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Down is the new up!

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Down is the new up!

Postby tim » Mon May 07, 2012 4:20 pm

Interesting article in the Wall St Journal about the rising price of down:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 10514.html

Looks like it's time to stock up (I'm glad I just bought my new sleeping bag with the last REI 20% discount and my dividend) . The numbers below would imply to me that retail price of a higher end sleeping bag containing ~2 pounds of down could go up as much as $80, though competition might limit price rises to say 10%-15%.

Key quotes:
"The North Face, an outdoor brand...that is famous for its down-filled jackets, is expecting to raise the price of its down products for the first time in five years, said VF Chief Executive Eric Wiseman."

"A pound of white goose down that cost about $12 in 2009 sells for around $28 today. Prices of other down varieties and grades also have increased. Duck down, around $9 a pound in 2009, now costs about $19 a pound."

"Columbia Sportswear Co...created a new, synthetic insulation product in 2010 before it became apparent how much the cost of down would rise. Now, the company will try to use it more in product designs, said Matthew Hoeferlin, director of materials. Mr. Hoeferlin said higher-end outdoor jackets and sleeping bags that use white goose down will see retail prices rise. Now planning its fall 2013 assortment, Columbia will likely pass some of the increase along, he said."



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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby Hobbes » Tue May 08, 2012 9:48 am

You can still get the M50 down quilt kit from T-H for the same price I got it back in December:

http://thru-hiker.com/kits/

Note that his kit includes 12 oz of 900FP - he imports it from Europe & provides a certificate in the packing manifest.

It's not just the price of down that's going up - actually, nothing is going up, it's (freshly printed out-of-thin-air) dollars which are rapidly losing value, hence reduced portions and/or price increases.

As for the quilt kit, for $170, it's a pretty sweet deal to have a 25 degree down quilt that weighs around 17 ounces. (Yes, the M50 liner/shell only weighs 5 oz, and mine is slightly oversized. I've seen reports of people building even lighter summer quilts.)
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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue May 08, 2012 10:11 am

I read the article this morning too. Now is a good time to buy. I also think that other gear is going to increase in price. Prices have been kept a bit low during the down-turn. They have to raise sometime. This may have a big impact on sleeping bags where the raw material (down) is high. However, in a down sweater, where the amouont of down is small, the labor costs would be more of a factor in price increase- unless this is used as an excuse to raise prices of ALL down gear. You are still paying primarily for brand name, labor and marketing.
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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby gary c. » Tue May 08, 2012 10:36 am

If anyone has been thinking about buying a down sweater of jacket now is definately the time to do so. It seems like all of the manufacturers/retailers have been giving some very good discounts the last couple of months.
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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby oldranger » Tue May 08, 2012 3:12 pm

Let me get this straight. the cost of Down is $28 dollar a pound. A down sweater has maybe 5-8 oz of down but they cost anywhere from $80 to $200+and an increase in the cost of down is going to raise the cost of the sweater significantly? At $40 a pound the cost of down would not be the biggest portion of the cost.The increase in cost certainly won't make me rush out to buy an old (new) one unless I was in dire need of one (which I am not). Wait until people in third world countries start making a living wage and see what that will due to the cost of down products!

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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby tim » Tue May 08, 2012 5:58 pm

oldranger wrote:Let me get this straight. the cost of Down is $28 dollar a pound. A down sweater has maybe 5-8 oz of down but they cost anywhere from $80 to $200+and an increase in the cost of down is going to raise the cost of the sweater significantly?


A decent rule of thumb would be that the wholesale cost (i.e. what North Face sell it to REI for) is double the raw material cost (that covers North Face marketing, staff, profits, etc.). Obviously there's a lot of variation depending on brand vs no-name etc. Then REI's retail list price is double again (that covers REI's stores, staff, etc.). So if the price of down has gone up $16 per pound and you have 8oz in a sweater, that's $8 in material costs but say ~$30 at retail. Not huge but not insignificant even in a $200 item.
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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby rlown » Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:25 pm

So, Paul and I took Friday off and floated in his 12' scull boat down the Feather River out of Marysville. Waterfowl hunting of course. We saw only 4 honkers and got all of them. I only fell in the river once, about 15 mins into the journey when we saw the geese at the first gravel bar. We floated the river down and then used his 2hp to try and get back to the launch site. We were definitely too big for the boat. :o

Enough backstory. Big birds. As I sat on the back porch yesterday plucking and cleaning my birds, i got to thinking where does down come from?. It's kind of a duh if you have a dead bird in your lap, but then you put that exact search in google "where does down come from". :eek:

I did not know they harvest down live. Heck, it's scary enough when you do it on a dead bird. First the outer feathers cover the down, and then there's the down underneath. With two birds I could have stuffed a pillow, but given its harvested from live birds for our usage, that seems a bit cruel.

Anyway, a bit of food for thought.
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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby Rockchucker » Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:50 pm

I thought only certain companies harvest down on live birds? I really don't agree with live harvest.
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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby rlown » Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:06 pm

but which companies? I've no clue. I've lots of down products from REI, WM, etc.

I'm kind of looking to the quilt builders/ others who purchase down to add insight here as they get their down from somewhere. Yes, I'm now as bugged about the other down bag builders.

A tangent: they stopped foie gras in Sonoma. Cruel. um.

I am an NRA member, but not a PETA member, btw. I do not like cruelty or sloppy..
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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby Rockchucker » Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:17 pm

rlown wrote:but which companies? I've no clue. I've lots of down products from REI, WM, etc.

I'm kind of looking to the quilt builders/ others who purchase down to add insight here as they get there down from somewhere. Yes, I'm now as bugged about the other down bag builders.

A tangent: they stopped foie gras in Sonoma. Cruel. um.

I am an NRA member, but not a PETA member, btw. I do not like cruelty or sloppy..

Exactly how I feel, not NRA or PETA. Aside from cruelty I also don't like waste. Empathy is a big part that, to me, makes us human.
I'm no suture for my future.
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Re: Down is the new up!

Postby fishmonger » Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:22 am

Poor TNF will have to raise prices :-({|=

My TNF down sweater has maybe 6 ounces of down in it. At full retail they try to sell that thing at $300 last time I checked. The extra 3 bucks they have to pay for the fill is really going to hurt their bottom line, so I assume the price will have to move to $349. I got mine at $100 on SNC and still think it was quite expensive for what I got. It works, is well made, but compared to the dirt cheap down sweater at Costco, there is no way anyone can justify the retail pricing by the big brands.

If I need something like a sleeping bag, I shop ebay or Steep and Cheap for a few weeks and get what I need after a little wait. There's no way I will buy items like that in a retail store anywhere close to the recommended retail pricing unless I need it the next day and was stupid enough not to plan ahead.
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Down is the new up!

Postby Bluewater » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:55 am

"I'm kind of looking to the quilt builders/ others who purchase down to add insight here as they get their down from somewhere. Yes, I'm now as bugged about the other down bag builders"

I have been buying 900 fp down for my quilts and other projects from thru-hiker.com for a few years. He sells it in 3 oz increments. The price has increased from $25 in 2009 to $30 in 2011 and now it's $40. The latest increase has got me considering alternative sources.


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