When it comes to insulation, nothing beats down as a fill material. A high-quality down jacket or down sleeping bag, filled with fluffy goose or duck down, guarantees cozy warmth and high level of comfort at a low weight.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Down is an ingenious natural product that combines lightness with outstanding thermal properties. The finely branched structures are similar to the form of a snowflake and entrap a large amount of air. Body heat is maintained, so that nothing will get between you and your fun adventure in the great outdoors, even in the coldest temperatures. In addition, down retains its shape and is more compressible than synthetic fibers–ideal if you don’t have much room for your gear.
- The insulation performance of down, however, is negatively affected by water. Moisture from sweat or from outside the bag can cause the down to clump and lose its insulating effect. Airing out your bag and making sure it’s dry will help prevent clumping. If the sleeping bag ever gets soaked, let it dry and then shake it out well. Drying in a tumble dryer with the addition of some tennis balls is optimal, as these will redistribute the fine down filaments.
Fill power, or loft, is an important quality feature of down and describes its capacity to store air. This value is given in “cuin” (cubic inches) and indicates the volume (loft) to which an ounce (~ 28 grams) of down expands after compression. The higher this value, the better the insulation capacity in relation to volume. Down fill with high loft is lighter and more compressible than an equally warm fill with lower quality down.
DOWN TO FEATHER RATIO
Depending on the activity that a sleeping bag is designed for, different down blends are used in our products. Fill ratios refer to the percentage of goose down plumes to support feathers in terms of overall fill weight.
Sorting feathers and down
All of our fills are tested for moisture resistance, loft and durability; only after passing this stringent quality testing are they accepted in the VAUDE sleeping bag program. For optimum functionality, the down and feathers are sorted in advance. Depending on size and weight, large and small feathers or fluffy and small down are separated from each other in large chambers by means of air currents. After this sorting, the desired ratio of feathers and down is mixed and integrated into our products.
Down/feather ratio 95/5
95/5 down fillings guarantee the best-possible insulation properties at minimum weight. For our Alpstein sleeping bags, we use white goose down with 850 cu in fill power, measured in accordance with the IDFB steam method.
Down/feather ratio 90/10
90/10 down fill ensures optimum insulation at a minimum weight. For some of our sleeping bags and apparel we use a high quality down with a fill ratio of 90 % down to 10 % feathers. We rely on down with a loft of 700+ cu in and 800+ cu in fill power to achieve this excellent ratio of insulation performance to weight.
Down/feather ratio 80/20
In the transitional seasons as well as in summer, 80/20 down fill is ideal. This contains high-quality and durable grey duck down with 650+ cuin fill power.
All VAUDE sleeping bags with down fill feature special chamber constructions which prevent the down from shifting and optimizes insulation.
This construction divides the fill of the down sleeping bag into several separate areas and prevents the down from shifting. The ratio of heat to weight is optimal.
For this chamber construction, the outer material and the inner material are quilted together and the chambers are filled with down. This construction is very lightweight and minimalist, and is a great choice for use in moderate temperatures.
ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS
We take our responsibility very seriously and pay particular attention to the origin of our down – in accordance with our corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. For our sleeping bag fill, we use only down that is certified by the independent down standard RDS (Responsible Down Standard) for animal welfare. This seal of approval guarantees that geese and ducks are kept and fed in a manner appropriate to their species. Practices such as live plucking or foie gras production are explicitly excluded. With the help of the independent organization, Textile Exchange, we can track our down and feathers throughout the entire supply chain.
We use 100 % recycled down in some of our products. In cooperation with a textile recycler, the fill is taken from post consumer bedding and clothing and is then recycled. It is first washed, sterilized and then sorted into its individual components. Broken feathers and down are removed so that only the best down can be used in VAUDE products. This valuable natural product is thus sensibly reused.