UK company Berghaus made the first move towards water resistant down with their Mount Asgard Hybrid Jacket launch last fall. Now Sierra Designs has jumped on board with their new DriDown technology, working to eliminate one of down's main shortcomings.
Down has the best warmth to weight ratio of any insulation, ideal for use in outdoor gear. The only problem, down completely loses its thermal efficiency once wet. Looking to improve upon the overall performance of down, many outdoor companies are finding ways to treat the individual down feathers to help them perform better under wet conditions.
Using a proprietary process, Sierra Design's DriDown technology applies a molecular level polymer to the individual down plumes during the finishing process. With this new hydrophobic finish, DriDown supposedly stays dry 7 times longer than untreated down.
Extremely beneficial for sleeping bags, DriDown will maintain 98% of its loft, even after spending a night in a high humidity environment such as the inside of your bag. DriDown will also dry 33% faster if it does happen to get wet, resulting in a drier, warmer, and more comfortable night's sleep.
Sierra Designs will release a line of 5 DriDown sleeping bags for Summer 2012, following with a DriDown apparel line for Fall 2012. The 600 fill DriDown men's and women's sleeping bags will range in price from $199 to $320, and start shipping through REI on June 1.
For Fall 2012, Brooks Range will release the new Mojave Jacket ($299), stuffed with an 800-fill down that is treated with DownTec technology. Similar to DriDown, DownTec applies a micro-thin polymer to the down feathers that renders them water repellent, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and able to float on water.
Traditional bedding company Down Decor has also come out with a supply of water resistant down for the outdoor industry that I will get to see at Outdoor Retailer next week.