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  1. #1
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    Is there a down side to used down?

    Greetings,

    Let me say this is a great forum and I have found good information and answers. I am beginning a "gear making" class soon and plan on making two Red River UQ's. Question is, I got a couple of old down sleeping bags (ebay), and I am planning on just reclaiming the used down, shouldn't this be ok or is there a reason I should use/buy new down? Any/all advice will be appreciated.... I don't want to make them twice..

  2. #2
    SmokeBait's Avatar
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    I'll be curious what those in the know will respond with. I would think if the sleeping bags were properly stored (uncompressed) and that they are clean. it should be OK. What type of down is in them may matter...goose/duck/pigeon. I have plenty of old pillows, jackets, etc. that I would like to recycle the down on too.

    stumo

  3. #3
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    The biggest factor is what kind of down you get. Most cheap sleeping bags are 600fp and lower. This means there are more quills and less down. A lot of cheap bags have feathers mixed in to take up the space. This means that it'll weigh more, but also that it won't regain the loft as much after you pack it down each time. Over time, your bag will lose its ability to keep you warm.

    The other factor is how the down has been cared for. If it's been stored compressed in a stuffsack, or if it's gotten dirty and been stored that way, etc...you just don't know what condition it'll be in when you get it.

    But if you're willing to take those chances, reclaiming real down from a sleeping bag is a good way to save money on a project. I use a ShopVac to transfer the down...kinda time-consuming, but it's pretty easy and keeps the mess down. Here's how I do it:
    http://www.tothewoods.net/StuffingDown.html
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  4. #4
    Dutch's Avatar
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    I have done this and it was great practice. Then when I got my feet wet I started using top quality down and materials. Bad quality down IMO loses the benefits of low weight and compressabilty while retains the negetive properties of doesn't insulate when wet.
    Peace Dutch
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  5. #5
    MacEntyre's Avatar
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    Another source of inexpensive down is a church thrift store...

    Just bought a couple of down jackets for $4 each! Like Jeff said, the labels indicate that in addition to down, they include feathers. For $4 it is well worth it, eh?

    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Especially for the first few projects. And if you end up with a project you like, just rip the seams and replace the low-quality stuff with high-quality stuff.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  7. #7
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    Speaking from the bird's point of view... ALL down is used.

  8. #8
    Dutch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadeye View Post
    Speaking from the bird's point of view... ALL down is used.
    You make a very good point
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