Warmth is not the only determining factor when choosing insulated jackets —you also have to factor in weight, resistance to water and compression, and style.
Recycled Down Insulation
Down is the most lightweight, warm and compressible insulation on the market. It naturally produces high-loft clusters that retain your body heat while maintaining breathability and wicks away moisture to keep you comfortable as you move. Simply put, it's mother nature's best insulator.
Using recycled down from reclaimed post-consumer down duvets and pillows is a sustainable alternative to virgin down, that still offers the highest warmth-to-weight of any insulation. In 2015, Nau became the first apparel brand to introduce a down product line that features 100% recycled down. We've proven that recycled down can achieve the premium fill power required for cold-weather performance. Our traceable down supply is independently verified through the Global Recycled Standard and SCS Recycled Content Certification. We use 650-fill and 700-fill recycled down for our insulation, these measurements refer to the cubic inches of loft per ounce.
However, down is not meant for damp conditions. To help combat this, we've added a 100% PFC-free DWR treatment to our recycled down jackets. While extremely effective at repelling water, if it gets sopping wet, feathers will clump and lose a lot of their insulation properties and loft. In drier, cold climates, a down jacket will perform at its full potential and keep you protected from the elements.
Recycled Synthetic Insulation
High-performance synthetic materials can mimic the qualities of down insulation without its susceptibility to water, and they are hypoallergenic. Synthetic insulation is often composed of polyester fibers, designed to replicate the effects of down.
Our synthetic insulation is made from 100% recycled polyester —with a continuous filament fiber for greater loft without the bulk, providing a durable warmth-to-weight ratio and quick-drying performance. In contrast to down, synthetic insulation is measured by weight in grams. We've added a 100% PFC-free DWR treatment to our recycled synthetic insulation jackets for additional water-resistance. Recycled polyester insulation is another sustainable alternative to virgin down; a single jacket can save up to 10 bottles from the landfill.
Synthetic insulation is heavier and less compressible than down. But, if you tend to spend more time in damp, cold climates, synthetic insulation is the way to go.
The choice between recycled down and synthetic insulation still comes down to what weather conditions you plan to use the jacket in and what are your personal needs. Synthetic insulation has one major advantage over down —it retains warmth even when it’s wet.