The next time you think Mother Nature has lost her edge to science, consider this fact. Despite all of the advanced synthetic insulators on the market today, no material boasts a better warmth to weight ratio than down. The trouble is that down’s got a serious achilles heel. As most outdoor enthusiasts know, its thermal efficiency goes out the window when wet, which is the main reason synthetics have triumphed in professional gear. Sierra Design’s newly announced DriDown is making serious waves at this year’s 2012 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show, mainly because it claims to have solved down’s greatest weakness.
DriDown is a molecular level polymer that is applied to individual down plumes during the finishing process, which allows the feathers to stay dry seven times longer when exposed to moisture compared to the untreated variety. More importantly, it can maintain 98% of its loft (which is critical to heat trapping) after a full night in high humidity environments, and it also dries 33% faster. While we’re sure the material will make its way into a whole host of products, for now Sierra Designs has announced a full line of 600 fill DriDown sleeping bags that includes the Zissou 0 HI (3 lb, 1 oz; $299), Zissou 15 (2 lb, 11 oz; $259), and Zissou 30 LITE (2 lb, 1 oz; $199). Don’t expect to doze off in one this winter, though, as they’re expected to hit retails shelves mid-July, exclusively at REI stores and REI.com
Buy Now: $199+ (Available Mid-July)