When it comes to lightweight natural warmth down is hard to beat. But like with some other natural insulation materials, it needs a bit of extra care to ensure it stays in tip-top condition and doesn’t lose any of its great warming qualities.
Washing Down Gear
To save energy and extend the lifespan of your down products, we recommend that you only wash them when they really need it. Spot clean any minor spills or marks with warm water, mild detergent and a sponge. When they do need a wash, many of our down products can be machine washed in temperatures of up to 40°C – please be sure to check the product’s care label. Wet down is heavy and therefore we recommend that you wash larger products in commercial-sized machines, such as those found at laundromats or professional cleaners. After washing using a regular cycle, add an extra rinse without detergent. Do not use rinse aid.
Never dry clean your down products as the chemicals used will damage the down.
When tumble drying, the crucial part is ensuring the down is 100% dry before storing the product. Otherwise, it will start to smell bad. Tumble dry your down products at a low temperature and take them out regularly to give them a manual shake. This will restore loft, avoid overheating and stop the damp down from clumping. Again, use a commercial-sized machine for larger products as smaller machines can cause the fabric to overheat and even melt. If drying naturally, choose a place that’s well ventilated and give your down products a regular shake to stop the down from clumping and to restore loft.
Repairing Holes In Down Garments
Plenty of repair kits are on the market for patching holes, and in some of our newer down jackets, we include patch material. Also, our down products often come with a pack bag made from the same material as the down product itself. This bag material can be used for future repairs. So you don’t have to get rid of your down gear at the first sign of a hole.
We recommend repairing holes as soon as you see them – if you put it off they’ll likely just get bigger and become much harder to deal with and the down inside is more likely to escape. Most garment repair kits include small amounts of water-resistant adhesive fabric that you cut to shape and press onto the outer material. They’re a cost effective way of extending the lifetime of your down clothing. A good tip is to round the corners to make them less likely to catch and peel off. And if you can push an escaping down feather back into the jacket, by all means do so; but don’t force it as this could expand the hole. It’s better to lose a down feather than make the hole even bigger.
Storing Your Down Gear
When warmer temperatures arrive, it’s finally time to put away your down gear. We recommend storing your down products in a dry, well-ventilated area and not in any kind of pack bag, as this will eventually affect the quality of the filling, which could leave you feeling cold and grumpy on future expeditions.Here, you can watch innovation technician Sara go through how to care for your down gear.
Before next winter rolls around, give your down gear a good shake and a proper airing – outside if possible.