GRANGER'S DOWN CARE KIT
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
January 01, 2019
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6' 2" (1.88 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 50 years ago. My first backpacking trip was about 45 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, down bag, simple bag style pack.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Granger's International Ltd.
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.grangers-usa.com
Measured Weight: 12.3 oz (350 g) - the bottle of cleaning liquid
Measured Weight 1 oz (28 g) - one of three dryer balls
Volume: 10 fl oz (300 ml) (enough for 3 jackets or 2 sleeping bags)
The Grangers Down Care Kit cleans and adds water repellency to down and synthetic filled articles. It's recommended for all fabrics including Gore-Tex. The kit also includes three balls to put in the dryer to fluff up down articles as they dry.
I couldn't find anything about what the ingredients are. This product is not on their website, so no information there.
The package contains a bottle of 10 ounces (300 ml) of liquid. It says to use 2 capfuls (100 ml) (3.5 ounces) per jacket or 3 capfuls (150 ml) (5 ounces) per sleeping bag. For top loading or high capacity washing machines double the amount. So, for a regular washing machine, one bottle will treat two sleeping bags or three jackets.
It says to use 30 C (86 F) water. Run the washing machine at slow spin speed and do additional spin cycles if required. I assume that's to remove all the cleaning fluid.
Then, it says to tumble dry, using the three balls for down items to fluff up the down.
The dryer balls are a rigid blue hollow plastic with spikes on the outside. They're about 2.5 inches (6 cm) across.
It says it will work with soft, medium, or hard water.
My washing machine tends to eat things up so I emailed them and they said I could hand wash it rather than using a washing machine, but the water repellency might not be uniform.
It says it's water based which is environmentally responsible. It says it's bluesign approved, which is an environmental safety standard. It says that Grangers supports the responsible down standard which supports the welfare of ducks and geese used for clothing.
There's a label that says "Advanced Polymer Technology". That must refer to the water repellency. A polymer is a molecular structure of strings that are all tangled together. Durable Waterproof Repellant (DWR) coatings are typically a polymer.
I added this after my IR was submitted, after getting additional info:
I talked to a Grangers technician who said that the water repellency treatment was just for the outside fabric. This would be optimum for my sleeping bag because it has a top surface with a heavy DWR coating. He said for non DWR fabric, it might add some water repellency. He also said it might add some water repellency to the down itself.
Grangers has another product, the Down Wash Kit that's similar to this product, the Down Care Kit, except the Wash Kit doesn't have the water repellency treatment. Maybe the Wash Kit would be better for for articles without a water repellent outside fabric - maybe the water repellency treatment is actually a little worse for the down. Maybe the Care Kit would be just as good, so better to just use it. During the Field Report period I will verify that the water resistance of the outside fabric of my sleeping bag is good, and verify that the down is still lofty and warm.
The bottle of fluid, the three dryer balls, and the package they came in:
The Grangers Down Care Kit is used to clean down and synthetic articles and also give them water repellency.
I will use the Grangers Down Care kit to treat a down sleeping bag. Maybe I'll also wash a waterproof breathable jacket, even though that's not the primary target for this product.
I don't like to wash down articles, because it can damage them, but it's been a couple years for my down sleeping bag, and the waterproof breathable jacket needs to be washed occasionally to keep it waterproof and it's been about a year for it.
I should treat them within a couple weeks, then use them on a couple trips to see if they still work.
I have another down sleeping bag that I've used for about half a year. If the Grangers works on my first sleeping bag, I'll use the rest of it on the other sleeping bag in a year or two.
Look forward to my Field Report in a couple months.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I washed and dried my sleeping bag at home. Since I had extra Grangers, I also washed my WPB jacket. Then I used them on a couple trips.
October 16 to 22. Backpack around Mount Hood in north central Oregon. 2 nights of car camping and 4 nights of backpacking. 46 miles (74 km). 9500 feet (2900 m) elevation gain. 33 to 65 F (1 to 16 C). Dry weather.
November 19 to 21. 2 night car camp on south Washington coast. 5 miles (8 km). 40 to 50 F (4 to 10 C). Dry weather.
November 21 to 26. 3 night car camp and 2 night backpack on Deschutes river in north central Oregon. 30 miles (48 km). 900 feet (300 m) elevation gain. 20 to 50 F (-7 to 10 C). Windy and rainy.
December 12 to 19. 6 night car camp on Metolius River in central Oregon. 37 miles (60 km). 1200 feet (400 m) elevation gain. Rainy.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
My sleeping bag is actually a home made quilt. It has 850 FP down and an outside fabric that's breathable with a heavy durable water repellent (DWR) coating (M50). It has a waterproof silnylon bottom.
I talked to the Grangers technician who said that it's okay to hand wash rather than using a machine, but the water repellency might be uneven.
My washing machine is weird so I washed it in a tub. I used several gallons of 86 F (30 C) water and used three capfuls of the Grangers. Then I put in the sleeping bag:
I weighted it down to fully submerge:
I left it soaking for about an hour. I occasionally turned the sleeping bag over to get all the down fully soaked. I occasionally agitated it. Then I dumped the liquid - it was quite dirty looking - I assume that was mostly dirt from the outside of my sleeping bag. I rinsed it once. Then I put it in my washing machine and did several rinse and slow spin cycles. I was careful to orient the sleeping bag so it was evenly distributed around the tub so when it spinned, it didn't go out of balance.
Then I put the sleeping bag in the drier. I used the "permanent press" cycle which is half way between the "cotton" cycle and the "air" cycle. A permanent press cycle is not timed, but the washing machine "figures out" when the garments are dry. The temperature cools down towards the end of the cycle. I used the three balls which made a bit of a racket, but not too bad.
After one drier cycle, I pulled the sleeping bag out but it had become balled up so the foot of the bag was still quite damp. I straightened out the sleeping bag and did another cycle.
After the second cycle I pulled out the sleeping bag and hung it up to examine carefully. Most of the down was dry. Most of the baffles were full of fluffed up down. A few of the baffles seemed empty and the down for them was clumped up in a wad. I did another cycle.
After the third cycle it was better but some of the down was still clumped up. I did another cycle.
After the fourth cycle I could not detect any clumped up down. All the baffles were full of down. I weighed it and it was the same weight as when I started, so there must be virtually no water left in the sleeping bag. I hung it up to dry for a week to make sure it's fully dry. It seems like the down fills the baffles just as good as it did before treatment, so there was no adverse effect by the Grangers treatment.
Before taking it on a trip I made sure all the down was fully distributed in all baffles. For a couple baffles, the down was shifted a bit to one side so there were thin spots. I have to do this routinely before each trip. Sometimes I'll do this a little during a trip, especially if I notice a thin spot. So, I would conclude the Grangers treatment has not reduced the loft of the down any.
I carefully sniffed and couldn't detect any smell, the Grangers is odorless.
I sprinkled some water on the outside and it beaded up, about the same as before. The Grangers hasn't made the water resistance better or worse.
Since I had left over Grangers, I also washed my waterproof breathable (WPB) jacket. It's made from Pertex Shield which is similar to Gore-Tex. I used 1 capful of Grangers and about 1.5 gallons (3 liters) of water that was about 86 F (30 C). I mixed the Grangers in a bucket, then added the jacket. I agitated it occasionally with my hands over about a 1 hour period. The water was rather dirty looking when done. I dumped the water, rinsed it in some more warm water, then put it through a cycle of rinse and spin in the washing machine, then a cycle of permanent press in the dryer. I dripped a little water on it and it beaded up - the DWR seems to be working.
Now, let's go camping...
In total, I did three trips, 13 nights of car camping, and 6 nights of backpacking. I walked 118 miles (190 km). I did 11600 feet (3500 m) of elevation gain.
On the Mt Hood trip it got down to 33 F (1 C). On the Deschutes trip it got down to 20 F (-7 C) one night, plus I was sleeping under the stars on a clear night which makes it feel as though it's even colder. On the Metolius trip it got down to 28 F (-2 C). I was plenty warm all nights. If any thing, this is better than my quilt was before. Based on this, I think the loft of the down was fully restored with the Grangers.
On that 20 degree F (-7 C) night the quilt was covered with frost and it stayed dry inside. On the Metolius trip one night it rained a lot and knocked condensation onto the outside of my quilt, which was then fairly wet. The quilt and down stayed dry inside. Again, if anything this is better than my quilt ever was. Based on this, I think the water repellent coating was fully restored with the Grangers.
On the Deschutes trip I walked in the rain in my rain jacket. It rained about 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) on each of two days. On the Metolius trip it rained even more. Inside the rain jacket it was totally dry. I also did some fairly brisk walking up to about 40 F (5 C) and didn't get sweaty, so the rain jacket retained it's breathability. This is about the same as when the rain jacket was new. Based on this, I think the water repellency was fully restored with the Grangers.
I noticed no smell after cleaning. On the quilt, I slept with my face against the quilt and would have noticed any odor.
The Grangers down care kit successfully washed my down quilt. The loft of the down and water repellency of the outer shell were fully restored.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
I had extra cleaner left over so I also cleaned my waterproof breathable jacket. The water repellency of the fabric was fully restored.
Rather than washing in my washing machine, I hand washed both. I don't trust my machine not to damage them. Grangers customer support said this was acceptable but the water repellency might be non uniform. I found that hand washing worked fine. I made sure and fully dissolved the cleaner into a tub of warm water before putting in the jacket/quilt. I rinsed and spun them in my washing machine.
I used my drier to dry the quilt and jacket. I used the drier balls and ran 4 cycles for the quilt. I also manually de-clumped the down. The jacket took just one cycle.
I still have a little cleaner left. I'll probably use it on my jacket again in a year or so. The next time I need to buy a cleaner I'll likely buy Grangers. I might buy a different Grangers product that's just for water repellency for the jacket.
Thanks to Granger's International Ltd. and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test this.
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