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Dear Wilder

Overheated Feathers

Wilder Burroughs discusses sleeping bag problems with an aspiring serious camper after overheating some feathers.

Avatar of Wilder - by Morgan Phillips Illustration Design
‘Wilder Burroughs’

Dear Wilder: By accident, I overheated feathers. I’m not completely new to camping. Over the years, for something to do, I occasionally went camping. Recently due to the pandemic and to get away from it all, I decided to get camper serious. Every day I see people posting on Twitter, Instagram posting awesome photos of themselves having a great time in the woods. I want to do the same.

To that, I decided to first upgrade my sleeping bag. The one I have cost twenty bucks at a box store and has served its purpose. I decided since it is later in the year I should go with a nice down-filled sleeping bag. I selected a nice one, (after looking at this best sleeping bag list) and the following weekend I tested it out. Boy, I sure didn’t know what I was missing. It was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had while camping. It was cozy. It kept me at a comfortable sleeping temperature, and it smelled really nice. (I know that sound weird but it did)

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks later. After I returned from my camping trip, I didn’t think much about how I should store the sleeping bag. I threw it into a hall closet just like I did my old bag. I think it was my first mistake, but not the worst. While retrieving something from the closet I noticed it smelled like a campfire. That’s when I realized I forgot to air out the bag.

Without much thought, I took it to the laundromat, and after a good washing in the oversized machine, I dumped it into a dryer. Everything was fine for about 35 minutes when I opened the door to check it. That’s when I noticed a strong burning smell. OMG, that’s when I realized the machine was on high heat and the feathers were baking. I’m sure I just overheated feathers. I think the down is toast and I’m not sure what to do, I turned the heat down and basically, air-dried it the rest of the time. But, I think the bag is damaged. After a few days the smell has calmed down, but I can still smell burnt feathers. Please let me know what you think. OVERHEATED FEATHERS

Can Wilder help solve the mystery of the possibly damaged sleeping bag?

Dear No Harm No Fowl: I think you will be OK. The smell of the feathers are a good indicator of their condition. I’m not an expert, but I think if the burnt smell goes away you should be fine. If not, then I think the quality of the bag has been greatly reduced, and in that case, there’s not much you can do to fix roasted feathers. (that I am aware of) Go test it in your back yard before you take it camping. You’ll know.

PLEASE NOTE: WILLIAM WILDERLING BURROUGHS ‘WILDER’ IS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. ANY RESEMBLANCE TO PERSONS LIVING OR DEAD IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL. THE STORIES ARE MADE UP. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE ADVICE FROM WILDER BURROUGHS. SEEK PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR ANY ISSUES YOU MAY HAVE WHILE CAMPING, HIKING, OR ANY OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES.

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