Reviving an old sleeping bag

8:16 a.m. on January 28, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

Iiii've got a 25 year old down bag that is starting to come apart. In addition to the fond memories, the bag has about 40 ozs of prime goose down. Does anyone know of any companies that can provide a new bag shell (a sleeping bag without the insulation) that the down from the old bag can be placed in?

10:02 a.m. on January 28, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

I've never heard of anyone doing that and it's probably not cost effective, but you might contact western mountaineering, feathered friends or rainy pass gear repair for ideas.

4:40 p.m. on January 28, 2003 (EST)
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Well, my Bauer Karakoram is 40+ years old, and still in reasonable condition, although I don't use it much these days. I talked to Feathered Friends about the possibility of using the down to make a bag of more modern design. Their answer was no, for several reasons - first and foremost is the question of cleaning the down before putting it into a new bag (some federal regulations here, concerning bedding). Second is that down has changed over the years. Current high quality down has half again or maybe even almost double the fill power of down of 30 or 40 years ago. Third is that you lose a certain amount of the down in the cleaning and re-stuffing process (some customers would complain that they didn't get all their down back). This all adds up to a bag that would be below current standards, so why would any company putting out top quality down bags want their name attached to a bag that has a couple strikes against it before even starting?

Yeah, it seems a shame to waste all that good down that some flock of birds died to give you (I assume everyone knows that you can't shear a goose like you can a sheep. Down geese are raised for food, not just for their down). But having various down garments, bed spreads, and sleeping bags over the years, the current versions are a lot lighter for the warmth and a lot better made. Your bag probably cost you between $100 and $200 25 years ago, so something like $4 to $8 per year. That's pretty cheap sleeping, especially if like me you use the bag 40 or 50 nights in a year (for each bag I use regularly). Yeah, you will pay $500 to $800 for an equivalent bag (not really equivalent, since better down and better materials are used), but work it out - if you use the bag for 25 years and you use it, say, only 20 mights a year (500 nights), a $500 bag costs you one buck a night (and 500 nights is just starting to break the bag in, if you take good care of it).

Best thing I could suggest to avoid throwing the bag away is to make your own bag. There are kits and designs available in a number of books. It is a lot of work, and you will have a house full of plumules. But there is a certain amount of satisfaction derived from making your own gear (been there, done that, now Barb and I are too lazy and just buy the replacements when needed, which isn't very often).

5:20 p.m. on January 28, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

...or you can sell it

If you ever decided to sell your bag, go to the Buy/Sell forum at: http://www.backpacking.net/index.html
Some folks there like to stuff their own bag. ;-)

9:40 a.m. on January 30, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Johnny C

Quote:

Iiii've got a 25 year old down bag that is starting to come apart. In addition to the fond memories, the bag has about 40 ozs of prime goose down. Does anyone know of any companies that can provide a new bag shell (a sleeping bag without the insulation) that the down from the old bag can be placed in?


If it is a North Face bag, they will clean and re-stuff your bag for $35 or so. I had a '70's Ibex down bag they did a couple years ago turned out great.

October 20, 2014
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