Caring for your Kit: Part 7 - Down

Caring for your Kit: Part 7 - Down

Down-filled Garments | Clean: When required – Proof: When required

There are few things better than snuggling down into a toasty sleeping bag after a hard day’s hike. Whether it’s stuffed with natural down or with synthetic filling, your sleeping bag is like a warm hug that you can roll up and carry around in your pack.

Unfortunately, though, no matter how carefully you treat your down-filled articles – whether they’re sleeping bags, jackets, or even quilts – they’re eventually going to need some attention. If you’ve noticed that your sleeping bag doesn’t keep you as warm as it once did (a sure sign that the down inside has lost its loft), or your down jacket isn’t keeping you as dry as it used to, it’s time to clean and reproof it.

Washing down can be a daunting task, but there are two simple tricks to getting it right:

  1. When washing, make sure you’re using the correct cleaner. The best way to wash your down-filled gear is with Granger’s Down Wash – it’s not as harsh as other household detergents and won’t strip away the natural oils found within down.
  2. Make sure the item is thoroughly dry after washing it. Most down garments can be tumble-dried – though the process will probably take a while – making this the best way to restore loft.

Cleaning your item is as easy as popping in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with a single cap-full of Granger’s Down Wash. A low spin setting is recommended. If you’re reproofing your item, using Granger’s Performance Repel Spray on the item while it’s still damp is a great way to give it a good waterproof covering.

(If your down-filled items are only dirty on the outside, it’s not worth subjecting the delicate down inside to an unnecessary wash. Instead, clean the surface fabrics with Granger’s Gear Cleaner – it’s perfect for removing stains and dirt!)

When it comes to drying your down items, tumble-drying them is by far the easiest way to get the job done. Use a low heat, and check the item regularly – taking it out and giving it a good shake will stop the down inside from clumping together. Adding a tennis ball or two to the tumble dryer will also prevent the down from clumping together – improving loft, and the insulating properties of your item.

Before storing your down item, make sure it’s completely dry – sometimes the surface fabrics will feel dry, whilst the down filling is still damp. Give the item a good few hours in the tumble-dryer before packing it away, and it’ll be much better at keeping the chill out in the future!

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