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What is goose/ duck down?

The fine feathers plucked from chest area of a plump waterfowl. Goose down is what fills our sleeping bags. Down is very good at keeping you warm, but if you can’t keep the bag dry then it cannot do it’s job well.

Fowl language
Ducks and Geese are the main source of down, but just what is down! Alright we are getting to it. Like all genuine birds these plump waterfowl have several types of feather. Some help keep them up in the air, some keep them warm, some keep them streamlined when floating about on the water and others well they don’t even know what they are themselves.

Flight Feathers
These are the most important feathers that a bird owns, without them they would fly as well as a dog, they would also need a lot more of the small fluffy downy ones as they would be walking out of the artic. Because they are so good at helping a bird fly, they are not much use as insulation.

Contour Feathers
These are the little critters that don’t know what they are. They look like feathers on the top portion and then turn in to loose fluffy feathers towards the base of their stems.

Down Plumage
Down feathers are small with no interlocking barbules and rachis that are soft and poorly developed. They grow continuously and never moult and lie under the contour feathers. On the majority of birds they are found on the breast and belly. This is the mythical down.

For what to look for when choosing a down sleeping bag, have a read of our handy guide.

Updated: Oct 21, 2016

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