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Mr. Butter
08-30-2008, 08:32
I just got done with a summer of hiking, and I want to wash my pack and my down sleeping bag. Any advice?

-Mr. Butter-

fiddlehead
08-30-2008, 09:14
When i finish a thru, I take the pack to a car wash.
For the sleeping bag, get some down suds or similar from an outfitter and wash it in a big washing machine and dry it in a big dryer with a pair of (clean) sneakers or some use tennis balls. Don't put it on the highest setting.
Enjoy your clean gear when finished.

NICKTHEGREEK
08-30-2008, 09:28
Follow the manufacturer's instructions. There's some logic behind thinking the folks who made it know how to care for it.

Lyle
08-30-2008, 09:38
If you use a machine to wash a down bag (I wouldn't), make sure to use a front-loading, commercial machine on it's gentlest setting. A home agitator washer could easily tear a down bag up internally.

An alternative is to gently wash it in a bathtub. But you need to be careful when moving it around while it is saturated, Lift and reposition it while supporting it from the bottom. Don't just grab a handful and pull.

Unless the bag is very dirty, I usually just air mine really well, then store them so they continue to breath. Washing a down bag is taking a risk. You may do no external damage, but can tear the internal baffles quite easily in the washing process if not careful.

Regarding the pack, for frame packs, which you probably aren't talking about, it's important to re-attach the bag to the frame before it drys, that is if you ever want it to fit again. Packbags will shrink slightly, so if you wash and dry it off the frame you may have a devil of a time getting it back on.

Frameless or internals, I would just put in a tub of warm, mildly soapy water and gently scrub with a soft brush, then hose it down to rinse. May want to remove any stays it has prior to washing.

My $0.02 worth.

buz
09-02-2008, 08:20
Lyle has it right for down bag. Be very careful. Don't wash the bag "just because". Is it really dirty and smelly? Try airing it out for a few days on nice sunny ones. See if the smell goes away. If it isn't really obviously dirty, I am in the no wash camp. Down is not made to be washed, and there is a lot that can go wrong and little that can go right. Or is some part is dirty, try and spot clean it, and not get the whole bag wet.

max patch
09-02-2008, 09:07
On the trailcoast poscast series Robert talked to the maker of quality bags (forgot which one.) He said that people will want to return a bag after 5 years because it "lost its loft." When he asks if the bag had ever been washed the answer is almost always "no." After the bag has been properly washed it is almost always good as new.

So yes, wash your bag but do it per the mfg recommendations.

Appalachian Tater
09-02-2008, 11:28
Follow directions from the manufacturer. Marmot has the instructions embroidered on a tag in the sleeping bag. Here, from their website:


12. How do I clean my down jacket or sleeping bag?

PROPER CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR DOWN GARMENTS

Wash in Granger’s Down Wash Plus.. Do not use typical liquid laundry detergent on Gore-Tex fabric. It may leave a residue ( such as fabric softeners, fragrance, color brighteners) which could clog the pores of the Gore-Tex. We recommend using warm water for wash and rinse. Do not use all hot or all cold water. It is extremely important to rinse the down very well. We recommend two rinse cycles. For spot cleaning, Granger’s offers G-Wash Spray Cleaner Plus. Both Granger’s cleaners include an odor elimination component that will help keep your bag ‘fresh.’

Dry in dryer on low heat (temperature not to exceed 140 degrees F). Put two clean tennis balls (or similar objects such as “sock balls”) in with the garment. It is extremely important to make sure that your down product is dry to the fullest in order for it to regain its loft. Remove at once; do not allow the garment to remain in the dryer. (A down jacket may take 2-3 hours and a down sleeping bag may take 4-6 hours to dry.)

For removing heavily soiled spots, it is recommended by W.L. Gore to use “Spray & Wash” or “Shout” We have found Grangers G-Wash Cleaner Plus spray very effective on all types of fabric including Gore-tex..

Do not dry-clean your down and/or Gore-Tex products.

SPECIAL SLEEPING BAG NOTICE:

DO NOT WASH OR DRY sleeping bags in home laundry equipment. Use a front-loading machine at a Laundromat and low temperature dryer. Home laundry equipment is too small and may damage sleeping bags.I wash my pack in a front-loader but don't put it in the dryer.

River Runner
09-02-2008, 13:17
As max patch pointed out, down bags do need washed 'occasionally'. As the others have pointed out though, this doesn't necessarily mean everytime it has a small spot of surface dirt or some odor. If you used it a lot this summer, you may need to wash it, as pointed out, following the manufacturer directions.

For a pack, I just dunk it and swish it around in a bathtub of warm water and that always seems to get it clean enough. Then I just hang it to dry over my towel bar by fastening the hipbelt around the bar. I usually do this every couple or three trips to get rid of salts from sweating against the backpanel more than for actual dirt.

Footslogger
09-02-2008, 13:28
I just got done with a summer of hiking, and I want to wash my pack and my down sleeping bag. Any advice?

-Mr. Butter-
==============================

After my thru in 2003 I filled the bathtub with luke warm water and added some Lysol. I removed the hip belt (shoulder straps on my pack are non-removable) and totally submerged the pack and hip belt. Swished the water around and made sure it made contact with all surfaces of the pack and let it soak for a couple hours. I then drained the bathtub and refilled it with plain water and rinsed the pack thoroughly.

After than I took the pack outside and hung it from a clothes line and allowed it to air dry for several hours.

'Slogger

smaaax
09-02-2008, 18:22
This is ULA's instructions for pack cleaning:

As for cleaning Brian recommends soaking
in water and using mild detergent (WOOLITE), I suggest using White Vinegar
diluted. If you have a CATALYST / CIRCUIT remove the inner pieces. Then
try soak, rinse, soak, repeat until water is clear(er). Then use a solvent(
woolite / white vinegar). Hopefully you get the results you are looking
for. Also, dry in direct sun light (a few hours) to dry hopefully this will
kill any living things on your pack.

nelisx
09-03-2008, 10:01
I have machine washed my Cat's Meow 10x at least over the course of 3 or more years. I always do a gentle cycle and I have never had any problems with rips, tears, or losing any insulation.

I will dry the bag in the dryer or put it outside to dry if it is a warm sunny day.

jesse
09-03-2008, 10:17
my ray-way pack goes in the washer cold, gentle. hang dry.

Lyle
09-03-2008, 11:29
I have machine washed my Cat's Meow 10x at least over the course of 3 or more years. I always do a gentle cycle and I have never had any problems with rips, tears, or losing any insulation.

I will dry the bag in the dryer or put it outside to dry if it is a warm sunny day.

If I'm not mistaken, the Cat's Meow is a synthetic bag. These are much more forgiving of washing technique than a down bag.

Just wanted to clarify that for the original poster.

smaaax
09-03-2008, 15:30
If I'm not mistaken, the Cat's Meow is a synthetic bag. These are much more forgiving of washing technique than a down bag.

Just wanted to clarify that for the original poster.

Cat's Meow is synthetic

NICKTHEGREEK
09-04-2008, 09:42
This is ULA's instructions for pack cleaning:

As for cleaning Brian recommends soaking
in water and using mild detergent (WOOLITE), I suggest using White Vinegar
diluted. If you have a CATALYST / CIRCUIT remove the inner pieces. Then
try soak, rinse, soak, repeat until water is clear(er). Then use a solvent(
woolite / white vinegar). Hopefully you get the results you are looking
for. Also, dry in direct sun light (a few hours) to dry hopefully this will
kill any living things on your pack.
doggone that's a bit different than a car wash

RedneckRye
09-04-2008, 12:31
I'm not sure what the big fear of washing down is all about. It is a slightly more involved process than doing your regular laundry, but I think the fear of bag destruction is way overblown and most reports of it are anecdotal.

I used a Western Mountaineering Apache from 1999 thru spring of 2006. AT thru, Long Trail, Colorado Trail, another month on the AT, plus every other week long, weekend, and overnight trip in that in that 7 year span. I laundered the bag at least once a year using Nikwax Down wash or Downy powder. Made the trip to the laundromat, put it into the front loader ran the cycle with the soap and then ran another cycle with out soap so that it was thoroughly rinsed. Then loaded the wet bag into a laundry basket and brought it home for a bout a dozen cycles thru the regular dryer here at home with the heat set on low. Repeat, repeat, repeat until there are zero clumps. Clumps indicate moisture, I never bothered with throwing tennis balls or clean shoes in to break up the clumps.
I finally upgraded to a Western Alpinlite (more room for me = much more comfort) and sold the Apache to a friend. After its final washing, I laid my old Apache on the floor next to a brand new Apache. Mine had lost maybe a third or a half of an inch of loft after all of the use, abuse, and laundering.

Here is a link to the Trailcast interview with Gary Schaezlein, the founder and owner of Western Mountaineering. At some point, he tells how his personal bags get laundered...thrown into the top loader at home.
http://www.trailcast.org/podcasts/trailcast-17-Jan-30-2006.mp3

Appalachian Tater
09-05-2008, 15:54
Here is a link to the Trailcast interview with Gary Schaezlein, the founder and owner of Western Mountaineering. At some point, he tells how his personal bags get laundered...thrown into the top loader at home.

If I owned a company that made and sold sleeping bags, I wouldn't worry about how I treated mine, either. I would not wash a down bag in a top-loader because the agitator is very destructive to fabric, especially if it gets caught at the base between the agitator and the drum. It's purely a mechanical issue. In addition, a front-loader does a much better job at spinning out the water and a down bag is hard enough to dry even well-spun.