Cooler months call out for down jackets, and with their popularity soaring over the past 3 years we thought it would be a good idea to give you more of an explanation as to what down jackets are and why it might be time to get your hands on one.
What is a Down Jacket?
Down jackets are insulated with warm and soft under feathers from duck or geese. The construction of down enables it to create hundreds of tiny pockets of air which trap the warm air and retain the heat, making it an excellent insulator for people in cold weather.
The down fill of these jackets can be duck down, goose down or a mix of the two. Jackets which are made from a combination of the two are often more affordable. But in general, goose down is known for having a higher warmth-to-weight ration and is able to pack down smaller than duck down.
In terms of there use, down jackets are suitable for low-intensity activities in cold weather. As soon as you begin to exert yourself more, you may find yourself getting too hot in a down jacket.
What is the Fill Power Rating?
Fill power is the measure of the loft (or fluffiness) of the down itself and therefore how well it insulates. Fill power is measured in cubic inches per ounce and the higher the fill power, the more pockets of air the down will have and therefore the warmer the jacket will be.
400-500 - Good
550-650 - High Quality
750-850 - This is the upper bracket of quality
850+ - This is the best fill power you can get
What is the Different Down Jacket Constructions?
It is usual to drill down to the actual baffles themselves. Knowing the different constructions can help you determine which down jacket is right for you.
Wide vs. Narrow Baffles
A jacket with wide baffles will retain the most heat and therefore be the warmer option, this is because they contain more down and less seams, making it harder for the heat to escape. The downside of these jackets is that they are more bulky therefore if mobility is a priority for your jacket we would recommend opting for narrow baffles, as these usually have a slimmer fit.
Box Wall vs. Sewn Through
There are a few different types of baffle construction, but the main two are sewn-through and box wall.
Sewn-through baffles help to evenly distribute the insulation and is the most common type of down jacket. The chambers are created between stiches, as the outer layer of the fabric is sewn through to the inner fabric lining. These jackets are often lightweight, as no extra fabric is added.
Box baffle have small chambers of down, which is then separated by a wall of fabric. Down is able to expand to its maximum loft which aids in reducing heat lost in any of the stitched areas. Often these jackets are slightly more expensive.
Our Favourite Down Jacket of 2021: Arktis II Down Hooded Jacket (Olive/Navy)
With all these factors considered we asked the team at Unbound Supply Co. what their favourite down jacket was this year and the result was the Arktis II Down Hooded Jacket from Fjern. The Arktis II is an updated version of the incredibly popular Arktis Down Jacket. Fjern did an excellent job of listening to their customers feedback and added new technical features such as hood adjusters, so you can stay even more toasty!
Some of our favourite features include:
- 750 fill power Teflon treated Goose Down - water resistant, quick drying and ethically produced
- Premium 95/5 Down/Feather ratio
- RDS Certified
- Mini-stitch through baffle construction
- Down-filled hood with extended collar for extra face protection & warmth
- Hood adjusters for the perfect fit
- Corded zipper pulls which are easy to grab even whilst wearing gloves
- Internal mesh pocket that doubles as a stuff sack
This jacket is fantastic as its warm enough to stand on its own in frigid, dry conditions but compact enough to layer in cold and damp weather. The Arktis II is designed to keep you toasty in brutal alpine conditions whatever your pursuit.