The women's down jacket, originally designed for winter sports, has become a real fashion item like The North Face street down jackets . The down jacket is the perfect weapon to fight against the cold, whether in the mountains or in the city
There are down jackets for everyone: long or short, with or without hood, with or without sleeves.... The choice can quickly become a real headache!
this is certainly the most important. What to choose between natural down insulation and synthetic insulation?
There are two main types of insulation on the market: down and synthetic. It is not impossible to find products that combine both.
Down is a natural material made from duck or goose. Down has a much higher insulating and compressive power than synthetic. The insulation of down is linked to its capacity to inflate. The more air down inflates, the warmer it will be. This loft is measured in cuin (cubic inch) or fil power. The higher the cuin, the warmer it will be.
- Between 400 and 500 cuin: average quality down
- Between 600 and 700: good quality down
- Over 800: very good quality down
To compare two down comforters, multiply the cuin by the amount of down (not the weight of the down jacket).
- Down jacket 1: 600 cuin x 200 grams of down = 120 000
- Down jacket 2: 800 cuin x 150 grams of down = 120 000
In both cases, the down jackets are as warm as each other, but the second one will be lighter and more compressible. We talk about warmth index in the tests of down jackets and of sleeping bags. Obviously, the better the feather, the more expensive the down jacket.
There are 3 categories of down jackets:
- 90 to 150g of down: micro down jacket for temperatures around 0°C
- 200 to 300g of down: winter and high altitude down jacket, for sub-zero temperatures
- 400 to 500g of down: expedition down jacket for extreme cold
Another point to keep in mind is the down/feather ratio. While the feather is essential to stabilize the down, the more down there is, the warmer and more compressible the down jacket will be, but it will be more sensitive to humidity. Ratios generally vary from 85/15, up to 95/5 for top-of-the-range products, i.e. 95% down and 5% feather.
Moisture being the main enemy of down, more and more down jackets are treated to be hydrophobic.
The competition is serious among synthetic insulation manufacturers. All of them have their own technologies and innovations, and all of them claim to have unequalled properties. However, there are some renowned manufacturers of synthetic insulation such as Primaloft or Polartec (made from recycled plastic bottles)
- PrimaLoft One: the warmest, lightest and most compact, but expensive
- PrimaLoft Sport: a little less warm, but more economical, good value for money
- PrimaLoft Eco: less warm than the One and Sport, but ecological, made from 100% recycled bottles
- Polartec Alpha: less warm than PrimaLoft One and Sport, but more breathable, very compressible
- Wadding: generic insulation used for low/mid-range clothing, stays warmer than a fleece
Synthetic insulation is made of polyester filaments that mimic the loft of down. It would be simplistic to say that synthetic is worse than down. Less compressible than down, synthetic keeps its thermal properties even in wet weather! Synthetic is less fragile, less afraid of water and above all, it is much more economical. It just has different properties.
The density of the synthetic filling is measured in gr/m². The higher the density, the better the insulation.
The outer fabric is also important in the choice of your down jacket, for its lightness and compression but also for its properties (waterproofing - breathability - windproof). The thinner the fabric, the lighter and more compressible the down jacket will be, but it will be more fragile. If a tear in the fabric on a synthetic down jacket is not catastrophic, on a down jacket, it's a guaranteed loss of feather.
Most down jackets are windproof and water repellent, but not totally waterproof. A few down jackets are, as this affects breathability, compression and price. For example, you can find the ultra-warm down jackets from RAB, the quality of the columbia down jackets , or Karpos hybrid down jackets for ski touring.
A little tip: an outer fabric made of "Pertex Quantum" is a guarantee of quality!
For some years now, down has been the subject of much controversy. Manufacturers have understood that many consumers are concerned about their environmental impact when buying a down jacket. Indeed it has been questioned the mistreatment of animals but also on the respect of the working conditions of the staff in the down production factories. Manufacturers have understood this, and are trying to propose solutions that are more respectful of the environment, animals and humans.
This is why the RDS (Responsible Down Standard) label was created. It certifies that the feathers used to make a down jacket are from animals that have been raised in a healthy way. down jacket for women eco responsible is from animals that have been raised in a healthy way and without unnecessary suffering. It is therefore synonymous with sustainability and respect for the environment, a quality that is increasingly appreciated by consumers.
Now you have all the weapons in hand to choose the most suitable down jacket!
You have finally invested in the down jacket of your dreams and you want to maintain it as well as possible so that it lasts as long as possible. Taking care of a down jacket is not easy. Don't hesitate to wash your down once a year. This will reactivate the loft and waterproofing of your down jacket. Alpinstore gives you some advice.
Tip 1: To make it last as long as possible, take care of it day by day! To start with, clean it lightly with a washcloth slightly soaked in soapy or clear water, so as not to wet the down inside.
Tip n°2 Be sure to read the label on your down jacket! Indeed, it is recommended to follow the advice given by the supplier on the down jacket's label. Be careful, some down jackets cannot be machine washed.
Be aware of the washing advice on the label and follow it to ensure that your down jacket lasts longer.
Tip 4: Use dryer balls or simply tennis balls during the machine program and for drying. Perfect for keeping the down's loftiness, the balls stir up the down so that it doesn't clump together in the corners of the down jacket
Discover at Alpinstore the special down jacket washing kit with a washing powder for down with 3 drying balls.
Tip n°5 If you are afraid to wash your down jacket, you can always call a dry cleaner.