Apr 5, 2015 at 6:23 pm #1327671W I S N E R !BPL Member
OK, for all the non-smelly-pig-greasy-dirtbag hikers out there, you probably already know this….
For the rest of you, just a simple reminder.
I washed my WM Summerlite for the first time in nearly 5 years today. My bathtub rinse water was opaque brown!
It's really not hard.
Pulled it out of the dryer an hour ago….What a difference. So much loft!
You're not doing yourself or your gear any favors by being a filthy barbarian like me.
Jacob's tutorial is great for the scared and uninitiated.Apr 5, 2015 at 7:16 pm #2189426John KlinepeterBPL Member
@johnzotkLocale: Northern Rockies, USA
Good reminder, Craig.
I have been pleasantly surprised to find that drying my down bags in my home dryer works very well. The largest bag/quilt that I have home-dried weighs about 2 pounds and it worked admirably. I see no need to follow the old guideline of using a commercial dryer; yes, perhaps for larger down items. I take plenty of time on low or no heat, as much as 10 hours, though maybe I am being too conservative and it could be done sooner with a little more heat.Apr 6, 2015 at 9:13 am #2189554Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
I too am always surprised how much dirt appears when washing puffy down and synthetic bags, jackets, vests, etc. And how much loft is regained…often the item appears to be good as new after washing.
I always wash such items in a basin or tub, gently pressing the soapy water through with no squeezing, followed by one or more rinses done in a similar manner. Once I did sort of squeeze the material in my hands and I ended up with down clumps after drying. I think I washed it again, no squeezing, and the clumps disappeared after drying a second time.
I always dry items in my dryer set on low. For down items I add one or two tennis balls thrown in to beat out the clumps.Apr 6, 2015 at 9:58 am #2189574Charley WhiteMember
@charleywhiteLocale: Petaluma, CA
Maybe I'll try it. Never have with my 15yo WM Versalite. Though I regularly sponge bathe the greasy/screeny neck area and the shell for trail dust. Since I use this 15deg bag year round, maybe I'm unconsciously enjoying its loft loss. But now I'm curious about the rinse color I'd get so am motivated to now wash it in the coming decade. :)Apr 6, 2015 at 1:20 pm #2189662Brad ArnettSpectator
@bradarnettLocale: Northern Michigan
I was just given an old "snow lion" bag that is quite dirty and seems to have lost loft. This thread just reminded me that I need to wash it and see what I have.Apr 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm #2189711bradmacmtBPL Member
"I was just given an old "snow lion" bag that is quite dirty and seems to have lost loft. This thread just reminded me that I need to wash it and see what I have"
LOL, I had several Snow Lion items in the 70's… since they went out of business around 1980 I'd bet yours may need washing!Apr 7, 2015 at 2:38 pm #2189953Steven McAllisterBPL Member
@brooklynkayakLocale: Arizona, US
I also am amazed at how much loft appears after years of use and then a wash.
I don't use a dryer at all. I don't want to take a chance of damaging the delicate material inside the bag.
I very carefully lay mine over a fold-out drying rack, direct a fan to blow through the rack and flip it over every half a day.
I will start fluffing when most of the water has evaporated. This is to distribute/spread out the wet clumps of down.
It doesn't take much fluffing after its totally dry.
Best time inside the home is in the winter when the air is dry and I don't do as much hiking.
Otherwise outside in the sun.Apr 7, 2015 at 4:30 pm #2189983Nate LeeBPL Member
Yea I'm guilty.
Gonna wash mine. We shall see..Apr 16, 2020 at 11:14 pm #3641712drew dotyBPL Member
Resurrection….I recently have been hand washing my old down gear and have been amazed at how much filth comes out when hand washing. It is now my preferred method. I just don’t think the machine washer can really get all the funk out. I’ve washed many of my down items in commercial washers and was never really happy with the outcome but washing in a small plastic tub in my bathtub has restored all my down to its original glory. Do your self a favor and hand wash your gear. On the final rinse out I drain and fill the plastic container about 8-10 times to really make sure no soap is left inside my stuff. I then squeeze out as much water as I can then put in dryer on low with tennis balls. I take the items out of the dryer every 20 ish mins to hand sort through all baffles to pull feathers apart to speed up drying times. Just thought I would share for others who might have time at home right now to do these cleanings.Apr 17, 2020 at 12:20 am #3641721Rex SandersBPL Member
@rexLocale: Central California Coast
If you want to lose the stink but can’t bear to wash your down precious (or other sweaty gear), Revivex Odor Eliminator aka Mirazyme can work wonders, and it’s pretty easy to use.
But eventually even 25 year old sleeping bags need a real wash. Definitely improves the loft – and the smell.
— RexApr 17, 2020 at 10:48 am #3641763Brad PBPL Member
I have a front loader washer that has a super gentle cycle. So gentle, the bag is still pretty wet when it comes out.
Then it goes into the dryer on a comparable gently, low cycle with some tennis balls. It takes several cycles.
And I use Nikwax.Apr 17, 2020 at 11:52 am #3641767David USpectator
I haven’t had a shower is 4 days binge watching Netflix and you want me to wash my down? Get in line.
; )Apr 17, 2020 at 2:55 pm #3641792Axel JBPL Member
One question that I have is how much of that dirt and grime is actually on the feathers? Seems like the shell would hold most of it. Then to add to that, getting the feathers soaked and washed would spread the dirt to the feathers possibly making them dirtier than when you started whereby several rinses would be required to ultimately get back to a clean state.Apr 17, 2020 at 7:57 pm #3641837KarenBPL Member
I’ve always just put down bags and jackets in the washer (front load) and then the dryer (with clean tennis ball and not for too long, watch the heat). Seems to work just fine. I don’t lose any extra feathers by doing so. Cheap bags and jackets lose feathers from day one, and really nice quality ones don’t. We wear down jackets all winter and I wash them all in the spring before storage. No problem.Apr 18, 2020 at 6:49 pm #3641994Steven ThompsonBPL Member
My old Snow Lion bag is still quite lofty. In general I wash my down and synthetic puffy gear after each season. The water almost always gets a gray cast, so yes they need the regular care.Apr 18, 2020 at 8:21 pm #3642002drew dotyBPL Member
I guess my point in reviving this old thread was to let y’all know that I have had way better luck hand washing than using the front loading washers. Hand washing you are able to control the cleaning process so much more and ultimately get a cleaner and more lofty bag or garment. I think they key is to use the recommended detergent and then rinse the shit out of it. No soap left in it at all. I then squeeze as much water out as possible. And then squeeze more out to help the drying time. Anyway! I hope you are all doing well and hopefully we can get our newly cleaned gear out on trail!Apr 18, 2020 at 10:28 pm #3642024Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Almost all the time, I’ve slept in quite cold weather, seldom in winter, but cold due to the altitude or season, or both. And in a tent. Upstairs, there is usually a puffy synthetic sweater, as well as pants if it’s really cold, plus a clean pair of sox and oversox if feet are cold. So layering, but no sweating. In the unlikely event that sweating occurs, the whole bottom of the bag is unzipped from the feet up to the chest. When it gets colder in the wee hours, it is quick to just zip it up.
From threads on WPB rain gear, learned I’ve got a low metabolism, and the above does not apply to many people. But for some, the need to wash the bag is so seldom that I would pay Rainy Pass or the like to wash it professionally. Guess this hasn’t happened because new and better sleepwear has come out and the old bags were discarded, not because they were dirty or smelly, just because the material or zippers had worn out.
Limiting the bag weight and adding puffies also used in camp when necessary helps to keep the sleepwear weight to the minimum.
But am sure most of this thread does indeed apply to many with higher metabolisms, and the advice is good for those folks. Just don’t spread the “guilt” around to where it does not apply. Thanks.
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