Our first down sleeping bag was introduced 50 years ago. At the time, it represented a huge leap in performance for sportsmen seeking warmth, low weight and packability. First used in military sleeping bags during World War II, down is exceptionally warm, lightweight and compressible. Previous insulations such as wool and sheepskin were extremely bulky and heavy, so down represented a massive upgrade.
Despite this initial effectiveness, there was still plenty of room for improvement in the decades that followed. Higher-fill-power down was developed, which delivered more warmth with less material. Design improvements such as baffle stitching prevented settling and clumping, eliminating cold spots. Our product developers sought out new shell and lining materials to make the bags lighter, stronger and softer.
But one drawback to down remained: its inability to insulate when wet. On multiday expeditions in high-humidity or damp conditions, the down would eventually absorb enough moisture to significantly lower the temperature rating of the bag, a potentially dangerous problem. Then our developers discovered DownTek™, an advanced nano technology that coats each down feather with a water-resistant polymer. Our DownTek-treated down sleeping bags stay dry longer and dries faster, making them the pinnacle of camping comfort technology.
What will the next 50 years bring? While we can’t say for sure, with our industry-leading developers on the case, we think it’s pretty safe to say there will be many more great innovations. Stay tuned.