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  #1  
Old 5 Nov 2009
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Down sleeping bags - Do they have a short lifespan ?? Can they be revived ?

Hi..

I just bought a second hand down sleeping bag.

A Moutain hardware "Integral" 25-0c sleeping bag.

Having unwrapped it, the bag is really very very thin. I can rub the out skin layers between my fingers and feel amost no down at all !

This is meant to be rated to 0c but having a "test nap" in it today INDOORS, I still felt chilly at 12c.

Just how thick are 2-3 season down bags meant to be ? shouldnt they fluffy and not flat ??

If this bag is doomed, and I can't get a refund, can they be refilled or revived cheaply ??

Thanks all.

Ted
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  #2  
Old 5 Nov 2009
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I used to have an old down bag it was pretty thin too, no idea if you can refill or refurbush. It was ok for spring too hot for summer but I used to and still do carry a silk innerbag for those chilly nights. I'm thinking lake district at easter when its 0degs. good luck.
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Old 5 Nov 2009
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When down gets dirty(or wet) it looses loft (i.e. the ability to quell back when compressed). If the downs are not worn out, which takes a long time, the bag can be washed in down soap and dried in a big tumbledrier( put a clean tennisshoe or a couple of tennisballs in with it). Afterwards You then probably have to redistribute the down inside as it tends to move around inside and lump.
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Old 5 Nov 2009
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Ted, this isn't one of the bags where you're meant to put a sleeping mat into a sleeve in the bottom and it only has down in the top half is it?
If it is, no wonder it's thin in parts.

I've had a number of down bags going back to the 70's and never had one wear out, but they do seem to be less effective after a few years of use. Washing them using the proper down wash stuff doesn't seem to "refluff" them but they do smell less!

You might be able to buy some down from someone like Rab or you could buy a down pillow on ebay for a tenner and take it to bits but you're going to have to cut the bag to stuff it in and them sew it back up again. The one time I tried it didn't go well - the down went everywhere and hand sewing the cuts in the bag took forever and feathers leaked out through the stitching constantly afterwards.
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Old 5 Nov 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
Ted, this isn't one of the bags where you're meant to put a sleeping mat into a sleeve in the bottom and it only has down in the top half is it?
If it is, no wonder it's thin in parts.

I've had a number of down bags going back to the 70's and never had one wear out, but they do seem to be less effective after a few years of use. Washing them using the proper down wash stuff doesn't seem to "refluff" them but they do smell less!

You might be able to buy some down from someone like Rab or you could buy a down pillow on ebay for a tenner and take it to bits but you're going to have to cut the bag to stuff it in and them sew it back up again. The one time I tried it didn't go well - the down went everywhere and hand sewing the cuts in the bag took forever and feathers leaked out through the stitching constantly afterwards.
bloomin eck that seems like hard work - as for the down bag mine feels thin I have washed it once with nikwax down stuff and soap flakes definatly smells better. mine is a macpak that is only down on the top and just a sleeve underneath its ok but you need to wear clothes to stay warm plus silk liner on the plus size it packs down to the size of a 1 litre stubby bottle and weighs much less

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Old 5 Nov 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
Ted, this isn't one of the bags where you're meant to put a sleeping mat into a sleeve in the bottom and it only has down in the top half is it?
If it is, no wonder it's thin in parts.

I've had a number of down bags going back to the 70's and never had one wear out, but they do seem to be less effective after a few years of use. Washing them using the proper down wash stuff doesn't seem to "refluff" them but they do smell less!

You might be able to buy some down from someone like Rab or you could buy a down pillow on ebay for a tenner and take it to bits but you're going to have to cut the bag to stuff it in and them sew it back up again. The one time I tried it didn't go well - the down went everywhere and hand sewing the cuts in the bag took forever and feathers leaked out through the stitching constantly afterwards.
Yer, theres no down at all at the bottom as there's a sleave for the sleeping mat.

Holding the bag upto the light you just see thin clumps of down in less that 30% of the bag.
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Old 5 Nov 2009
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Hey Ted,

My two bits is that I would wash it once and see if that makes any difference. As noted by others, the down tends to clump after a while as it accumulates dirt, oils, etc. You can use Nikwax or other non-detergent soaps like Zero (which is all Nikwax or other down specific soaps really are). 30% coverage doesn't sound promising though. As for spending the time to restuff, almost unheard of these days. I would much prefer to buy a new down bag from the likes of MEC over here, or go with a somewhat larger 0 rated synthetic bag. Happy riding.
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Having washed a down duvet jacket that was going in the bin if i couldn't wash it, it did look horrendous when it came out all wet and bedraggled, but continual teasing and jiggling of the down as it dried back into a reasonably even thickness actually turned out OK. Not as good as new but certainly well worth it!
If its U/S as is, get it wet and tease the lumps apart? Would that be doable dry? Down decoagualation
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Old 5 Nov 2009
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Ted, a high-quality down bag, properly cared for, will last for decades - far longer than any synthetic bag.

I suspect yours has been improperly cared for, i.e. never washed, or washed improperly, given the clumping you're seeing. I think it's worth washing. You can do it in a bathtub with mild soap such as ivory flakes or special down cleaner. The trick is drying, as the bag must be tumbled on very low heat for a long, long time, with something to break up the down clusters in with it. I've heard of using tennis balls, or an old sneaker.

However, if someone dry-cleaned the bag, the down plumules might have been stripped of all their natural oils, in which case it's finished.
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Yah, the key here is "if properly cared for." Down is difficult to care for properly, but for those who excel at this sort of thing (the same people who clean their chains in kerosene baths every 300 miles, then oil painstakingly with custom formulations before moving on to polishing their plastic fairings.....) it'll last almost forever. Handwashing in a large tub, taking care not to do anything which might tear internal baffles by subjecting them to the weight of the wet down inside, used to be standard. Then, per above, low heat machine drying on the "forever" cycle with a sneaker or two to break up the clumps (old canvas Pro-Ked hightops preferred). Made a terrible noise, so best done when Mom's at work.

I've long since made the transition to bulky, less-luxurious synthetic fill for garments and sleeping bags. I can dump them in the washer, stuff them in the drier, leave them out in the rain, whatever. But I seldom clean my chain and never, ever polish (or even wash) my plastics. Mileages vary, that's for sure.

Mark
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Good outdoor shops can actually add down to your bag if your down is poor quality and lost lofting over time. The shell usually wears out before the down is wasted though.
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Old 6 Nov 2009
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I don't find it difficult at all to care for a down bag. Yeah, you need to keep it dry, but anyone who thinks a wet and wrung-out synthetic bag will be comfortable hasn't tried to sleep in one.

I use a cotton liner, which makes it easy to keep the bag clean - but I use a liner in a synthetic bag as well.

I own a down Marmot Grouse sleeping bag that is now 27 years old and still performing well. On a cost per year basis that makes it cheaper than any synthetic bag in the world.
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Old 7 Nov 2009
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Ted:
Everytime I get a bit down, I log on to the HUBB and check out your latest 'adventure'. Makes me feel a whole lot better, knowing I'm not you!



In SE Asia for the winter.
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Old 7 Nov 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quastdog View Post
Ted:
Everytime I get a bit down, I log on to the HUBB and check out your latest 'adventure'. Makes me feel a whole lot better, knowing I'm not you!



In SE Asia for the winter.
If I didn't laugh, i'd cry buddy !

SE Asia eh.. It's a hard life.
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Last edited by *Touring Ted*; 7 Nov 2009 at 14:36.
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Old 9 Nov 2009
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let us know if you get it sorted ted

Your bag sounds similar to mine and when i washed it it also seems very empty but with manipulation it unclumped

I rekon if you look through my bag it also seems very sparsley filled but then I guess thats how its so light and small.

hope it works out as a lightweight bag the sleeve type are bloomin marvelous
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