Author Topic: How to choose a Down Jacket?  (Read 1533 times)

glovepuppet

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Re: How to choose a Down Jacket?
« Reply #15 on: 18:28:51, 09/01/18 »
In terms of actually hiking, I'd always consider a thin down jacket as being a mid-layer - put a hardshell on top to keep it dry and provide some protection from rucksack straps. It's also more versatile in that you can opt to wear it or not, depending on temperature or level of exercise during the day, and packs down small when not in use.


By and large, though, I wouldn't wear down for actually walking in - to my mind fleece or some other more robust mid-layer/outer is better for that, tougher and much more tolerant of moisture from inside or out. And down can be too hot - even walking in -15 degrees in the Alps, thermal base layers, a couple of fleece mid layers and a waterproof shell have been plenty warm enough.


Off the hill, my favourite cool weather jacket for dry conditions is a Uniqlo ULD jacket - small, packable, breathable, not too warm going from outside to indoors, and about 50.

wobblyknees

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Re: How to choose a Down Jacket?
« Reply #16 on: 10:56:50, 10/01/18 »
I once bought a Berghaus goose down gilet for 7 in a charity shop. My best buy and best bargain ever. Cheapest internet price at the time was 89. It's my go to item of clothing on a cold day, usually with a breathable waterproof jacket over.


Being older and wiser now, I would never buy any natural down item (clothing or duvet) due to the appalling suffering caused by live plucking.


https://investigations.peta.org/eddie-bauer-lands-end-live-pluck-geese/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnnkHgyqARQ
« Last Edit: 11:02:43, 10/01/18 by wobblyknees »

NeilC

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Re: How to choose a Down Jacket?
« Reply #17 on: 13:42:11, 10/01/18 »
I'm sure it goes on but PETA are not known as a unbiased source of information. They're not afraid of cherry picking or worse to make their point, and have been caught out with outright lies in the past. Their goal is to stop all use of animals - for food, fur, leather, wool and even pets. I'm not saying ignore their evidence offhand, but I don't take what they tell me as fact or the complete story.

The majority of the problem is with China and Hungary. There are ethical down suppliers out there and there are companies who take it seriously - avoiding China entirely, ensuring suppliers don't live pluck, visiting farms etc. The outdoor industry has at least woken up to the problem in recent years.

There are problems with synthetic alternatives too. Fleeces produce plastic microfibres which end up in the environment, especially the ocean and of course primaloft of whatever isn't biodegradable and sits in landfill for 100s of years slowly leaching into the environment. And that's not taking into account the polluting activities of the petrochem and plastics industries before it even reaches us.

If it's important to someone - they can be an ethical consumer and look into where their down comes from. Avoiding China would be a very good start.

wobblyknees

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Re: How to choose a Down Jacket?
« Reply #18 on: 14:28:27, 10/01/18 »
I agree with all you say NeilC, especially avoiding China. I was not relying on PETA for my information. The two links I posted were just the first two a Google search threw up.
The problem is that there are so many small farmers supplying down to the industry. These sell to local agents who sell to middlemen who sell to exporters. The supply chain is so long, it is impossible to monitor and prevent unethically produced down getting into the chain. Even ethical clothing companies cannot be 100% certain that their down is 100% ethically produced.

NeilC

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Re: How to choose a Down Jacket?
« Reply #19 on: 15:40:35, 10/01/18 »
I agree with all you say NeilC, especially avoiding China. I was not relying on PETA for my information. The two links I posted were just the first two a Google search threw up.
The problem is that there are so many small farmers supplying down to the industry. These sell to local agents who sell to middlemen who sell to exporters. The supply chain is so long, it is impossible to monitor and prevent unethically produced down getting into the chain. Even ethical clothing companies cannot be 100% certain that their down is 100% ethically produced.


I'm sure you're right. I'm not so naive that I don't believe live plucked down gets into the supply chain of the major wholesalers in some quantities. But smaller companies like Phd say they buy directly from the producers, whom they visit. Of course the farm could hide what they're doing between visits etc but if you take that view then you can't be sure of anything.


I don't personally think being 100% sure is a realistic or even necessary bar to set. A synthetic jacket might be made of material produced in a factory that polluted an Indian village and is made by a 9 year old going blind in a sweat shop despite what the company is telling us. What happened to the cow our leather boots are made of? What is the effect of the waxes in the DWR on my new jacket. The list is endless. To be 100% sure I'm causing no harm I'd need to own the farm, the factory and probably an oil refinery.


I think you have to put it into perspective too. I'm not vegan so it would start getting a bit silly to avoid (mostly) ethically sourced down on the chance that a % of it is live plucked when I get back to the tent and open a tin of chicken curry! I can't pretend farming doesn't involve animal suffering.


Also i don't think boycotting down will work any better than merely choosing makers with good ethical policies. If anything it could backfire because if there was no Western market for down then the only buyers would be from countries like China, India etc where they generally don't care anywhere near as much and so there would be much less motivation to change the collection methods. At least with a dog in the fight we get to set the agenda for the industry.


So I'm happy to buy from companies who make a decent effort and don't just pay lip service. Although to be honest, I did buy a chinese down bag earlier in the year before I'd heard of live plucking. I wouldn't do it now.

Sarah Pitht

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Re: How to choose a Down Jacket?
« Reply #20 on: 21:25:26, 10/01/18 »
I have decided that I am a down/insulated jacket addict. I recently counted up and I have 6... 5 are feather and down, one is synthetic.


I love them because the warmth to weight ratio is brilliant - I can't stand being weighed down by heavy bulk.


Up until recently I only hd feather/down ones from a range of manufacturers - Lands End, TOG 24, Trespass, some brand from Costco. Some have hoods; some not. My Trespass one was supposed to have DWR outer, but that failed pretty rapidly and in fact I recently got soaked in it and became very cold very quickly.


My new synthetic is a Berghaus Extrem - got it at the outlet shop at Gretna for about half price for Christmas. It is very warm, has a hood, is a bit longer than my others an dos gives a bit more 'rear' warmth, is reasonably water repellant, is very adjustable in terms of hood etc. The only down side is the lack of stuff sack, bit you can fold it into the hood. I have been v impressed with the warmth and versatility and it is turquoise with a lime green lining - and not pink or purple! I didn't;t expect to like a synthetic jacket quite so much!
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