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Thread: Clumpy down

  1. #1

    Default Clumpy down

    Hey all,
    I have just recently washed my down underquilt and topquilt after over 60 nights of continuous use I thought it was time. I used Nikwax downwash and ran it through a front loading washing machine at the laundromat then began the day long process of drying both of these quilts. When I pulled them out of the dryer the final time they were lofted great and seemed perfectly dry. However I went right back to my thru hike and after stuffing then removing from my backpack they are worryingly clumpy. Iíve been breaking up clumps as I go and itís getting better but still not 100% lofted.

    Iím wondering if anyone else has experience with this problem and what they would recommend to fix it?

  2. #2
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    give it a tumble in the dryer on gentle cycle, low heat (or none at all), with a couple of tennis balls

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    give it a tumble in the dryer on gentle cycle, low heat (or none at all), with a couple of tennis balls
    +1 for the tennis balls!

    Scott

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    The tennis balls not only break up the clumps, but the friction between the tennis balls and the shell fabric helps create static electricity that makes the down fluffier. Static electric charge is a major reason why the down fibers repel each other and create loft. Moisture diminishes static charge, so make sure you get the clumps broken up as much as possible during the final drying cycles. Clumps will retain moisture and take a long time to dry on their own. And yeah, it can take a long, long time in a dryer on low.

  5. #5

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    So you all think it maybe just didnít fully dry?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginger.Snap View Post
    So you all think it maybe just didnít fully dry?
    Was it hydrophobically-treated down (as most mainstream makers use these days)? From what I've read - and one bag I've seen in person - it has a reputation for being prone to clumping, whatever its other virtues may be.

    Whether it is or isn't, I think you can manually break it up if the tennis ball treatment does not work. Just takes some time and effort. Sit in front of your favorite ballgame and work on it bit by bit.

  7. #7

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    No it is ultimadown which if I understand correctly is untreated.

  8. #8

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    Second more drying time, and tennis balls(I always use 6).
    btw, not "advice", as I'm hardly the leading authority on the subject, but what I personally do...or don't do.
    I never wash my down.
    I've got 4 bottles of NikWax Down Wash that have been sitting in a box for years, and somewhere between 300 and 400 nights between my favorite quilt and the favorite sleeping bag that preceded it. Now, I'll throw in the disclaimer that I don't have much body odor, even on weeklong trips, and am not a thruhiker, but with regular drying, they have never made me feel the need to wash them. When they do get musty, I dry them inside out with an All free&clear dryer sheet, and they always smell fresh. My mentality is that they'll get washed when it becomes obvious they *need* washing, not before. Same for my puffies.
    Not advising against washing your stuff, just saying that your quilts, particularly the underquilt, may not need to be washed so often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginger.Snap View Post
    No it is ultimadown which if I understand correctly is untreated.
    Ultima down is not hydrophobic but it does come in duck or goose. If it is duck down duck down tends to be smaller sized(smaller birds, etc) and IM experience more prone to clumping. Overstuffing of chambers and chamber sizes and configurations and shell fabrics have a consequence on down dry times too. If an UGQ quilt the long top tube chambers can hold significant amts of duck down, the lower the temp rating the more so, making dry times and clumping break up more important. IMHO some make it seem there is always absolutely not difference between the same wt duck and highest quality goose down. Some, including myself disagree. FWIW, the highest fp highest quality goose down demand outstrips it's availability hence one of the reasons why alternative down i.e.; duck down has become more available and used to lower the prices on down gear. Some down gear manufacturers have a slight price decrease when selecting the same fp and hydrophobic or non hydrophobic when opting for duck over quality goose down. Duck down is more abundant, often a side resource from consuming ducks on a large scale for food in Asian markets. Some gear makers making down gear also mix duck and goose downs. Some dont overtly advertise their use of duck over goose down simply saying "down jacket", down quilt, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Overstuffing of chambers and chamber sizes and configurations and shell fabrics have a consequence on down dry times too.
    Thank you for pointing that out (about overstuffing and dry times) ... I hadn't thought of that, but it makes sense. Maybe it's better to have an appropriately paired chamber size and down fill, rather than overstuffing.

    I guess that assumes the "standard" fill is optimal, rather than the overstuff being optimal and the standard actually being a form of underfill. Hard for a layperson to know, but you would think in a normal world the standard fill for a given garment or bag is optimal.

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