It may not be something you actually think about when you’re on the hunt for the perfect piece of outerwear. A warm down winter coat is prized for its ability to keep you extra warm on the coldest days. Worrying about whether it will get wet isn’t the sort of question you want to ask yourself in the midst of just-above freezing rain or sleet.
While it’s true that down is a heavily insulated choice that will undoubtedly keep you warm enough to go about your business no matter how cold it is, it’s also true that down in and of itself is not a waterproof material. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not the right choice. Here’s what you need to know to make the perfect outerwear selection for your needs.
What makes down coats special are the multiple pouches filled with goose down, the under feathers that keep geese warm. The down catches and stores heat within each pouch, creating exceptional insulation with minimal weight. Down coats are often marked by a “fill power” number, which corresponds to their insulating power.
Common fill options include goose or duck down. The former is a lightweight option known for providing exceptional warmth thanks to its elevated fill power. It’s usually considered warmer than duck down solely because geese are bigger than ducks and therefore create larger clusters of down. Still, duck down is optimal in its own right, providing fluffy insulation that locks in incredibly warm as temperatures fall.
Most down coats have shells that resist water, protecting their integrity when it’s raining or snowing. But over time, this exposure to external moisture coupled with everyday perspiration can cause the water resistance to break down. Your coat will get wetter and wetter as a result. That can leave you particularly cold on a chilly day and prevent the garment from doing its job efficiently.
It’s helpful to seek out waterproof down jackets, which have seam-sealed interiors that prevent water from seeping into the stitch holes. This will help them keep their integrity over time, making it far easier for you to rely on them to keep you warm when it matters the most.
Fortunately, no. Lands’ End down coats feature HyperDRY™ down, which is treated to be both water-resistant and fast drying. So in the event that your down coat does become soaked (some things can’t be avoided), it will still retain its loft and its warming powers. Better yet, it will dry in record time.
In other words, you can count on your coat to keep you warm through it all — even when the material gets soaked. Our down coats are virtually infallible thanks to HyperDRY™, and they’ll add considerable warmth without weighing you down with excess material. You’ll enjoy the cozy comfort of a heavy-duty coat but will never feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed by fabric.
Look for waterproof shells, especially if you’re going to be out in the elements for a long time. Expedition® or Squall® Parkas are your top bets. Water-resistant shells (or the outer layer of a coat) are great for limited exposure to snow, sleet, and cold rain, but are made more effective by the use of HyperDRY™ down. So it really depends on your lifestyle and intended use.
When shopping for a down coat, look for HyperDRY™ down with, at minimum, a water-resistant shell. Or, make it easier and simply look for the Lands’ End label. You’ll find a wide range of styles that integrate beautifully into your cold-weather wardrobe, all while providing the type of reliable coverage that keeps you warm no matter what the season brings. Look for everything from extra-long coats that provide superior coverage to hip-length styles that allow you to show off anything from your favorite pair of toasty leggings to corduroy pants. Try a women’s down vest when you want a warm layer you can wear over a long-sleeve top.
You may be concerned about your down coat losing its integrity when you put it in the washing machine. You’ll notice that Lands’ Ends coats are machine washable for your convenience, but won’t all that moisture eventually cause the fill to lose its shape? In a word, nope—just be mindful of how you wash it. Fluff it up before you put it in the machine to prevent clumping. You can even put tennis balls in the machine; they’ll help anything filled with down avoid clumps. It’s best to use a front-loading machine, since the agitator in a top-loader can be tough on the insulating down. And when it comes to detergent, less is definitely more where your long down coats, vests, and jackets are concerned.
Remember that for the coat to keep you warm, there need to be air in the spaces between the down-fill fibers. If they become matted together with water and detergent, the coat won’t do its job efficiently. And over time, the clumpy components will simply settle at the bottom due to gravity. This is why it’s helpful to fluff the coat a little before you toss it in the machine. And although washing it is a good idea if you wear it often, don’t worry about doing so more than a couple of times a year if you only wear it occasionally. In some cases, you may be able to spot clean little dust or mud splatters and prevent stains.
A down coat promises to be your greatest ally during the coldest months of the year. Seeking out the style that suits you best and features the details that you need the most will serve you well all season long. Best of all, thanks to HyperDRY™ down, you never have to worry about moisture being a problem.