[at-l] Nikwax down wash and Proof

RockDancer rockdancer97 at comcast.net
Thu Jan 17 13:00:35 CST 2013

Depends on the quality of the down as well. If the 10 y.o. jacket was top quality to start with then perhaps it’s worth fluffing. A new one for $80 doesn’t sound like a high quality jacket. So are you replacing quality with junk? Down is rated from, oh perhaps 300 to 750-800 or perhaps higher.


About 10 years ago I had this dilemma with my Western Mountaineering sleeping bag. Instead of washing I replaced all the down in the bag with feathers from Feathered Friends (I think). (BTW, this is not an easy job to perform at home, fair warning.) I ended up with a like-new bag that fit me well, with the loft completely restored. Cost about $100 in 2003. When I saw the old feathers, broken and matted & tangled with threads I learned that no  washing/drying method would have helped. The damage had occurred over the years by using a compression sack for the bag. The bag had never been washed and was only infrequently wet while on trips. Once the bag was empty I was able to clean the shell removing a lot of grime.


To fluff a bag I only use a Low or No Heat setting on the drier. Do NOT put objects in the drier with the jacket, they will break the feathers. Run the drier for a couple of hours. A common method of measuring progress is to place the jacket or bag into a confined space, like a box with no lid, and see how tall it sits. Check the loft before you start.


If the jacket smells really bad perhaps some drier sheets will help, or a product like Febreze. I’d go to great lengths not to wash any down gear. --RD


From: at-l-bounces at backcountry.net [mailto:at-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Tom Fort
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2013 11:42 AM
To: at-l at backcountry.net
Subject: [at-l] Nikwax down wash and Proof


has anyone used this lately?  is it worth the money?  I have a 10  y/o  down jacket that has lost its loft, etc. :-(    And, a few feathers as well.  This jacket has lots of wear and tear.   I can buy a new one for $80 (on sale), or spend $20 in an attempt to restore this one.    Ideas? Comments? 



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