Luis Brown, Environmental Consultant at Nikwax Ltd, recently took to a lake in East Sussex in a sleeping bag filled with Nikwax Hydrophobic Down. He floated from one side to the other before emerging, warm and (nearly completely) dry with a lofty sleeping bag by his side. Whilst appearing to be utterly bonkers, what the demonstration showed is that a) their gear works and b) they wanted to show us is that it works without having to resort to using environmentally damaging chemicals. Tick on both counts.
Down has long been an insulator favoured by outdoor enthusiasts because of its unbeatable insulation to weight ratio. But its propensity to absorb water and lose its loft and insulation properties tends to make it unsuitable for more challenging weather conditions, because when regular down gets wet users get cold.
Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) can solve this problem. They tell us that according to third party lab reports, products made with NHD absorb substantially less water – in fact it’s an impressive 13 times less than standard processed down. It can also retain more loft than other fluorocarbon-free treatments on the market in damp conditions.
So as Luis’ demo showed us items filled with NHD will keep the wearer warm and dry, and it extends the versatility of the product:
So here’s the techie stuff…the science behind NHD lies partly behind the encapsulation of each down filament with a flexible Durable Water Repellent [DWR] finish, created by Nikwax. This reduces absorption of moisture, protecting down from perspiration, condensation and precipitation, whilst also maintaining loft and insulation in cold and damp conditions. NHD also demonstrates improved drying times and will withstand repeat washing. Additionally, no extra weight is added to NHD-treated down.
Nick Brown, CEO and Founder of Nikwax says: “Taking the ethical route rather than the easy-money road is a difficult decision for some, but minimising our environmental impact was always the way for me. I am proud that Nikwax can solve problems in a sustainable way and we achieve results superior to those offered by competing, less environmentally friendly formulas. It’s a win for the customer and sustainability.”
Oh and don’t try this at home! This demonstration should not be taken as a literal example of what to do with Nikwax Hydrophobic Down sleeping bags. Please do not go to sea in your sleeping bag or use your Nikwax Hydrophobic Down jacket as a buoyancy aid!