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  1. #1
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    Water proof down - is it necessary?

    Wondering what folks think about regular down vs waterproof down for TQs and BQs. Is it worth it based on actual issues with getting regular down wet? Or is it a gimmick? Whatís the probability an event would occur such that waterproof down would make a difference?

  2. #2
    Senior Member GilligansWorld's Avatar
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    Ask your question perhaps a different way - can you even buy down that's not treated?

    I don't know the answer to this but I suspect you're going to have a hard time finding any that does not have any treatment on it

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  3. #3
    FLTurtle's Avatar
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    Hammock Gear uses untreated 950 fp:

    Customizable Down Fill Options
    • RDS Certified 850 Fill Power DWR treated Goose Down
    • RDS Certified 950 Fill Power untreated Goose Down

  4. #4
    DGrav's Avatar
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    For years I questioned if treated down made a real world difference. How could I tell if the quilt I was carrying would have performed differently if it didnít have treated down?

    Then a few years back I took my brother in law with me on a backpacking trip and decided to wash the four quilts we took with us when I got home. Three had treated down and one did not. The treated ones dried in a cycle and a half in the dryer with no tennis balls and now plucking of clumps apart. The non treated quilt took four and a half cycles with tennis balls and stopping the dryer every thirty minutes to pick the clumps apart.

    The fast drying benefit was enough to convince me that treated down was more than just snake oil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGrav View Post
    For years I questioned if treated down made a real world difference. How could I tell if the quilt I was carrying would have performed differently if it didnít have treated down?

    Then a few years back I took my brother in law with me on a backpacking trip and decided to wash the four quilts we took with us when I got home. Three had treated down and one did not. The treated ones dried in a cycle and a half in the dryer with no tennis balls and now plucking of clumps apart. The non treated quilt took four and a half cycles with tennis balls and stopping the dryer every thirty minutes to pick the clumps apart.

    The fast drying benefit was enough to convince me that treated down was more than just snake oil.
    Perfect...exactly what I was lookin for...a real world experience! I hadnít thought of the washing/drying benefit.
    I guess barring a disaster where a quilt accidentally falls in a river, itís more likely the benefit will be felt off trail than on trail.

  6. #6
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Years back I was dubious about its value and suspicious of its performance over time but I'm now convinced that it works as advertised. I first bought a 50deg EE Revelation and really used it a lot in humid/wet conditions to put it thru the wringer and found it worthy.

    There are still some conditions for which I'll choose my Apex quilts (mainly persistent fog/drizzle... sustained very high relative humidity) but IME the treated down really extends the range for quilts that employ it.
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    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pnicogen View Post
    Wondering what folks think about regular down vs waterproof down for TQs and BQs. Is it worth it based on actual issues with getting regular down wet? Or is it a gimmick? Whatís the probability an event would occur such that waterproof down would make a difference?
    I have never really put my treated down quilts to the test to see if there is much practical difference vs non treated or synthetic. With the exception of I have not been bothering with VBs or a frost bib this winter, an have had plenty of breath condensation near my face. And have noticed no problems. But let's face it, most of us are not going to have noticeable problems with our regular down most of the time on our shorter trips(though I have noticed some issues overnight before from that condensation of breath, solved with a frost bib) . Or even longer trips if there is sunshine and time available for daily drying. And/or if you don't have to pack up in a hurry in the morning to hit the trail, giving quilts some drying time before stuffing them into sacks/pack.

    But you ask "Whatís the probability an event would occur such that waterproof down would make a difference?". IMO, the main problem that is likely to happen, not counting unlikely events like a leaking tarp or soaking fog or blowing snow/rain that gets under the tarp, is condensation inside the quilts. And the odds of this happening are quite high. I have seen it happen more than once. In fact, IMO, , it is the norm and can become a problem unless there is adequate time and sunshine for drying. Anytime it is cold enough for the dew point to move 1/8" inside the breathable shell, it happens. We all know how likely it is that our breath vapor will condense into liquid as we exhale on a cold day. Or when it hits our cold windshield. Or onto the worlds most breathable piece of fleece that is serving as a frost bib right in front of our face, in my case one time even inside a sock(warmer than outside the sock, the bib still got soaked).

    So, IMO and IME, the probability is quite high. It is happening to all of us most of the time. But since most of the time most of us are sleeping at temps above the rating of our quilts, we do not notice the decrease in the warmth of out quilts thru the night. And if we have some drying time, or the trip is short enough, we might never notice. But you can rest assured it is happening. And if we took our quilts out of a waterproof stuff sack when we got home after a cold enough 3 day trip or maybe even 2 day without drying, and weighed them and measured the loft, the condensation that had occurred would be obvious.

    It has been for me, though it was not enough to cause me problems in the field . Then again, one time (and it was pre-hammock days) I noticed significant(25%) loft loss once I got home, but had stayed warm anyway, I was using a minus 5 rated bag at +15F on the coldest and last night. So I got away with it. I think there have been one or 2 folks here at HF that have also reported loss of loft even on shorter trips, but I can't remember if they were all from soaking fog or just condensation. And I have hammock hanging friends who had loft loss on 4-5 day trips, apparently all from condensation of body vapor, or maybe sweat. So the probability of that problem is quite high IMO, though it might not be enough to cause actual problems. Depending on temps vs quilt ratings, length of trip and drying opportunities.

  8. #8
    Crawldaddy's Avatar
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    Good points everyone.. I have been into 4-5 days of continual drizzle on my AT hike where my 40* treated top quilt had shrunk down into paper thin thickness from just the humidity, thick fog, etc

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawldaddy View Post
    Good points everyone.. I have been into 4-5 days of continual drizzle on my AT hike where my 40* treated top quilt had shrunk down into paper thin thickness from just the humidity, thick fog, etc
    Good to know I'm not the only one to observe this. Some years back, pre-hammock, on a 3-night trip to Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek (WV) I took my synthetic Prodigy (pre-cursor to the Revelation Apex) because such conditions were expected, and boy-o-boy did Mama Nature deliver it big-time. I was sleeping in a single wall silnylon Duomid (pyramid tarp) and was socked in with rain and fog the entire time. At night, condensation on the inside of the Duomid was dislodged by big raindrops outside, which created a constant mist inside. The Prodigy quilt worked very well despite being darn near waterlogged at times. I actually wrung it out and shook it before stuffing it. At 17.7oz it is kinda heavy as 40deg quilts go these days, but it was solid gold in those conditions because I truly do not believe that any down bag would've survived that weather.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    Good to know I'm not the only one to observe this. Some years back, pre-hammock, on a 3-night trip to Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek (WV) I took my synthetic Prodigy (pre-cursor to the Revelation Apex) because such conditions were expected, and boy-o-boy did Mama Nature deliver it big-time. I was sleeping in a single wall silnylon Duomid (pyramid tarp) and was socked in with rain and fog the entire time. At night, condensation on the inside of the Duomid was dislodged by big raindrops outside, which created a constant mist inside. The Prodigy quilt worked very well despite being darn near waterlogged at times. I actually wrung it out and shook it before stuffing it. At 17.7oz it is kinda heavy as 40deg quilts go these days, but it was solid gold in those conditions because I truly do not believe that any down bag would've survived that weather.
    Do you find that condensation issues with hammocks to be less of a problem than with tents? Since most of my camping will be at temps >freezing, Iíll only have a bug net on top and a tarp overhead.

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