Down is the soft under plumage (a layer of insulation underneath feathers) that geese, ducks and other waterfowl have to keep them warm and dry.
Feathers have hard stiff quills, down does not. A down "cluster" is a soft and fluffy 3 dimensional structure with many filaments growing in all directions. A down cluster looks like this:
The three dimensional structure of a down cluster
Down is used in comforters, pillows, and other articles of bedding and clothing. Goose down is chosen for it's luxurious warmth, softness, superior resilience, loft and insulating properties, unmatched by synthetic fills.
Goose down and duck down is basically very similar in structure, especially in the lower fill powers. For example, a 550 fill power duck down is equal to a 550 fill power goose down in resilience and ability to insulate. However, because geese are larger than ducks, goose down clusters can be larger than duck down clusters. These larger clusters, represented by a high fill power down, result in better insulation for comforters and fluffier, more resilient, filling for pillows.
Duck down is much less expensive compared to goose down, with one notable exception; the down from the Eider Duck, known as Eiderdown. Eiderdown clusters are very dense with exceptional "cling". Eiderdown is the softest and best insulating of all downs, even the very best goose down. Eiderdown is also the most expensive down.
Down and feathers from ducks can be prone to a "gamy" odor (eider down is also the exception here). As the price of goose down continues to rise, we are seeing duck down and duck & goose feather being used more and more in comforters & pillows as a way to keep costs down. Many consumers simply assume that the "down" pillow they've just purchased is goose down, when it may actually be duck down, or a blend of feather and down. This is why it is important to read, and understand, the Down Bedding Law Label.
Where Goose Down Comes From
Most of the goose down and duck down produced in the world today comes from China. A smaller percentage comes from Europe, particularly from Poland and Hungary. Goose down also comes from Canada and the United States, in still smaller quantities relative to the amount of down that China and Europe produce.
We are often asked if one type of goose down is better than another, ie; "Is Hungarian goose down better than Polish goose down?" "Is Canadian goose down better than Hungarian goose down?", etc. The answer is an emphatic no: Generally speaking, location does not have any bearing on the quality of goose down.
In other words, goose down clusters of equal fill power will be the same size (fill power measures the size of the goose down cluster) regardless of origin. For example, an 800 fill power goose down from Hungary will be the same quality as an 800 fill power down from Poland or Canada.
There is one caveat to this however. While Fill Power is the industry standard for measuring the quality of goose down, the finest downs are more mature, with denser clusters, compared to younger less mature down. There is no industry standard to measure the maturity and density of a goose down cluster. These batches of mature down are limited in quantity and are much more costly compared to the "regular" bulk harvested goose down on the market.
Some of the very best examples of this mature goose down, such as our Plumeria™ down, come from Poland; but to take this example and make a blanket statement that Polish Goose Down is better than Hungarian down or Canadian down would simply not be true.
You may have seen the term "European Goose Down" or "European White Goose Down" and wondered what that means, exactly. This "European" goose down can be a blend of goose down from any down producing region in Europe; mostly from Poland and Hungary, but it can also include down from other regions in Europe.
You may notice that I do not mention Siberia as a source of goose down. That's because, while some small quantity of down does come from the Ukraine (bordered by Poland and Hungary), goose down does not come from Siberia.
Feathers are often confused with down by the average person. But there are important differences to note. As mentioned above, feathers have quills (the center shaft). "Flight" feathers are found on the wings or tail of the bird and will vary greatly in size, from quite small to over a foot long.
The quills in flight feathers are relatively straight and are not very flexible. Flight feathers are often cut up into small pieces and used as inexpensive fill for furniture & couch cushions, etc.
A body feather with a "springy" quill
Body feathers are small and have a flexible springy curved quill, like the feather shown above. This type of feather is often blended with down and used in better quality bedding, such as the feather and down blends found in our Alto™ & Stratus™ featherbeds. Feathers do not have a "fill power" rating.
White vs. Gray Down
Down can vary in color, from white to dark gray depending on the age of the bird and the season in which the down was harvested. The color of down does not affect its ability to insulate - in other words, a dark gray down will insulate just as well as a white down of the same size cluster and maturity.
Aesthetically speaking, white down is generally more preferable to gray down since a gray down can show through a fine white down proof ticking, making the comforter appear "dingy". White goose is more expensive then gray down. Like duck down, we are seeing more gray down being used as a way to keep costs down.
Down Fill Power
Fill power or "loft" is how the quality and size of down clusters are defined. The larger the down cluster, the higher the fill power rating, which is the number of cubic inches one ounce of down will fill under specific laboratory testing conditions; for example:
Quality Down = Comfort & Resilience
Fill power can range from 300 cubic inches per ounce, to 800 cubic inches per ounce and above, for the highest quality down.
For down comforters: A quality duvet with large cluster down will keep you more comfortable, ie; warmer when it is cold and cooler when it is warm, compared to a lower quality down. For down pillows: A higher quality down will result in a fluffier, more resilient pillow, ounce for ounce, compared to a lower quality down.
We use only the finest quality down in our comforters & pillows, including a 675 fill, an 850 fill Canadian white goose down, & an especially mature and dense 800 fill Polish white goose down that, due to it's exceptional "cling" (much like Eiderdown) is considered to be among the best white goose down in the world.
Density and Cling
Fill power is important, and it is what everyone focuses o jkfkpgyd. canada goose klærn as a measure of quality down because it is relatively easy to measure and quantify. But "density" and "cling" are at least as important when evaluating the highest quality down.
Density is an attribute of mature down. A mature down cluster with a denser center will insulate better and be more "resilient" compared to an immature down cluster of the same size.
Down clusters of the same fill power. The mature cluster is denser and of better quality
Cling is an attribute of eiderdown and very mature goose down, also known as"sticky down". "Cling" is found when tiny hooks develop on the individual filaments of a down cluster. The Polish White Goose Down found in our Plumeria™ duvets and pillows is exemplary of the finest mature goose down, with superior attributes of fill power, density and cling.
Here is a picture that shows this "cling" in action!
Oxygen & Turbidity
Cleanliness: Improperly cleaned down can have dander, dust mites and odor issues. Most people that experience a reaction to down are actually experiencing a reaction to the dander and dust mites in dirty down.
There are a couple of important tests that help manufacturers assure that down is properly cleaned; Oxygen and Turbidity.
All Plumeria Bay® goose down and eiderdown has minimum standards of 2 (or less) for Oxygen, and 900 to 1000 for Turbidity. How our down is cleaned.
The Best Insulation, Naturally
Ounce for ounce, goose down is the finest lightweight insulator known, natural or synthetic, except for eiderdown. The down cluster's unique three dimensional structure creates thousands of tiny air pockets. These air pockets, created by the down fibers, provide the superior insulating ability that down is known for.
Quality down is also extremely resilient - the ability to be compressed then spring back to it's original shape with all of those wonderfully warm air pockets. No other material is as resilient as a high quality large cluster down, except for eiderdown.
Goose down is also extremely breathable compared to other materials. It allows water vapor to pass through, wicking it away through the filaments while retaining the warmth in the air pockets.
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Canadians know all about cold, and how to survive it. It’s therefore not surprising that Canada Goose is recognized worldwide as a leading manufacturer of extreme weather jackets and outerwear. From its small beginnings in a Toronto warehouse in 1957, Canada Goose has captured its leading role through a combination of quality, craftsmanship, and expert design.
At the heart of Canada Goose garments—all of which are made in Canada—you’ll find the best insulator in the world: down. With a warmth-to-weight ratio that far surpasses that of synthetic insulation, down has millions of fluffy filaments per ounce that create heat-trapping pockets of air. All the down blends used by Canada Goose include a portion of premium Hutterite down, which has the ability to retain more warm air than other types of down. Another signature Canada Goose material, genuine fur trim, also has a practical function. Unlike faux fur, coyote fur won’t freeze or hold water, and it creates a windbreak that protects exposed skin. Canada Goose is committed to humane treatment of animals, and only uses down and fur that is responsibly and sustainably sourced.
These high-quality materials can be found in a full range of products, beginning with the flagship Arctic Collection—parkas, jackets, and pants created for men and women engaged in industrial, commercial, and scientific work in the coldest regions on the planet. Rugged, weather-resistant, and exquisitely warm, these garments are designed to get you through the harshest winters in comfort. Canada Goose has accessories for extreme conditions, as well. From its iconic fur-lined Aviator Hat to a full range of gloves and mittens, they offer full protection for every situation.
Down jackets and vests in the innovative Altitude, HyBridge, and Lightweight collections deliver warmth without weight, either as standalone outer pieces in dry high-altitude environments or as insulators under shells from Canada Goose’s new Technical Shell collection. Waterproof and breathable, these stretchy laminated shell jackets and pants are suitable for active pursuits like skiing, snowboarding, and alpine climbing.
But Canada Goose is not only about extreme weather in remote places. Canada’s cities can get nearly as cold as its frozen north; the Branta collection adds a dash of urban flair to its famously warm wear. In addition to down jackets and coats for men and women in its classic materials, the collection branches out in new directions with luxurious Italian wool and distinguished cashmere pieces.
Last but not least, Canada Goose offers down jackets, pants, and snowsuits for kids, as well as highly protective buntings for infants. Featuring the same DNA as the extreme-weather wear for adults, these garments are not only good-looking and warm, but they offer the durability and quality construction that ensure that they will be passed along through families and even down through generations.