Your best jacket option, down or fleece

Written By: Eric Riley

As summer starts to give way to autumn and eventually winter, temperatures drop and cold weather starts kicking in. It is therefore best to consider purchasing a new jacket to protect yourself from the elements. Of course, you would want the best jacket available for you, and thus, you will have to carefully choose what kind of jacket you want. In particular, you must consider what material your jacket will be made out of: down or fleece? Which one is better? The answer to this question is that it really depends on the specific circumstances you are in.

First, let us examine down. Down is a natural insulator consisting of the undercoating feathers of geese and ducks. When this plumage is clustered together, these feathers trap air with a high level of efficiency, meaning that you are losing far less heat compared with other forms of insulation. Furthermore, down jackets can prove to be long-term investments in that if they are properly cared for, they can last decades. Down is also very lightweight and feels luxurious to the touch.

Unfortunately, down’s biggest disadvantage is that it loses its effectiveness when it rains. When it becomes wet, down ends up flattened and can no longer insulate properly. Furthermore, it can take a long time for down to dry out completely, usually more than a day. In 2012, water-repellent treatments were introduced to down, making it usable in mists or light drizzles. However, down remains completely useless in heavy rain. It is also the more expensive option.

Fleece is the cheaper option of the two. While down is slightly warmer, fleece tends to be more effective, especially for highly active people. This is because fleece is a highly breathable material that provides effective insulation when your body is producing more heat than normal—that is, when you are highly active. It is also very soft, and it can come in weights of light, middle, and heavy, giving you more options. It dries out more quickly than most other jacket materials, meaning that it does not have any of the problems that down has when it gets wet.

That said, fleece really is not suited to wearing for prolonged periods of time. It tends to be bulky and is useless as a windbreaker. Fleece is most effective when it is worn underneath another layer of clothing. Unless you are an active person or an athlete of some sort, it is best to also get something to wear over your fleece jacket.

So once again, let me state that which one is better really depends on the circumstances you are in. If you live in an area where winters tend to be rather wet or you are a very active person, then fleece is the way to go. If you are in a situation where you are exposed to the cold for more prolonged periods of time or are looking for something that lasts longer, then down is the best choice for you. It is these sorts of circumstances that determine exactly what would be the best type of jacket for you.

5 Tips for Fixing a Damaged Down Coat

Written By: Marlene Taylor

Wearing a feather-down coat supplies warmth and comfort in winter weather, especially when enjoying winter sports. But what can be done when a favorite down coat gets ripped or torn? Should one risk repairing a damaged down jacket? Should it be sent out to a professional for repair? The following five tips should help when fixing a down coat:

1. Seam Sealers

Seam sealers can be purchased from an outdoor outfitter which sells camping equipment, like tents and other supplies. A seam sealer works well for small holes. Apply the seal adhesive to the tear to mend edges together. Larger holes are best repaired using repair tape. Repair tape comes in a variety of colors. Repair tape is a quick fix idea. Depending on the brand and quality of the tape, a coat may endure a few washings. Some people try using iron-on-fabric repair kits. But use this method carefully since iron temperatures vary. It’s best to set the iron on a low temperature and then gradually increase heat. An outdoor outfitter can advise on what brand seam sealer works best.

2. Sewing

Sewing a down-coat tear is hard because down-coat outer fabric is delicate. This type of sewing project is best left up to a seamstress or tailor. Special fine needles are used with small stitchwork, which takes a trained eye and hand. Send torn coats to dry cleaners, which usually keep a seamstress on payroll or use the services of a tailor. When repairing down-wear with a needle, push feathers in and sew stitches as close together as possible. Use industrial thread for sewing tears.

3. Outdoor Repair Service

An outdoor repair service mends tents as well as down coats. A repair job by an amateur may not hold up well, and feathers escape through spaces between stitiches. Using iron-on-fabric repair kits can be risky because it’s easy to burn the fabric covering of a down coat. An outdoor repair service not only mends tents, sleeping bags and other outdoor equipment but also repairs down-coats and all down gear.

4. Sending Ripped Down-Coats Back to Manufacturer

Sending a product back to the manufacturer for repair works for down coats as well. The manufacturer knows exactly how to mend or fix their own product. Compare prices with local tailors, seamstresses at a dry cleaner and outdoor repair services for the best price.

5. Duct Tape

Although duct tape is strong and holds well, it’s a temporay fix for a tear. Not only is it temporary, but when it’s time to remove the tape for a permanent repair, doing so may make the tear worse. Use duct tape with caution.

If the above tips are hard to execute, get the aid of professionals to prevent futher damage. Taps work well, but down coats still have to be cleaned. Iron-on-fabric kits work, but then there’s a chance that heat will damage that expensive coat. Sewing is for the professional seamstress, who knows how to execute stitches that are small enough to hold feathers in. Duct tape does hold under wear but eventially loses its adhesive. Instead of trying to repair down-coats at home and for preventing further damage, seek the help of professionals.





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