A couple of weeks ago I attended the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market to get a glimpse at what was coming down the pipeline in new gear and new technology. There were several things that caught my eye this year and one of the most interesting was Dri-Down. Most of us know that down is by far the best insulation when it comes to warmth. But down’s warmth comes with a caveat, it does not work well when it is wet. Scientists have long been trying to mimic the insulating properties of down and while the synthetics out there are good, they just can’t beat the warmth of Down.
This summer Sierra Designs will introduce Dri-Down to the market. What makes this down special? Well, Sierra Designs has treated each individual plume of down with a proprietary process that applies a hydrophobic polymer to the plume all the way down to the molecular level. What does this mean in English? Dri-Down repels water. Sierra Designs claims that Dri-Down will stay dry in the presence of natural body moisture 7 times longer than untreated down and that is will dry 3 times faster. This process also means that Dri-Down has a 98% loft retention which means that your bag will stay up to 15 degrees warmer than a bag that has lost its loft.
The picture to the right shows two canisters that rotate like a Ferris wheel. Both canisters have equal amounts of water and equal amounts of down. The one on the left is Dri-Down and the one on the right is untreated down. These canisters were turned over so that the water infiltrated all of the down and then turned back to drain about 30 seconds before the photo was taken (please excuse the quality of the phone, I was trying to be discreet). As you can see the Dri-Down has retained much of its loft as compared to the untreated down. You can also see that the Dri-Down has shed about 4x as much water as the untreated down.
Interested for more? Check out this YouTube Video from Sierra Designs explaining Dri-Down further.
Look for the Sierra Designs Dri-Down bags at ACK around early summer.