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3 new test videos: Sierra Designs DriDown vs. untreated down
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Craig Delger
3 new test videos: Sierra Designs DriDown vs. untreated down on 03/20/2013 07:27:23 MDT Print View

I just uploaded 3 new videos where we cut open a baffle on a brand new Sierra Designs Gnar jacket and test their DriDown against untreated down.

Video #1: Steam Chamber Test

Video #2: Recovery Test

Video #3: Agitation In Direct Contact With Water Test

We were unable to see any significant advantage of DriDown vs. untreated down. We are finding this all very interesting.

I have a couple more ideas for tests, but welcome any ideas any members of BPL have. We will attempt to reach out to Sierra Designs again to see what they think, and we are attempting to get products to test from the other producers of hydrophobic down.

I am traveling over the next 5 days, but will check in periodically.


ProLite Gear

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: 3 new test videos: Sierra Designs DriDown vs. untreated down on 03/20/2013 10:14:42 MDT Print View

Thanks for the time and money put into these.

So basically what I'm seeing is that they have improved the down (according to the marketing spiel). What that means is that down has a bare minimum resistance to water and humidity and they've changed bare minimum to just a minimum of resistance.

In other words the bar was really low already so any improvement looks like a huge gain but still hasn't hit a noticeably better product from a functional stance.

It's like claiming that that 10 sheets of paper make a much better stepping stool than 1 sheet of paper.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: 3 new test videos: Sierra Designs DriDown vs. untreated down on 03/20/2013 10:19:00 MDT Print View

Thanks Craig!

No reason to get rid of my FF Swift just yet.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: 3 new test videos: Sierra Designs DriDown vs. untreated down on 03/20/2013 10:41:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for doing this Craig. Not a lot of test results out there yet on the various forms of water resistant down. I appreciate the data you have so far!


Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Prolite Gear on 03/20/2013 10:48:01 MDT Print View

Its rare to see a retail store/ sales outlet do anything but pass on marketing hype like it was read out of an ad. Good job and thanks Craig. My last sleeping bag purchase was from prolite there was a slight problem that I called you about and you more than made things right with me without my asking. I will buy from you again. Thanks

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: 3 new test videos: Sierra Designs DriDown vs. untreated down on 03/20/2013 10:55:20 MDT Print View

I think the steam test is completely inconclusive. If you added a disk with holes in it to each tube, the weight of the disk would probably start compressing the down as it starts to fail. I think that would allow you to better determine which one starts falling first.
That being said, I applaud you for attempting to do some meaningful testing on this material!

Edited by stingray4540 on 03/20/2013 10:56:11 MDT.

Andrew Zajac

Locale: South West
Great Tests! on 03/20/2013 10:55:30 MDT Print View

I am usually all for making things more scientific and controlled so I really dig what you guys have done here. I remember reading a few articles on BPL where the staff made some franken-shirts by cutting two shirts in half and then sewing the two halves of the different shirts together. If my memory serves my correctly, it was to compare wool and synthetic. This methodology makes direct comparison in real world conditions really easy to do. I think you should do the same. Make a coat with one-side dri-down and the other regular. I would bet it should not even be too hard to find an old style gnar jacket so the match well. You could go hiking or climbing and see if you notice any differences or just wear it while running on a treadmill to see if you notice any differences in its ability to handle sweat.

Here is the link to the BPL article

Edited to include the link.

Edited by AZajac on 03/20/2013 10:59:48 MDT.

Daniel Russell

Locale: Creation
Budget for Encapsil? on 03/20/2013 10:56:31 MDT Print View

Nice work.... Now the Patagooch Encapsil please! :D

Loren B

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Great idea. on 03/20/2013 11:44:10 MDT Print View

Brilliant idea to try and reproduce some of their results! Very interesting to see:D. I think the steam test was a nice idea and well thought out. I think though that the tests could maybe be improved upon.

-First you did not weigh the amounts of down being tested. From the video it seemed to me that there was perhaps more of the untreated down. I could see that there were large air pockets in the treated down test sample whereas the untreated down seemed to be more evenly spread out in the container.

I think the submersion test may have been a bit unfair for two main reasons:

-It seemed as if the untreated down was in more of a clump (it seemed to cling together more) whereas the treated it seemed as if the plumes were more inclined to separate). This may have meant that when you agitated the containers, the treated down would have been less able to resist submersion in water.
-secondly the hourglass movement used by each of the testers was not the same. It seemed that the treated down was actually turned a lot more vigorously than the untreated.

If you were to repeat the test perhaps you could try to ensure that the test conditions are the same for each down. You could weigh each sample and also measure the volume which each weight of down takes up. This would also allow you to work out a rough measurement of each down's loft rating. The fill power rating is a measurement of the spatial displacement in cubic inches per one ounce of down. For example one ounce of 800 fill power down would take up 800 cubic inches in volume (I'm no expert here so please anyone correct me if I am wrong here!).

It would also be a very interesting experiment if you were to weigh both samples of down before submersion in water, then say shake both containers (same experimenter must shake both samples for fairness) for 30 secs, and leave them for 20 minutes. Then you could pour the water off and weigh the samples again. This would tell you a how much water each sample of down has absorbed in 20 minutes per weight of down tested. Then leave them both to dry out measuring their weight every 15 mins. This would allow you to plot a graph showing the amount of water left in each sample as a function of drying time. Hopefully the graph would show that the treated down dries faster than untreated.

All in all really glad that you took the time (and money) to do an independent test of the two down types. Anyways thanks again for posting the videos on here. I really look forward to seeing some more tests if you get chance. Good luck guys!

Edited by ljamesb on 03/20/2013 11:48:37 MDT.

Loren B

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Re: Budget for Encapsil? on 03/20/2013 11:50:01 MDT Print View

ha ha! I think i would weep if I saw someone cutting into that $700 jacket. Maybe Patagonia can send us a sample though?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Encapsil on 03/20/2013 12:13:45 MDT Print View

Yep, I'd love to see Patgonia's Encapsil treated down tested but unfortunately it's currently only found in their $700. "Belay" down parka. Mon Dieu!

But Patagucci claims this Encapsil treatment INCREASES 800 fill down to 1000 fill. That in itself is amazing. The story is that at some point in their proprietary treatment they use radio waves (not mirrors and magnets, at least) to better apply the Encapsil DWR to the down.

P.S. I guess if this treatmens is really superior to other down DWR treatments I'd pay an extra $100. for an Encapsil treated bag and $50. more for a down jacket.
We all know most gear companies charge "what the market will bear". We'll see how many line up to pay $700. for a down parka with good down DWR.

Edited by Danepacker on 03/20/2013 12:14:15 MDT.

Craig Delger
Update: we visited Sierra Designs to see how they test DriDown on 04/16/2013 11:21:53 MDT Print View

A quick update if you are interested. Brad and I flew down to visit with Sierra Designs about how they test DriDown and they allowed us to video tape our meeting with them. The video is 4 parts and runs about 45 minutes, but there is a lot of great information that they shared if you have time to watch it all.

We are going to start some field tests of DriDown, and we are also going to be looking at some of the other solutions on the market. We are learning a great deal about the hydrophobic down space from all of this.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

I was able to ask them some of the questions you had about DriDown.

Edited by cdelger on 04/16/2013 11:23:03 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Update: we visited Sierra Designs to see how they test DriDown on 04/16/2013 11:32:12 MDT Print View

I've yet to watch them, but thanks!

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Update: we visited Sierra Designs to see how they test DriDown on 04/16/2013 19:34:06 MDT Print View


Thank you for asking good probing questions and sharing the answers with us!

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Update: we visited Sierra Designs to see how they test DriDown on 05/09/2013 06:46:53 MDT Print View

I'm surprised more people here haven't commented - we love this type of stuff. I just came across these 4 newer videos. Very interesting and kudos to SD for sharing with you to share with us. Also enjoyed your testing of the SD bag in real-world harsh conditions.