Comfortable down jackets for sports and everyday wear
You won’t ever freeze again! Down jackets are built to keep you warm in low temperatures. These jackets are great because they offer maximum thermal output, yet they're so lightweight. Whether you’re looking for a down jacket for women or men, for expeditions snowshoeing, trekking or for casual wear, you're guaranteed to find a down jacket or coat that fits your needs. If you want to be toasty warm, then you’ve got to check them out! You can also consider getting a down coat if you know you’ll be in a really cold climate.
Down manufacturers, such as Bergans, Canada Goose, Mammut and Vaude have great down jackets and down trousers for women men and children, and they even produce down beanies and overalls.
Insulate yourself with down
Underneath their tough exterior feathers, many birds have a layer of down that enables them to maintain their body temperature despite low temperatures. One kilogram of down consists of up to 500,000 single down feathers, which has an extraordinary potential to insulate because of the unique structure of their soft, long, radial feather-branches.
In winter, down jackets are the ideal companion for many occasions: ultra-light and thin down jackets are perfect for hill walking and climbing, and stylish models provide a great look for city life. Thick, waterproof down jackets can get you through the toughest alpine climates.
What is the recommended use?
Whether you’re planning to go on an alpine tour in extreme conditions or are going Christmas shopping, down jackets are great companions in all situations, and they won’t even let you break out into a sweat. There is only one limitation to down jackets: they’re not suitable for rainy weather. When down gets wet, it won’t keep you warm. However, when it’s raining, it’s simply too warm to wear a jacket with a down fill.
There are designs for various uses and these have different features. Models for everyday wear have a fashionable cut and only have a small or medium amount of down fill. For mountaineering in extreme temperatures, not only are weight and pack size important, but so is thermal output. There are even hybrid jackets that combine the advantages of down with the advantages of synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibre is used at parts of the body that are more likely to sweat. As for the torso, it should be kept as warm as possible, which is where you'll find the down.
What does fill power, cuin and 90/10 mean?
The higher the fill power, the more insulation and warmth per packable volume it offers. This value is measured in cuin (cubic inches). It indicates the volume to which a certain amount of down expands after it was squeezed into a measuring cup for 24 hours. 700-800 cuin is excellent, while 600-700 is very good. Values below 500 have an even lower capacity to insulate.
Down (90/10) means that the down jacket’s fill features a mix containing 90% down and 10% feathers. This is a very good ratio since a certain amount of feathers is needed in order to stabilize the down and to prevent it from clotting. As a rule of thumb: clothing for extreme conditions should have a ratio of at least 90/10. 80/20 is sufficient for other activities.
The amount of down that fills the jacket is measured in grams. The more it contains, the thicker and warmer the jacket is.
Tip: when buying a down jacket, always check the details in the product description!
Cut: Does a lightweight fleece fit underneath it?
Zips: Do they run smoothly? Does it have protection so the zip doesn’t get caught in the fabric? Most down jackets feature an outer made of very lightweight and sensitive fabrics, so zips could get caught in it and damage it.
Weather protection: Normally, down jackets are not windproof, only water repellent. So, you should make sure that your hardshell jacket fits over it.
Insulation: A jacket that you plan to use at low temperatures should not have any quilted seams. These types of seams function as cold bridges and significantly reduce the insulating power.
Handling: You should be able to operate the zips and drawstrings (i.e. for the hood) whilst wearing gloves.
Do you want a down or a synthetic jacket?
Compared to synthetic fibres, down has a higher thermal output, weighs less and is compact. Plus, it’s the best option for cold temperatures.
However, down jackets are more sensitive to water compared to synthetic jackets. If the feathers get wet, they can start to clump and lose their insulating effect. So, if you know you’ll break out into a sweat during a certain activity or if it’s going to rain, then you should opt for a synthetic jacket.