Down that keeps you warm, even when wet? Outdoor enthusiasts and manufacturers took note when Brooks-Range and Sierra Designs launched water-repellent down at last January's Outdoor Retailer trade show.
Now a flood of water-repellent insulation hits the outdoor market this fall and early next year, with DownTek, DriDown, and Q.Shield Down. All promise to repel water while maintaining down's high loft, insulation, and breathability, even when wet, thanks to nano polymer finishes applied to down plumes.
Brooks-Range was first to debut hydrophobic DownTek down with its 800-fill Mojave Jacket. Now it's introducing 850-fill DownTek down in its new Cloak sleeping bag series and redesigned Elephant Foot.
Partnered with a sleeping pad, the lightweight Cloak top bags (45°, 30°, 15°) work like a down quilt (13, 16, 20 oz; $249, $299, $369).
Pair the redesigned Elephant Foot with the forthcoming Mojave Jacket for a lightweight bivy system good down to 25 degrees (16 oz, $299).
Big Agnes introduces four traditional mummy bags with DownTek this fall: Bellyache Mountain SL 15°F, McAlpin SL 0°F, Juniper SL 25°F, and Lithia Spring SL 15°F. The 700-fill Bellyache Mountain weighs 2.5 pounds ($299).
Big Agnes will use DownTek in 11 more bags in 2013, including the Lost Ranger 15°F and all men’s and women’s Classic series bags.
Nemo will use DownTek in several 700-fill down bags in its sleeping bag line, new for 2013. The men's Nocturne and women's Rhapsody bags have a Spoon Shape profile to follow your body’s contours and give you extra space in the shoulders and knees. Features include a tuckable Blanket Fold, 10 percent less fill on underside, and a waterproof-breathable footbox.
Available in men's Nocturne 15° (2 lb 11 oz, $349.95) and 30° (2 lb, $419.95), and women's Rhapsody 15° (2 lb 2 oz, $349.95) and 30° (1 lb 13 oz, $399.95)
Sea to Summit
Sea to Summit is introducing water-repellent Ultra-Dry Down, supplied by DownTek, into its sleeping bags. First up are the 750-fill Talus bags, out in October 2012. The Talus, a traditional mummy bag, comes in three models: Talus I (1 lb 15 oz, EN Lower 23°), Talus II (2 lb 5 oz, EN Lower 14°), Talus III (2 lb 11 oz, EN Lower 1°) ($329-$459).
Sea to Summit's entire line of down bags, including the ultralight Micro and high altitude Alpine, will be updated with Ultra-Dry Down for March 2013. Prices will remain the same on each model.
Mountain Hardwear, which works with DownTek supplier Down Decor, updates its popular Phantom bags with Q.Shield Down for spring 2013. The lightweight, 800-fill down bags — available in 0°, 15°, 32°, 45° — now claim to "keep you warm even when wet."
"Q.Shield Down is a giant leap forward in down performance," says Mountain Hardwear. "Individual down fibers are infused with a permanent water repellency that helps maintain insulating performance even when exposed to moisture."
Sierra Designs is investing heavily in its DriDown proprietary technology, which it debuted in January. DriDown will expand to 80 percent of Sierra Designs's down sleeping bag line and 100 percent of its new-for-2013 technical down apparel line.
The men’s Cal and women’s Clo series will feature 800-fill DriDown and InsoTect Flow vertical baffles. Sierra Designs, moving to EN-tested comfort ratings on its bags, will offer the Cal in the EN-tested 6°, 13°, and 30° models and the Clo in EN-tested 18° and 25° models.
For 2013, Sierra Designs's 800-fill BTU series -5 and -20 expedition bags will be updated with DriDown on the inside and a Drizone waterproof/breathable membrane on the outside.
Kelty follows Sierra Designs's lead (both brands are owned by American Rec), offering its first line of DriDown sleeping bags for 2013, the Ignite Down 0° and Ignite Down 20°.
With the multitude of water-repellent down sleeping bags soon available, your synthetic bag may get lonely in storage.