When you are shopping for a new winter coat, you will have to decide between an insulated jacket made with either down or synthetic insulation. The type of insulation directly affects the performance of the coat in winter conditions. Its warmth, weight, water resistance, compressibility, and price will definitely be affected by its insulation material. Both the down and synthetic insulated jacket have their pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look.

The Down Insulated Jacket

It is a common misconception that down is made of bird feathers. Down is actually comprised of the plumage that’s found underneath exterior feathers on waterfowl, including ducks and geese. Down is their softest and fluffiest filaments. Some products will use a mixture of both down and feathers, but these things are not inherently the same. Down works by trapping air and is highly regarded for being lightweight, easy to compress, durable, and breathable. It is ideal in cold and largely dry conditions, where saving space is a priority. However, down clumps up and loses its insulation power when wet, so in heavy precipitation a down insulated jacket is less than ideal. Down takes a long time to dry, has a higher price, requires special cleaning, and is not hypoallergenic. However, down can last for decades when cared for properly.

The Synthetic Insulated Jacket

Synthetic insulated jackets are ideal for cold climates with heavy rain and snow. They are incredibly water resistant and can keep you warm even in wet conditions. They are also hypoallergenic and less expensive than goose and duck down. For those trying to avoid using animal products, this is also a better option. However, these coats are much heavier and bulkier, offers less warmth for their weight overall than down, and are ultimately less durable than down. Every time synthetic insulated outerwear is folded, packed, or stuffed in a sack, it loses some of its insulation ability.

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