Down (Duck or GoosE)
Down is the lightest and fluffiest (=loftiest) fill, and traditionally the most desired in our colder climates. Canadian Down is strictly regulated, and modern cleaning techniques have made Duck Down almost as luxurious as Goose Down, for a fraction of the price. The Ultra-Fresh treatment common on down prevents the growth of microbes and dust mites, reducing the allergen risk.
Wool is a great natural alternative to down. While they don’t have the loft of down (these will be flatter blankets), their fibres naturally do not allow the growth of dust mites, and we find the warmth level more than sufficient for Revelstoke’s relatively mild climate.
Polyester and Microfibre
The synthetic alternatives are great if you expect to wash your duvet regularly. Perhaps the duvet is for a young child, or you expect to have beverages and meals in bed (if you’re laid up after a big hug with a tree on a ski run, for instance).
Just like with clothing, man-made fibres have a huge range of qualities. Polyester can feel like plastic if it doesn’t breath right, making your bed a very uncomfortable place to be. Good quality fills can have a huge lofty feel, and shouldn’t clump up into balls after washing.
Also referred to as “Fill Power”, the “loft” number reflects the amount of air trapped by the down.
The higher the loft, the “fluffier” the down.
500-550 Loft is good, 750+ is luxurious (think, hand collected from the nests of mature birds)
So why is the loft of the duvet so important? Just like down sleeping bags are much warmer and lighter than their cheaper, synthetic alternatives, a lofty duvet will surround and comfort you while keeping you warm and comfortable. Breathability is a must, since we all tend to sweat a little at night and we want that moisture to be able to escape to stay comfortable.
In modern homes, the climate is controlled enough that we really don’t need the heavy down duvets anymore, and compared to my hometown of Winnipeg, Revelstoke really doesn’t get that cold. Our duvets here at Big Mountain Kitchen & Linen tend to be on the lighter, 4 season side. If the loft is high enough, a light weight down duvet will still feel fluffy and luxurious where a low loft duvet will end up feeling flat.
Worried about the colder times? Add a quilt or a thermal blanket instead of a heavier duvet, just like layering your outerwear.
A good shell is often reflected in the price of your duvet. You want to find duvets with a good cover, with at least a 230 thread count cotton. Microfibre covers will save you money, but make sure they’re of good quality so the breathability isn’t as affected.
“Down-Proof” cotton means that they’ve squashed the fabric between heavy metal rollers at high heats to flatten the threads. This creates a barrier to keep the down where it should be, instead of all over your bedroom. Each time you wash your duvet, this “calendaring” starts to release, which is one reason manufacturers recommend you only wash your duvet a few times through its life.
Proper baffle box construction will keep the fill where it needs to be, without causing thin spots like a sewn-through design can. Shells can be made in Canada (like our duvets from Cuddledown), or outsourced for sewing and then filled in Canada (like our duvets from Daniadown).
Making sure your duvet was filled in Canada will ensure quality fill (no cheaper feathers), and make warranty concerns much easier to address. If you ever notice one square of your duvet that seems to have gone flat, this can mean that the down has shifted inside. This will typically be covered by warranty; you would come to see us (if you purchased your duvet from us, obviously), we would arrange to have the duvet shipped back to the manufacturer, they would redistribute the down properly and send it back to the store with one of our orders.
Join us in our next post, with housekeeping and cleaning tips from our B&B clients (and our own background!). We’ll share how to keep this luxurious duvet of yours clean and healthy, along with all the other parts of your bedding!
Wondering which duvet to buy? Come into the store downtown and we’ll give you the tour!