Avid campers and outdoorsmen often have many different ideas of what’s best for braving the elements. However, most would agree on one thing when it comes to bedding down in the bitter cold: Down is the way to go. There have been two main competitors in the battle to withhold the cold. When it comes to staying warm the two power players are down and synthetic insulation. While down has dominated the industry synthetic (mostly polyester) fiber fillers have been in a race to try and simulate the warmth, breathability, compressibility and durability of down.
When we compare in terms of warmth, down still towers over synthetic as far as warmth to weight ratio. When it comes to sleeping bags, jackets, pillows or comforters and blankets, down offers the most warmth for the least amount of bulk. When packing in the closet or the backpack, not only does down compress down to a smaller size but once packed it returns well to its full size when unpacked is also the more breathable of the two. Down not only naturally wicks moisture from perspiration, keeping you dry and comfortable, but because of its superior breathability is more likely to be comfortable throughout the night.
As far as durability is concerned, synthetic fillers tend to begin to break down when compressed and so lose their loft, fluffiness and usability. Synthetics have a much shorter lifespan whereas down, if properly cared for, can last years beyond the life of synthetic insulation. While synthetic fillers do tend to be somewhat less expensive than natural down, the lifespan and durability make down the more long-lasting choice.
Synthetic fillers, as they are today, require much more bulk for the same amount of warmth. The areas where synthetic fillers are showing promise when in comparison to down is their ability to handle moisture and getting wet. In the wilderness, this can become an issue in damper climes but in the home where the chances of sleeping in the rain remain miniscule, there does seem to be a clear winner as shown by campers, homeowners, hikers and apartment renters worldwide, and that’s down.
We offer both Down and Down Alternative bedding products for each individuals personal preference.