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How to choose the good down Jacket
Jan 05, 2017

  Here are a lot of variables to consider when choosing a down jacket. In our detailed GOOD DOWN JACKET review of the top nine down jackets available on the market today, we assessed each jacket based upon warmth, weight, water resistance, compressibility, style, and features to tell you what are the best overall lightweight down jackets, as well as what are the best jackets for a variety of purposes. In this article we go into greater detail about the materials used to make these jackets, as well as examine the trade-offs to different options that will help you choose the perfect jacket for your purposes.

  1.Down

     Down quality is rated by a system that measures its fill power, which is the number of cubic inches displaced by an ounce of down. It is usually expressed with the word "fill" preceded by a number ranging from 300 to 900, increasing in increments of 50. The higher the fill-power, i.e. 800 fill, the greater the loft provided by the down, and therefore the less down it requires to provide warmth. 

  2.Materials

     The main fabrics (the outer shell and the lining) have an affect on a jacket's performance in four primary ways: durability, weight, warmth, and water resistance. 

A lightweight model that weighs about nine ounces usually has only three ounces of down. The remainder of the total garment weight is the fabric, zippers, and other various small features like Velcro and cinch cords for adjustability. Jackets with lighter materials are obviously more compressible and lighter. 

Different fabrics have different durabilities. Thinner and lighter materials are usually more vulnerable to abrasion and snagging. There are many super-light shell fabrics on the market that are rather impressive – they allow for the construction of jackets with phenomenal warmth-to-weight ratios. However if you are looking for a down jacket that you can use and abuse for years and years, considering shell fabric durability may be your primary concern considering that down is itself inherently durable if properly cared for. When researching a jacket you're considering purchasing, take the time to note the shell fabric material and it's relative weight compared to other similar jackets. 

  3.Sewn Through

     This method is most common. It is easier and less time-consuming for manufacturers than box baffle construction. The outer material is stitched directly into the inner lining, separating the down in different baffles. This method uses less fabric and is lighter than more complicated box baffle construction (see below), and is less costly. Because of weight, simplicity, and cost, most of the lightweight jackets, and many of the heavier ones, utilize this construction. Although sewn through construction saves weight via the use of less material, it is less warm than box baffle construction because the down is pinched at the seams of the sewn through baffles and thus loft is reduced to zero at each point of baffle stitching. The sewn through baffling prevents the migration of the down (like a box baffle), but due to the simple construction it also reduces the optimum loft of the down, creating "cold spots" at each baffle seam. Most of the jackets in this review are made with sewn through construction.