January 16, 2020

What is a Down Jacket?

Not everyone is can be an expert on the essential details of designer outerwear, so you can be forgiven for not knowing exactly what puts the “down” in a down winter jacket. Fortunately, the team members at Arctic Bay are the experts, and we are happy to help.

In general terms, a down jacket is a coat that uses the soft and warm under feathers for additional insulation. Typically, these feathers come from either duck or geese. These feathers are known for their fluff (or what we in the biz call ‘loft’), which is part of what makes them an ideal material for insulation. Down feather insulation also creates thousands of tiny air pockets that trap warm air, retaining and recirculating heat, which helps the wearer retain their warmth against even the coldest weather.

While this may seem like a pretty technical explanation, there are plenty more benefits to the use of down insulation.

Benefits of Down

  • Exceptional Heat Retention

  • Lightweight with better warmth than synthetic insulations

  • Suitable for both warm and cold weather

  • Easily compressed for traveling

Explaining Down Fill Power

When exploring your outerwear options in our online store, you will find each of our men’s winter jackets and women’s coats will list a down fill power rating under the included features. If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you aren’t too familiar with what that number actually means. And again, our experts are here to help.

Down fill power is actually the measure of that ‘loft’ we mentioned earlier. It is how designers can quantify those ever-important insulating fluff properties. In other words, the higher the fill power, the more air pockets in the down, meaning greater insulation provided compared to the weight of the jacket. But how do we come up with the numbers?

How to Determine Down Fill Power

No, that number is not how many feathers we’ve stuffed into your coat. Actually, the fill power of down insulation in winter jackets is measured in cubic inches per ounce. To test fill power, an ounce of down is compressed by weight in a glass cylinder under laboratory conditions. The resulting material’s ability to bounce back and ‘loft’ is calculated as the fill power.

But fill power isn’t just about getting you more bounce to the ounce. This measurement is also an indication of the quality of the down. Typically, better quality down will result in higher fill power. With higher quality, it requires less down to provide the same amount of warmth. As a result, jackets with a higher fill power tend to be lighter and more compressible. As with all aspects of manufacturing and production, Arctic Bay takes great pride in the fill power of our winter garments. 

Canadian Duck Down from Arctic Bay

While goose feathers are often touted as the more mainstream down material, Canadian duck down offers a reliable luxury alternative that is both warm, comfortable, and more cost-effective. Without sacrificing anything for comfort or style, Arctic Bay uses premium duck down to insulate our winter jackets for powerful protection against the harshest winter elements.  

Arctic Bay’s jackets are Downmark® certified, which means we use the best quality duck down to fill our coats, providing exceptional quality and warmth.

Typically, fill power ranges from 400 to 900. When it comes to down winter jackets and other outerwear, ratings will generally fall between 600 and 800 fill power. So when you explore our inventory and notice that nearly all of the Arctic Bay inventory has around 725 premium Canadian duck down fill power, you know you are getting the good stuff.

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