 MST Print View

Hi Ray

Beware Weasel Words!

> if it does get wet, it dries up to three times faster than untreated down.
From a legal perspective, drying at any speed less than 3x meets this claim. Even drying at 1/2 the speed meets this claim. It has zero meaning.

And for the life of me, I am not sure that I can see any reason why it should change the drying speed - except to slow it down.

Could a surface treatment retain 30% more loft? Yes, it could, by restrict the absorption of water into the down fibres, but it would probably double the weight of the down. It's like putting a DWR coating on fabric: the weight goes up significantly.

Can down look waterproof (at a staged demo at the OR show)? Of course it can. Just don't wash all the natural duck oils out of it. Very much like wool: leave a trace of lanolin (natural wool oil) in the fibres and it last far longer.

Yeah, old and cynical, that's me.


Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
cynical on 11/07/2012 06:21:00 MST Print View

"Yeah, old and cynical, that's me."

Oh trust me, I was being cynical when I posted their description. "when wet has up to 30% more loft than untreated down". Lets see, wet untreated down is a little pile of mush. So the stuff that ZPack is using gets wet and is mush plus 30%. Oh yeah, sign me up. ;-)

I am not talking about Pataginia's version which SOUNDS a lot like the DownTek and DryDown.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: cynical on 11/07/2012 06:28:48 MST Print View

"Yeah, old and cynical, that's me."

+1 ,well maybe not the old part.

We'll wait and see how this down treatment lasts. Never soaked a bag yet.

Here's hoping.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Allied Feathers Resist-Down on 11/07/2012 06:36:16 MST Print View

Roger, I believe it can dry quicker. I just hope the process doesn't "dry" a feather out by removing the lanolin-like oils, replacing them with it's own version of water-proofing.

* Carotin is the same family as mammal's finger nails & hair. Anything that protects the feather from water will help it reduce overall water uptake. Less water means faster drying.

* Any drop that forms on hydrophobic down will evaporate faster, since it can evaporate from the entire surface area, not just the top as would happen on a normal, wet feather...faster drying. Of course, the shape of the droplet also plays in to evaporitive surface area. At some point in volume, a sphere and flattened oval evaporating from a single side will bump into capilary tension, so, there is a basis for saying it dries faster. How much...well that is debatable...depends, depends.

Of course, you and I know the numbers are fecetious, simple marketing hype. It would depend more on atmospheric conditions, shell material, and type of drying. They could be measiring to FULL dry of actual water, or FULL dry of the actual plume's humidity, which would take far longer and could actually be inhibited by any coating. Want to guess which measurement they are using?

* Loft vs Weight might stay the same. For example, if they use a 850FP down, treat it with whatever and increase its loft to 1000FP (as claimed), they could rightly say it got lighter at a 10% increase in weight, since the overall loft, about 15%, went up faster than the weight increase. Of course we know that loft is just one component of a fill's overall warmth (likely due to increased static repulsion, ie like charges repelling each other?) Quantity (weight) also counts, so, I am discounting the difference of 5%, calling them even. After all, who would believe me if I said I coated some feathers and made them lighter? Easier, and more accurate, to say I coated them and gave them better loft.

Outside of a lab, is this usable loft? I don't know. Insensible perspiration may contribute enough humidity to negate static repulsion, simply leaving the heavier coating. Something even the EN standard doesn't account for either. Or, if the coating stiffens the actual plume, it could make it brittle, breaking it in use and during comression...a durability issue effecting a bags longevity, perhaps drastically. $300-400 for a bag that will only last 5 years for a dubious 5% performance increase is no bargain to me. Synthetics are cheaper. It might be subject to increased attractiveness to oils and dirt...a reliability issue when I am out for two weeks. And, dust may accumulate quicker, due to an increase in static charges. Body oils will be attracted quicker with some non-polar materials than with water...a maintenence issue.

So, I will NOT be the first to try this stuff. Whatever the marketing hype says. There are too many questions in my mind to say it is better or worse.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Down on 11/07/2012 08:04:02 MST Print View

No need to wash what I don't have. Used synthetics for 25 years until the Montbell spiral. The old down bags wore out, were reduced to clumps and rags on the trail; except for the Snow Lion, too heavy for BPL, and the nylon is calcified (yeah, like the owner).

The down comforters on the beds at home are washed regularly, but none of them are as puffy as when new. But maybe that makes no difference if you buy Richard's 'new paradigm.'

Don't like down for hard use on the trail, and never have. Just use the MontBell because it provides the same warmth for half a pound less than the best synthetics.
But don't expect it to stay that way for more than a few years. As said, it already is providing less warmth than when new. When it gets rank, will wash it with non-detergent soap though, as suggested, and maybe start work on a bag with a 2/3 oz/sq/yd shell and the best synthetic available. Don't want to attract flies.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Patagonia makes dry down on 11/07/2012 13:19:15 MST Print View

After I washed my WM sleeping bag, following carefully (including using the recommended products) the instructions on the WM site, the bag had almost an inch more loft than when I bought it! And it was definitely warmer!

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Resist-down lab test results on 11/07/2012 13:37:43 MST Print View

I am sure this isn't going to help my post purchase dissonance, but here are the test results for Reist-Down.

DownTek isn't claiming to be waterproof just water repellent.

Allied Feathers supply Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends so will be interesting to see if they take this up.

Still don't know why I didn't just stick with 900 FP.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Allied Feathers Resist-Down on 11/07/2012 14:14:43 MST Print View

Hi James

> * Carotin is the same family as mammal's finger nails & hair.
I think you mean keratin. Carotene is what gives carrots their orange colour. :-)

> * Any drop that forms on hydrophobic down will evaporate faster, since it can
> evaporate from the entire surface area, not just the top as would happen on a
> normal, wet feather...faster drying.
Forgive me if I point out that this is really somewhere between wrong and irrelevant. When you take a large bunch of fluffy down plumules (the down equivalent of 'feather') and clump them together loosely as in a quilt, SB or jacket, the limiting factor for drying becomes diffusion. Evaporation from a surface does not, afaik, limit the process; moving the water vapour away from the water is the limit. This is actually pretty much the same as how down blocks the passage of heat.

> simple marketing hype
You and me too!
Mind you, if the promotors want to send me (BPL) samples and far more technical explanations of what they are doing, I will take a very serious professional look at it. If it is a genuine advance, we will be interested, and will talk about it.

Sorry about the corrections, but 27 years in textile research left me with a very long-term interest in this whole area.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Re: Allied Feathers Resist-Down on 11/07/2012 16:26:08 MST Print View

Yah, kerotin, that's what I meant.

Whatever the mechanism, there is clearly some decreased drying time. I am not convinced this is a reason for purchasing a drydown item, though...'specially if it costs more. Like Mary, I am heavily invested in my standard down. I don't anticipate any needed upgrades for the next ten to twenty years.

"Mind you, if the promotors want to send me (BPL) samples and far more technical explanations of what they are doing, I will take a very serious professional look at it. If it is a genuine advance, we will be interested, and will talk about it."

Bloody well right you will! ;-)

Ryan P. Murphy
(rmurphy) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Patagonia makes dry down on 11/07/2012 17:28:53 MST Print View

Serge, when you say Patagonia invested "so much so quickly" are you talking about the 2 year research period or the seeming rush to announce it after the other water resistant down products have come out? I was a bit surprised by the release of water resistant down in the first place and more surprised to find out that Patagonia had been working on their own fluorocarbon free process for two years. I am a bit ashamed to admit that my simple brain always figured the holy grail of insulation (light and warm like down, water resistant like synthetics) would be met by some crazy new super light synthetic, not by making down itself water resistant.

I think it will be interesting to see what field reports say about Patagonia's Encapsil down since their claim of increased durability (or decreased collapsibility?) means they can supposedly achieve 1000FP down. Imagine a sleeping bag filled with 1000fp down that has been filled based on 900 FP specs (i.e. overstuffed) and how warm and light it would be compared to "900fp down" that is ultra susceptible to humidity and dirt and oils. I know they don't make sleeping bags but imagine the possibilities. Or they could go the route of the ultralight down shirt and just make even more ridiculously light down garments (6d shell with 1000fp down?). The fact that Patagonia owns a stake in the coating company that they codeveloped this with and seem intent on keeping it proprietary indicates to me that at least they think it could be a game changer. Also by being fluorocarbon free they maintain their enviro friendly selling point and the feel good factor (from an economic standpoint, hopefully enough to make you forget that maybe you didn't need that new crazy expensive jacket when your old one was still fine, but hey, it's green).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Patagonia makes dry down on 11/07/2012 18:38:43 MST Print View

> Imagine a sleeping bag filled with 1000fp down that has been filled based on 900 FP specs
Let's get things into some sort of perspective here.

First of all, the IDFL '900 loft' down is nothing more than European 800 loft down, if that. IDFL only get the 900 figure by using totally unrealistic sample conditioning methods which have no relation to what happens in the field. IDFL developed this farce at the request of some USA companies who just wanted 'bigger numbers'. The respectable European companies do NOT use the IDFL sample conditioning method or the IDFL figures for this reason.

Second, using the suspect IDFL numbers, can I point out that 1000 loft is a mere 10% more than 900 loft. So at the very best, you might change the weight of down by 10%, although I harbour a deep suspicion that the 1000 loft might be more susceptible to collapse in the field. Or maybe the surface treatment just won't last very long, in the field. Why? I think Murphy has something to do with it.

Third, if anyone thinks you can measure down loft to that level of accuracy - ho ho ho. It's a natural product, and highly variable.

Fourth, I have this really great bridge for sale ...

Yeah, happy to test gear, but!


Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Patagonia makes dry down on 11/07/2012 19:34:31 MST Print View

I always thought PHD was a respectable European gear maker, but I guess not?

Edited by ViolentGreen on 11/07/2012 19:35:05 MST.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
not respectable? on 11/07/2012 20:57:45 MST Print View

I don't get it Ryan. What makes you say that?

Personally I am looking forward to the new products. I don't plan on "replacing" anything. I never "plan" on soaking my down. But it does happen. I once fell in a river. Things did get wet. ;-)

But IF there is not too much of a price jump I would go for the new down from DownTek, Dry Down or this Encapsil. (But not the Allied Feathers Resist-Down.)

Like many of you I have had down clump just from wetting out at the foot where I was picking up moisture from a shelter wall or from major condensation due to conditions. I have spent many afternoons in the Sierra with my bag or quilt drying out before I have to get in it again. If the down itself is treated so as to be hydrophobic it shouldn't clump as much (which I know will be the case as I have seen it myself) and should dry much faster anyway.

What cracks me up is all the people poo-pooing it as "unproven" and such. Maybe you aren't old enough to remember treated canvas tarps... ;-)

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: not respectable? on 11/08/2012 10:56:45 MST Print View

Ha...I was poking at Roger for the comment about respectable EU makers not using 900fp down. I don't think anyone has a problem with PHD.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Wash a down bag every 15 days??? on 11/09/2012 00:31:38 MST Print View

James, SERIOUSLY, do you have an anal problem about cleanliness?

Lordy, I've had and used my WM bag 4 years and only WM themselves washed it last year before they overfilled it.

I wear clean "sleeping wear" in my bag to keep it smelling OK and air it inside-out at home following every trip after spraying its inside with Fabreeze. That's it!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Patagonia makes dry down on 11/09/2012 01:18:55 MST Print View

Took me a while to realise that many don't wash at all or very little at camp and just jump into their sleeping bag with their dirty and sweaty clothing on.
Hence the different reports about duration and performance..

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Wash a down bag every 15 days??? on 11/09/2012 05:23:23 MST Print View

"James, SERIOUSLY, do you have an anal problem about cleanliness?"
Me? Hell no. I don't care if I get a little dirty. It *is* coming up on time for my weekly bath, but that is saturdays.

Down is rugged. It can be damaged from over washing, but this is usually too much soap or too little water or incorrect detergent. I use small ammounts with plenty of water.

1) Clean down means greater loft. After 2 weeks, it is about 2/3 of what it could be. Loft, is an important element to staying warm. Quantity, as in overfilling, is another. I cannot easily overfill a bag, but I *can* wash it.
2) Clean begets clean. Have you ever dropped a couple drops of water on a clean, dry towel? What happens? Even the Pertex shell performs better clean, resisting the slight wetness from the tarp. If I can mop it up fairly quickly, ie within a half hour, it doesn't penetrate to the down.
3) It shakes out easier. Have you ever rubbed a couple down feathers together? They are rather slippery. Coating them with anything will cause them to "stick" more. Shaking it out helps with lofting.
4) Handling, sleeping, or any movement of the down can cause some damage. The biggest reason for internal mechanical damage is the dust in the down acting like little cutting "stones"...rather like dirt on carpeting causing carpet fibers to be cut and abraided. Remove them and you get longer life, though I suspect a vacuming will work as well. Oils can thicken and/or become sticky, causing damage.
5) One item that people often overlook with down is electrosatic repulsion. Remember back in 4th grade when the teacher took a rubber rod and rubbed it with cat fur and touched two gold leaves? This can be used to seperate down plumes in a bag, it contributes to lofting. Shaking it out well at night also insures that there is a minimal fiber entanglement, so pressures don't do as much damage from laying on them, ripping them free.
6) Because the plumes are clean, they will also compress better. The fibers are free to slip and slide without sticking, they have fewer entanglements causing clumping, they tend to line up easier under compression without damage. It means that expensive down jacket can easily conform to bending an elbow and bounce back with no damage.

These are most of the highlites of why I use clean down. None of these have anything to do with effetly washing down. In the woods, it is impossible to stay clean for any reasonable time...I don't even try. Rather, washing down is just good maintenence. Sort-of like washing out my pot after supper. It doesn't need to be sterile, just fairly odor free to keep bears/mini-bears away.

Other reasons:
Bugs: On a couple occasions, I have had bed bugs in my bag. No Fun! Other bugs are also possible, some can eat the down plumes. fleas, spiders, etc are all washed out. Mites don't weigh enough to bother about, though.
Ground cloths: I don't use one, just my pad(s.) So, my bags tend to get dirty a little quicker than others.
Cooking under my tarp: often I can spill a bit drinking coffee or eating. I will wash it out next time.

Fabreeze??? I don't think I would ever use something on down that smelled of anything. Typically, perfumes (even if they evaporate cleanly and are not long lasting) will attract animals. I would never use that kind of stuff.

Edited by jamesdmarco on 11/09/2012 05:26:58 MST.

Babak Sakaki
(persianpunisher) - F
The bomb on 01/04/2013 16:32:00 MST Print View


Edited by persianpunisher on 01/09/2013 00:27:54 MST.