What are Down Feathers?
The down of birds is a layer of fine feathers found under the outer layers of water birds, such as geese and adult ducks. This second layer can be noticible in adults during preening, where hatchlings are covered in nothing but down. Down feathers is what provide birds with the warmth and insulation needed, especially for those whom spend a vast amount of time in water in colder climates.
There are three types of down: natal down, body down and powder down.
Natal down is the layer of down feathers which covers younger birds, or hatchllings. Body down is the layer of small, fluffy feathers that lie underneath the outer contour feathers on a bird's body, and powder down is a special type of down which occurs in only a few groups of birds. All parrots have powder down, including the Mealy Parrot, and the Heron.
Because down feathers are so fine, they're able to be packed tightly into small spaces, thus trapping air into it's layers providing thermal insulation. Down feathers are most commonly used in bed linens and pillows due to it's light weight, and ability to remain cool in warm weather. However, the dust produced from down feathers can cause an allergic reaction in some people. For those sufferers, where down is not an option, synthetic down is a fantastic alternative. Made from polyester, the fibres are designed to mimic the insulation of down feathers. They are also cheaper to buy, and easier to maintain.
Down Sleeping Bags
When purchasing a sleeping bag, insulation is of the utmost importance. Down sleeping bags are generally made with synthetic down, and natural down. When camping or backpacking, the lighter your backpack, while still having all the essential items, makes travelling a lot more comfortable. Backpackers have a greater feeling of mobility and speed whilst hiking and mountain climbing. This is where down sleeping bags are the prefferred choice, due to their light weight. Just like natural down feathers of a bird or hatchling, down sleeping bags can replicate the natural warmth, as each down sleeping bag can be tightly compressed. For this reason, down sleeping bags take up less room.
When hiking or climbing mountains, nothing can provide the insulation and warmth needed that a down sleeping bag provides. Though in saying this, there are some downsides with down sleeping bags. In wet conditions, down sleeping bags become so compact, they no longer provide that insulation and warmth for which it was intended. However, this is easily fixed. For those who expect to camp or hike in such conditions, water resistant down sleeping bags are available, which can be purchased at any camping store, or online. Again, this brings up the second drawback to down sleeping bags, price.
Down sleeping bags can be pricey, and waterproof down sleeping bags even more so. Though for those who want to complete warmth, insulation, comfort and mobility, purchasing a down sleeping bag can be considered a sound investment.
Down Sleeping Bag Reviews
Suisse Sport Adult Adventurer Mummy Ultra-Compactable Sleeping Bag:
An excellent choice for any adventurer, the Suisse Sport down sleeping bag is super comfy, super light, and the compression is amazing. Suisse are well known for producing high quality down sleeping bags, and you'll understand why with this purchase. You could sleep in nothing but shorts and a tee, even in cold conditions. The Suisse Mummy down sleeping bag provides maximum insulation. Another postive factor with this down sleeping bag is it's ability to dry out rather quickly. Very handy for those who plan on travelling in wet climates.
Teton Sports Mammoth 0-Degree Sleeping Bag:
The Teton Mammoth is another great buy, this down sleeping back is know for keeping campers and travellers warm, and comfortable. The Teton Mammoth down sleeping bag has been designed for larger people, and is guarenteed to provide a good nights sleep. And what's best? The Mammoth down sleeping bag fits two people. For those have a problem choosing the right down sleeping bag due to height, or want to snuggle up with their loved ones, the Mammoth was made for you.
Coleman Rimstone Sleeping Bag:
Finding down sleeping bags with a cotton or flannel interior can be hard to find. So for those looking, look no further than the Coleman Rimstone Down Sleeping Bag. Not so expensive as other down sleeping bags, the Coleman Rimstone does a great job of keeping you warm and cozy. And the flannel lining is a lot more confortable than nylon lining. The Rimstone can also take a lot of abuse, a fantastic choice for those whom like to rough it. The Coleman Rimstone Down Sleeping Bag is more for children, than adults. It does a great job for the price.
Down Sleeping Bag Care
Proper care and storage of your down sleeping bag will provide you with years of service. Your bag should always be placed on a waterproof ground cloth to keep dirt and other rubbish from destroying your down sleeping bag. When going to bed, t-shirts, shorts and socks will protect the inner from sweat and body oil. For those who store their down sleeping bags in storage sacks, make sure there is ample breathable space.
Never use a washing machine to clean a down sleeping bag. Instead, hand wash it in a bath tab or large sink. Dry cleaning your down sleeping back doesn't come recommended, as the solvents can strip away all the natural oils contained within the down feathers. Fill your tub with warm water and soap. And here is a great tip, keep your down sleeping bag in it's sack. This will prevent air bubbles from entering the bag, causing the down sleeping bag to rise to the top. Next step is to completely soak your down sleeping bag underwater. Once soaked, gently pull your down sleeping bag out from the sack, and gently knead the soapy water through the bag. Once the down sleeping bag has been throughly cleaned, rinse it with clear water several times.