The upsides to down jackets are manifold: down provides an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, it’s fluffy and simultaneously compressible. Admittedly, there is one downside that never seems to go away: What happens if a rock tears a hole in your jacket, you accidently burn a hole in it at the campfire or that devilish little dog of yours sinks its teeth into it when you’re not looking? Well, one thing is certain: once a down jacket has a small hole or a tear in it, it can be hard to repair.
But, have no fear: I’ll let you in on a few secrets so that you won’t have to throw away your precious down jacket!
Winter is the time to get down
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to feel the warmth of a down jacket, you’ll know how hard it is to go without. Plus, it’s literally as light as a feather! Once it’s found a place in your wardrobe, it’ll be as essential to everyday life as a proper British cuppa!
However, as surprising as it may sound, even down jackets have their fair share of enemies: things such as lighted cigarettes, flying embers from a campfire, thorny plants and particularly rough rock or sharp crampons, to name a few. One wrong move and all of the sudden there’s a huge gaping hole in your jacket. The perfect escape for the precious down! Now what?
Repair and don’t despair!
Fortunately, the very thin outer material is usually made of very tough and tearproof Ripstop fabric – mostly polyamide – which can withstand more than you think. This is due to the special reinforcing technique used during weaving that serves to prevent a hole expanding after the material has been damaged.
Nevertheless, it is important to repair even the smallest of snags, for only then can we protect the very sensitive down and stop warmth escaping the interior. After all, it would not only be a downright shame to throw the jacket away but also the last resort for all you environmentally-conscious outdoor enthusiasts out there! That’s why we took it upon ourselves to put together a couple of options for you to breathe some more life into your jacket!
Manufacturer’s repair service
First, it’s always a good idea to contact the manufacturer of the jacket. Brands such as Mammut, Yeti or Arc’teryx offer professional repair services for damaged jackets. Unfortunately, these services can be costly, but depending on how expensive your jacket is, it may be something worth considering.
Other repair services
The second option: Daniel from our customer service team recommends contacting a repairer of outdoor clothing for advice. The repairs will be carried out by a highly skilled and experienced team –and all that at a fair price.
A third and less expensive option is to patch the hole yourself. If the hole is just a few millimetres in diameter, use some sealing tape, such as McNett’s Tenacious This will at least temporarily take care of the hole. Since the tape is only available in a small tube, it won’t take up too much room in your pack. Plus, you’ll always have it on you for any emergencies.
Also very effective and easy: a quick repair using good ol’ Duct Tape. Of course, it won’t look good, but it’ll hold! Truthfully, though, this method is only for emergencies. Once you put it on, it’s really hard to take off! So, if you’re considering having the jacket professionally repaired when you get back, I would recommend using tape sparingly.
Another tip from a colleague of ours, Steffen: patches for bike tubes (see picture on the right). They may not look the best, but they stick pretty well.
Last but not least, there are also special patches made of polyamide (nylon) that come in a variety of colours. These are self-adhesive and thus very easy to use. A disadvantage to using these is that they don’t stick particularly well, since most of the outer material used for down jackets is very smooth (think Pertex, Ripstop Nylon, Helium and Mountain Equipment’s Drilite or Arc’teryx’s Colibri). So, the patch may come off. These patches are more suitable for rougher fabrics, such as those commonly used for hardshell jackets. In sum, all three DIY options mentioned here are best for emergencies when you’re out and about! Taping those little snags and holes caused by ice tools or crampons is great to temporarily keep the cold and moisture out of the interior of your down jacket, but it is by no means a permanent solution.
As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to fix, if only temporarily, a torn down jacket. However, repairing the highly technical and thin outer shells of down jackets should be left to professionals. Even though DIY methods are temporary, they can come in really handy on the trails to prevent worse things happening.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at +49 (0)7121/70 12 0 or per E-Mail.