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  1. #11
    WV's Avatar
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    There have been some fine responses so far. I'm less concerned with getting soaked (it's my job to prevent that), but I can't regulate the humidity I generate myself as easily. I've read reports of down slowly losing its effectiveness in longer winter trips because it gradually absorbs more and more body moisture in a week or more of use. The new treated down may help with that. I'd like to hear reports from testers under those conditions, but it may be a while before we get enough to conclude anything.

  2. #12
    sr1355's Avatar
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    I'll chime in since I'm offering RSD as an option on all quilts. I have several quilts with RSD including a 30*F TQ/UQ M50 combination that I've used in some pretty wet conditions. First, no down will be waterproof, if you get it wet it will not perform. For that matter no insulation will work when wetted out. It's important to properly pack and protect your gear no matter what the fill type. Wet gear on the trail is no fun...

    My observations on RSD and its benefits primarily are in regards to retaining loft. I used the TQ/UQ combination on my week long trip to Olympic NP. Weather was crazy dry for the rain forest so no really humidity to note. One thing I did notice was that the quilts retained their loft over the course of the week. Normally, as the week progresses, I can see the effect of body mositure on the untreated down resulting in a loss of some loft. The repeated packing and unpacking that occurs backpacking without a proper way to dry the quilts compounds and results in less loft as the trip goes on. I did not expereince that this past trip, RSD retained most if not all of its loft for the week.

    We did make it to the coast for two days and one night, weather was misting, foggy, and humid, PERFECT for the coast. Outside of quilt shells would condensate moisture, it was pretty darn humid. I didn't notice any ill effects on the loft of the quilts in these conditions. Still seemed to retain their loft and no noticeable clumping. I did inspect other party members quilts and notice the untreated down had mositure related loss of loft and clumping. This was towards the end of the trip so the high humdity of the coast and the week long exposure to body moisture appeared to have added up.

    Other trips out with RSD have been rainy weekend again, quilts retained their loft nicely, I'm sure M50 shells help slow mositure migration into the down but I'm also confident that the RSD performs better in these wet enviroments.

    I've done a few small scale tests of the down resistance to water, we've all seen the videos, but I don't think that is a real world expectation that the down be water proof.

    There are also other benefits to RSD other than its hydrophobic ability. With the resulting additional wash, dry, & sort in the processing of the treated down it is cleaner than untreated down. It also appears to be of higher quality when comparing equal fill powers. The extra drying appears to sort the down again resulting in much high cluster counts compared to untreated down. For the extra minor cost all of these things add up and make it a bargain for the benefits. I know for myself all of my future quilts will be filled with RSD.

    Just a note, I'm a one man shop with no big budget for R&D testing so these are my observation from the field as a user and as a vendor using the product.
    Last edited by sr1355; 10-22-2012 at 16:30.
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  3. #13
    fallkniven's Avatar
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    That's what I was thinking. Heads up Paul, you'll have a few more orders from me this winter.

  4. #14
    MDSH's Avatar
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    I guess the Southern Rockies, my favorite haunt, are a rarity. I've never had trouble drying out down during the day. Just spread it out in the sun and dry air for a couple of hours, and you're good to go.

    My trek on the AT was during a draught in '80.

    Hmmm,

    Mike

  5. #15
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    Here's an article that I just read from Backpacker Magazine: The science behind water repellent down gear.
    http://www.backpacker.com/fall-winte...n=newsletter02

    David

  6. #16
    WV's Avatar
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    Not a bad report for Backpacker. Note: it's reporting, not science, and sources aren't credited.

  7. #17
    Senior Member PineMartyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zolen View Post
    I've read a few reviews from testers that seem to indicate that even the new, treated down is pretty much worthless when wet. One that I remember was a guy that took Sierra Design's new down jacket for a 30 minute run in a "drizzle" and he reported it was soaked through.
    I wanted to toss in my two cents about this, because the test described here is misleading. The point of hydrophobic down is not that it will retain it's insulative properties if soaked by a rain or a spilled water bottle or the like. No bag, be it down or synthetic, will retain it's loft and keep you warm when it's been soaked that way. Any bag that's wet through like that will have a matted, flattened fill where it's gotten wet and the water will conduct your heat where it touches the wet parts of the bag. Synthetics dry out faster, but while wet, they are all equally worthless. But unless you can build a big fire and dry your bag over it for hours, your synthetic bag won't dry out in cold-camping conditions by evaporation or hanging outside as it would in summer.

    The relevant difference is in how well synthetic and down bags and hydrophobic down bags perform in cold-camping conditions on longer trips. When cold-camping (as opposed to hot-tenting), sleeping bags gradually lose their insulative properties because they absorb body moisture each night. Sleeping bags are made so that this body moisture will evaporate out through the bag, being forced out by your own body heat (like a heat pump) and by your movement in the bag (like a bellows). This is why you shouldn't put a waterproof material directly on your bag, as this will ensure the escaping moisture stays trapped in your bag, leaving it wet. But nightly moisture venting doesn't evaporate off all the moisture and, once you're out of the bag, that remaining moisture stays in there and it accumulates in your bag with every day that you're out cold-camping. Synthetic fills don't lose as much loft as down fills from this moisture because the fibres don't collapse and flatten as readily in response to accumulating moisture, so they will retain more of their insulative quality after many nights of cold camping. This is why many winter campers favour synthetic fills over regular down: The accumulated moisture has less effect on the insulation on long trips than it does in down bags. Down bags, when cold-camping, lose a bit more of their insulative properties with every passing night than do synthetic bags.

    So, if you're hot-tenting, it won't matter, as your bags vent their nightly moisture load in the heat of the hot tent all day long. And if you're cold-camping for just a FEW nights, the moisture buildup won't be great enough to collapse enough of the fibres of the down to make any great difference. Where hydrophobic down is supposed to make a difference is if you're cold-camping for many days where body moisture accumulates in your bag, night after night, but never vents off or dries out during the day. Hydrophobic down behaves more like synthetic fill in this respect, and so on long cold-camping trips, it should retain more of it's insulative quality, as would a synthetic bag.

    If you're cold-camper, but your not going on long trips where moisture accumulation will make a difference, hydrophobic down is a waste of money. On long cold-camping trips, it could mean the difference between sleeping warm every night or sleeping colder with every passing night.

    Hope this helps,
    -Martin (who is a virgin to hammock camping, but has spent many a night in igloos and quinzhees using down and synthetic bags)
    No one has ever been heard to say on a deathbed, "I wish I'd put in more time at the office."

  8. #18
    sr1355's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adkphoto View Post
    Here's an article that I just read from Backpacker Magazine: The science behind water repellent down gear.
    http://www.backpacker.com/fall-winte...n=newsletter02

    David
    This is exactly what i have observed with RSD. From my understanding none of the down suppliers developed this technology. A seperate company developed it and has licensed it to the down companies as well as sell them the needed chemicals. So Resist Down, Dri Down, Down Tek, and all the other are using the same process, again, this is from my understanding of the technology and research into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by PineMartyn View Post

    Hope this helps,
    -Martin (who is a virgin to hammock camping, but has spent many a night in igloos and quinzhees using down and synthetic bags)
    Nice reply Martin, well said...
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  9. #19
    Senior Member bear bag hanger's Avatar
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    I've been interested in the hydrophobic down, but am worried a little. When I look at the chemicals used to cover the down, I'm reminded of the out gassing problems some new houses have. Is there any testing or proof this stuff won't, over time, make me sick?

  10. #20
    sr1355's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear bag hanger View Post
    I've been interested in the hydrophobic down, but am worried a little. When I look at the chemicals used to cover the down, I'm reminded of the out gassing problems some new houses have. Is there any testing or proof this stuff won't, over time, make me sick?
    In our modern life we are exposed the 1000's of chemicals everyday, it's an unavoidable result of our world. There are chemicals used to apply a DWR finish to the down. Similar chemicals are used to apply the DWR finish to most water repellant fabrics including the shells of most commercially made sleeping bags. I have read the MSDS sheet for the liquid state of the chemical used the creat the DWR finish. As with any MSDS sheet it has warnings regarding ingestion, inhalation, some of them not pleasant so don't drink it. The liquid chemicals themselves are also listed as biogradable after 28 days in a liquid state. Once applied to either a fabric or in this case down, washed, and dryed the application is complete. As for conclusive proof, I don't have any for you. According to the MSDS sheet the product is compliant with California Prop 65 and contains no listed substances known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, at level which would require a warning under the statute.

    These chemicals aren't new to our modern world, the application of them to down is the new part. So, you've probably been exposed already if you own a sleeping bag, rain jacket, are any of many products. As a vendor using the product I have noticed absolutely no odor with this product. I certainly understand your concern as an individual and only you can make the choice to use a certain product. I have made the choice for myself, with the research I have done, the infomation I have been provided, and the fact that many large name player are using the product as well. Their legal and R&D departments will be sure to have vetted the product to reduce their potential exposure.

    Anyways, I have standard down for those not interested in Hydrophobic Down...
    Happy Hangin'

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