Caring for Down

A comprehensive guide to caring for your down garments.

04 November 2021
A guide to caring for you Rapha down garments.

Why we use Down

Down is a natural material, which provides unrivalled lightweight insulation. It provides warmth without weight in a wide range of temperatures. At Rapha, we use down in insulated garments for on- and off-bike use. All of our down comes from suppliers that meet the Responsible Down Standard.

How Down Degrades

The capacity to loft that enables down to insulate us against the cold. By trapping a layer of warm air against the body, the cold is kept out. But there are two key factors that can reduce this insulating effect: moisture and compression.

Water and perspiration can cause down to stick together and prevent it from trapping as much warm air. Similarly, whilst down garments are the perfect lightweight, packable layers for a bikepacking trip, prolonged compression can also damage the material’s ability to trap warm air. By all means, pack your jacket or gilet into a jersey pocket but try to keep it dry and make sure to unpack it at the end of your trip.

Caring for Down Garments

With the right care, your down jackets and gilets can last for many seasons. As well as following the laundry instructions, there are a few easy ways to keep your garments in perfect working order.

Rather than washing after every use, consider removing stains using a diluted solution of liquid detergent and water. Spray directly onto the stain, leave for 30 minutes and remove with a clean damp cloth. When you do wash your down garments, avoid harsh washing agents and bleach and use a down-specific detergent on a gentle or hand wash cycle instead.

To improve the loft of the down within your garments, try tumble drying them with tennis balls. This helps percolate the fibres and trap more air against the body. On the other hand, avoid vacuum bagging down garments as this can damage the loft and promote mildew or mould if there is any residual moisture present. Always use a mesh clothes bag and store in a dry, well-ventilated space.

Repairing Down Garments


Even the smallest holes in down garments can quickly result in the filling escaping. But rather than discarding your jacket or gilet, there are plenty of repair kits that offer a simple and effective way to help you patch holes.

Due to the material Rapha use for down garments being fairly thin, it’s sometimes not advisable to sew holes and tears. If you do plan to do so, it’s important to find the finest needle and thread you can, to prevent further seepage.

For a quick fix, a repair tape is a good option because the adhesive won’t further exacerbate the hole when you come to remove it. Adhesive patches are also great as you’ll find a wide variety of colours and the nylon material will be a lot less noticeable.

If you don’t feel confident attempting to repair your damaged jacket or gilet, remember that Rapha offers a free repairs service. For information, click the link below.

Repairs Service