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Western Mountaineering on water resistant down and Pertex fabric
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Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Re: "Vapour" and DWR on 11/02/2013 06:45:20 MDT Print View

Indeed, it is clearly stated several times that there was maximaly a marginal increase in weight.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Dri-down .. Re: How easy is it to wet down? on 11/02/2013 10:51:51 MDT Print View

Roger said … ...For a start, many have noted that with a good DWR on the surface fabric, it is actually quite hard to get down gear wet.

I guess if you cowboy camp on top of a mountain while it is snowing things may happen, but in my book that is trying for a Darwin Award. Just my opinion.

So perhaps also for a climber belaying (having to stay stationary in freezing rain or slushy snow) or maybe a day hiker sans shelter trying to get back to the car when the temps go down on a rainy late hike. In terms of being inside a "worthy" shelter, Dri-down would seem overkill (at a premium price) vs. present DWR.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: Re: Down can get wet and useless and worse on 11/02/2013 11:24:45 MDT Print View

"I just about died one night due to a very wet down sleeping bag, and it took no effort at all to get it that way."

And down fanatics berate the synthetic users...

I use nothing but synthetic sleeping bags and jackets. I don't advertise it too much because it's definitely a minority opinion on BPL. However, I know myself and I know I make mistakes with weather judgements, tarp pitches, or estimations of temperatures. Synthetic gives me room to make mistakes and learn.

On top of that, in a real survival scenario, I have the assurance I'll be warm (to a certain degree). That can make a big difference in my odds of survival.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Down can get wet and useless and worse on 11/02/2013 11:49:41 MDT Print View

Ofcourse, synthetic is an option, but I have noted that those have a much shorter lifespan, sometimes only a year. And if you think your bag is enough for certain temps, but it isn't anymore ... And they aren't necessarily cheap.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Maybe if you ride them into the ground... on 11/02/2013 11:54:56 MDT Print View

My EMS Solstice 20 was $75. I took it right down to it's rating for two years and probably more than 100 nights, and then replaced it with something lighter, but by caring for it with Down Wash and restoring loft in the dryer with tennis balls, it's still warm and winter-ready. I would trust it right to 20º right now.

My new bag is a MH Ultralamina, which was still cheaper than a down bag. I expect to get years of service.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Maybe if you ride them into the ground... on 11/02/2013 12:30:48 MDT Print View

Let's not forget that this site is for everyone on the globe and that prices aren't that low everywhere. E.g. a TNF Cat's Meow costs in the US $179 while in Europe €180 (which is about $240 these days). And don't forget that stores/chains like REI, EMS, MEC, ... are very scares over here or even do not exist. I can think of only one cheap-priced chain and their low prices are only on their products (and the quality of those varies).
You thought the US is expensive ? Then certainly don't buy gear in Europe. (And do not forget that ±40 % of our income is first lost on things like taxes).

Edited by Woubeir on 11/02/2013 13:24:14 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Dri-down .. Re: How easy is it to wet down? on 11/02/2013 13:38:29 MDT Print View

"So perhaps also for a climber belaying (having to stay stationary in freezing rain or slushy snow) or maybe a day hiker sans shelter trying to get back to the car when the temps go down on a rainy late hike. In terms of being inside a "worthy" shelter, Dri-down would seem overkill (at a premium price) vs. present DWR."

That is a great point. Sitting on a ledge in the middle of a grade four slab climb with an ankle deep river pouring in your shoes and everything synthetic looks good. Even then I wouldn't get my bag out of the plastic until the river stopped. Very different than a mobile hiker.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Don't try and compare. on 11/02/2013 14:11:00 MDT Print View

Call me a skeptic but I kind of doubt that a comparison between US and UK pricing is remotely fair and unbiased. Your sleeping bag's price is influenced by a whole range of variables. it's not cookie-cutter.

U.S. minimum Wage is $7.25/hour, equating to about $15,000/yr for standard 40-hour workweeks. The UK's minimum wage is 25% higher than that at $10.00 per hour, with 38.5hr workweeks, equating to about $20,000 a year.

That's just the bottom...

I know people in the UK are taxed a lot more, but your taxes DO a lot more for you than they do for us. Much more of my tax dollars go into military spending than yours do, which means more of your tax dollars go into civic services, and on top of that, my health insurance comes out of my salary. Yours is included in your taxes.

On top of THAT, my education purchased in the UK would be tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than it was in the United States. I went to a state liberal arts college with my tuition paid for and I still owe $20,000 in student fees for my two degrees.

We can't even look at average salaries. because of the wage disparity in the United States, your lower and middle class take home substantially more of their wages than people living in the U.S. who pay for their own health insurance. Our top 2% most affluent skew our data so greatly, the United States places about ~10-15% higher overall in take-home personal income. But if you look at quality of life, property value, and access to essential services, the UK is ahead.

So, I don't have sympathy. I lived right outside of NYC for years and every single thing around the city is about 20-30% more expensive than stuff around Western Massachusetts. Right down to bottles of water. Why? Because the average wage is higher. Even the wages at the bottom were higher.

Every place is a microcosm. Every town in the world is its own economy. Comparing the two is like apples and oranges.

Edited by mdilthey on 11/02/2013 14:13:16 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Don't try and compare. on 11/02/2013 14:17:56 MDT Print View


Tom is in Belgium, I Iived their with work for 3.5 years and it is utter robbery.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Don't try and compare. on 11/02/2013 14:23:58 MDT Print View

I don't want to complain over what we pay and what we get back for it (in theory). That's a totally different discussion (political in nature while this is a backpacking forum).

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Wages be Damned on 11/02/2013 14:29:53 MDT Print View

Ah, but Tom, I posted about enjoying the quality of my synthetic bag and you brought up pricing.

I never even argued that synthetic was a better value, only that the perceived lack of value due to durability was kind of a misnomer, as the synthetic bags reach a level of quality and longevity in line with expectation based on price (in my opinion).

down on 11/02/2013 15:00:42 MDT Print View

The unfortunate reality, is that a down bag should never come close to getting wet. If it does, the user has screwed up. Keeping it dry, is akin to not walking over a cliff.

There are drysacks to keep them in.

There are tents that can weather cat1 hurricanes and sit in 2" water without letting a drop in.

And there are vapor barrier clothing that can be used to even avoid moisture pickup from body in cold conditions.

If it gets wet, its user error in planning, and execution , of a trip.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: down on 11/02/2013 15:51:16 MDT Print View

and yet we have tales of BPLers i assume are quite experienced here getting their down wet at some point on this thread ...

most people i suspect get it wet at least once .... then they learn not to ... and pray they dont make any mistakes


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

I Disagree. on 11/02/2013 16:52:33 MDT Print View

That's akin to saying good skiers should never trigger avalanches or be in avalanche-prone areas, so carrying probes and airbags is useless.

There is such a thing as "calculated risk" in backpacking.

You can bring a tarp and run the risk of being soaked in a hurricane, but that margin of risk is so small that it is reasonable to forgo a hurricane-proof tent and stick with a tarp instead.

Even the best backpackers can make mistakes. Situations can always unravel beyond a reasonable expectation of planning. Many of the greatest climbers and alpinists in human history died on mountains.

mistakes. on 11/02/2013 17:39:25 MDT Print View

If you make a mistake, you suffer the consequences.

But you try HARD not to make those mistakes that can kill you. At least you should.

If you dont, then you wont be long for this world.

You dont take risks that can kill you lightly. If you do your a fool.

As quite a few people learn every day.

The underlying problem with risk management, is complacency. When someone has done something 1000 times and suffered no bad effects, they become less cautious. If something bad can happen, it eventually WILL given enough chances. Guaranteed.

Edited by livingontheroad on 11/02/2013 17:44:31 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: down on 11/02/2013 17:47:48 MDT Print View

"and yet we have tales of BPLers i assume are quite experienced here getting their down wet at some point on this thread ..."

The winter incident that I related took place back in the 1970's, and I was incredibly inexperienced in the mountains (tagging along with two experienced guys). Mount Rainier took its toll, and my 4-pound down sleeping bag had become a 25-pound wet sponge. It got ugly after that.

I think down sleeping bags are perfectly fine to use, but that requires the user to exercise a bit of paranoia about getting it wet. Once you get cautious with it, then there is no problem.


Oliver Nissen
(olivernissen) - MLife

Locale: Yorkshire Dales
Oil resistant down on 11/03/2013 08:42:26 MST Print View

A quick clarification - Patagonia's Encapsil(R) down treatment involves a plasma (ionisation) process. The fanfare is that supposedly the molecular bonding of the DWR to the down due to the ionisation process is better/longerlasting than that of previous chemical bath DWR treatments. (Not some "molecular level deposition"!)

Aside from water repellency, additional (and arguably greater) benefits might come from some of the new down treatments, namely oil repellency and so-called "self-cleaning" properties. Fluoro-based DWRs can be great at this - they're oleophobic as well as hydrophobic. Being silicone chemistry, I wonder how oleophobic the Encapsil treatment is?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
OOH! OOH! on 11/03/2013 19:44:28 MST Print View

Oliver, however can you forgive me for using the wrong terminology of "molecular level deposition" when trying to describe Patagonia's down DWR?

Mea culpa!

Mea culpa!

I seldom lash out here on BPL but your comment is at xxxx level.

Edited by rcaffin on 11/03/2013 20:43:56 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: OOH! OOH! on 11/03/2013 20:32:16 MST Print View


From Patagonia -
"Patagonia's down is sent through a proprietary machine and agitated with low-level radio frequency waves until the surface of the down's molecular structure begins to shift. A tiny amount of siloxane is then deposited onto each plumule of down, adhering to its changed molecular structure in a virtually permanent way. The result is down that is hydrophobic, stronger and loftier by 25%."

Jess Clayton, 805-667-4755,

From AeonClad Coatings -
"Radio frequency pulsing (the plasma on and off times or the duty cycle) and deposition time allows for the fine control of the nature of films, such as film thickness and surface composition."

It seems like "molecular level deposition" is a pretty good description of what is accomplished with "proprietary radio frequency pulsing" to control deposition characteristics for the "changed molecular structure" of the down.

Care to clarify how "molecular level deposition" falls short?

I'm curious.

Edited by greg23 on 11/03/2013 20:45:40 MST.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Shelter on 11/04/2013 13:03:01 MST Print View

Interesting discussion. I don't have a lot of experience using a down bag in wet/humid environments for more than a night or two. For those that do, what's your lightweight shelter of choice to keep your down dry on wet & humid trips with little sunlight for several days?

Is this where you go to a double wall tent? A fully enclosed tarp, like a mid? Bivy or no bivy?