There are also couple related discussions about this same fill elsewhere on HF. Some of it has been repeated here to serve as a reference to others who may be considering it's use.
I recently read about a source for loose fill Primaloft from a company called Downlite in Mason, Ohio. On their online sales website shopdownlite.com, they offer a product called Primaloft Thermo in 5 lb. batches. I was curious about the product, but had trouble finding much information about it.
Here's what we know so far:
• Downlite is licensed by Albany Int'l Corp, (parent company of Primaloft) to manufacture Primaloft - The Luxury Down Alternative.
• This loose Primaloft is offered in 3 specific styles: "PrimaLoft Thermo, PrimaLoft Support and PrimaLoft Memory – all engineered for specific performance attributes and end uses." The product i was able to obtain was the Primaloft Thermo.
• [from a press release I found online] "PrimaLoft® Thermo’s exclusive formula of blowable polyester fiber fill provides optimal performance for down-like™ comforters and blankets. The microfiber blended technology of PrimaLoft® Thermo allows the polyester fiber to mimic the loft and softness of down. The polyester fibers also create a layer of insulating technology which that mimic the warmth of a 550- fill power down product."
I contacted both Downlite and Primaloft to ask how this loose fill lines up with Primaloft's products offered to the outdoor market. Downlite responded promptly saying, "Albany International makes Primaloft and may be able to advise on insulation and an other technical details for their outdoor products". So far I've had no response from Primaloft themselves.
Curiosity got the better of me so I decided to purchase a 5 lb. batch of this stuff for $35.00 ($51.59 with tax and shipping). That makes this insulation approx $0.65 per ounce. Purchasing an equivalent amount of Primaloft Sport from Thru-Hiker would cost $135.04 or $1.69/oz. Is this loose fill worth worth the cost savings?
Note - HF member ciphoto made a nice quilt with this and had good success with this insulation.
My Test Quilt
52 wide x 80 long, 6 longitudinal baffles at 8 5/8" apart, baffles were 2" high
I figured on using just over 18 oz. of fill (approx 3 oz. per chamber)
After stuffing and sewing the quilt shut, I discover that I couldn't get the Primaloft to spread throughout the chamber. Shaking, fluffing, stomping, even using my hands to manually pull the clingy fibers apart didn't work. I could hold the quilt up and watch the large clumps of fill slide back and forth within each chamber. I eventually ended up removing the stitching and doubling the fill. Once each chamber was full, everything spread out nicely and the quilt is usable (for car camping). I didn't have the courage to weigh it. I'll likely make another one, but this time I'll double the number of baffles and make them only 1" high. I'll probably finish adding the hardware to this test quilt and find a Boy Scout that needs it.
• If this product is truly equivalent to 550 fill power down, it would be a great alternative Boy Scouts, Budget minded campers, etc.
• Less messy than working with down. This stuff can be easily weighed and stuffed by hand. (think fluffy cotton, not down).
• The fibers cling together somewhat and don't really spread out to fill a baffle the way down would.
• Baffles will need to be fairly small so that each one is full and there is more control over the insulation.
I've been really curious about this stuff since I read about it here. Thanks so much for doing the research and pretty much being a bounty hunter when looking for answers. :)
You had stated that you read the PrimaLoft Support and PrimaLoft Memory are engineered for different uses. Do you think that they would have a different outcome than Thermo?
Thanks again for taking the time to share your research.
Great job and a lot of work on your end to find all of this out....yet saving everyone else time. I had read about this company a couple of months ago and was wondering about this product, but luckily I didn't.
Thanks again :D
I had also ask this question of Downlite and here is their response:
Originally Posted by Fronkey
"While you cannot specify the fill in here it is in fact PRIMALOFT THERMO so you should be OK."
I do know that they currently use Primaloft Thermo for comforters and Primaloft Support in pillows. I'm guessing that the Thermo is indeed the stuff we would want, but I'm afraid available info is fairly thin.
I pack my TQ by hand and weighed it just like you did. I had squeezed it hard, but did not have a problem spreading it out. I shook it around and them sat and work the remaining large lumps with my fingers pulling it and pushing it in the fabric.
My chambers are 6.5 and I used from right at 2 oz's down to 1.5 in the last chamber cause of the taper. The quilt has lofted up nicely, I planned for 3.15... and its close. Packs down real nice too.
Using it tonight, but it really want be much of a test since it is only going to the mid 50's...
When I get back from work in November I'm sure I'll get a chance to test it better.
I would like to see a comparison between this and the sport, in similar loft, weight.
Thanks, Papa Smurf, for all the research & development!
While I'm a backpacker and therefore weight conscious, I've always believed that car campers should simply shoot for the best bang for the buck. By constructing a quilt in such a manner to take advantage of Primaloft Thermos strengths while avoiding it's weaknesses, it sounds like a BIG BANG for the buck.
Very interesting but I'm concerned about the way it clumps together. Isn't that the antithesis of loft? What about after it's been heavily compressed in a stuff sack or pack? This product may be strictly for the home decor market?
Since I didn't have a problem with mine I decided to test the compression lump up issue. I have my tq in a stuff sack in a crate with 3 gallons of water on top of it.... well see how it comes out.
THis is very interesting...a synthetic "down" product sounds great to me! I will be watching this thread.
Okay I pulled the TQ out of the crate, and snap some pics.
The one in the stuff sack is right after I pulled from the crate, then on the bed is freshly pull out of the sack, then opened the foot box so it would lay flat and held the yd stick, flip it over did the same.
I did not shake it out or work it in any way other than pulling it out and flipping it. I find no lumps but it of course could use a shake or two just like my sleeping bag when I pull it out of the stuff sack.
To me the real test will be the temp test, and that will have to wait on the weather...