Down vs Synthetic Insulation: How to Choose the Best Jacket for Your Needs
When it comes to staying warm in cold weather, having a good jacket is essential. But with so many options available, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. In this article, we'll take a closer look at two popular types of insulation for jackets: down and synthetic. We'll compare the pros and cons of each and offer some tips on how to choose the best one for your needs. We'll also talk about sustainability, as this is an increasingly important factor for many people when making a purchase.
What is Down Insulation?
Down insulation is made from the soft, fluffy undercoating found on the underside of ducks and geese. It is highly effective at trapping heat, making it a popular choice for jackets and other cold-weather gear. Down is also very lightweight, making it easy to pack and carry around.
Pros of down insulation:
- Effective at trapping heat
Cons of down insulation:
- More expensive than synthetic insulation
- Not as effective when wet
- Some people are allergic to down
When ordinary down comes into contact with water, droplets of water stick to the down fibers. Such wet down loses its ability to heat - the air cushions that take care of the thermal insulation disappear. However, if moisture comes into contact with down that has been treated with DownTek, it hits a barrier on the surface of the down over which it slides down. This leaves the individual fibres dry, able to insulate effectively.
Down treated with DownTek absorbs 30% less moisture than untreated down, stays dry over 900% longer than untreated down and dries 5x faster than conventional down.
These properties also make it easier to care for down-filled products, which can be machine-washed without degrading the finish. DownTek states that a down jacket with is able to withstand up to five washes without degrading the quality of the down. However, down jackets really only need to be washed in exceptional circumstances.
The DownTek treatment can be used on both goose and duck down. In most of our products we use goose down, which has slightly better properties than duck down. Their ability to heat is similar, but duck down contains oils without which their structure would break down. If duck down gets wet, it may be accompanied by a typical mild smell.
With DownTek, however, this unwanted effect is also minimised - this treatment both prevents moisture from penetrating to the down fibres and acts as a barrier through which this typical odour does not penetrate as intensely.
However, as the higher the down quality (down to feather ratio), the better the DownTek treatment works, we use a superior quality down, just in cooperation with DownTek itself.
What is Synthetic Insulation?
Synthetic insulation is made from man-made materials such as polyester or nylon. It is often used as a cheaper alternative to down insulation, but it can also be just as effective at trapping heat. Synthetic insulation is also typically more resistant to moisture than down, making it a good choice for wet or humid environments.
Pros of synthetic insulation:
- Less expensive than down insulation
- More resistant to moisture
- Better for people with allergies
Cons of synthetic insulation:
- Heavier than down insulation
- Not as durable as down
Choosing Between Down and Synthetic Insulation
When it comes to choosing between down and synthetic insulation, there are a few factors to consider. First, think about your budget. Down insulation is generally more expensive than synthetic, so if cost is a major concern, synthetic might be the way to go.
Next, consider the climate you'll be using the jacket in. If you live in a wet or humid environment, synthetic insulation may be a better choice as it is more resistant to moisture. However, if you'll be spending time in very cold temperatures, down insulation may be the better option as it is more effective at trapping heat.
It's also important to think about your personal preferences and needs. If you have allergies, synthetic insulation may be a better choice as it is hypoallergenic. On the other hand, if you value lightweight gear, down insulation may be a better fit as it is much lighter than synthetic.
In recent years, sustainability has become an increasingly important factor for many people when making a purchase, and jackets are no exception. Both down and synthetic insulation have their own environmental considerations.
Down insulation is often sourced from birds that are raised for their meat and feathers. Some companies, however, are committed to using only ethically sourced down that has been obtained from birds that have not been subjected to any harm. These companies often use the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) to certify their down as ethically-sourced.
Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is made from petroleum-based materials and can take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill. However, many synthetic insulation materials are now made from recycled materials, which can make them a more environmentally-friendly option.
As a brand, we are committed to using only ethically-sourced down insulation that has been certified through the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This means that the down used in your jackets has been obtained from birds that have not been subjected to any harm.
In addition to using RDS-certified down, we also offer jackets with Primaloft synthetic insulation. Primaloft is a high-quality synthetic insulation material that is made from recycled materials, making it a more environmentally-friendly option.
By using both RDS-certified down and recycled synthetic insulation, we are able to offer a range of high-performance jackets that meet your needs, while also taking into consideration the importance of sustainability. You can feel confident that you are getting a high-quality jacket that meets your needs, while also supporting environmentally-conscious practices.
When it comes to choosing between down and synthetic insulation for your jacket, there are several factors to consider. Budget, climate, personal preferences, and sustainability are all important considerations.
Down insulation is generally more expensive and not as resistant to moisture as synthetic, but it is very effective at trapping heat and is lightweight. Synthetic insulation is less expensive and more resistant to moisture, but it is heavier and not as durable as down.
When it comes to sustainability, down can be ethically-sourced and certified through the Responsible Down Standard, while synthetic insulation can be made from recycled materials. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and priorities.