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
Many of our down products can be machine washed at up to 40°C. But you should always check the product’s care label first. And to save energy and to extend the lifetime of your gear, we recommend only washing your down products when they really need it. If you see a dirty mark, it’s better to wash the area with warm water, mild detergent and a sponge.
It’s a good idea to run an extra spin-cycle without detergent after the regular cycle. This is just to make sure all the washing liquid has been removed. And don’t use a rinse aid.
You should never dry clean your down products. This chemical process damages the down.
It’s OK to tumble dry down gear; in fact, it can help restore the product’s fluffy airiness. But use a low heat and check the garment regularly to avoid overheating. Also, we suggest adding a clean tennis ball to the drum. This helps fluff up the down.
If drying naturally, choose a place that’s well ventilated and give your down gear a good shake to ensure the feathers don’t accumulate at the bottom.
REPAIRING HOLES IN DOWN GARMENTS
There are now plenty of repair kits on the market for patching holes, and in some of our newer down jackets we actually include patch material. 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.
Before next winter rolls around, give your down gear a good shake and a proper airing – outside if possible.
You can read our general care advice here.