Going camping requires suitable equipment and one of the most important ones is the sleeping bag. Your sleeping bag is the ultimate item that will save you from hypothermia and will allow you to stay warm and comfortable under the stars. But, you don’t actually have to go camping to get one; many people buy sleeping bags so they can have one just in case if they go on a sleepover, or to get even warmer when they set up a tent, or in their RVs.
No matter your reasons for purchasing a sleeping bag, if you’re new to this whole camping thing, you should consider a few things when buying one. For instance, the materials. It should be water-proof and durable, but even more important than that, it should feel warm and comfortable. The sleeping bag’s filling is crucial; it will either keep you warm or you’ll wish to go back home instantly.
One of the best fillings for camping sleeping bags is duck down. This is because it’s incredibly light and easy to pack and put in your backpack, and above all, it will keep you warm. So what is duck down (or geese down) and why you should consider purchasing this type of sleeping bag? Here are the things you should know before making your investment in such a durable and quality sleeping bag.
Why Choose a Down Sleeping Bag
The great thing about down sleeping bags is the excellent ratio of warmth and packability which puts these sleeping bags on the top of the list among campers. A quality down sleeping bag is more expensive than, let’s say, a synthetic-insulated bag. But don’t let the price change your mind since you’re investing in a quality product.
It’s a common misconception that down insulation is made from birds feathers. In fact, down is the plumage that’s found underneath the outer feathers on ducks and geese and have soft and fluffy filaments. You may come across sleeping bags filled with a blend of down and feathers, but by all means, down is different from feathers.
Down insulates via trapping air and people love it because it’s lightweight and easy to compress. Also, these sleeping bags are breathable and last long. So, if you’re going camping in a place with cold and dry weather conditions, or want to camp lightweight, a duck down sleeping bag should be your choice.
How a Down-filled Sleeping Bag Insulates
The fluffy cluster found underneath the feathers of birds makes their natural insulation. Every cluster has thousands of small fibres that are trap insulating air, so when you get a sleeping bag, you get insulation made based on the bird’s example. Sleeping bags are filled with a combination of these clusters and small down feathers. The ratio of clusters to feathers is listed on the hands (you’ll notice numbers like ‘90/10’ or ‘85/15’). The feathers are there to give a little extra structure so the soft down clusters can loft under the weight of the shell materials.
Which Type of Down is Best
If you are about to purchase your next sleeping bag and are new to this whole camping and sleeping bag thing it’s natural to be in a dilemma. Is duck down sleeping bag better than any other option?
Down insulation typically comes from geese. But, recently many manufacturers made the transition to duck down because of the rising cost of goose down. Goose down has been marketed as a ‘premium product, but, the quality duck down is wanted because it is lofty and just as long-lasting. Both types of down give great sleeping bags. What matters the most is not the type of down, but that the sleeping bag design and construction.
Is Duck Down Better Than Synthetic Filling?
If you’re choosing between the two, let’s check how both options compare. Synthetic insulation is popular mainly because of its strong overall performance and affordable prices. Synthetic sleeping bags are made of polyester; synthetic is quick-drying and insulates even if wet. But, these types of sleeping bags aren’t as durable and the insulation can move around and create cold spots.
If you go for a duck down sleeping bag, you’ll get a product that keeps you warm, doesn’t weigh too much and will last for a long time. The downside is that it will be pricier, and sometimes down may clump up and lose loft when wet. But, thanks to modern technology most quality duck down sleeping bags are water-resistant. However, don’t expect that you can sleep in them in the heavy rain.
So, at the end of the day, the decision is yours; if you’re camping in a tent or an RV, or will use the sleeping bag for sleepovers, then you can definitely get excellent results with the duck down bag. It’s breathable, keeps you warm and is lightweight.