A quick guide to down filled puffer jackets

When buying a down jacket to keep you warm over winter, how do you decide which one?

What is down?

Down is the light, fluffy undercoating that’s clustered beneath the feathers of a duck or goose. It helps protect them from the cold.

Many puffer jackets have down fill, and it provides an exceptional amount of warmth for minimal weight, is super comfortable, and compresses easily.

Down jackets are worn for warmth and to protect you against the wind, but they aren’t waterproof.

What’s fill power?

You can measure the quality of down by taking note of the fill power – this is shown as a number on the sleeve of your jacket, or on the label. It usually ranges between 550 and 800.

Fill power determines the loft or ‘fluffiness’ of down. It’s a standardised lab test, where higher fill power reflects better quality down that’s capable of trapping more air to keep and providing a better warmth to weight ratio.

Fill power numbers help you decide which down jacket to choose for your outdoor plans.

Higher fill power doesn’t necessarily mean warmer

A higher fill power number doesn’t automatically mean a jacket will be warmer - you should consider the thickness of the jacket too.

For example, a Kathmandu Heli Lightweight Down Jacket with 550 fill power and a XT Ultralight Down Jacket with 800 fill power have similar warmth. That’s because in this example, even though the Lightweight jacket has a lower fill power number, it has more down (is thicker) than the Ultralight.

Finding the best down jacket for you

Base your choice of down jacket on the main activity you want to use it for. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How warm and compressible do you want it to be? This is where the fill weight and power comes into play.
  • What will you use it for? Consider whether you need a jacket filled with water repellent down or not – that’s one which will take longer to absorb your moisture as you sweat and the water when you get caught in light rain.
  • How will you wear it? As a mid-layer under your rain shell or as an outer layer?

Now you’re all geared up with the knowledge, it’s time to get shopping. You can check out the official Kathmandu Trade Me Store here.  

This promotional article has been provided to us by Kathmandu.

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