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  1. #11
    DGrav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Do you guys think the treated down is any better in the humidity or with condensation? If so, would that reduce the nee for any over stuff, in your opinions?
    Ive been using treated down for a number of years now and determining the difference it made in regard to humidity was never very clear and anecdotal at best.

    Then last fall I took my brother-law out for a weekend backpacking trip. When I got home I decided to wash the four quilts, three of which had treated down and one did not. The treated down quilts dryed in half the cycles of the dryer as the non-treated quilt and had way less clumping to pick apart. All quilts were 20 degree quilts with 800FP and there were two underquilts (same model) and two top quilts (same model). None of quilts had any additional overstuff other than the manufactures standard 25%. The only difference was the lack of treated down on the one.

    So there may be a tie to the humidity question in respect to any humidity the down absorbs will dry out quicker. On long multi day trips this would help a quilt retain its performance.

    Something else that will help a quilt maintain its rating and reduce the need for additional overstuff is regular cleaning. Ive talked to several people who do not realize its necessary to regularly wash quilts to remove dirt and oils that reduce downs abilty to loft.
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  2. #12
    GillyGilligan's Avatar
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    To reiterate what has been said, as a western camper who recently took gear to a humid location I can attest to the change in downs ability to work in humid conditions. I live in Colorado, a dry state with typical humidity levels as low as 30% but typcially 40% or so. We went to the California coast - Near Santa Barbara, in the Old Grove Redwood forests. Anyhow the humidity when we were out there in June was around 85-92% humidity and highs were around 65* and lows in the high 50's. I have a 20 degree Zepplin that I took and opted for blankets for top insulation. I was blown away at how cold I was after day 3 in the forest and I have come to realize it was because my underquilt was full of moister from the humidity. I had my gear out in the back yard the following week in Colorado and even a thin blanket was almost too hot even with night time temps down to 55 degrees or so.

    Absolutely makes sense why you would want a bit of extra overstuff.
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  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by DGrav View Post
    I’ve been using treated down for a number of years now and determining the difference it made in regard to humidity was never very clear and anecdotal at best.
    I generally agree, and have been against treated downs for awhile.
    Some of the claims are a bit hard to swallow, and simply doing a shake test or dunk test really doesn't apply to humidity creep from body vapor or ambient air, especially over 24-48+ hour periods.

    I had bad experiences with some earlier treated downs. Severe clumping during construction of quilts mainly.
    Western Mountaineering never adopted treated downs. Zpacks and others chose to abandon it.

    That said... there are competing products and several generations worth of treatment now.
    Enlightened Equipment has good luck with their product. So it may be that DownTec nailed their process. It may also be that EE buys enough volume and they have good internal QC that weeds out an over treated batch if it happens to show up.

    Overall- I have upgraded my opinion from 'Don't bother' to 'Can't hurt'.

    My general recommendation for folks in humid conditions is also to stick with 800 or 850 fill power down.
    It was handy that an unnamed gentleman was able to source an 800/850 blend for so many cottage vendors here I don't believe any of that was treated down as that gentleman has strong feelings against it.
    The very high fill power downs are even more sensitive to humidity, so besides saving a large bit of money you will likely have a better quilt too as those are less prone to extreme wilting.

    I just ordered an EE enigma top quilt in 950 treated. There are a few long distance hikers reporting fairly good performance with this stuff so figured I'd see for myself too. It's been a few years for me before I tried a premium treated down.

    There are some claims that the treatment actually enhances the very wispy fibers of 950+ fills and helps stabilize them overall. Think of it a bit like hairspray. These clusters of down are so wispy they are often 'wimpy'... and can collapse under a sneeze. But with a little help they are maintaining the lab levels of loft in the field better.

    We shall see....

    To answer Billy Bob more directly:
    Treated down is unlikely to do harm, and it may help. Dgrav's observation about faster drying time makes some sense.
    It also makes sense that too much fill would impede drying as well, both in the dryer and in the field; one more strike against excess overfill IMO.

    On that note- I always suggest people have at least one side of the quilt's they buy in a dark color. Being able to sun your quilt when the opportunity arises goes a long way to fighting humidity creep. Yes, neon yellow or retina obliterating orange will warm up in the sun... but not as fast as good old black. So if you're on a long hike and catch a sunny overlook... 15 minutes of sunning your quilt can be enough to drive the previous nights moisture away.

    When buying from a hammock vendor... your product is probably overfilled already to be honest. But if you want to toss in an ounce it probably won't hurt anything.
    More than that is probably harmful.

    If you're buying from other vendors... you probably won't have the option.

    If you're buying from a bleeding edge SUL backpacking vendor... you are better off bumping the product up 5 or 10* more than even attempting to deal with it, especially in low temp applications.
    In my opinion- 50* quilts in down are useless in real life. If you live out west you'd likely never take something so warmly rated.
    If you live east of the Mississippi... it's probably too humid for such a thin layer of down to hold up unless it's overbuilt.

    A 900+ 50* quilt is begging for cold spots to develop. A cluster of 900 fill down is about the size of a golf ball. So when you get a 50* 900 fill with 1" of loft... you basically have one layer of down clusters filling it. It's like a landscape bed filled 3/4" thick with 1" stone... you can see right through it. Until you get enough depth to get overlap of the stones... you can't cover it. For down, that's about 1.5" or so (40*) but even that can get a bit thin and 2" is an ideal minimum thickness to stick with (30*)

    https://support.enlightenedequipment...71-Enigma-H-E-
    This is the top quilt I just ordered. If you look at the reg/reg in 850 fill; you'll note that the difference between each 10* bump is only 2.5 ounces or so.
    I would rather have a true 30* quilt that wilted a few degrees than a 40* with 2 ounces of overfill that saved me a half ounce.
    I'd probably still just get the 30* rather than a 40* with an ounce of overfill as well.

    All that said-
    There is a reason I build synthetic summer gear.
    I switch over to down around 35-40*.
    Humidity drops, as do the odds I will sweat excessively at night. Rain begins to be less of a concern too as it shifts to snow.
    As mentioned, 1.5-2" of down does much better overall from a construction standpoint... even if that 10 ounce 50* down quilt looks sexy on the spec sheet... it won't last long in real life unless you can find opportunities to sun it well every day or two. And while some of us are old enough to recall drying bags by the fire... not a chance I'd try that with the latest 7D and under shell materials.

    So bottom line- trust your vendor to build a good product.
    If you consistently have moisture issues... might be better off biting the bullet and going synthetic rather than fighting the down.

  4. #14
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGrav View Post
    Ive been using treated down for a number of years now and determining the difference it made in regard to humidity was never very clear and anecdotal at best.

    Then last fall I took my brother-law out for a weekend backpacking trip. When I got home I decided to wash the four quilts, three of which had treated down and one did not. The treated down quilts dryed in half the cycles of the dryer as the non-treated quilt and had way less clumping to pick apart. All quilts were 20 degree quilts with 800FP and there were two underquilts (same model) and two top quilts (same model). None of quilts had any additional overstuff other than the manufactures standard 25%. The only difference was the lack of treated down on the one.

    So there may be a tie to the humidity question in respect to any humidity the down absorbs will dry out quicker. On long multi day trips this would help a quilt retain its performance.

    Something else that will help a quilt maintain its rating and reduce the need for additional overstuff is regular cleaning. Ive talked to several people who do not realize its necessary to regularly wash quilts to remove dirt and oils that reduce downs abilty to loft.
    Great info based on personal field experience! That is very telling that the treated were quicker to dry and had less clumping. (I'm very glad to hear that as I have one treated JRB Sierra Sniv). But were you able to notice any difference in loft? I have told a few times of my friend's experience with loss of loft(untreated down) in the humid Olympics and even 1 rainy trip in the normally dry Rockies. He could easily see the difference by the end of the trip. Did you happen to weigh them?

    Also, even if you could not yet see any obvious loft loss, if it took longer to dry, the moisture was obviously there, and if it had been a week trip rather than a weekend, problems with the untreated might have become more obvious.

    Quote Originally Posted by GillyGilligan View Post
    To reiterate what has been said, as a western camper who recently took gear to a humid location I can attest to the change in downs ability to work in humid conditions. I live in Colorado, a dry state with typical humidity levels as low as 30% but typcially 40% or so. We went to the California coast - Near Santa Barbara, in the Old Grove Redwood forests. Anyhow the humidity when we were out there in June was around 85-92% humidity and highs were around 65* and lows in the high 50's. I have a 20 degree Zepplin that I took and opted for blankets for top insulation. I was blown away at how cold I was after day 3 in the forest and I have come to realize it was because my underquilt was full of moister from the humidity. I had my gear out in the back yard the following week in Colorado and even a thin blanket was almost too hot even with night time temps down to 55 degrees or so.

    Absolutely makes sense why you would want a bit of extra overstuff.
    More very useful info from direct field experience!

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    .........................
    I would rather have a true 30* quilt that wilted a few degrees than a 40* with 2 ounces of overfill that saved me a half ounce.
    I'd probably still just get the 30* rather than a 40* with an ounce of overfill as well.

    All that said-
    There is a reason I build synthetic summer gear.
    I switch over to down around 35-40*.
    Humidity drops, as do the odds I will sweat excessively at night. Rain begins to be less of a concern too as it shifts to snow.
    As mentioned, 1.5-2" of down does much better overall from a construction standpoint... even if that 10 ounce 50* down quilt looks sexy on the spec sheet... it won't last long in real life unless you can find opportunities to sun it well every day or two. And while some of us are old enough to recall drying bags by the fire... not a chance I'd try that with the latest 7D and under shell materials.

    So bottom line- trust your vendor to build a good product.
    If you consistently have moisture issues... might be better off biting the bullet and going synthetic rather than fighting the down.
    That "rather have a true 30* quilt that wilted a few degrees than a 40* with 2 ounces of overfill that saved me a half ounce...." pretty much sums up my view on it. And your Final statement about the synthetic sums up my experience also. Using a 10 oz total weight Climashied butt to neck UQ kept me warm in the mid to high 40s(can't remember exactly, but definitely below 50) in 80-90% humidity(a very common level here in Mississippi), Plus camped at the bottom of a hill right beside(no more than 10 feet away) a lake. I have often wondered if they 10 ounce down under quilt would have done as well? Certainly no better I think. And after all, it was just one night so there might not have been much time for moisture to accumulate in the down. But I'm confident for five nights of the same conditions would've made no difference at all with what I used that night. At least it never has so far on any longer trips.

  5. #15

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    When I used to do more speed hikes... I pushed synthetics pretty far.
    In summer weather, I've slept with a primaloft Gold top quilt on a pad (yes on the ground ) in active rain. The 92% of warmth retained when wet claim stands up.
    I used to use Apex 2.5 to about 40*... but it craps out too fast and packs too big. So Primaloft Gold is my choice now.

    Just as important- as you allude to: I didn't need to be hyper concerned about site selection. Nor do I need to worry about packing it damp for a 4-6 day stretch or airing it in the morning or evening too much. I basically just stuff it and go. If I get a chance I sun it during the day (UV light kills ickies and odors too). At night I pull it out and use it.

    I'm sure the treatment helps, and it has gotten better. But so have synthetics.

    Bottom line for me though... underquilts remain tough. They have to do more than pads.
    I have a primaloft gold summer quilt for 50* and up. Maybe I'll try a double thick (6 ounce total) again at some point. Technically that's a 25* rating... but I suspect I'd use it for the 30-50* range.

    It's hard to fit an Apex UQ in my opinion. You also need things really dialed in with any thin quilt. Much under 1.5" of loft and you don't have much room for error. As a tosser and turner I create error frequently.

    If it's a weekend- I just reach for a 40* phoenix for pretty much anytime in the summer above 50*. I'm unlikely to overheat and I won't struggle with it much. If it damps out a bit... I know it will seal.
    Same goes with a 20* incubator... I'll get enough out of it with no hassles that it's good enough for most stuff.

    So as much as I love synthetics... I do not love them much for UQ's.

    If I did more weeklong hammock trips in a gathered end... maybe I'd try pushing it further. In your case BillyBob I think you are making the right call for a week in soggy ol Miss.
    I can't do a gathered end for more than a weekend though so the drive to solve the synthetic isn't there for me.

    In my bridge... I'm more likely to simply use a pad on longer trips so I have the versatility. More than a weekend and the bridge is coming. Out on the AT or trail with views... at some point I'll want to sleep in that starry open meadow, mountain overlook, or even that dingy shelter. Might even need to stay at a hostel or odd place where a hammock cannot be deployed.

    The rest of the time- I'll grab the down as much as 20* or more than I need and accept a bit of loss.
    Once you start talking to me about more than 6 ounces of synthetic insulation my brain shuts off, lol. I would carry a zero degree down for a 30* week long trip before I took 40L of Apex

  6. #16
    MAD777's Avatar
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    I overstuff. That fill power rating is a laboratory measurement with optimal conditions. Not in an Eastern seaboard forest for days at a time.

    Preventing down shift, invasion of breezes, maintaining rating over time are some of the reasons that overstuff is a good investment.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by MAD777; 09-14-2018 at 23:23.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member Chesapeake's Avatar
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    HG will make you a -15 Incubator if that's what you want, just email Harry! They made me a -10 that has a 5" tall baffle height. So far, I've used it well below it's rating and been toasty warm. My last winter UQ was a standard length 0 Incubator with no extra down added and it was good below its rating as well. Adding an oz or two will definitely help to maintain loft when it's wet out and when it gets used in multi-night trips. But as far as adding X per oz added, it really is a fine line I think, especially when there is already so much down in the quilt to begin with. For anything over just an oz or two, I would just go ahead and get the next lowest rated quilt. Having a taller baffle height makes a ton of difference when your getting into the 19 or 20ozs of down category. Here is the video review I did of my -10set so you can actually see what your picturing in your mind, it's A LOT of down! I can tell you from experience that HG will give you exactly what you want. Harry was on vacation with his family when I emailed him and he took time out to help me design this 100% custom quilt set. I had things added and deleted from both quilts, got a custom length Burrow ,the -10 rating for both the Burrow & 'Bator and each quilt only cost me what a stock 0 + 2oz overstuff would cost roughly. So going with a custom temp rating is much more cost effective and will be much warmer than just adding a bunch of overstuff since you get the added baffle height to allow to down to loft more. I couldn't be happier with my decision to go with the -10 set this time around. I doubt I'll ever bottom them out since I live in Maryland and the coldest it gets here on average is around 0. One night last winter it did dip to -25 with the wind chill, and I was just as warm as if it were only 0..... That's how effective these quilts really are! I've always been able to go below the rating with all my HG quilts. My 0 Burrow did have an extra 2oz added, but I had them add one of the extra oz's to just the footbox and the other oz evenly throughout the rest of the quilt. The 0 'Bator was stock, no overstuff. Let me know if you have any questions since last fall I went through the same thought process your going through now , and have a custom set. When you see just how much down is in my -10 quilts and how much loft they have, you might just rethink wanting a -15 set....... they are down monsters!!!!! Good luck!

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  8. #18
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    Loft is loft. At least that's my thinking. As long as the quilt lofts to the size you need, you will get that level of insulation. Adding more won't give you more loft. What it will do is compensate for the down not lofting to its full potential because of moisture or compression. I know the temptation is to always use a down quilt but if you are going to be hiking in high humidity, I find it better to use a synthetic which has a much more consistent warmth characteristic when damp over down which will reduce its loft and thus its insulating ability.

    As for loss, it takes an insane amount of down leaking out of your quilt to make any noticable difference so I never consider down loss.

    I sleep cold so I always pick out a quilt that has a lower rating than I need (5-10 degrees) to compensate for that. If I know the weather is going to be damp I'll go another 5-10 degrees lower to compensate for the moisture (or switch to synthetic). And since I can't be sure of the weather I generally go another 10 degrees just to be safe/warm. It may be overkill for some but I really like being warm.

    Most cottage vendors are conservative in their ratings so they've already compensated for some of this in my mind. I would look for a bag with the appropriate rating (loft) and not worry about adding more down. These guys have a lot of experience in designing and building quilts so I generally trust their expertise.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post

    Backpacking Light used to be the hot place a decade ago

    I do recall some debates about over filling a shell slightly to save some baffle weight (increase density at lower loft vs perfect density at maximum loft). Some folks did share that you could compress (overfill/increase density) with out much effect, but nobody ever tried to claim an increase in warmth... only that overfill didn't negatively affect down as much as we speculated.
    I recall reading about this too, if I recall the conclusion I read was something like "you can compress the down something like 40+% with no loss of warmth". If that is true it says to me that if the fill amount stays the same while baffle height is shortened by say 30% (partial compression)... nothing happens to the temp rating. That implies to me that overstuff does actually add warmth because...

    If you can indeed compress by 30-40% and not lose any warmth then that would mean you could take a "regular stuffed" quilt with a 3" baffle height (say 3", 0 deg and 16oz down) and shorten the baffles to 2" (but use the same 16oz fill wt).... So same amount of down just 33% compressed by using a shorter 2" baffle instead of 3"... and it should result in no change to the temp rating (0deg). So you're still getting the same 0deg rating from 16oz of down regardless of wether the baffle height is 2" vs 3", because the 33% reduction in baffle height is not "enough" compression to reduce the warmth of the 16oz of down and so the rating doesn't change.

    That would mean that you can take a 2"/12oz fill/20deg quilt, and simply overstuff it to match the 0deg fill weight (16oz) to make a 2" zero deg quilt, because as long as you don't go over 40% compression(or whatever the limit is) then 2" vs 3" baffle height would be irrelevant to the temp rating because it isn't enough compression to have any effect...That leaves the fill amount as what largely determines the rating.

    I feel like there is a fair amount of leeway in regard to baffle height and I can pretty much guarantee if you got all manufactuers to tell you their 20deg baffle height they won't all be the same... even though they may all be accurately rated at 20 deg. However, manufactuers making very similar sized products (50" wide x 72" long topquilts with a taper for instance) will often have strikingly similar fill amounts for any given rating, and this is no coincidence, fill amount is the major factor effecting temp rating, not baffle height which can and does vary from shop to shop. Also companies making a quilt in 5 or 6 different temp ratings are not all using 5 or 6 different baffle heights...Some may so but some do not...some use the same baffle height for 2 different ratings and just adjust the fill weight, and nobody to my knowledge lists the actual baffle wall height anymore because most customers give it way to much importance while in reality the exact baffle height for a given temp rating is probably one of the least important factors and shouldn't even be considered by anyone other than the designer.

    So I know I am talking about baffle height alot here, but for anybody that is confused, slight compression and reduced baffle height are the same thing. If you can compress the down to a signifigant degree without losing warmth, then you can overstuff to a signifigant degree, putting say a 0deg winter fill amount in a 20 deg sized shell without losing the 0deg rating because yes, you are overstuffing/compressing but not enough to have an effect. So if 16oz makes your 3" quilt 0deg then 16oz should give you the same 0 deg rating if adjusted down to a 2" baffle wall height.

    This is all dependent on that origional premise being true, but I believe that it is, and as long as you don't overstuff (compress) too much you will find that more down equals a warmer quilt while the baffle height can fluctuate some without any negative effects at all. I think going with too short a baffle obviously can cause too much compression and reduce the warmth while too tall a baffle results in the down being able to move way too easily resulting in more thin/dead spots which also reduces warmth, but the sweet spot (correct baffle height) can vary by a reasonable amount without any effect, So if two manufactuers have 2 exactly same sized items with the exact same fill amount you can bet the temp rating will be the same while baffle height may not be. I have done this (put a winter fill amount in a 20deg shell) and it results in a winter quilt.
    Last edited by warbonnetguy; 09-20-2018 at 02:27.

  10. #20
    Sailor's Avatar
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    I think that the down in a baffle does two things. First, it loft the baffle to its height, and you need enough down to do that. Secondly, the down prevents air from moving around inside the baffle. Cold air on the outer side of the baffle, warm air on the body side, and you don't want it mixing. "Air, stay there." Too much down gives surface area for the cold to migrate. So, the perfect amount of down is that which maintains the loft, stops air from moving inside the baffle and presents the least surface area. And then add humidity problems which reduces loft and give cold an easier path to travel...
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