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.
Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ (NHD+) is a high-performance, water-repellent, fluorocarbon-free down fill for outdoor gear and apparel. At VAUDE we use NHD+, the first and only hydrophobic down that can withstand 10,000 minutes in the industrial shake test. (Corresponding to 7 days of continuous use in extreme humidity.) NHD+ retains its full loft power over the long term, even under extreme conditions, and provides long lasting and dependable warmth. Products with NHD+ are ideal for trekking and mountain adventures, but also for anyone looking for a versatile, low-maintenance, user-friendly product that doesn‘t compromise on performance.
Responsible Down Standard
Free of PFCs and other environmentally harmful chemicals
Perfect for extreme weather conditions
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 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.
All VAUDE sleeping bags with down fill feature special chamber constructions which prevent the down from shifting and optimizes insulation.
This construction divides the filling of the down sleeping bag into several separated areas and prevents the migration of down. The slanted H-chamber construction has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio and prevents direct cold bridges from forming on top of each other.
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.