What is a Down Jacket?
A down jacket is a jacket made of the under feathers of a goose or duck, which creates tiny air pockets that trap warm air and heat. The trapped air keeps the wearer warm throughout the cold fall or winter weather.
Down jacket is divided into 3 categories; goos down, duck down, and a combination of the two. The cheapest of the 3 is mostly the duck down than the combination and the highest priced (and the warmest and the lightest) is the goose down.
Down Fill Power: The Measure of the Loft
The fill power measures the loft or the number of air pockets in the down jacket. The higher the fill, the more air pockets and the more insulation per weight.
You can detect the quality of the down that is used in the jacket by its fill power. The better the quality, the higher the fill. In cheaper jackets, to compensate for the low fill power, manufacturers usually add more down and thus making the jacket heavier. Higher fill power = lighter down jacket.
The range of fill power varies from 400 to 900.
Down Vs Synthetic Insulation – pros and cons
Some of down’s pros are excellent heat retention, they’re lightweight, easy to fold and compress making it suitable for travel. But with the good comes the cons. Down jacket is not a fan of water. When wet, it loses its insulation ability, takes a long time to dry and requires special cleaning.
Synthetic insulation jackets, on the other hand, is much easier to clean and cheaper than down jackets. But it is heavier and takes more space in your luggage.
Down Jacket Features
Durability and Weight
Looking for a long-term, day to day use jacket? you may want to think about the heavier and thicker down jacket. Although lighter jackets can be warm and easier to fold, it is much more vulnerable to damages as the outer shell is thinner.
We’ll start with this; down jacket is not a raincoat. It is not designed for heavy rain, gets wet and loses some or in some cases, all of its insulating properties. Having said that, some down jackets are designed to withstand rain. So if you live in a wet country, you might want to take it under consideration.
Fit – the way it looks on you
One common mistake when buying a coat is fitting it exactly to our body. You might want to consider leaving some room for adding layers underneath and move about, but not too loose, as it may lose its warmth and allow cold air to get in.
Some more features you may (or may not) like…
Hoods will help keep our head warm, but will also add the bulk. Thinking of wearing a raincoat over the down jacket? you may want to lose your hoods 🙂
Padded lined pockets can be a great feature to keep your hands warm.
Cuffed waist and wrists help to seal in the warmth.
To summarize, down jacket is a must jacket in your wardrobe. It will keep you warm in cold weather while keeping your look up to date, and will not make you feel clumsy as it’s lightweight and easy to fold.