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  1. #1
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    Cat tail down insulation: anyone?

    Hey Gang,

    I am thinking about trying to make a TQ using cat tail down for insulation in place of goose down. There is a pond near where I live that is loaded with the buggers. Because I'm such a cheap *******, I thought this might be a neat low cost alternative.

    Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of/with this material?

    Give a shout.

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    i saw some other thread where a guy did it. i'd rather you did not do it. but if you do i'm glad you're in canada and going to try it as i'd rather not have a pond habitat near me get destroyed...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wags View Post
    i saw some other thread where a guy did it. i'd rather you did not do it. but if you do i'm glad you're in canada and going to try it as i'd rather not have a pond habitat near me get destroyed...
    Gad Zooks Fellows!

    "The dirty dealer meant no harm."

    I too am a firm proponent of Leave No Trace. That is why I chose hammock camping, and why only cook with an alky stove, and why I carry out everything I brought in. This is only in the thought stage, for goodness sake. It seems to me that if the stuff works as an insulator, why not use it. We are speaking hypothetically, of course, about harvesting five cat tails which reproduce like wildfire (see quote below).

    "Seed production prolific; each spike may contain 117,000 to 268,000 tiny seeds. At maturity, the spike bursts under dry conditions, releasing the fruits. Each fruit has bristly hairs that aid in wind dispersal. When the fruit comes in contact with water, the pericarp opens rapidly, releasing the seed, which then sinks. In wet weather the fruits often fall to the ground in dense mats."
    http://www.rook.org/earl/bwca/nature.../typhalat.html

    Now, balance that quote with the one below regarding the harvest of goose down:

    "To obtain feathers and down at the time of slaughter, the normal process is to first scald the geese in hot water (60-68C) for 1-3 minutes. The coarse feathers of the wing and tail are then removed by hand with the remainder of the feathers and down removed either by a plucking machine or by hand. The feathers are then dried and this is normally done in large commercial tumble dryers. For small amounts, the feathers are spread and stirred frequently to facilitate their drying." Lovely.
    http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y4359E/y4359e0c.htm

    Talk about "leave no trace". Yikes. How many dead geese does it take to make a top quilt?

    If cat tail down was as good as goose down and I had to choose between the two, I'm pretty certain I would feel no guilt in going with the cat tails. But it's all hypothetical anyway...

    Cheers
    Last edited by jspate61; 06-03-2011 at 12:07. Reason: more ranting required

  4. #4
    Senior Member PackBacker81's Avatar
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackBacker81 View Post
    THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!

    Many Thanks.

    Cheers

  6. #6
    Moderator raiffnuke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackBacker81 View Post
    I LIKE IT!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member KerMegan's Avatar
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    there is also a thread on this in the DIY section..KM (who contributed heavily to it last year..)

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    Senior Member taylo's Avatar
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    Oh for petes sake, you taking some cat tails is better than stripping geese of their down. Don't give the guy a hard time over harvesting some plants. It's not going to ruin any pond habitat. I have two ponds covered in them. If anything he's helping to promote diversity. You're not going to miss any cat tails, you might notice the dead or naked geese that have been used to make your down quilt however.

  9. #9
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    yeah another member done this to try it out
    a few things i remember from that thread is it was heavy ... so if you are making it for backpacking...don't your not going to be happy with it

    if your going to make a UQ or TQ ..just get good quality down and do it right the first time... it's only $6.50 an oz
    i think i just about seen everything at this point LOL
    9 times out of 10 ... they always end up making it with quality down or good Synth insulation
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  10. #10
    Senior Member jofish's Avatar
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    Like GLP said, the stuff is heavy (compared with down). But it WILL keep you warm. I believe someone also mentioned that you want to bake it in the oven to kill insects that will undoubtedly be in there (seen & unseen). I've collected some cat tail fluff and plan on making an UQ when I collect some more. That plus some cheap silnylon and a little bit of sewing = a nice, cheap car-camping UQ!

    At least thats the plan.... Good luck with your project!

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