A Guide To Down Comforters

Can you use a goose down duvet in warm weather?

Goose down comforters are one of our favorite bedding accessories. While down comforters are obviously great during blistery cold winters, the great thing about feather bedding is that they allow air circulation rather than trapping in heat and sweat.A feather comforter if chosen wisely will still be comfortable to use during warmer spring and summer evenings.

If you are interested in buying a down comforter, I would recommend starting out with the Pacific Coast Feather Company. They are a highly respected manufacturer of down bedding and have over 100 years of quality behind them. Pacific Coast uses high quality fabrics and down feathers.   Their dedication to quality includes employing American artisans to create their products.

If you are more familiar with down bedding and know exactly what you want then I would recommend comparison shopping on Amazon.com for great deals and low/free shipping offers. There’s a large variety of brands and types of goose down blankets plus their prices are usually much lower, even over 50% off compared local retailers. There are also many coupons and special deals available this time of the year.

What Makes Goose Down So Special?

Down feather bedding has long been regarded as luxurious comforts that only the rich could afford.

What makes down filled blankets so soft is the unbeatable combination of a cloud light cover that keeps you both warm and cool.  Down allows air circulation and helps wick away moisture from your body.

A good quality down feather blanket will never be lumpy like a polyester blanket and it is always soft and plush to the touch. Sleeping with a down comforter versus a normal blanket is like the difference between sleeping with a cover of clouds versus a cover of rocks.

Not only are down feathers extremely comfortable, but they are also a 100% natural source of insulation that has been perfected by Mother Nature over many eons. Most comforters and duvets are made with polyester filling and other artificial man made materials. These materials are difficult to break down and fill our landfills with waste that will remain for many centuries after we are gone. Just think about it, polyester is an oil by product so you are basically sleeping under a blanket made of plastic!

Typical Down Comforter Types

There are many different types of goose down comforters and it can be confusing trying to find the right one. Here are the main categories that you should be aware of:

Extra Warmth

See this year’s best seller’s list for extra-warm comforters on Amazon.com

These comforters are made for extra cold weather and will contain more down feathers for greater insulating power. If you only want to use your comforter during the winter then you will want to get an extra warmth comforter.

You will want to look for a fill power of at least 550 and a high thread count fabric of at least 300 threads per inch.

A higher fill power means the feathers will be a higher quality and will insulate better without being heavy. The high thread count fabric will last longer as well as feel smoother when you run your hands across the comforter.

You will also want to get a comforter with “baffle box” construction. This means that the feathers inside are separated by strips of fabric into boxes which keeps the feathers from shifting to one corner of the comforter.

This is very important and you should not get an extra warm down comforter with “quilt stitching”. Quilt stitching is a term that means the feathers are only held in place by stitching the two sides of the comforter together.

Since a warm comforter has much more feathers inside than a light comforter, the feathers will be packed down and will shift over time. The comforter will feel flat or heavy and over time the feathers will migrate to one corner of the comforter which means it will need to be thrown away!

Medium to Light Warmth / All Weather

Most of the best rated comforters on the market are medium-warmth comforters that are the perfect weight for year-round coverage.  I’ve compiled a list of the best comforters you can use 12 months of the year.

A medium weight goose down feather comforter is a good choice if you live somewhere with moderate winters. Our winter temperatures only drop down to about -20F during the coldest time of the season and I find that my medium warmth goose down comforter is perfect.

Medium warmth comforters are also perfect year round. I use my down comforter all during the year even during the summer. At first I thought that it would be too warm, but apparently down feathers don’t trap moisture and air like regular blankets.  This warmth is perfect during the summer when I have the AC on.

Just an FYI, my medium weight goose down comforter has a 550 fill power down, a 300 thread count cover, and 34 oz. of down inside. These are good guidelines for an all season comforter that you can use throughout the year.

Extra Light Warmth

Extra light comforters are perfect for hot muggy weather during the summer and for people who tend to run hot.  If you need a lightweight comforter that won’t overwhelm you, then you should choose one of the comforters from my list of the best comforters for hot weather.

Extra light warmth down comforters are thinner and lighter than average.  From warmest to lightest there are “extra light warmth comforters”, “light warmth down blankets”, and “down throws”.

Light down blankets are perfect as an additional layer over your top sheet.  If you live somewhere hot and humid, such as Texas or Florida, then a down blanket is the perfect choice.  It’s light enough that you won’t feel suffocated, but warm enough to take the chill out of your air conditioning.

A lighter weight blanket is perfect for the summer or for someone who gets hot and sweaty when they are asleep. If you are a warm sleeper then you might want to get a light or extra light warmth down comforter for year round use.

 

Caring for your Goose Down Comforter

  • Wash your duvet with cool to lukewarm water.
  • Cover your down bedding with a duvet cover or protector.
  • Do not air dry your down comforter — It won’t dry completely unless you can hang it outside in hot sunny weather.  Dry your comforter on medium heat in your dryer.  Down feathers soak up a lot of water so it may take 2 or more cycles to completely dry out your comforter.
  • Do not use harsh bleach or cleaning solutions.  Instead use a down cleaner or soap such as ReviveX.  You can click here to see a list of our favorite down cleaners.  This will help keep the feathers in good shape and keep your comforter from turning lumpy.
  • Never use the fast agitator cycle on your washing machine, this will tear heavy down comforters.  Only use the gentlest “hand wash” setting.

 

History of Down Filled Comforters

Originally from rural northern Europe, down filled duvets are a popular bedding choice in cold weather nations.

Although they are known as down comforters or duvet inserts in America, most English speaking countries refer to down comforters as duvets or even as doonas in Australia.

Traditionally most of the goose down used in bedding was sourced form Canada and North America, but increasingly China is becoming a major source for goose down.

However the wide variation in quality from batch to batch means that Chinese sourced feathers are still not a preferred choice.

Even though down comforters are the most popular bedding choice in Europe, their popularity is spreading in America and even into Asia.  The increase in Asian demand is driving up the cost of down bedding worldwide.

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