The days are getting shorter. The leaves are starting to turn. There’s a slight chill in the air. Winter is coming, and jacket weather is finally here.
It’s time to break out those winter clothes and bundle up for the incoming cold weather.
One of the most important parts of your winter outfit is the jacket. A good jacket keeps you comfortable, warm, and content. The wind bites through bad jackets so much that you might as well toss them in the trash.
Not all jackets are made equal, but a good goose down jacket will handle any amount of chill.
But why a goose down jacket? How can a goose down jacket keep me warm?
Goose down is a very soft, very warm layer of feathers found under the outer layer of tougher feathers. Down is found most often in jackets, blankets, and pillows. But what is it about goose down in particular that keeps you warm?
Down, when stuffed inside “shells”, will create thousands of tiny air pockets. These tiny air pockets will trap the warm air from your body and hold it there, keeping you warm.
The number of air pockets is what loft, or fill power, is referring to. More fill power means more air pockets. More air pockets grant you more insulation which is more warmth.
However, if down gets wet, all those tiny air holes fill up with water. This is very bad for insulation. This is where the rest of the jacket comes in.
The construction of the jacket is almost as important as the down itself. A good jacket will do a number of things.
Part of keeping you warm is keeping you dry.
To do this, some jackets will be made from waterproof material and others are covered with a water-resistant treatment.
Both types will keep you dry for the most part, but a fully waterproof jacket often lacks the breathability of a water-resistant jacket.
It sounds almost counterproductive to allow breathability in a winter jacket, but if you start to sweat while moving, you’ll want to make sure that moisture has somewhere to go. Wet down is as good as nothing.
The stitching can also provide varying degrees of warmth. A simple sewn-through stitch will be lightweight and adequate, but if you’re really looking for some deep winter warmth, there are heat-treated seams. Heat seams essentially bond the two layers together with zero gaps. This prevents the most heat from escaping and keeps you the warmest.
Another way a good jacket will keep you warm is its windproofing. A cold wind chill is very dangerous. It can eat away your body warmth in seconds. That’s why it’s important to make sure your jacket is windproof. A good windproofing layer deflects the wind away from you and prevents it from biting into your jacket.
There are several features on jackets that are designed to keep you warm.
- A hood locks the heat from your head and ears. It also prevents wind from reaching your head.
- A cuffed waist and cuffed wrists lock in the heat and prevent it from escaping from those areas.
- And padded pockets are great for that extra bit of hand warmth when you need it.
Getting a good goose down jacket is a no-brainer, but it’s not always easy to spot good, quality products. Don’t make a mistake and start your winter without a good jacket. Stay warm and safe out there!