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Why down?


Down remains the best material for insulation relative to its weight.

  • Title Why down?

Since developing our first sleeping bag in 1954, we've continuously improved and innovated to make our sleeping bags as comfortable as possible. Despite advancements in hiking equipment, down and synthetic materials still offer unique and remarkable insulation properties. Let’s explore these options to help you decide.

Down, the layer of light, fluffy feathers beneath the outer feathers of ducks and geese, is a natural material known for its excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. We use the finest down to make our sleeping bags lightweight, comfortable, durable, and highly dense. While our materials are designed to minimize down leakage, a small feather might occasionally sneak through the fabric. If this happens, simply push the feather back into the bag to prevent the hole from getting larger.

Down remains the best material for insulation relative to its weight. A down sleeping bag is lighter and more compact in your pack. While down usually costs more and requires more care, it provides superior warmth. However, down loses its insulating ability when wet, so it's crucial to keep your bag dry. After each use, make sure to properly air out the bag to release any moisture. When not in use, store your down sleeping bag loosely on a hanger rather than in a stuff sack. Use the provided air bag for storage.

In all our sleeping bags we only use certified down. The Responsible Down Standard aims to improve the welfare of ducks and geese used for down. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is a voluntary standard that incentivizes the down and feather industry to treat ducks and geese more humanely and rewards organizations leading the way. The standard also gives companies and consumers a way to know more about the origin of materials in the products they buy.

The quality

The quality of down is measured using two criteria: Fill Power and Down Content. Fill Power measures the down's ability to resist compression and how well it can loft. For example, a Fill Power rating of 600 means that a 30g sample of down will occupy 600 cubic inches under standard compression. The higher the Fill Power, the better the down, as higher Fill Power indicates more loft and warmth for the same weight.

Down Content refers to the ratio of pure down clusters to small feathers, represented as a percentage. For instance, 80/20 means the down consists of 80% down clusters and 20% small feathers.

It's important to note that the US and European systems for measuring Fill Power differ. The US system typically shows a higher Fill Power for the same down quality compared to the European system. For example:

560+ (EU) = 610+ (US) 660+ (EU) = 725+ (US) 750+ (EU) = 850+ (US) Helsport uses the European system.

Additionally, the construction of a down sleeping bag is as crucial as the down filling itself. Optimal sizing and construction of channels and down fill are essential to prevent cold spots and ensure high thermal efficiency.

Down Care:

Down sleeping bags are prized for their compactness, lightness, and comfort. Proper care is essential to maintain these benefits. After each use, air out your sleeping bag and let it dry completely. Store it in the storage bag provided, not the compression bag.

Down has a unique ability to regain its shape, so with proper care, your down sleeping bag will last for years. Here are four simple steps to extend its lifespan:

  • Dry it thoroughly after each use.
  • Store it in a storage bag in a dry place.
  • Use a liner to protect your sleeping bag.
  • Wash it with a specialized down cleaner to maintain its loft and restore water repellency. Follow washing instructions carefully.

Take good care of your sleeping bag, and it will last much longer.