Brooks-Range offers water-resistant DownTek

Down, long regarded as the best weight-to-warmth insulator around, is getting some techy attention for fall 2012. To deal with its major drawback — susceptibility to moisture — Brooks-Range is one of two companies offering water-resistant down insulation for fall 2012 (see also Sierra Designs' DriDown).

Mojave Jacket

Brooks Range Mojave Jacket
  The 800-fill Mojave Jacket with DownTek from Brooks-Range

Unlike the down in most insulated jackets, each individual down cluster in the 800-fill Mojave Jacket is treated to make it water-resistant. Brooks-Range calls the proprietary nano-polymer treatment DownTek.

Brooks-Range says DownTek down is highly water-resistant, lofty, and anti-bacterial.

Water-resistant is a notoriously relative term, especially applied to something so small as a down cluster. However, Brooks-Range's Katy Gaenicke backs up the claim with some hard figures:

"Its loft after water immersion is 300 percent better than regular down," says Gaenicke. "It dries five times faster than regular down, and absorbs at least three times less water."

While DownTek down isn't totally waterproof, if the claims hold up, it may approach the lofting ability of synthetics when wet, at a fraction of the weight.

The Mojave is a high-performance jacket suitable for mountaineering, ski mountaineering, and other applications where extreme warmth and low weight are paramount. Rounding out the piece is a Pertex Quantum shell that adds further water-resistance and keeps the down fully lofted.

Wondering how Brooks-Range's DownTek stands up to Sierra Designs' DriDown? So are we.

Brooks-Range uses a company called Down Decor to supply DownTek. Sierra Designs wouldn't reveal its supplier, as the company is in contract negotiations.

For comparison of the two water-resistant downs:

Brooks-Range claims its DownTek compared to regular down:

  • absorbs at least three times less water,
  • has 300 percent better loft after water immersion, and
  • dries five times faster.

Sierra Designs claims its DriDown insulation compared to regular down:

  • stays dry seven times longer in the presence of rain, melting snow, or spills;
  • retains 98 percent loft, which can equate to a 15-degree temperature advantage, and
  • dries 33 percent faster when it does get wet.

Brooks-Range plans to expand into DownTek sleeping bags in the next year, says Jeff Blakely, the company's general manager.

Mojave Jacket

  • Weight: about 1.4 lbs (prototype)
  • Insulation: 800 fill DownTec down
  • Available: Fall 2012
  • MSRP: $299

 


Regular down (left) is soaked in water, while DownTec down (right) rises above.

DownTec down floats on water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cirro Synthetics

If you're not quite ready for techy, treated down, Brooks-Range will still have you covered with its regular down insulation and an expanding Cirro synthetic series.

Brooks Range Cirro Extreme
Cirro Extreme Jacket

The new Cirro Extreme Jacket has multiple layers of PrimaLoft One insulation wrapped in a Pertex Quantum shell. With an oversized, helmet-compatible hood and elastic wrists, this jacket is designed for the worst, most variable conditions.

New for fall 2012, there's also a Cirro Vest, which can be worn as an outer shell or as a mid-layer piece, and Cirro Pants, with half-length side zips, which can be worn alone or over regular pants.

Cirro Extreme Jacket

  • Insulation: 80 g PrimaLoft One
  • Available: Fall 2012
  • MSRP: $235.95

Cirro Vest

  • Insulation: PrimaLoft One
  • Available: Fall 2012
  • MSRP: $134.95

Cirro Pants

  • Insulation: PrimaLoft One
  • Available: Fall 2012
  • MSRP: $189.95

Filed under: Gear News, Outdoor Retailer

Comments

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
501 reviewer rep
2,995 forum posts
January 26, 2012 at 9:41 a.m. (EST)

You'll see more water-resistant down going forward.

According to SNEWS:

Textile ingredient supplier Down Decor, also at Winter Market, announced sourcing deals with Brooks-Range, Marmot, Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, REI and L.L. Bean.

http://down-tek.com

philipwerner
130 reviewer rep
130 forum posts
January 26, 2012 at 11:10 a.m. (EST)

We should see a lot more hydrophobic down in the next year. One of the great things about this process is that it boosts the utility and value of lower quality down (lower fill power) bags and jackets over multi-day trips. That's exciting because more people will be able to afford it and competition will keep the price down.

Bill S
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,329 reviewer rep
5,255 forum posts
January 26, 2012 at 1:32 p.m. (EST)

I had an interesting discussion with Western Mountaineering about the down treatments at the OR Show. They noted that there are other effects on the down besides reducing the absorbency, some fairly negative. They have no intention of going that route. A quick check with Feathered Friends and Valandre indicates they also do not intend going that route, feeling that a proper shell and moderate care in handling your gear obviates the need for such treatments. Note that goose, duck, and other waterfowl feathers and down are naturally water repellent. If you do not use harsh soaps or detergents to clean your down gear (or, heaven forbid, subject it to "dry cleaning"), the natural water repellency will last a long time. Yes, you can immerse the down gear in water and leave it there, and it will indeed get soggy. For that reason, I would advise inexperienced people (especially youth, like the young Boy Scouts I work with) to either use synthetics (a high quality one like Primaloft), or after a bit of proving time for the "fantastic NEW" nanotreatment, maybe the "new down".

Tipi Walter
225 reviewer rep
1,180 forum posts
January 26, 2012 at 4:07 p.m. (EST)

Bill S said:

I had an interesting discussion with Western Mountaineering about the down treatments at the OR Show. They noted that there are other effects on the down besides reducing the absorbency, some fairly negative. They have no intention of going that route. A quick check with Feathered Friends and Valandre indicates they also do not intend going that route, feeling that a proper shell and moderate care in handling your gear obviates the need for such treatments. Note that goose, duck, and other waterfowl feathers and down are naturally water repellent. If you do not use harsh soaps or detergents to clean your down gear (or, heaven forbid, subject it to "dry cleaning"), the natural water repellency will last a long time. Yes, you can immerse the down gear in water and leave it there, and it will indeed get soggy. For that reason, I would advise inexperienced people (especially youth, like the young Boy Scouts I work with) to either use synthetics (a high quality one like Primaloft), or after a bit of proving time for the "fantastic NEW" nanotreatment, maybe the "new down".

 "They have no intention of going that route".  Let's hope and pray this remains true cuz I like my goose down just as it is---without downtek.   

Your comment "proper shell and moderate care in handling your gear obviates the need for such treatments" about says it all.  But heck, we have engineers with nothing better to do than improve on the goose down cluster.  Why bother?

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
January 26, 2012 at 4:16 p.m. (EST)

This is one of those exchanges where I have absolutely nothing to contribute but find it very informative and interesting all the same. 

Granted, I am not a newbie but I have had problems in the areas that I frequent with "soggy down" over the years so I pretty much stick with synthetics. 

Humidity can be bonkers here. 

Plus the wife is allergic to down so that kinda puts a nail in things if and when I can drag her out. 

Bill S
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,329 reviewer rep
5,255 forum posts
January 26, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. (EST)

Two points mentioned to me in the discussions:

The nano-polymer does nothing to change the loft of the dry down - a less expensive 500-fill down is still 500-fill, a more expensive 800-fill is still 800 fill. The fill improvement is that the wet nano-polymer down loses less loft than untreated down.

No testing for allergic effects has been done, but there appears to be no gain for people who are allergic to down anyway. On the other hand, there are some suspicions that, since the various nano-materials treatments have not been tested and that one property of medical nano-materials is that they can penetrate fairly readily (to convey drugs to target areas, such as for cancer cells), there may be untested and yet unknown health side effects (I tend to be skeptical of claims that new materials are "unknown time bombs", but would like to see test results from controlled experiments). 

Note that both the Sierra Designs and Brooks statements are that the treatment makes the down "water resistant", not waterproof. You still have to use care in dealing with wet environments.

Mumblefords
RETAILER
27 reviewer rep
103 forum posts
January 26, 2012 at 6:39 p.m. (EST)

I am happy to hear Western is not going this route. I am a down extremist. I have 3 down bags and a number of garments. At first I thought this was prety awesome but im wondering how it will effect the life of the product. The reason I buy down is that I know with proper care I can make that product last for decades. How will this quality wear over time? Will it effect the clusters after the treatment has worn off? these are things I want to know.

I really have no intention of purchasing these products for my own personal use but may suggest them to someone. Down is ancient and it will always continue to work in the way it has forever, with proper care there is no reason to NEED these products. (maybe pacific north west), Someone once asked me how many times ive soaked my down bag and I said never. Using down you understand its properties and you take measures to ensure those negative contingencies don't happen. If you are foolish enough to soak your down, odds are you will learn from your mistakes and take measures to never let it happen again. If you keep making the mistake of getting your down wet, please consider a different hobby or bag.

The ultimate point though on why I dont care for this in the end is that it only dries 30% faster, it may have loft but it will still be wet and who the hell ever enjoyed sleeping in a wet bag. Thats essentially what the hype boils "down"(haha) to people getting excited about sleeping in wet sleeping bags.

Robert Rowe
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts
January 27, 2012 at 10:26 a.m. (EST)

I feel comfortable opining as a 'veteran' of several decades experience.

I have been using high-end "vintgage" expedition gear WITHOUT problems, for nearly 1/2 a century.

With more-and-more emphasis on light-weight, and ultra light-weight gear, I am baffled and amused that the subject of FITNESS never seems to be part of these kinds of discussions.

Yet  -- there is endless discussion of how to shave ounces and grams from gear.

What about that WAISTLINE ???

I can still shlep about 1/2 my body-weight in my 'archaic' Kelty external-frame pack.

I keep my down gear in top-condition by following all the very simple directions for care.

It is NOT difficult to keep it dry.   Repeat: NOT difficult.

Re-read Mumbleford's post, above.   And, yes -- "people are foolish enough to soak (your) down".

Having just recently returned from a couple months of  SOLO hiking, trekking, and camping in places like Wyoming, South Dakota ("The Badlands", Black Hills, etc), Minnesota, Nebraska, etc.,  with many days and nights in sub-zero temps ... I NEVER felt cold (well ...maybe, once, during a storm,  but not for long).   My only cause for trepidation was discovering a BIG CAT  was shadowing me along a tree-line near The Sandhills in Nebraska, and all I had with me was my long-ish cudgel which I use as  a trekking-pole.  Probably, would not have been of much use, anyhow.

Today's gear manufacturers DO NOT want to hear my stories, nor those by Mumbleford's.     They want to sell TODAY's "latest / greatest", and hope it wears out in timely fashion, so another can be purhased to replace it.   They want the newbies and neophytes to be "ga-ga" over their "high-tech" stuff.    AND ... NOT want to broach the subject of the country-of-origin.

"Designed Obsolescence".    Ever hear that term?

Oh, well ... [ *sigh* ] ....

                         ~ r2 ~

                    not an expert ... but, not a fool, either

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
January 27, 2012 at 1:38 p.m. (EST)

Robert Rowe said:

Having just recently returned from a couple months of  SOLO hiking, trekking, and camping in places like Wyoming, South Dakota ("The Badlands", Black Hills, etc), Minnesota, Nebraska, etc.,  with many days and nights in sub-zero temps ... 

I bet that would make for a seriously awesome trip report. By any chance ya snag any pics?

Seth Levy (Seth)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
411 reviewer rep
1,025 forum posts
January 27, 2012 at 2:17 p.m. (EST)

I'd like to echo Bill: for those of us detail-oriented and experienced enough to keep our down dry, this new treatment might offer a spurious benefit.  But for those of us that are fond of dropping gear and equipment in puddles, pitching our tarps in bogs, and getting trapped on ridges in thunderstorms (ahem.  Like me.), this treatment might allow us to enjoy the warmth and light weight of down with a bit less risk.

R2 -I'd love to see some pictures of the Badlands too!  I've always wanted to visit!

Robert Rowe
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts
January 27, 2012 at 3:45 p.m. (EST)

Yup.   Some pics.   Battery in the Nikon was losing charge in the cold, so I was "babying" it  (carrying it in my breast pocket).   Should have bought a spare battery to tote-along.

Remind me to investigate  solar-chargers (Gary --Wherefore art thou, 'Bro ?) 

With cell-phone (for emergencies; but, thankfully did not use) ... new iPad2 and Verizon "Mi-Fi" (like an air-card) device that needs to be charged ... I discovered that one cannot rely on these electronics "in-the-middle-of-nowhere".   Also; with the iPad2 -- one must select a carrier platform --either AT&T or Verizon (or T-Mobile, I think?).   Being based in the Mid-Atlantic, where Verizon is reliable and prevalent, I selected Verizon.   HOWEVER; West of the Mississippi, Verizon service becomes "spotty", especially, in Wyoming and Western South Dakota.    AT&T and something called 'Midcontinent' are the Big Boys, with strong signals.  There were days when I had NO signal.   I intended to buy an emergency locator beacon, also.  A wise idea, when going  solo into remote areas.   Found "on-sale" (?) for an eye-popping $400, I balked.  I knew I was going to be SOLO, and probably NOT encountering other hikers.   I was semi-correct.    The only other hikers I encountered were a team of Japanese guys in The Black Hills, and they spoke little English.   They gestured to request me to take group-photos (interestingly, they ALL had Nikons), which I gladly did.  They were having battery re-charge concerns, as well.

In-any-event, I was a cautious, solo-hiker ... especially, in The Badlands.   One can get seriously injured (read: DIE) in there.   Might not find you, for a very long time.    Very unusual terrain ... like a "moonscape".  Steep ravines.   Soft rock, that erodes and crumbles.   Coyotes and bison (got a few pics, up close).   "Buffalo chips" abound.   Lotsa prairie dogs, but they are too quick (dive down into holes) to get close for pics.   Red-tailed hawks.

The roads in and out, and through The Badlands, are mostly unpaved.  Sharp rocks ate one of my tires.   I expected this, and brought along an extra spare-tire.

I learned that it is wise to be-befriend the Native Americans that live on a reservation, in the Southern part of The Badlands -- IF they allow you to enter.    They are not overly-friendly to "the White Eyes".   Understandable.  Next time (in March, when I return, hopefully), I might  try to hire one, as a guide.

Many BIG CATS in the Black Hills.   Park service dude informed that they were aware of at least 300 of them where I was hiking.   A three-day hunting season (while I was there) yielded about 10 kills.  One, at 146 lbs.   I was not prepared for any predator cats, and only had my trusty,  long cudgel, that I use for a trekking pole.  Probably, would NOT have been useful.   Happily, I did not become a statistic.   Although; I found that one big cat was shadowing me, when I backtracked through some snow.

Beautiful country!

And the best part --  this time of year (Winter) -- NO bugs,  NO traffic, NO people, NO ungodly heat.

Cannot recommend it more highly !

                            ~r2 ~

phraber
0 reviewer rep
61 forum posts
January 27, 2012 at 9:47 p.m. (EST)

Is it just me or do those comparative statistics ring somewhat dubious, like the '4 out of 5 doctors recommend' and '99.999% reliable' claims for other products? Maybe EU marketing will be necessary for truth in product advertising, regardless where made.

phraber
0 reviewer rep
61 forum posts
January 27, 2012 at 9:51 p.m. (EST)

I didn't mean to suggest those 'statistics' were untrue so much as not fully informative, as is the case with 95% of stats tossed about for public consumption.

Robert Rowe
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts
January 28, 2012 at 10:10 a.m. (EST)

phraber said:

I didn't mean to suggest those 'statistics' were untrue so much as not fully informative, as is the case with 95% of stats tossed about for public consumption.

 

I'm with you on that!

Glad to see you're another "Dubious Brother".

                            ~r2~

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
January 28, 2012 at 2:03 p.m. (EST)

Like water off a ducks back

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
January 28, 2012 at 2:03 p.m. (EST)

or a goose

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
January 28, 2012 at 2:04 p.m. (EST)

or gander

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
January 28, 2012 at 2:04 p.m. (EST)

or gaggle ,  oh I will stop with the babble now

Robert Rowe
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts
January 30, 2012 at 12:07 a.m. (EST)

Thanks.

~ r2 ~

This post has been locked and is not accepting new comments