Insulated clothing is designed to keep you warm. Simple. Down jackets are one great way of doing this, and are often considered as the ultimate means to stay warm whilst out enjoying the great outdoors.
How do insulated jackets keep you warm?
Insulated jackets help keep you warm by storing air that has been warmed by your body in the insulation in the jacket. The transfer of heat is important when choosing an insulated jacket, because there are three forms to consider: radiation, conduction and convection.
- Convection: hot air rises so keep you collar closed and wear a scarf / neck gaiter to keep the heat from escaping. The more trapped air in your jacket or gilet, the warmer you will be.
- Radiation: your body radiates heat so make the most of it by wearing layers and insulated clothing to keep it close-by.
- Conduction: heat passes through substances by heating surrounding molecules, so the less conductive the better to reduce the heat exchange. A great example of conduction is when a cold spoon is placed in a shallow bowl of soup. After a short while, the end of the immersed spoon warms to the touch through convection.
Down or Synthetic Insulation?
Benefits of Down Jackets
The main benefit of down is that it’s warmth:weight ration is amazing. it simply is. Compared to synthetic insulating options, down is seen as the best option for keeping you warm at the least weight.
Disadvantages of Down Jackets
The biggest disadvantage of a insulated down jacket is that when it gets wet it loses it’s insulating qualities – a down jacket is particularly vulnerable to moisture, loosing it’s loft and of course the warm air it holds. Synthetic insulated jackets are far more resilient to wet conditions, will keep you warm but may be marginally warmer. Weigh this up before you buy an insulated jacket!
Choosing an Insulated Jacket
When you come to choose an insulated jacket, you’ll see that there are a great deal of products to choose from, depending on the season. Winter is typically the best time to buy a insulated jacket as this is when the manufacturers make them most readily available.
Because of the wide range of insulated jackets available, you’ll need to narrow the search down some how, so here’s a list of a few pointers to help you on your way…
- Fill Power: The volume in cubic inches to which 30g of down will expand when it takes in air.
- Fill Volume: The measure of how much the total of all the down in a particular insulated jacket will expand. The greater the fill volume, the warmer the insulated jacket.
- Outer-layer: If the jacket is down then it helps if the outer-layer is water-repellent to keep the loft of the down – saturated down is a less insulating.
- Down or Synthetic? What most important, weight:warmth or wetness:warmth?
- Jacket or Gilet? Many down and synthetic jackets now come in two different options, with and without sleeves, or gilets. These are great for active people who want the freedom of movement in their arms.
If you have any more queries or comments, make a comment below or visit the help section on the main website for more information.