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What’s Up in Down Insulation – What drives purchases with the next customer?

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Seattle, Wash. (July 22, 2015) – The American consumer is shifting quickly when it comes to shopping for down insulated jackets. In a survey of 500 potential purchasers conducted in June 2015, over 83-percent said that water-repellent treated down is very important or somewhat important in their product purchasing decision.

Of those same consumers, over 51-percent said fluorine-free (PFC-free eco-friendly) chemistry is a very important or somewhat important consideration. Downlite, a major supplier of responsibly-sourced down to outdoor apparel and sleeping bag markets, sponsored this survey work to better understand the American consumer’s buying behaviors in down insulated garments.

Within this environment, the continuous development and evolution of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down achieved an important performance milestonethis spring. International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory (IDFL) confirmed that NHD broke the 1,000-minute shake-test barrier (certified result from IDFL, IDFB shake test). The shake test is a recognized method of lab testing the water resistance of hydrophobic down. It involves shaking the down with water in a glass jar, 50 times a minute, to see how long it takes to get wet.

The patent-pending, enhanced PFC-free process that Nikwax has developed is quite unique. In the world of Hydrophobic Down manufacturing, no current product measures higher than 1,000 minutes, and 120 minutes would be considered to be a very acceptable result. Nikwax has applied for patent protection.

Nick Brown, CEO and founder of Nikwax said, “These new results are absolutely outstanding. Nikwax shows that the best available technology can also be environmentally-friendly technology. This contradicts the notion that high waterproofing performance can only be achieved with poisonous and persistent PFCs. Nikwax has achieved these results by not only creating clever chemistry, but also developing unique processes that take into account the variability of down as a raw material.”

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™ is much more resistant to wet conditions than untreated down. Untreated down quickly loses its fill power and insulating properties in damp conditions, whereas Nikwax Hydrophobic Down can maintain its loft and fill power, even when the outer fabric is saturated. Further, these results validate that high performance down treatment can be achieved without resorting to harmful chemicals.

Rick Meade, President of Nikwax North America commented, “The Downlite survey reflects we are reaching a convergence point in 2016 where the Outdoor consumer will be purchasing based on high performance results and lowest environmental impact. Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is positioned to deliver on those values.”

Nikwax has pioneered the move away from polluting PFC water repellents and continues to demonstrate that high performance waterproofing can be achieved with minimum environmental effect. Downlite is the U.S.-based processor delivering NHD to leading brands.

About Nikwax®:

Nikwax® was founded in 1977 by Nick Brown, a keen hiker and traveller, who designed his own product, a waterproofing wax, to keep his leather mountain boots dry. Subsequently Nikwax has become the global leader in environmentally safe aftercare and waterproofing solutions that extend the life and performance of technical footwear, clothing and equipment. Nikwax care products are distributed to 50 countries. Nikwax is the only major aftercare company to have never used aerosols or fluorocarbons. Nikwax products are all fluorochemical-free, use advanced elastomer technology, are not tested on animals, and are non-persistent in the environment. Nikwax has received numerous awards including the prestigious Queen’s Award (4x), Sunday (London) Times Best Green Award (3x), and the Green Apple Award, and is ISO 9001 and 14001 certified.


Downlite is America’s premiere manufacturer of down and feather, and synthetic bedding products. Its products – comforters, pillows, mattress pads, and feather and fiber beds – are sold under private label in leading department stores, specialty stores, and catalogs, as well as under major national brand names. Downlite also supplies high-quality bulk fills to furniture, outerwear and sleeping bag manufacturers around the globe. Downlite is a bluesign® system partner and a proud member of the American Down & Feather Council (ADFC). DOWNLITE’S headquarters are in Mason, Ohio. For more information, visit

Nikwax · Easier ·Safer · Drier