The Low Down on Down

Written by
Erin Scottberg
Jessica Schramm for Parachute

Warm, fluffy, lightweight and long-lasting, down provides the ultimate comfort for your sleep. Our Down Duvet Inserts, pillows and toppers are among the most important components of your bed – and they’re also the items we get asked about the most. For example, what’s the difference between down and feathers? Or percentage and fill power? How do you know the down comes from a supplier that safeguards the lives of the birds? We’ve answered your questions so you can rest assured when you choose Parachute’s duvet insertspillowsmattress pads and Down Top Feather Beds, you’re choosing responsibly.

The Difference Between Down and Feathers

A feather contains a hard quill shaft with fibers joined together on either side. Alternatively, down comes from the undercoating of ducks and geese and does not have a quill shaft. This provides a softer sleeping experience (because nobody enjoys a feather poking out of the pillow). These fluffy down clusters are responsible for keeping the birds warm. We carry European White Down, but color is not necessarily an indicator of quality.

There’s No Such Thing as 100% Down

All of our down bedding products are 85% down. So what’s up with the other 15%? It’s impossible to ever achieve pure down – there will always be some down fiber and feather fiber present due to how it’s processed. This involves cleaning the down to remove organic matter and contaminants then using air to separate out the different qualities. The higher qualities rise to the top, and the lower qualities fall to the bottom. The measurement of this quality is called fill power.

What is Fill Power?

Fill power measures fluffiness – it indicates the amount of air an ounce of the down can trap, and thus its insulating ability. Fill power typically ranges from around 300 to 900; higher numbers indicate more warmth for the same weight. Parachute bedding basics contain down with 750 fill power – the perfect amount of insulation to keep us cozy at night. If you want to nerd out on the subject of fill power, read more here.

Responsible Down Standard

Because of our commitment to producing trustworthy products, Parachute’s down supplier is Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified. RDS is an independent, global animal welfare standard that ensures down and feathers come from humanely treated ducks and geese. Companies voluntarily elect to meet the stringent criterion, which was developed under the consultation of animal welfare groups, industry experts, brands and retailers. The certification process is arduous – examiners thoroughly inspect the down from farm to product. RDS prohibits any removal of down and feathers from live birds as well as force-feeding, protecting the welfare of the ducks we use at Parachute.

Why Choose Down Bedding?

Down duvet inserts and pillows provide a warm and comfortable sleeping experience. Not only does down last a long time, but it also breathes better than other bedding materials. For a luxurious night of sleep, try using Parachute’s Down Duvet Inserts. Once you switch, you may find you can’t sleep without them.

Worried About Allergies?

Getting a great night’s sleep can be hard work if you’re up sneezing all night. That's why we now offer Pillow Protectors and Duvet Protectors. Yes, they protect the lifetime of your down products, but their extremely tightly woven cotton fabric also acts as an allergen barrier, so that nothing can come between you and your cloud of down.