Down – What’s the Fluff?

February 23, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 


From fresh spring mornings to deep winter frosts, it’s a lovely time of year to get outside and experience nature. But first, we’ve all got to dig out our warmest winter jacket so we don’t freeze to death in the meantime. Down-filled jackets have become a top choice for those who spend their winters out and about in the not-so-forgiving British Winter.

Why?

The down feather was designed by Mother Nature herself to insulate birds and protect them against heat loss – and who are we to question nature? Down jackets provide fantastic insulation by trapping air (the best insulator) and keep you snug and cosy, even when it’s -20°C and you’re caught in a harsh wind.

What are the benefits?

Why should you buy a down filled jacket when you could just buy a cheaper, ordinary one? The first thing we have to mention is the oh-so-amazing comfort a down jacket will give you – it’s a game-changer. Secondly, it’ll keep you super warm, which we all know is a necessity in Britain at this time of the year. Whether you’re building a snowman or heading out on a hot date, down keeps you feeling great. Taking care of it doesn’t have to cost you the earth either, since the environmentally conscious brand Nikwax (who have won numerous awards for their eco creds) make great water based, PFC-free products for you to take care of your down gear, so your jacket lasts even longer.

Responsibly Sourced Down

Unfortunately, there’s a huge downside to the down jacket industry since a large proportion of the world’s supply of down feathers are actually plucked from live birds. Thankfully, the industry has wised up to this practise and it’s becoming an increasingly important subject. Many clothing brands that produce down products now need to ensure their down is responsibly sourced and display the RDS logo before they begin to lose customers. Fortunately, there are many companies that are already using responsibly sourced down.

Top Tips on Keeping Your Down in Tip Top Condition

Now that we’ve bought our beautiful new down jacket using only responsibly sourced down, caring for it is of utmost importance. If you’re using your down jacket outside frequently – and let’s face it, of course you are – you’ll need this warmth and comfort to last forever.

  1. When down gets wet it clumps together, leaving you cold, wet, and uncomfortable. Try using Nikwax Down Proof, optimised to protect against wet weather and improve the natural insulating properties of down. Safe and easy to use, apply in a washing machine treating both the outer fabric and the down fill.
  2. Any spare tennis balls lying around? Chuck a few in the tumble dryer. As weird as it sounds, it can actually fluff up materials such as blankets and jackets, perfect for restoring your lovely down jacket.
  3. Only pack your down jacket into its little bag if essential, as doing this will cause your down to clump together which reduces the air and insulation. Try to keep your jacket hung up to keep the down lofty.

Why Use Nikwax for Proofing Your Down?

Nikwax is the only outdoor company to manufacture an entire range of safe, water-based waterproofing products. Not only that, but they were the first outdoor company to use guaranteed PFC-free chemicals in their entire range. They’re consistently applying innovation to their products to minimise their environmental impact. More importantly, it works.

Aquapac’s New Medical Collection

February 22, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

As growing numbers of children and young people develop diabetes and asthma, one small British company wants to ensure these health conditions don’t impact on their ability to get outside and enjoy an adventurous life.

Tim Turnbull, Chief Executive of Aquapac

We talked to Tim Turnbull, Chief Executive of Spring client Aquapac, about their new range of waterproof medical and first aid kit cases.

Why did you think it was important to produce these products focusing on medical kit – had you had customer requests or was it an internal company idea?

“We listen to our customer base and react to what they tell us. Our insulin pump case has always been a very successful seller. We introduced the First Aid Kit bag because one of our ‘sponsorees’ recommended the idea and we knew it would be particularly useful for our growing Search & Rescue customer base. This gave us the idea to look into other medical products which people need to keep on them but also need to keep safe and dry. And so we came up with the CGM case, the Diabetes Kit case and the MDI case. It’s important to us that the outdoors and whatever it throws at you is accessible to everyone. And when our customers talk, we listen.”

What new/ different design elements did you have to consider when producing waterproof protection products for medical kit over technical kit like phones and cameras.

“We began developing our Insulin Pump Case back in the late nineties as a joint venture with the world’s largest manufacturer of insulin pumps. When they decided to drop out of the project, we could still see the huge potential and knew there would be incredible worth in continuing to develop something for anyone who wanted to explore the outdoors but needed their insulin with them at all times. We designed a completely new sealing system – the ‘TC’ Aquaclip – which could waterproof around the tube without squeezing it so much that it would compromise insulin flow.”

What sort of compliance procedures did you have to go through to ensure these products were fit for purpose?

“We were adamant that our products would work and work well, no matter what situation they would be used in. That’s the beauty of Aquapac. Our products won’t let you down. So we decided to commission insulin flow testing with the Mechanical Engineering department of Imperial College to ensure we were designing something from the get go that was fit for purpose. We also managed to establish that our case was not considered to be a ‘Medical Device’ in the EU and therefore did not require further certification or CE approval.”

What was the biggest challenge you experienced in getting these medical products to market?

“The product development phase is the most difficult. To ensure you get things right before you put them to market. It means we’ve received fantastic feedback for our medical protection products because we did get it right first time and put a lot of time and effort into the design phase. Once the product was ready there was no problem getting it out to our existing customer base. It’s been received really well.”

“Thank you for making our lives easier. Those of us who live connected to pumps depend on innovators like you and your products to bring a little sunshine and happiness into our lives.” – Tara

“This was the first time in over 20 years that I have been in a water park, and I had forgotten how much I loved them. Thanks for the addition in freedom.” – Greg

 “I have been a type 1 for almost 40 years. I thank God every day that I found out about this product. I just tuck it into my swim suit and off we go.” – Glenda