Choosing between between duck down vs goose down is one daunting task that hikers have to deal with. At the end of the day, you have to choose the most comfortable one for you. Going for a hike is an enjoyable and healthy activity and there is no way you can enjoy when you are not comfortable. This means that you will need the best hiking jacket for your adventure. The value of a goose down is higher than that of the duck down.
Duck down and goose down are not only found in jackets but in other products too. The main difference (duck down vs goose down) just like the two name suggests is where the materials for each are sourced from. The performance of each is affected by the different birds that provide the materials.
Duck down and goose down are insulation techniques used in clothing products. Both the geese and ducks are used for down filling or insulation.
Down in itself is an undercoat in the underbelly of the duck and the goose also referred to as plumage. It is a pack of very light and very soft feathers found under the tough and larger feathers.
Ever wonder how the goose and the duck can swim in freezing water without any trouble? The feathers act as insulation and they have waterproof coating on the outside feathers. These create a seal against the cold water leaving the bird floating comfortably in the freezing water.
What is the need for insulated jackets?
All jackets are different and hikers know this best. The difference down insulation jackets have is the ability to provide warmth and maintain it for a long time making them so popular especially among hikers and backpackers.
There are many jackets out there that provide excellent warmth but don’t retain the warmth and that is one importance of insulation. Not all jackets can provide and maintain warmth.
In harsh temperatures, insulation helps by keeping you warm by preventing heat loss. The body produces heat and the insulated jacket retains it making it perfect for backpackers. This is what down jackets do. They act as a heat barrier and keeps the heat inside keeping you warm.
How does Down insulation work?
Now you know what down is and why it is important in a hiking jacket. Let’s take a look at how it works and why it’s the best insulation filling there is.
After collection of the down raw materials, the down is formed into small clusters that consist of millions of extremely thin fibers crisscrossing and overlapping with teach other. This creates a sort of net with tiny air pockets that are awesome at trapping heat.
The tiny air pockets manage to trap the heat and also reflect it thus slightly increasing the temperature giving you a warm and comfortable feeling. This can only be done by a down jacket.
Another important aspect of the down insulation is that its breathable. It provides and maintains heat produced by the body and remains breathable all the time. This prevents overheating and moisture trapping inside the insulation. This is important because if down becomes wet, it is rendered useless. Another reason why most of the down insulation jackets today are water resistant.
Duck Down Vs Goose Down
This is the most important part of this article. We will look at the differences between these two and while we won’t come to a conclusion which is the best, it will make it easy for you to make a choice. There are a lot of factors that distinguish these two making it hard to state which is the best among the two- duck down vs goose down.
When it comes to fill power, goose down takes the day. Goose clusters are larder and wider as compared to the duck. The goose is naturally larger than the duck and might be the reason behind it. The goose fill power is longer lasting and more robust that the duck’s.
The older a bird is; the more fill power it gives because the feathers become more robust with age. The longer a bird has lived, the better and more developed the clusters become.
Ducks eat almost anything they come across while the goose on the other hand eats grass only. Because of this variation, the goose tends to have less odor as compared to ducks. Someone might wonder how this is connected to down insulation.
Down are natural or organic materials and the presence of oils and fat in the body of the bird is one reason it smells. The jacket might be as clean but sometimes the scent can’t be avoided because it’s in the insulating material.
The quality of the product determines the price. However, the fill power and odor issues make the goose down more expensive than the duck down. however, if the quality of the duck down is higher, the case reverses and it becomes more expensive.
The price of a jacket made from down fluctuates because of the availability of clusters. If there is low supply of the down, the price goes up. People consume ducks more than goose making goose more expensive as compared to the duck.
Insulation and durability
When it comes to insulation, the duck down and the goose down provide the same comfort. When taken good care of, both jackets can last for very long.
However, the oils and fat in the down affects its durability. For the jacket to trap heat and ensure warmth, there must be adequate fat and oil. If the down is over washed during production, it drains the oil and the result is a dry and brittle output that breaks down faster.
Regardless of the duck down vs goose down, it’s good to choose a quality jacket to increase the durability. This means you have to consider a reliable and reputable brand.
Down insulation jackets are best for backpackers and here, the goose is much better and mostly preferred. For extreme campers, having a few of these jackets ensures a safe, warm and comfortable hike.