That’s the sort of question you don’t want to ask yourself in the midst of just-above freezing rain or sleet. But unfortunately, the answer is yes.
What makes down coats special are the multiple pouches filled with goose down, the under feathers that keeps geese warm. This 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.
Most down coats have shells that resist water, but a steady amount of external (and internal) moisture may eventually break down that resistance and wet the coats. Much of a down coat’s warmth comes from the “loft”—think fluffiness—of the insulation, and wet down coats will begin to lose their loft and ability to insulate. What you’re left with is a wet coat that’s not even particularly warm, which is no one’s idea of a good time.
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.
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 can also shop our womens down vests or mens down vests for those cooler fall nights.