synthetic puffy longevity


Original Post
mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

What are others experience with how long their puffy jackets last before packing out/delofting? Clearly it will depend on use, but any rules of thumb?

It's on my mind as I go to replace my 60g/m mountain hardware jacket that has turned into not much more than a glorified windbreaker after a few years.

I was amused by this quote on another thread

"Thank you for contacting Arc'teryx. The longevity of the Coreloft highly depend and use and storage. The worst thing for Coreloft is to compress it. I have seen Coreloft lasting as few as 3-4 months when used for driving a car for 1-2 hour daily. Just the compression between the back and the seat broke the fibres down in no time. The same can happen when Coreloft is stored in a tight compression sack for an extended period.

When used as a mid-layer and stored properly, it can last for many years. I have an Atom LT Hoody from 3 years ago and it sill looks brand new and haven't lost any of its loft."

fossana · · leeds, ut · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 12,086

I have a circa 2011 North Face Redpoint jacket (my favored insulated climbing jacket), which has been stuffed (and sometimes stored that way) repeatedly. It's down to ~50% loft compared to the same vintage one that rarely gets compressed.

Dirk · · QUEENS NEW YORK · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 5

I have had my Patagonia DAS Parka for 10 years and it still has a "feels-like" loft of 80% or more of the original. Toasty! It never, ever goes in a stuff sack.

Can't say that any of the synthetic sleeping bags I've owned have matched that. Eventually they become completely worthless.

John Ryan · · Poncha Springs, CO · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 150

I have no idea because my puffies get shredded, burnt, drowned, or lost long before they lose loft.

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 25

theyre basically disposable items so dont spend too much on em ... get em on sale

someone did test on em and found they lost 30-40% of their insulative ability in a few weeks/months of use

The following are the reading for the four Rab Xenon's, the two I compared in the charts (bolded), and what they have been exposed to.

Juicy new = 8/16" – .016
Juicy used = 6/16" – .012 (CA rec use) Not stuffed; not slept in; and hung up between uses
Green used = 7/16" – .009 (CA for 2 wk) Not stuffed; worn for camp chores; and slept in
Brown used = 8/16" – .007 (AK for 3.5 wk) Stuffed daily; worn for camp chores; and slept in

-------

You asked, "The Xenon, stuffed, loses more than half it's clo?"

Yes. After a 3.5 week backpacking trip in AK, my previously new RAB Xenon tested at a 47% reduced insulation value.

You asked, "If we can extrapolate the 25% improvement by putting a wind-blocking barrier over the fleece, it looks as if the Xenon, once used in a backpacking scenario, slowly becomes only about 50% warmer than a 100 weight fleece with a windproof barrier?

Close. A 1/4 zip 100 wt fleece, with a properly sized wind-shirt or hard-shell over it, has an Iclo of ~.424 versus a RAB Xenon, after 3.5 of weeks of backpacking, at .642; so, the RAB Xenon is only 34% warmer. A related question is, does a synthetic garment's reduced insulation from use still provide you adequate static insulation value for your anticipated low temperature?

----------

50% is a clo loss plateau for short-staple synthetic insulations and it cannot be recovered. The first 30% occurs quickly and the next 20% a little slower.

I have MUCH less lab test data for continuous synthetic insulation (two Montbell Thermawrap Pro Hoodies). No stuffing occurred in these tests. After two years of casual wear there is a 40% clo loss.

It is interesting to note that the latest fleece versions (Thermal Pro) will also experience a maximum of 30% clo loss after approximately two weeks of conventional backpacking use. In contrast to short staple synthetics, they will recover 100% of their clo value by vigorous shaking or fluffing in a dryer for a short time. Classic fleece doesn't experience a clo loss with backpacking use but, its clo/oz is lower than an equivalent warmth Thermal Pro version.



http://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/101420/

as mentioned above ... NEVER stuff your synth poofay into a stuff sack or its own pocket if you want it to last ... simply put it loosely at the top of a pack

and never store it compressed

and dont wear it around town/drive sitting down on it (the dead bird story in the OP)

;)

mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 550

Bear is correct - for PL Gold, buy 'em cheap. I've found plenty of the PLG 60g jackets for sub $90. EMS, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean etc all make a 60g that's damn close to the big names. You often can find the big names for 50% off if you wait and shop well. 60g Rabs are my personal favorite but it;s hard to beat $70 super clearance prices on the "2nd Tier" goods.

While many scoff at the "lesser" PL Silver I believe there's a reason certain manufacturers spec that vs the Gold and it's NOT just to increase margins. I think they know the Silver holds up better to compression and use. They trade super light for longevity. BD and Patagonia do this this with their "heavier" puffies. I think the same holds true with the 800FL downs vs 650-700. I've noticed my 650s feel warmer after some use and now tend to look for 650 if possible.

Currently, I'm most intrigued by the Down Blends that use Primaloft as well. They seem REALLY warm and the blends with 650 could be a great combination.

The 800FP and PLG builds are nice but really only needed for the go fast and light crowd who can replace them as needed.

mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

Great information in all these posts - thanks!

Amplifies what I have experienced, but not thought carefully about. I also hadn't realized that my experiences with high loft down might not be specific to me either. Dang.

Seems like wearing a puffy with a pack on is also bound to impact its loft.

Bottom line, new puffy every year or expect to shiver? :(

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 40

I don't have any data or links to post, just my experience with my Arcteryx Dually...

I bought my Dually after the second day ever putting on a harness eight years ago. The plan the next day was to climb Guinness Gully, my first multi pitch! My down ski coat filled the entire 35 liter pack I bought after the first day ice climbing. I went to Monod's and asked the girl working there if she had an ice climbing coat. She must have laughed inside but helped me out.

Last winter was a warm one on the east coast. I didn't wear that belay jacket much this year but the few times I did, the Dually kept me just as warm as the day I bought it. Maybe the $650 is really worth it?

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

I have had a rab xenon X for 3 years now, the insulation in the shoulders is completely flat, the back is all most completely flat, as is the front, the sleeves are the only part with a noticeable amount of loft, really glad i have had it for all these years but i think it's time for a new jacket, maybe i will get a cheap down puffy for daily use. Does anybody have any idea how you would store synthetic jackets? I store my synthetic sleeping bag un stuffed and folded over it's self to reduce space, but storing jackets seems like it will be a bit trickier.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 105

Hmmm interesting stuff here. So when you put them in your pack do you just keep them loose?

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228
Bill Kirby wrote:I don't have any data or links to post, just my experience with my Arcteryx Dually... I bought my Dually after the second day ever putting on a harness eight years ago. The plan the next day was to climb Guinness Gully, my first multi pitch! My down ski coat filled the entire 35 liter pack I bought after the first day ice climbing. I went to Monod's and asked the girl working there if she had an ice climbing coat. She must have laughed inside but helped me out. Last winter was a warm one on the east coast. I didn't wear that belay jacket much this year but the few times I did, the Dually kept me just as warm as the day I bought it. Maybe the $650 is really worth it?
Dually's Thermatek insulation is a continuous filament type as opposed to short staple insulations like Primaloft One/Gold and Coreloft. It should last longer. Other than saying synthetics don't last as long as down, I think generalizations are hard to make with so many distinct synthetic insulations out. As an example, Polartec's Alpha is very close in structure to their Thermal Pro fleece, and you can see it pretty clearly in the new Alpha Direct coming out. Will it have the same durability as fleece? Dunno.
bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 25
Scott McMahon wrote:Hmmm interesting stuff here. So when you put them in your pack do you just keep them loose?
Yes just stuff em loosely at the top

Works fine because itll likely be the first thing u need out of the pack anyways

;)
Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 105
bearbreeder wrote: Yes just stuff em loosely at the top Works fine because itll likely be the first thing u need out of the pack anyways ;)
It's just one of those things I guess I never thought about. No more stuff sacks for this guy!
Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 40

I also make sure I never leave my belay jacket inside my pack for longer than I have to.

T340 · · Idaho · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 0

And all this time I thought it was just my imagination when I thought that my nanopuffs weren't as warm as when new. That being said, it does seem like that a quick trip through the dryer recovers some of the loft.

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 25
T340 wrote:And all this time I thought it was just my imagination when I thought that my nanopuffs weren't as warm as when new. That being said, it does seem like that a quick trip through the dryer recovers some of the loft.
Dryer on LOW for short periods

At higher temps heat can fuse/melt primaloft

I know someone who melted the insulation on their BD poofay that way

;)
ryanb · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 0

Maybe check out a polartec alpha or patagonia nano air piece for a thin puffy that will get heavy use. My westcomb tango is still warm after 3 years of frequent use.

T340 · · Idaho · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 0

Bear,
Yeah, forgot to mention that I use the low heat or "Tumble" dry setting...

mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

This thread is getting me paranoid.
Ideal storage I suppose is to lay flat or loosely fold, nothing on top. What about putting these on hangers?

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0
mike again wrote:This thread is getting me paranoid. Ideal storage I suppose is to lay flat or loosely fold, nothing on top. What about putting these on hangers?
But what about other sleeping bags on top? I just have a large pile of loosely folded sleeping bags.
T340 · · Idaho · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 0

I should think that normal storage, that is, folded or hung up in the closet would minimize damage to the loft?
??

Where I have screwed up, it appears, is stuffing my puffies into their pocket sacks and keeping em on my climbing harness. Won't be doing that anymore.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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