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How To Repair Down Jacket or Sleeping Bag When The Feathers Are Flying Out Of Your Down Insulation

By Editor | November 1, 2008

North Face Nuptse down feather filled jacketDon’t you hate it when you brush against something and you hear a RRRip! and you see in the air thick with swirling feathers from your down filled jacket?

The damage is done: Your puffy down vest had spilled half a goose’s worth of feathers. If your bag or parka ever suffers the same fate, you can send it to the manufacturer or a professional down repair shop. Or you can fix it yourself.

Here’s how:

Step 1. Stop the hemorrhaging with a patch or temporary stitching. If you use duet tape, remove it as soon as you get home, and clean gummy-glue buildup with an acetonebased solvent, like nailpolish remover.

Step 2. Back home, locate a source for down. Two I’ve used are All About Down (2- ounce packets are about $15 and cover most single-baffle repairs) and Western Mountaineering (4-ounce packets are about $32). Gather your sewing materials (straight pins, needle, nylon thread), and stuff the down carefully into the rip, trying to match the loft of undamaged baffies. If you’re really on a budget, raid an old feather pillow, but avoid the quills.

Step 3. Sew the gap closed using the overhand stitch. Straight pins or butterfly bandages help keep the material together while you’re sewing. Coat the stitching with Seam Grip or apply a ripstop nylon adhesive patch to prevent down leakage.

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