Down jackets are becoming increasingly popular for people who like to experience the outdoors. The compact size but excellent warming power make them a perfect fit for hikers, backpackers or anyone needing to move around unconstrained all while feeling warm and well protected. Affordable down jackets, however, might be hard to find, with the average price high enough to discourage even the most avid hiker.
This issue is what has motivated us to prepare this article, focusing on the best budget down jackets that are available on the market. Fear not for your pockets, because there are options out there for everyone and you can quickly be on your way even if you’re on a shoestring. Join us as we evaluate the best cheap down jackets you can buy, that will keep you warm and free to wander while avoiding having to count every penny on the road.
How To Choose A Budget Down Jacket – Buying Guide
Down is an extremely insulating material that is found between the skin and outer feathers of birds. Its structure traps air in small pockets and effectively creates a thermal barrier that protects the body underneath. This makes it an excellent material to use for building garments to protect from cold and wind and many manufacturers also place special emphasis on humane sourcing. In down jackets the insulating layer is packed in a synthetic shell, usually nylon or polyester, which protects the down and also keeps out water. Down’s insulating capacity is greatly reduced if it becomes wet, so be careful to buy a water-resistant jacket if you want its effect to last. The outer shells are usually very durable, but they can happen to tear in which case you will have to apply some repair tape.
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Size is one of the most crucial elements you should consider when purchasing a down jacket since the fit will determine how effectively it can protect you from cold. Luckily, most manufacturers provide precise measurements of their products so you can accurately tell if it will fit you snugly or not by measuring your own body to evaluate the fit (more on that later). A jacket that is too large will let warm air escape and make you feel cold you want to walk around with it outdoors, while a jacket that is too small will impede your movement and be a burden.
The most common sources of down used in the best budget down jackets are duck or goose. The down used is called “body down”, since it comes from adult animals where it sits between the skin and the feathers, whereas baby birds are completely covered in “natal down”, which is not used for jackets. Down is usually taken from birds that are harvested for their meat, and practices such as plucking it from live animals are strictly forbidden, although they unfortunately continue to exist. For these reasons, many manufacturers will clearly state if the down has been responsibly sourced, allowing you to make an informed and humane decision.
The amount of warmth the best cheap down jackets provide is hard to judge. Each and every one of us reacts differently to cold temperatures, but a clear indication of the properties of down used is easy to find. This is called the “fill power number” and is measured in cubic inches by the ounce, measuring how much space an ounce of down occupies. Downs with a higher fill power number insulate better than ones will a low one. A filled power number of 550 already provides very good insulation and is a value that you are likely to encounter in some of the best budget down jackets.
Down jackets can be used in a variety of situations but they have become especially prized among outdoor explorers. Their excellent insulating capabilities coupled with water-resistant shells and light weight make them an excellent companion for hikers that need to defend themselves from the cold. Easy to compress and store, down jackets are also extremely convenient to transport and avoid taking up too much space in backpacks that can already be stuffed. Depending on your specific situation you will decide which features are most important to you, but in any case, you can rest assured you are purchasing an extremely versatile product that can accompany you for years to come.
Q: How To Properly Care For A Down Jacket?
Washing a down jacket used to be a process that sparked fear in the hearts of many, afraid of damaging a precious item. Luckily, modern products can be taken care of relatively easily and are difficult to ruin in such a way that you will have to throw them out. For starters, carefully wipe away all dust or dirt that might be on your jacket. Then, putting your jacket in the washing machine is not a problem, but you have to pay attention to the kind of soap you are using. There are some detergents specifically designed for down products, so you might want to take a look at those, since they will take care of the insulation and also maintain the water-resistant capabilities of the outer shell. Finally, if you have a tumble dryer, running the jacket through it will agitate the down and make it nice and fluffy again. If you don’t have one, simply dry it the usual way and then shake it manually.
Q: How Do You Fit A Down Jacket?
Measuring your body to find out what size jacket you need is a relatively straightforward process. For your neck, measure it at the base or around the thickest part of it. For the sleeves, start at the center of the back of your neck and measure across the shoulder and down to the wrists. For the chest, consider the diameter of the fullest part and for the wait just measure around the natural waistline. If you should need to also measure your hips, always consider the fullest part, while for your inseam start your measurement from the top of the interior of the legs down to your ankle.
Q: Do Down Jackets Lose Warmth Over Time?
You may notice a difference in the warmth your down jacket provides over time, but a lot of it will depend on how you take care of it. Using the right detergents, as we have mentioned, is crucial, since some soaps have oils that make the feather less fluffy and, therefore, less insulant. There are specific products available to address this particular issue. Furthermore, down will lose some of its insulating capabilities if it is wet, so be sure to take care of the outer shell of your jacket so that it doesn’t lose its water-repellant properties and let moisture trickle through.
Globo Surf Overview
Down jackets can be found in endless shapes, sizes, and most of all, prices, and the amount of choice out there can be truly daunting if you don’t know where to start. In our budget down jacket reviews we have focused on the models that will keep you warm during your outdoor adventures while not making you go bankrupt. The choice narrows down considerably, but all of these products hold their own even in comparison to more expensive ones. Price is not always a synonym for quality and with our reviews you’ll be able to know which product gives you the best value for the dollar, so you can use the money you save to make your experience outdoors even more unforgettable.
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