How to Choose a Sleeping Bag Down

Before going on a trek, hike or shipping, you’ve probably asked the question of choosing the right sleeping bag or down jacket?

What is called the fuzz? 

On waterbirds (land birds are not fluff), the down is the fluffy, fluffy layer that insulates them from the cold. There are two kinds: the goose or duck down.

The down like a snowflake 3D imprisoning thousands of air pockets. The down a insulating 2 times higher than the best synthetic insulation.

Why the down brings as much warmth and comfort? 

Everything is based on the air! Air is a very poor conductor of heat. The duvet has a three dimensional structure that traps an incredible volume of air and forms a pocket of still air around you. The body heat can not escape and you completely isolated from the outside cold. The incomparable swelling of down also makes it extremely comfortable and enjoyable.

Hiking, use of down is a real asset: it is the most compressible insulation that exists! Moreover it is light and its life is important.

On an old goose down, it is in a duvet ounce over 2 million fluffy filaments that interlock to form the still air layer. For comparison the best synthetic insulation reaches maximum 400 cu.

Difference between duvets?

The best down comes from larger and older birds. The down must come from breeding where the birds have time to mature. It is in the countries producing foie gras found the best down: France, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary …

Countries such as China, producer of animals for meat (or even practicing plumage of live animals …) produce only small animals. The duvet is very average. Moreover, it is not always easy to control.

A same size and maturity, goose down is always better than duck down. Indeed, the quality of goose down is better than duck down (except the Eider) several hundred cu. The goose was bigger than a duck, off, plus a water bird, the greater its down has good thermal performance.

The down young animals have a life much less, flatten more quickly, and will have less swelling.

How do we measure the quality of the down? 

Cuin:  measuring the force of resistance to the pressure of down under a defined weight which represents the constraint of the fabric. Which ultimately gives the swelling of fluff, fluff filling capacity.

The filling capacity is given by the number of “inch cube” (Cubic Inch or Cu.in) that “one ounce” of filled duvet. (1 ounce = 28,35g / 1 liter = 61 cubic inch / 1-inch cube = 0,016L or 1.64 cl)

To measure the filling capacity using test tubes, in which use is 1 ounce of fluff. then placed a disc of a predefined weight (representing the weight of the fabric carried on down). The height in the tube thus obtained gives the swelling down, measured in “cubic inch”, often labeled “cu.in” or “cu”. Results are obtained following duvets 300 cu 800 cu.

The best down to a value of 800 cu. One can find on the market 850, see the 900 cu, but the difference with the 800 cu is limited and further increases the price of the final product.

The down fill power-Cuin

Proportion down / feather:  the other parameter to consider is the percentage between the down and feather.For example, a 95/5 has Down 95% down and 5% feather.

95/5 is the best proportion, because we can not fill a sleeping bag with 100% down. The feather can give cohesion to the filling and standardize the duvet in the bag compartment or your jacket. In the “high end” products you will find levels up to 90/10, 95/5, 96/4.

What other criteria to check?

The air permeability: a high quality duvet removes moisture remarkably, by “wicking” or capillary action allows a good transfer of water vapor, ensuring great comfort.

Cleanliness: a high quality duvet is washed, free of dust, rinsed and dried thoroughly. Thus the high quality duvet is hypoallergenic.

Density: a down from a mature animal will have a much higher density, will capture more air and will be more insulating.

It is for these reasons that down 650 cu from a certified livestock and animals from having time to grow and age, will have thermal qualities and life as interesting as a 750 or 800 cuin from a breeding young animals and without treatment followed the down.

Construction: the construction of very great importance, and even as important as the quality of the down itself.

The best type of construction, but also the most expensive, is the compartment box H and the trapeze. This type of construction is suitable for highly insulated jackets and sleeping bags. The X box is best suited for lightweight jackets or bags.

A good building is made of box closed and sealed to avoid that down to walk and thus create thermal bridges. The box H or trapeze allow construction without through-seams.

Fabric: the fabric used for the jacket also has a great importance. The fabric used should be water repellent to protect your duvet moisture, breathable to let the water vapor and wind to ensure good insulation. The best known and best quality fabrics are the Q15, Softex and Pertex.

Membrane waterproof / breathable as MicroDry and Pertex can be used to completely protect your sleeping bag dry.These membranes are ideal in harsh conditions, or to sleep in wet conditions. They avoid the use of a bag-on, while being more breathable.

Temperatures: from the EN13537 European standard exists, it is easier to compare the performance of duvets.The EN13537 standard provides for the down sleeping bags the following information:

– Temperature comfort for women
– for men Comfort temperature
– Temperature extreme comfort (with this temperature you will not sleep or very badly but the bag will allow you to spend the night.

All brands do not have the EN13537 certification.

For jackets, down jackets Down, manufacturers do not give temperatures (or it’s a given temperature indication).Jackets are both used in static activity. It is for these reasons that the temperature of use can be very different.Moreover, the perceived temperature is very different from one individual to another, man or woman, and based on criteria such as physical fitness, fatigue …

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