Pg 10: Handling
We ship your quilt kit in a fairly large box to prevent over-compressing the insulation. Even so, we recommend you open the box right away and remove the insulation from its plastic bag. If possible, spread the insulation on a clean, freshly vacuumed or mopped floor and allow it to "rest" for a couple of days. This will give the insulation a chance to spring back to its original, as-manufactured thickness. That done, find a much larger plastic bag, something like a large trash bag, and store the insulation in that until ready to use.
Of course, if you will be making your quilt right away, you can simply begin, knowing that the insulation will need some time to bulk up, later on.
The floors in homes with indoor pets are normally contaminated with pet hairs and dander. Even without pets, considerable dust is often present. The quilt kit's raw insulation would collect this contamination like a magnet. So before spreading the insulation on the floor, we recommend you vacuum or mop, and that you then place a cotton bed sheet over it. Once you have finished making the quilt, the insulation will be nicely protected by the outer layers of nylon and not nearly as vulnerable to contamination.
We recommend regular washings to remove any dirt and skin oils, keeping the fabric and insulation working at it's best.
You can wash your quilt by hand in a bathtub with warm water and a small amount of mild soap. Agitate by hand, then rinse several times.
Alternatively, you may use a large front-loading washing machine, again with warm water and a small amount of mild soap. Use a low spin speed, it's more gentle.
We recommend against using a top loading washing machine because the action of its rotating center post could damage the quilt.
We also recommend against the use of an automatic clothes drier, because the temperature controls of these machines are typically unreliable, and even moderately hot air might damage the materials. In a pinch, say on a rainy day in town during a long hike, you could use a clothes drier set to no heat, or to very low heat which you would then check often (by opening the door and place your hand on the quilt to feel if its too hot). Otherwise, the safest drying method is to simply spread the quilt on a clean groundsheet, or a pitched tarp, and let it air dry.
Properly cared for, your quilt should last decades. Unlike goose down which eventually goes flat, our synthetic insulation does not. However, it will temporarily lose loft if over-compressed. For example, if you set off on a journey and every morning jam your quilt or sleeping bag into a too-small stuff sack, depending on how small, the quilt will spring back a little less each time you pull it out. And about a month into your trip, the quilt or sleeping bag might have become too thin for comfort. But take it home and let it sit for several months, and your Ray-Way quilt will spring back nearly to its original loft. This does not hold true with most other types of insulation.
Our Ray-Way stowbag is designed to carry a quilt with no loss of loft. During each journey I carry my quilt in one of these, and find at the end of the trip that the quilt is about the same thickness as when I started. But as described in Tail Life, I never sit-down on my quilt when it's in it's stowbag; and I always use gentleness when pulling the quilt out of it's stowbag.
Nevertheless, on a long trip of more than three months, you might consider placing a second quilt or sleeping bag in one of your later resupply boxes. This might apply whether you are using one of our quilts, or any commercial sleeping bag made with synthetic or goose down insulation. If well taken care of, your Ray-Way quilt should last the duration, but a journey is not a good time to find out that you didn't take very good care of it. Consider the replacement as a form of insurance.
Next Page: Ray-Way Quilt Stuffed Size