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Down Bedding Primer

Few textiles for the bed offer the luxury and comfort of down. It’s lightweight, warm and fluffy, with unique breathability. Explains the Down Association of Canada, down wicks away moisture, allowing water vapor to pass through the down. This keeps you warm without clamminess or heaviness, and you can sleep in cooler air while staying warm. 

Down is part of the plumage grown by waterfowl for warmth. It clusters under and around the flight and body feathers, on the breast and under the wings. The geese and duck molt or shed the down just as they shed their larger feathers. As they preen their feathers, they loosen down and feathers. The farmer collects the loose down for “dry-harvesting,” a painless process much like brushing a dog to get rid of loose fur. 

A top-quality down product should have at least 90% down to no more than 10% feathers. The advantage is more “loft” which means the fibers buoyantly trap air for warmth while remaining fluffy and uncompressed. Look for lightness and bounce and avoid products with sharp feather quills or “down fiber,” a down dust that offers no value.  For comforters, choose a high thread-count, baffle box construction that compartmentalizes the down to keep it from shifting. 

You can buy comforters and pillows ready-made, so look for clear, concise labeling so you know exactly what you’re buying. You can also have duvets, feather beds and other products custom made for you at bulk down manufacturers.