Waterproof jacket in need of a little TLC after a hard season of abuse? Got your down sleeping bag soaked on a soggy bivvy night? Well, don’t get your feathers in a flap, the team at Ambleside have a new washing machine and they’re not afraid to use it.
Down jackets, sleeping bags and waterproof jackets are fantastic bits of kit: decades of technological developments going into keeping you warm and dry when it’s cold and wet outside. But both need a bit of looking after to keep performing at their best.
Waterproof fabrics are coated in a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) to keep their outer surface dry. DWRs do eventually wear off though and your garments can pick up skin oils, bits of dirt and other particles which stop the DWR coating from working effectively. When this happens, moisture stops beading on the outer surface and soaks into the material of your jacket. We call this process ‘wetting out’ and it inhibits your waterproofs’ breathability, making it harder to transport your body’s moisture out. That wet feeling inside your jacket is often just a build-up of sweat rather than a serious leak. With the industry move tomore environmentally friendly DWR's it'seven more important to be on top of your re-proofing too.
When down gets wets, the plumes can clump together, completely losing their loft and the ability to trap still, insulating air. Down needs to be evenly distributed within the baffles and the individual plumes fully lofted to work effectively. Hydrophobic down is less prone to this process, and the plumes do recover their loft better when exposed to moisture, but it is still susceptible.
With the prices involved in purchasing waterproofs and down items, we know that washing them yourself can sometimes be a bit daunting. Never mind the fact that you need a bigol’ tumble drier too! We will be using Nikwax® cleaning products and can wash and dry: waterproof jackets & trousers, insulated jackets, sleeping bags, expedition suits and salopettes.
For prices and more information visit our Repair Station page.