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If You Put Lipstick on a Pig You Still Have a Pig

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There are three companies that exemplify this statement. The first company is Allied Feather and Down. They are marketing a “fluorocarbon free hydrophobic treated down.”

It is quite obvious that companies that process down, are trying everything they can to show that they are good citizens. They are eco-friendly so they leave the smallest foot print on the earth.

Allied is now offering to any and all down sleeping bag and garment manufacturers using down that have been processed with a water repellent chemical that is fluorocarbon-free. This “technology can be applied to responsible down standard certified down.”
They say that this is one of the most environmentally conscious and responsibly developed down products on the market.”

The use of a durable water repellent (DWR) finish applied to down is all of two years old versus the use of DWR applied to fabrics for outerwear use whether it is jackets or garments that are supposed to be moisture wicking goes back maybe 70 years. At this point in time I haven’t heard of companies DWR finishing fabrics with a fluorocarbon-free chemical. Their use would be 10,000 times as large at minimum over the use for down. So, how big would their footprint be versus the down users?

I suppose there are some who will read about this and say great, but it is all for naught since DWR does break down quickly. It makes no difference how you dress up the down cluster it still is not even remotely as good as Lamilite. Actually Lamilite makes down an obsolete form of insulation. Just to review; Lamilite is not affected by water, it keeps insulating even if it gets wet and if it does get wet while you are out in the field your body heat will dry it. With down even if it has been DWR treated it will still ultimately absorb water and then you must go home or if you stay out suffer the consequences which can be drastic.

DID you ever have athletes foot? The following is from the Mayo Clinic; “Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. It occurs most commonly in people whose feet become very sweaty while confined within tight-fitting shoes.” They further state the following; “Athlete’s foot is caused by the same type of fungus that causes ringworm and jock itch. Damp socks and shoes and warm, humid conditions favor the organisms’ growth.” Over the past 30 years the advertising of remedies for athlete’s foot has increased by leaps and bounds; why? I have a theory that the cause has been the introduction of laminate films used in footwear. Laminate films used in footwear came on the scene in the 1980’s when W.L. Gore introduced Gore-Tex into the footwear market touting their film as “water-proof and breathable”. I stated back then that a water-proof and breathable entity did not exist that was manmade; i.e. an inanimate object. Actually they should have said water-proof and “vapor permeable”. It is not vapor permeable either. Actually in order to breathe the object must have lungs, be a living organism. However, once the PTFE film known as Gore-Tex is laminated its vapor permeability is severely compromised to the extent of at least 100 percent when it comes to footwear. I have seen many demonstrations at the Gore exhibits at Outdoor Retailer trade shows of a boot flexing in a container of water demonstrating how the water did not get into the boot, therefore the boot was water-proof. I would sometimes inquire of one of the representatives at the booth if water doesn’t get in how can water get out; i.e. sweat? There was no clear response and the reason; IT DOESN’T GET OUT.

Water while in a vapor state which is how it leaves the pores of feet just like the rest of the body does not migrate through the PTFE film so it stays inside the footwear. The moisture stays in socks regardless if they are cotton, wool or synthetic creating the ideal condition to initiate “tinea pedis” or more commonly known as “athlete’s foot”. It is for this reason that I believe the increase in advertising of products that will treat athlete’s foot has grown. All because of the use of materials installed in footwear that DOES NOT ALLOW THE MOISTURE GIVEN OFF IN FOOTWEAR TO ESCAPE FROM THE FOOTWEAR.

NOW for the third company on the list. This company sells a product that the company has been named for; Primaloft. Originally Primaloft was a product made by Albany International (AI). When AI started marketing the Primaloft it was billed as a synthetic alternative to down. All it is, is a polyester fiberfill. All well and good but while they were the first to say they had a synthetic alternative to down they were far from the first company to sell a synthetic alternative to down, DuPont was with their Dacron 88, followed by Eastman Chemical with Kodel and then Celanese with their Fortrel and eventually Polar Guard. These polyester fiberfill products came on the market in the 1960’s. There were several other companies that were selling polyester fiberfill products for use specifically as insulation that were made from what we called unbranded polyester fiberfill versus the branded products mentioned. Therefore, if the polyester fiberfill that AI used was purchased from a polyester fiber producer and they named it Primaloft it was otherwise just a new name for an unbranded polyester fiberfill product that was originally put into use in the 1960’s. Was AI the first company to make a synthetic alternative to down, no of course not, but they were the first to coin the phase. Bully for them.

Since AI put their product on the market via an advertising campaign they were able to develop a fair amount of sales but as happens to all poor functioning products they lost market share. Then they started to sell their fiber for use in blending with other fibers to be used in the manufacture of yarn that was woven or knitted into yard goods for a variety of garments or home furnishing; bedding I believe. All in the guise of some sort of increase in insulation for the end product. it doesn’t work as far as I am concerned.

You can dress a pig in a red dress and put on red lipstick and you still have a pig.

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