What distinguishes high quality down?
The further north a duck or goose is reared the more developed and complex its down becomes.
Exped sources its down exclusively from an RDS certified manufacturer that obtains its down from farms in the Ukraine and Russia. These waterfowl have highly developed plumage resistant to the cold of those regions.
Down is a natural product that has been in use for thousands of years. No other form of insulation is longer lasting and more sustainable than high quality down. Even after a period of 20 years, not more than 15% of the used down needs to be replaced to attain the original loft!
Responsible Down standard
The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an independent label that companies can choose to join in order to warrant that the down used in their products adhere to the strictest animal welfare guidelines. Exped is RDS certified since 2016.
The guidelines are based on the following 5 freedoms
Free of hunger and thirst
Free of discomfort
Free of pain, injury and illness
Freedom to behave naturally
Free of fear and anxiety
The standard guarantees that the birds are not live-plucked or force-fed and that they have access to open space and water at all times. The best animal welfare would be not to slaughter animals at all, but down remains a by-product of the large meat industry and as long as no alternatives are developed it remains a valuable resource. The RDS Standard also controls the complete supply chain guaranteeing that only certified products carry the RDS label.
International down and feather laboratory
Each production run is tested by IDFL (International Down and Feather Laboratory). The fill power is tested with the international IDFB-10-B steam method according to EN standard. The test method is essential for attaining the relevant fill power results.
As of 2018 all test results by IDFL can be viewed online. A bold step as it is challenging to depict the results of such a unique product as down in test results. Yet we believe that all have the right to see the down quality used in our sleeping bags.
All Exped sleeping bags have a QR code printed inside, which can be scanned for details. This information can also be found directly at http://verify.idfl.com/exped/, where our test results and RDS certification can be viewed.
The fillpower | this "+" makes the difference
We use three down qualities sourced from northern European countries, mainly Ukraine and Russia. For our premium sleeping bag range we use only the best 800+ cu/in goose down. The plus means that the IDFL tests guarantee the fill power of the down in our premium bags is a minimum of 800. The down used in our bags is better than quoted. We attain test results up to 850 cu/in.
Washing and treated down
In order for down to comply with all quality requirements it is washed gently in huge machines. Only bio-degradable detergents are used in the process. Exped refrains from using chemically treated or impregnated down as the long-term effects are not yet known. High quality down has natural hydrophobic properties. A further point is that the fill power of down can be artificially enhanced through the treatments. What may sound great in the beginning will result in lower quality down after a few washing cycles, reduced insulating capacity and a lower temperature rating than at the time of purchase. For those who wish to be on the safe side we recommend our expedition series bags or synthetic fill.