The lowdown on down jackets

No doubt winter has its ups and downs. Sure, we have a lot of fun with winter sports like skiing, skating and sledding but we could probably do without those blinding blizzard conditions that make driving to the grocery store feel like the opening of a Star Wars movie. At Lands' End we pride ourselves on providing you with outerwear designed specifically to withstand the harshest of winters. That's exactly why we have such a large collection of down coats. But why exactly does down make such a great insulation for our warmest winter coats? Read on for the lowdown on down jackets and why you'll want one in your winter arsenal this season.

What is down insulation?

Contrary to popular belief, down coats and bedding isn't made from goose feathers. Down is actually made from goose or duck plumage – the natural, fluffy undercoating of the feather. But why plumage? For one thing it's great at trapping air pockets, great for keeping warmth in and cold air out. Plus it's incredibly breathable, allowing unwanted moisture to escape, which is exactly what you want during a wet Wisconsin winter.

How does down work?

Ever wonder how a few feathers – or plumage – stuffed between a weatherproof polyester or nylon shell manage to get our warmest temperature rating? A little something called ‘fill power'. You don't really need to know what fill power is (it's how many cubic inches of down it takes to fill a lab container), just that it's what's keeping you warm and toasty while you scrape the ice off of your windshield in the morning. Not only do our fill power downs warm without adding weight but the less 'fill power' count a winter coat has the warmer it is.

Can it keep you dry?

Yes and no. Natural down doesn't hold up great in extreme wet but our HyperDRY down has an added water repellent that helps keep you dry during those unexpected rain storms. Couple that with our water-repellent shells that shed rain, sleet and snow and you'll be ready to brave any storm this winter with confidence. However, even our superior HyperDRY down has its limits, so if you're thinking of taking your new warm down coat ice fishing this winter, make sure you don't fall in because down doesn't take kindly to being completely soaked. Your HyperDRY down coat will dry faster and fluff back up faster than non-HyperDRY down coats, but what a way to put a damper on a day, right?

How long will my down coat last?

With the right care and attention, a down coat or down vest could last for decades. To ensure you get the most time out of your coat make sure to follow manufacturer's instructions when washing. And when you're not using your winter armor, store your warm down jacket on a wooden hanger in a cool, dry place if possible.

Should I buy a down coat?

Basically down coats are a great investment if you spend any part of winter where snow is known to fall or wind chills get any kind of attention on the morning news. So unless your allergic to warmth – or plumage – why not take the leap into down?

Why wait?! Get your Winter Down Coats today.

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