At the beginning of the year, a US Special Operations team approached us about using and testing our products. As extreme users of gear, they are continually looking for the best systems in terms of performance across a wide range of conditions that are also durable and packable. The team was specifically interested in our HyperDRY™ DWR treated down garments. They wanted to run a stagnant rewarming drill and test our down apparel and sleeping bags’ ability to move moisture away from the body and maintain insulating capabilities in extreme conditions. The goal was to collect data points for future product considerations and to compare treated down to synthetic insulation alternatives. This test is typically performed with synthetic insulation, and the effects of such conditions on down insulation are unknown. When we heard about the test we wanted to be involved not only from a product standpoint but also be participants in the exercise. Our very own Pete Muennich and Andrew Whitney decided to join the Special Ops for a frigid morning in SW Montana. Watch the video to see how the exercise played out.
"The Stagnant re-warming drill was incredibly eye-opening and was very revealing as to what good, technical gear is capable of in an extreme situation. I have never been in a survival predicament while out hunting, but if I were to face a similar situation, I would have all the confidence in the world that I would be able to prevail. It was 17 degrees outside, and there were ice chunks floating in the river when we took the plunge. Going into this drill I expected to have a tough time getting over the initial hump, or shock, but as soon as I was able to get my Grumman down pants and jacket on, even though I was soaking wet, my situation began to improve.
"I got settled into my down sleeping bag, started to crush calories, boiled water to consume and store as a heat source, and not long after, the shivering subsided, and there was light at the end of the tunnel."
We logged 3 hours in the sleeping bags until we were nearly completely dry. The only place that moisture remained in my garments was around the cuffs and waistline, where body heat was not being produced. I have complete faith in the ability of our clothing system, and our Grumman Goose Down products to perform in the most unfavorable set of conditions." - Andrew Whitney (@andrew_whitney) - Sales & Service
"It was a rewarding experience to take part in the rewarming drill with the Special Ops guys. Extreme testing of our down products was top of our to-do list. We wanted to prove that the benefits of treated down far exceed the misconception about its ability to insulate when wet. When we got invited on this drill, I was eager to volunteer. I wanted to know for myself that the gear I use could save my life if I fell into a body of water in freezing temps. This was a safe and controlled environment to build that confidence.
"The initial shock was icy and debilitating. Shortness of breath hit me immediately. My fingers and toes were the first to go, and the last to recover."
I lost a noticeable amount of dexterity in my fingers, but filling my Nalgene with hot water and using it as a heater brought them back to life. I was impressed by how much moisture wicked away from my body and through all my layers by doing nothing more than climbing into my puffy layers and sleeping bag. I created a convection oven by utilizing the gear I had and my own body heat to bake off the moisture.
Big thanks to the Special Ops team for trusting our gear and letting us join in the fun of some extreme testing." - Pete Muennich (@peterpanda) - Sales Manager