Did you know that dirty down has less loft and is thus less warm?
After a busy season of getting out into the woods, it’s really important to properly clean and store your gear - especially down gear like jackets, quilts, vests, sleeping bags, hats, or gloves.
In this blog, we will give you the two keys to success for your end of season down gear care. Let's get started!
Why do you need to clean down?
Think about it...
When you get into your down sleeping bag, you're getting your body oil, sweat, and general nastiness all over the inside of your bag. If you’re wearing a down jacket around town, that jacket can absorb particles of air pollution. Basically, the oils and particles that get through the fabric and latch onto the down clusters and affect how high those clusters will loft. (Remember, loft equals warmth.)
Fortunately, there's an easy solution to this nasty little loft problem, which is cleaning your down gear.
The process is fairly simple. That said, there are a few things you should be aware of to ensure a great result and the safety of your item.
Use Down Specific Cleaner
Many of the chemicals and acids in household cleaners could hurt the DWR coating on your down or the fabrics used in your product. The best option is to use a down-specific cleaner like GearAid ReviveX Down Wash.
To give you a better understanding of the process, we created a quick video tutorial:
Follow these instructions and your down gear will have more loft and keep you warmer! It will also smell better :).
Why is proper storage important?
Down clusters are very small, but they still have structure. When that structure is fractured or misshapen, the cluster can no longer regain its shape. The repeated crushing of the down is what alters the warmth over time.
You have two options when it comes to storing your down item. They are about equal in terms of efficacy, but there are two factors that will impact both options. Either way, make sure your item is in a dry and well-ventilated place. Lots of moisture build up can cause mold or mildew formation - not good.
The first popular option is to hang your item. Many people already hang their jackets in a closet, but for quilts and bags this is also a great method. Most bags come with a loop or something that makes it easy to hook a coat hanger through and let your bag hang loose.
Some people do not have the hanging space in a closet to donate to their down items. So the next best option is to store it in a loosely fitting and breathable stuff sack.
Best fabrics to use for a down gear stuff sack:
Our 1.0 oz MONOLITE may be one of the best fabrics for this application because of its extreme breathability relative to other woven fabric options. The stuff sack option can be enticing because you do not need a rack or hanger to suspend the item. Just toss it wherever is safe.
End of season down care isn’t hard and shouldn’t be intimidating.
If you take these tips and apply them to your own projects and gear, you are sure to experience many years of excellent performance out of your down!
Is there something that we’re missing here? Let us know in the comments below!
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