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Long-term Dri-Down Reports?

Dri-Down and its peers have been out for a few years now, and I'm interested to hear any first-hand accounts from those who have used it in a sleeping bag/quilt for more than, say, 50 nights. I'm interested specifically in anecdotal information regarding the longevity of the coating, it's ability to be revived in the washer/dryer, and mostly, the tendency of dri-down to clump/compress as a result of repeated compression, as compared to equivalent fill-power untreated down.

Many thanks in advance!

Good question.

I have too much ,still in good order, standard down stuff to worry about new gear but I am somewhat surprised that there have been not many reports if any of how the water resistant downs are performing.

No sleeping bag/quilt experience to relate, but I have two winters on a jacket that contains a mix of treated down and synthetic insulation. The Adidas Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost Jacket gets smashed into the top of my cold weather pack and still seems to poof back up when I put it on. Haven't noticed any change in feel or performance, but this isn't the same application you were asking about.

Vince,

I have the Nemo Nocture 30 (Down Tek not Dri-Down) that I tested for Trailspace in 2012. I tend only to use it in the summer because it gets clammy (doesn't breathe as well as untreated down bags) so this time of year I drape it like a quilt.

I just pulled it out a couple trips ago and so far it's just fine with loft. I, um, uh, have never washed it so I don't know about that. I do have easily over 50 nights in it to date.

But again, it only gets used in summer....

"doesn't breathe as well as untreated down bags"

I wonder if the fabric used for the shell has something to do with that.

I could not find the specs on the Nemo page (mind you I had a men's look...) , still I don't know enough about fabrics anyway, just wondering...

It's funny you ask this.  I have both sleeping bags/quilts and jackets that have the treated down and have not had a problem, but I don't have as many nights as you reference,.  In any case, I rarely wash them i.e. not yet - I might wash a down jacket worn daily in the winter every couple years.  Anyway, I just saw this  statement on Underground Quilts website.  (I have their awesome down beanie which I believe had the treated down and I am not concenred.):  

"UltimaDOWN is not a hydrophobic treated down, while we have offered hydrophobic treated downs in the past we have discontinued offering them. Their benefits are marginal at best in a quilt/sleeping bag, the down will still wet out and you must still take proper precautions to protect your quilt/sleeping bag from the elements. We have also noticed that hydrophobic downs have a tendency to cling and clump causing possible thin spots if the user isn't diligent in lofting their gear. Effective April 11, 2016 hydrophobic down will not longer be offed for sale."  

What Dr Phun shares kind of makes sense.  Natural down on a water foul is nature's best attempt at a water proof, external insulating layer.  Nature had tens of million of years to perfect this, and it is not likely we can do better with the same principal material.

Ed

I've not had any experience with coated down products because, like Franco, I've already got serviceable down stuff. 

I do wonder about the longevity of the coatings though.

The problem with nature and down is that the (non wr ) down we use more than likely has had the natural oils stripped from it when washed at the start of the fabrication process. (to clean it and sterilise it)

I believe this to be the case, Franco. Even moreso with wr down, methinks, as the down likely has to be as free from oils as possible for the coatings to stick.

Also, if I think about it logically, a big, fatty, 4th-moult cluster like Valandre uses is probably the worst situation imaginable for such coatings. Even if the cluster is properly scrubbed of oils, it's likely too big to allow the coating to penetrate to the core of the cluster.

Hence my theory that wr down is chopped quite finely before it's coated, which makes sense additionally because it allows the manufacturer to use crappier down to start with, while maintaining the same fill power. This also explains the clumping/compression issues reported by some users, as once the coating wears off your 900fp drops down to (maybe) 600fp...

January 24, 2021
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