How To Choose The Right Insulation For Winter Jackets

by Tuesday, December 13, 2016

To the uninitiated, winter jackets all looked the same. But there are actually countless variations of these wintry weather staples. For instance, you have parkas, rain shells, ski jackets or down jackets, among others. Regardless of type, they all have the same thing in common: insulation. And that can spell the difference between sufficient warmth and getting frostbite. The amount of insulation determines how warm you are going to be in the middle of frost.

Choose The Right Jacket For Winter

Warmth is not only determining factor when choosing winter jackets, you also have to factor in weight, resistance to water and compression, not to mention style as well. After all, some of us have been known to sacrifice warmth just to look good. Stupid perhaps, but that never stopped us before.

For this article, I’m only going to talk about goose down and synthetic insulation. They both have their own sets of benefits and drawbacks, so one is no better than the other.

 

Goose Down Insulation winter Jackets

Judging from its name, goose down winter jackets refer to the clothing layer that has been insulated with goose feathers, though some manufacturers also use duck feathers. The loft probably is the single determining feature of this jacket. The loft is the fluffiness of the material, and a good loft retains heat through the countless tiny air pockets all around the fabric.

Know the pros and cons of down goose winter jackets

Know the pros and cons of goose down winter jackets | How To Choose The Right Insulation For Winter Jackets

Image via Got Style

Benefits of goose down winter jackets:

  • They are lightweight
  • They are highly compressible
  • They will retain heat for a long time
  • Best warmth-to-weight ratio

Pound for pound, down goose winter jackets are much warmer than any synthetic textile can provide. But as always, there’s also a downside to choosing this type of covering.

Disadvantages of goose down:

  • You need to maintain it to keep the loft
  • Needs special care when cleaning
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Susceptible to moisture so rain would be your worst enemy

That means if you are in warmer weather, it will soak up quite quickly so you might choose our other type of winter jacket.

 

Synthetic insulation winter jackets

Synthetic insulation winter jackets | How To Choose The Right Insulation For Winter Jackets

Image via Back Country

Now, if you want winter jackets that may mimic the warmth of goose down, but will still function well in humid conditions or wet weather then you want to choose synthetic insulated material. Rather than goose or duck plumage, it’s made with polyester fibers that imitate the interlaced clusters of the loft.

Know the pros and cons of synthetic insulation winter jackets

Benefits of synthetic insulation winter jackets:

  • Best for warding off moisture
  • Dries faster when they get wet
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easier to take care of
  • More budget friendly

Disadvantages of synthetic:

  • You need thicker material to achieve the same warmth of goose down
  • Tends to be bulkier meaning harder to pack
  • You may need to replace jackets more frequently

Synthetic insulation jackets break down faster compared to goose down, but then if you can find a good brand, then it’s a worthy investment.

 

Here’s a video of how to clean a goose down jacket the right way:

There’s actually a middle ground if you are on the fence about whether to choose goose down or synthetic. There’s what is called the hybrid insulation, like the technology developed by Primaloft for the US Army back in the 80s. It’s more expensive, sure, but it’s touted to be the best of both worlds.

There you have it. Those are the basic differences between the goose down and synthetic winter jackets. To repeat, one is not better than the other. There are pros and cons to choosing either material. You should factor in where you are going, what you intend to do, weather conditions and of course, your budget.

So are you a more of a goose down or a synthetic kind of guy? Let me know what you think in the comments below! Planning for a wardrobe overhaul? Get your inspiration from these Casual Winter Outfits Ideas for Men.

Featured Image via Hi Consumption

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