mjr wrote:pjclinch wrote:Use it as a general purpose coat and it'll lose loft relatively quickly,
Oooh does it lose loft just from wearing, then? I thought it mainly lost loft if left packed or squashed.
It loses loft through getting dirty, which probably correlates quite closely to wearing it!
Anecdotal, but I have an ME Lightline I bought around 2000 and I only use in proper cold in the middle of nowhere. A pal bought one soon after and used it as a general purpose winter coat, and it was lofting noticeably less than mine within a few months, where mine is still Michelin-Man stylee. It's also been the case that when I've washed dirty down bags myself they get a lot of loft back, and when I send them away to be done professionally the results appear to be better.
Leaving it packed doesn't actually bother it (according to Chris Townsend having talked to people in the industry who've vacuum packed sleeping bags long term and not had them troubled, I would say a reliable source), but it's a reasonable call to not go out of your way to pack/unpack if you don't need to. I generally store down stuff loose after use to make sure it is very thoroughly dried and aired, but when I take my down jacket out as a "just in case", having packed it up from loose, if I don't use it I won't take it out of its stuffsack again when it goes back in the cupboard. It's spent a few years in the cupbaord stuffed as a result, and as above I still look like a blue Bibendum wearing it.
One problem with washing down is you can just chuck it in the machine on a gentle cycle and it'll come out without obviously having died, so it's easy to think there's no problem. Yet the likes of Rab, PHD etc., who are down specialists and have nothing to gain and much to lose by telling you their products are awkward to care for, tell you their products are awkward to care for and recommend professional washing or very careful home washing where that isn't possible.
Another point is that currently fashionable micro-baffle downies are a way to get lower amounts of down in to a garment and not get "lost" in too big a baffle space. This does work and makes lighter jackets with less fill practical, but it reduces the overall insulating efficiency (I guess in large part because of the amount of dead spots caused by far more stitching), so you get closer to the law of diminishing returns the less down there is and closer to a decent synthetic being just as good. Perhaps not unrelated are the number of folk I see wandering around in these on nice days, including right through summer, where I'm in a plain windproof.