Thanks to an impressive warmth to weight ratio, down insulated garments are full of benefits and highly regarded wardrobe staples by urbanites and outdoor enthusiasts alike. When compared to most other mid-layers or jackets, down products are warmer, more compressible, and often lighter.
We’re not saying that when given a choice between a down jacket and a second option, down is always the winner. Before you set your mind on this wonderous fiber there are some notable differences when comparing down garments to synthetically insulated garments. Both have their pros and cons based on your needs and activity locations.
If you have just purchased your first down insulated garment, it’s important to know that down and feathers will try to escape. Although its concerning, this is normal, and there’s no need to rush your garment for warranty. This isn’t a manufacturing defect or sign of a lower quality product, even the best brands on the market will have this happen so do not fret.
Feathers and down are considered fine fibers. Due to their sharp ends, it’s easy for them to penetrate seams or linings of your jacket. It’s also possible to see down through the fabric if your garment is a light colour. Again, this isn’t a defect or sign of lower quality materials. Often, semi-transparent outer materials are used to improve the lightweight feel of an insulator.
What to Do and What Not to Do
First, if you see a feather or some down poking through a seam, do not pull it out. By pulling out a feather or leaking down, you’re making the whole larger, which can result in more down or feathers leaking out.
If you spot a feather or some down peaking through a seam or lining, it’s probably possible to ‘pull it back in.’ ‘Pulling’ can be easier said than done but if you’re able to reverse its path, you’re the winner. By gently rubbing the area where the feather or down is escaping, the fibers of the material are pulled together, sealing the small hole that was formed.
Over time, the feathers and down insulation in a garment can get packed down and become flat, making the fibers thinner and more likely to penetrate seams or a lining. Luckily, you can make your old down jacket new again with a simple wash, although it’s essential to follow proper washing direction for down products.
If you’re simply looking to enhance your garment’s loftiness and “fluff up” the insulation, you can toss your down jacket into a front loading dryer on the lowest heat setting. It’s important you use the lowest heat setting as to not melt your jacket and also use a front loading machine to avoid unwanted damage. Next, you’ll want to toss in a clean tennis ball or three let it run for about 15 minutes. This technique will lift flat insulation to a lofty state and make it harder to sneak out any seams or lining.
If you notice an unusual amount of down or feathers leaking from your almost brand new garment, you can find your receipt and try to return it. Keep in mind, that the final decision is up to the retailer and/or the manufacturer as to whether the coat is a defect.