There’s something satisfying about being at just the right temperature when your surroundings are freezing. Layers are one way to achieve this but for instant, lightweight insulation you can’t beat a down jacket or coat. Find your perfect heat retainer from our extensive range and enjoy the cold weather more.
Winter can be a beautiful and enjoyable time of year; unfortunately it’s at its best when the weather is coldest. Snowy mountains are much more pleasant than windy wet ones and ice climbing is only a possibility with the mercury below zero. The countryside has a crisp, clean look under a light frost and the friction is awesome on cold gritstone. But all these are only enjoyable if you’re warm enough to appreciate them.
When you’re active staying warm is usually straightforward with a good moisture management system. But when you stop for a break or at the end of your journey you’re at risk of chilling quickly, particularly if your clothes are at all wet. Similarly if you’re doing a lot of standing or moving slowly; hypothermia can creep up and surprise you in even mildly cold conditions. To mitigate this without loading yourself to the gunwales, a down jacket is the lightweight option to plump for.
Why down? Because it’s both thermally efficient and breathable as well as extremely compressible at high fill powers and as a bonus, a down jacket or coat feels great to wear too. The performance comes from the structure of down clusters – the long barbed filaments or barbules interlock with each other to trap a large amount of air for the weight of down. The higher the fill power, the more air is trapped per unit weight, so the more efficient the down.
Lower fill powers have their uses – with a higher feather content (shown as eg 90/10 which would be ninety percent down, ten percent feather) down at around 600 fill power can be more compression-resistant, which is useful when worn under a pack or outer layers and more suited to heavier face fabrics. But for truly lightweight, packable insulation, choose 750+ fill power or above with an ultra-light fabric face and lining; minimal weight, maximum warmth.
Of course down needs some care to keep it working at its best. Keeping it dry and storing it uncompressed will go a long way towards maintaining optimum performance. The good news is that with the required TLC it will serve you well almost indefinitely – there are thirty-year old down jackets still going strong in many a mountaineer’s kitbag. To help keep off any water that does land on your jacket, many come with a durable water repellent or DWR finish which causes water to bead up to slow down absorption. It’s even possible to find down jackets and coats with waterproof outers for full protection, though of course breathability is reduced so they’re best for less intense activity.
Down isn’t just for mountain wear though. We have a range of longer down coats and more fashion-conscious jackets ready for winter strolls, watching sport etc; wherever you need reliable insulation. Many utilise waterproof outers too, so you’re under full protection in case of rain.
So if you’re fed up of chills or bulky warm layers distracting you from the fun side of winter, delve into our selection – we can virtually guarantee there’ll be a warm, comfortable and efficient down layer for you.