Written By: Jacqueline Iliff
Alaskan goose down actually comes from Canadian geese living in Alaska. Alaskan goose down is a better insulator because the further north the birds are found, the better loft and density their down feathers have. This is to keep them warmer, and it is why goose down is one of the best fillers for outerwear and bedding.
What is down?
Down is the soft layer of underfeathers found in all birds. All birds are hatched with it. The outer layer of feathers forms on young birds and is tougher than the inner layers. Down feathers are soft and lofty by nature. They help keep the bird warm while being light and pliant enough to help the bird stay in flight. Down feathers have a wicking quality. This draws water in and away from the bird, keeping the lightness intact. Down feathers are resilient and easily maintain their shape and loft or fluffiness. All these qualities help a bird stay warm while maintaining the lightness it needs to fly.
Down used as filler
Down is a great filler for outerwear and bedding because of its insulation and lightness. Whether synthetic or natural, down is used to fill everything from winter jackets to sleeping bags, pillows and comforters. It is lightweight and easy to carry and keeps one warm even in the coldest of environments.
Goose down is by far the most popular natural down filler. Geese are big and therefore have a higher density of down, compared with ducks. Goose down is dense and light and makes for a great, lightweight insulator.
Qualities of goose down
Goose down has many qualities that make it a great insulator. Although goose down varies in color from white to dark gray, the color does not affect its quality. White is usually preferred as a filler under light-colored ticking so that it does not show through, but grey down is just as good.
Fill power is the term used to describe the warmth of anything down-filled. It refers to the density of the feathers. The denser the feathers, the higher the fill power. The higher the fill power, the more warmth the item will give. The beauty of goose down is that it is lightweight regardless of its fill power. This makes it a great filler for clothing or bedding any time of the year and in any climate. Obviously, higher fill power is more desired during winter months and in colder climates, while lower fill power still makes a great lightweight filler for bedding during the summer months and in warmer climates.
The stitching of down-filled items is important. Most often, a boxing stitch is used. This helps keep the feathers from shifting within the article of clothing or bedding. An even better method applies a piece of fabric between the outer layer and the feathers to maintain the position of the down.
Aside from its ability to insulate, one of the more aesthetic attributes of goose down is its feeling of luxuriousness. It is incredibly soft and fluffy. It makes for a great blanket to curl up with in bed or to relax with on the sofa.
Goose down-filled clothing and bedding are relatively easy to take care of. The resilience of goose down helps to retain its fluffiness. As long as it is kept protected, it will sustain its use for a long time. Comforters filled with down are easy to take care of. A duvet cover will protect the comforter from stains and tears. The duvet cover can be removed and washed without harm to the down-filled comforter.
Alaskan goose down
If one is looking for warmth in a comforter, Alaskan goose down is certainly one of the best options. The further north the bird lives, the warmer it needs to be. Nature has seen to it that birds in the northern and arctic regions are kept comfortable. The feathers are denser and great at insulating while remaining lightweight, fluffy and resilient.