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Water resistant down has interesting properties which make it appealing for outdoor applications. However, it is not widely available and seems to be only offered in certain fill powers.

How is the water resistant treatment applied? Are gear manufacturers responsible for waterproofing the down, or do they purchase it that way from the down vendors? Is there any way to apply this new water resistant treatment to down at home or on a small scale?

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Gear manufacturers generally purchase the down (waterproofed or not) from suppliers. There are several water resistant down products, but they all work withing a small range of results with the same basic tech.

Things to know:

  • It's water resistant not water proof. For jackets this means you can probably withstand sweat and a light shower, but not a rainstorm.
  • Down still loses its insulating properties when wet. Current water resistant techs don't change this, they just help prevent the down from getting wet.

The best place for this is sleeping bags. This increases the chance that accidental exposure to rain (or other moisture) will not leave you without insulation at night. For jackets, in my opinion, you're still going to want a hard shell solution.

Types:

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  • Your answer allowed me to get started on my research. Thanks! I found more information about the process of treating the down from industry sources. If you agree, I can edit and add to your answer. Alternatively I can create a separate answer with the specific information. – ppl Apr 17 '13 at 20:24
  • Yes, please edit and update! – Russell Steen Apr 17 '13 at 20:30

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