Down Jacket Care 101

Down is nature's best insulator. But if you want to keep your winter puffer performing at its best, it needs a bit of care every now and again. It’s not always as simple as throwing it in the wash, so follow these steps to stay warm in your down gear for years to come.

How to take care of your down jacket

  1. Wash it regularly (but not too often)
  2. Dry it properly
  3. Fix any rips to keep it in play for longer

How to wash your down jacket

You don’t need to wash your down jacket every time you wear it, but a couple of times a year is a great idea. Dirt and oils tend to build up on the down and feathers over time. If you’re wearing your down jacket often, this is most noticeable on the cuffs and neck. You may also notice the down starts to clump as it begins to lose its loft.

Luckily, dealing with a spot stain is an easy fix. Just grab a damp cloth and wipe the affected area. However, if your stain is more stubborn… it may be time to throw it in the washing machine.

For a gentler clean, consider handwashing your jacket with a non-detergent soap. We recommend Nikwax Down Wash Direct®, but be sure to rinse it thoroughly afterwards. Normal laundry detergent will strip the natural oils from the down and feathers.

If you’re using the washing machine, prepare your jacket by zipping it up, loosening any elastic cords and closing the pockets (check them first to make sure you’re not leaving something valuable inside!)

Top loading machines are fine, but we prefer using a front loader on a gentle cycle. Don’t add fabric softener. If your washing machine has an agitator, use a mesh bag to protect your jacket.

How to dry your down jacket

You might be surprised by how heavy your jacket is when wet, so handle it with care. Start by spreading your jacket on a towel, then roll the excess water out.

Turn your damp jacket inside out and place it into the dryer with some clean tennis balls to restore the loft in your jacket. Use the heat setting recommended on the garment care label (usually low to medium).

For a more energy efficient option you can hang dry your jacket. Give yourself up to 48 hours of sunny weather and make sure it’s completely dry before storing.

How to fix rips in your down jacket

Ah, bush-bashing. It’s the Kiwi way. While we highly recommend you take your down jacket off in scenarios like this, sometimes there's no escaping wily branches. If you do find yourself caught in an unfortunate struggle with the higher bush powers that be, here’s what you can do to fix a rip in your down jacket:

1. Patch the tear

Gear Aid Tenacious Tape™ Patches are a quick and inexpensive fix you can pick up from your local Macpac store. Taking care around the edges (frayed edges may lead to peeling); simply cut the patch to size, pinch any feathers from the inside to ensure you’re not losing down, smooth out the jacket, then apply the patch with gentle pressure. Let it set for at least 24 hours.

Et voilà, that’s all you need to do.

2. Apply a heat patch

Alternatively, you can send your Macpac down jacket to our repairs team in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you’re based in Australia, we partner with Remote Equipment Repairs for this service. A heat patch is more secure and will last a lot longer than a sticker. But while we always try to match fabrics, please note this isn't always possible.

Think of your mismatched jacket as a badge of honour. You’ve just done a brave and honourable thing, keeping your gear in play for longer!

3. Opt for a baffle replacement

If the damage to your downjacket is bigger, you might need a part or full baffle (panel) replacement. Again, our repairs team will be able to help with this.

If you’re ever unsure, just pop into your nearest Macpac store or get in touch online. Our team are happy to help.

If you’re ever unsure, just pop into your nearest Macpac store or get in touch online. Our team are happy to help.

Taking the time to look after down properly will reward you with a longer lasting, better performing jacket.