When it's freezing outside, you need a warm men's down jacket and a down vest from Lands' End for layering. Packed with the best feathers we can find, they trap heat without adding bulk. Even though Lands’ End down coats and jackets are already built to withstand anything you throw its way, you can extend its lifespan by giving it the proper care. Here are our top tips for washing, drying, and taking care of your down coats so that they will last for years of adventure to come.
A front-loading washing machine works best with your men's down coat as the agitator in a top-loader can damage the insulating feathers. If you don’t have a front-loader available, wash your coat on a gentle cycle or take it over to the local laundromat to use one of their front-loading machines. The fabric of your coat can sometimes snag on the agitator in a top-loading washing machine and get ripped during washing, but not always, so if you do use a top-loader, do so with caution. Your coat should be washed on a warm setting with a special detergent made for down. Normal detergents can strip away the natural oils that let down feathers keep the fluffiness that makes them so warm. The fine hairs of the down feathers trap warm air between them in a way normal insulation can’t, so it’s important to keep your down in tip-top shape. Spot treat any stubborn marks with stain remover, and after one cycle, wash it again without adding detergent to ensure it's totally rinsed clean.
Once you’ve gotten all of the grime out of your men's down coat, toss it into the dryer with a couple of tennis balls and put it on a low-heat setting. The balls will gently pummel the insulation, removing lumps and redistributing the down throughout the jacket so it becomes smooth and puffy. If you don’t have any spare, clean tennis balls sitting around, you can buy wool dryer balls that you can use not only to keep your down coat in tip-top shape but the rest of your men's shirts as well. When drying your coat sans dryer balls, pull it out of the dryer every 15-30 minutes and break apart any clumps with your fingers. When the cycle finishes, check your jacket and keep running it in the machine until fully dry. It can take around 2-3 hours for your coat to dry completely, but be patient! Taking your coat out while it’s still wet in parts can give it an unpleasant mildew smell, and the whole washing process repeats.
Alternately, you can gently squeeze excess water from your coat and lay it flat on a bath towel or a drying rack to air out. However, this can take 24 to 48 hours, depending on the air temperature and size of the coat. You'll also need to repeatedly fluff it up to prevent clumping.
There are also some handy don'ts to remember when cleaning your warmest down jacket. Never expose it to dry cleaning chemicals or fabric softener, and never try to iron your coat. Ironing will burn or melt the material, which is a lot more difficult to fix than a stain or spot! Laying your coat out to dry is the best way to make sure that it dries without any wrinkles or lines. Hanging up your coat when you store it is also an excellent way to keep it looking its best. It’s very tempting to leave your men's packable jacket in its packed state or to shove it in your backpack for the next time you need it, but staying crumpled up when you aren’t wearing it will make it look wrinkled when you do.