Down is made up of two types of soft feathers, Usually duck or geese. This is why they use the term "Duck Down" and "Goose Down". As you can imagine both breeds of birds can survive harsh winters outdoors, so over time their feathers have evolved to be super warm. When you pack these feathers together the air will get trapped between each tiny strand (or barbs if you want to use the technical term) it acts as a layer of insulation. It then traps all of this air so you can stay warmer for longer.
Sometimes you might here or see the word Fill Power being used a lot. This is the amount of ‘loft’ or fluffiness of the down insulation. Usually the numbers will sit between 450 and 900. As you can guess the higher the number, the higher the loft is or the warmer the down will be. Unless you are planning on adventuring to extremely cold regions a Fill Power of 450 to 650 should do the trick (UK winter).
Down sadly does not perform to well when wet. The feathers will flatten out and lose their fluffiness. However; you can treat your down jacket with a water repellent spray known as Isotex, this help guard both you and the down against showers, but its not recommend in heavy rain.
synthetic down technology called WARMLOFT. Which was developed by Regatta is engineered to replicate the benefits of natural feather down and is made up ultra-fine synthetic fibres that will trap pockets of warm air just like down to keep you insulated.
Unlike feather down WARMLOFT has a advantage and that is it insulates even when it gets wet and its also quick drying. Although it is not as light or compressible as feather down, it also does not retain heat as well. But this can be an advantage during exercise that is fast pace.
There are three things to consider when selecting a down jacket, Underneath are some of the things to consider.
If you are after a jacket that is durable and take all the hits whilst out on the trails you will want to look for a more heavier robust jacket such as the "Regatta Highfell"which is made from polyamide fabric or parkas that incorporates down feathers, tough-wearing outer fabrics are the key to stand up to every day wear and tear.
Down jackets were designed for warmth. some will protect you from lights showers or snow, but they will not protect you against heavy rain. If you are planning on going out into wet weather you are better to choose a lightweight softshell jacket. It might be worth remembering that we stock WARMLOFT by Regatta that insulates even when wet, so if you are looking for an everyday jacket it could be a better option.
Note: Down jackets are not designed to be fully waterproof because they need to breath this is how the feathers trap air and keep you warm.
If you are on a budget then Synthetic down is typically lower in cost than natural down, it wont last as long but still has a long life span.