One question I hear people ask all of the time is, what is the best way to wash a down sleeping bag or down jacket. Many people hesitate to clean their down products but you might be surprised to find out manufacturers actually suggest washing down to remove dirt that reduces the loft of the down. If the down inside your sleeping bag or jacket gets dirty it lowers the effectiveness of the sleeping bag or jacket.
It is important to protect the lightweight fabric from tears. You can do this by turning the bag inside out, checking the dryer for miscellaneous debris, and by avoiding the use of a top load washer with a center agitator. You'll want to use a delicate down wash instead of traditional laundry detergent and wash on the lightest setting.
It is a good idea to reapply a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating to help product the down from getting wet in the backcountry. Using Nikwax Down Proof revives insulation, adds water repellency and re-activates breathability.
You can dry your down sleeping bag in a dryer. It is best to use low heat to not melt the nylon fabric but be sure to let the down dry out completely. You do not want to have wet clumps of down that could potentially grow mold.
The important thing to note is that a clean down sleeping bag will perform better and keep you warmer in cold conditions. Don't be afraid to wash a down sleeping bag. You can learn how to wash a down sleeping back or down jacket in the video below.
Watch the video below to learn how Sierra Trading Post Gear Specialist, Ryan Pennock, suggests washing a down sleeping bag, jacket, or vest.
How to Wash a Down Sleeping Bag
By Andy Hawbaker
October 15, 2012
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