Alaskan Goose Down versus Canadian Goose Down

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

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. 

Eddie Bauer’s 1936 Invention Still Keeps Us Warm

Written By: Marjorie Cliff Picard

The birth of the popular down coat nearly 80 years ago followed the near-death of its inventor, Eddie Bauer. On a fishing trip with a friend to the state of Washington, he became hypothermic after pulling a 100-pound load of fish up a mountainside. He was wearing a heavy wool coat and was perspiring profusely. The perspiration froze on the coat, and he became exhausted and weak; he knew he was in trouble. He fired several shots from his gun to attract his friend, who soon was able to assist him.

He came away from this incident convinced that a lighter-weight, waterproof, insulated jacket had to be developed. The result was his invention, the iconic, quilted down jacket, which has been a staple of the outdoorsman’s wardrobe. He called it the “blizzard-proof jacket,” which was stuffed with goose down and stitched in diamond shapes to keep the down in place. The jacket was patented in 1940. The product became extremely successful as it was very warm but lightweight.

Over the years, technology has made the jacket even lighter, more weatherproof and functional. Fabric can now wick moisture away from the body, and chemical treatment has solved the problem of feathers’ clumping together. The coats are super-lightweight but extremely warm because goose and duck down are still the best insulators. The down jackets have allowed outdoorsmen to stay out in the cold much longer, travel further and stay warmer. They are also very packable since they fold up easily.

The 1940 original jacket, also called the Skyliner, has resurfaced and been updated over the years in new fabrics and shapes. It has kept the traditional down filling and triangular stitches but added quilted leather shooting and forearm patches. Its fit has been designed for hunting and shooting with no restrictions on arm movement.

Down coats fell from popularity for a while due to its bulkiness. Some owners thought that they resembled the Michelin Man. But designers came up with thinner and thinner styles, and gradually, sales began to pick up again. Now wearers could stay very warm and look more svelte. Women and children also saw that the down jacket was meant for them, too. 

In the 1950s, nylon was added to the cotton shell, and in 1958, ripstop nylon replaced cotton. In 1963, Americans climbed Mount Everest for the first time and wore Eddie Bauer down jackets. You could wear the original jacket today.

The line has already earned 13 industry best-in-class awards. A world-class team of mountain guides aided its development. The prize winners include


  • The Neoteric Shell jacket – Outside Magazine’s 2014 Gear of the Year award. The jacket has a waterproof shell that “breathes” while one skis and snowboards.


  • The Accelerant jacket – Backpacker Magazine’s 2013 Editor’s Choice award. Good for skiing and alpine climbing as breathability is excellent.


  • BC Microtherm jacket – Backpacker Magazine’s 2012 Editor’s Choice award. It features a Weather Eye Pro Shield, which keeps the down dry in wet weather.


  • Emperor parka – National Geographic’s Gear of the Year award (2011) for exceptional warmth in the coldest climates.

Far more styles for men, women and children are available for viewing on Eddie Bauer’s website.


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