what is a down/synthetic down jacket?

Find our more about down feather jackets - your must-have on trips to cold climates!

How To Choose A Down Jacket

Whether you are gearing up for a winter hike, or a getaway in a city with cold weather, it’s always important to layer effectively so you keep warm.

We’ve talked about how base-layers are crucial to a good layering system, but choosing the right mid layer is just as important!

Read on to find out more about down feather and synthetic down feather jackets.

What Is A Down/Synthetic Down Jacket? | Preparing for a Winter Trip

WHAT DOES BREATHABILITY MEAN?

In a nutshell, breathability refers to the ability of a fabric to absorb moisture and release it through the material itself, allowing it to breathe.

Breathability is important for many reasons:

Firstly, it prevents you from overheating. Fabrics that are designed to provide warmth should be breathable so that you do not feel stuffy or hot and sticky.

Secondly, it allows air to travel through the fabric to keep it fresh. This not only refers to you staying fresh but also the material, especially when it comes to lingering odour.

Thirdly, it prevents blisters! This is a little-known fact, but breathable boots actually prevent the formation of blisters as moisture can cause feet to do this.

With more air traveling to your feet, this won’t be a problem to deal with.

In short, your mid-layer should at least have heat-trapping properties! This layer is all about insulation and is crucial in helping you retain the heat that is radiated by your body.

The better the layer is at trapping heat, the warmer you will be.

However, one common shortcoming of middle layers is that they usually do not provide rain protection.

If your holiday destination is going to be rainy and wet, you would definitely need a protective outer layer in order to keep water out.

Pro-tip: Check the weather before you start packing!

There are 3 common materials for mid-layers: down feather, synthetic down feather, and fleece.

Today we are going to introduce you to down feather and synthetic down feather jackets!

What is a down feather jacket?

Down feather jackets always seem to be a mystery to people. How can a jacket be so light and yet keep you warm?

Down feather jackets are actually made of down feathers (yes, we swear!) which come from geese and ducks.

These feathers create millions of small air pockets, that will help to retain your own body heat. The more air pockets there are, the warmer you will be.

So how do you tell the difference between a good down jacket and a bad one?

This is where “fill power” comes into play. I’m sure you’ve encountered that word many times when you’re looking for a down jacket!

Technically speaking, fill power is a measure of the amount of space one ounce of down will occupy in cubic inches. The higher the fill power, the more space that one ounce of down will occupy.

Down Jackets

However, the warmth of a down feather jacket is not purely based on fill power.

For example, if you use 12 ounces of 550 fill down, compared to 8 ounces of 850 down, this may result in similar warmth.

The only difference? The 550-fill down jacket will be heavier!

Ultimately, higher fill power simply gives better warmth-to-weight ratios.

If you want the lightest and warmest jacket, look for a down feather jacket with the highest fill power.

However, these jackets tend to be the most expensive—so it all depends on your priorities!

While down feather jackets tend to be the warmest, it is important to remember that it isn’t for everyone.

One major downside about down feather jackets is that they don’t do well in wet weather, and they won’t perform well if you’re planning to do strenuous activities in them.

Once it gets wet, your down feather jacket will lose its insulation properties and make you cold.

What is a synthetic down feather jacket?

Synthetic down feather jackets are designed to provide the same warmth and lightweight of a down jacket, yet retain these properties even if they get wet!

One more major upside? They're much more affordable than a natural down jacket :)

These jackets are made with ultra-fine polyester fibres that help to trap warmth in their air pockets, keeping you warm and toasty.

They're also designed to be much more resistant to moisture, and when they do get wet, they also dry much faster!

However, synthetic down feather jackets have a higher weight-to-warmth ratio compared to down jackets. This means that they need to be heavier and thicker to achieve the same level of warmth as a down feather jacket.

What are Down & Synthetic Down Feather Jackets? | Layering for a Winter Trip

And there you have it! The lowdown on all the different mid-layers out there and how to choose them.

Remember, wearing multiple thin layers can actually keep you much warmer than a single thick layer. This is because layering can actually trap the warm air in between, which helps to act as an insulator!

The number of layers you wear will also depend heavily on the type of activity you’re doing.

Pro-tip: For strenuous activities like skiing or hiking, you may want to consider fleece jackets as your choice!

Fleece jackets will allow your sweat to dry much quicker, which will prevent you from getting damp and cold.

For chilly days in the city, or if you’re just going camping—a down jacket will be perfect to keep you nice and warm.

I hope this article has been helpful in helping you find the perfect mid-layer for your winter adventure!

more winter articles you might like