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  1. #1
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    Second Opinion on Down

    At BPL I asked a question if there was any way of improving the quality (fp) of your down, even if you lose some quantity in the process. (I bought a 550fp down comforter on ebay that has 95% down/5% feather ratio and it has 54 OUNCES of fill) I don't care how time consuming or crazy it is, and I'd be ok with losing up to 10 ounces if it meant the quality was better.

    I was told there was no practical way of doing this, since fill power is based on volume (550fp takes up 550 cubic inches per ounce whereas 900fp takes up, you guessed it, 900in^3)

    And I was told that this had to do with the mixture of feathers to down, which is where I got lost.... even most 900fp garments/ quilts whatever that are industry made are 95/5, down/feather ratio. So how could this have anything to do with with fill power, when my 550fp comforter is also 95/5?

    Not saying this guy is wrong, I just need some clarification, and to my original question, is there anything I can do to get a better fp on my down?

    And here, because this post was wordy with no pictures

  2. #2
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nihilist Voyager View Post
    even most 900fp garments/ quilts whatever that are industry made are 95/5, down/feather ratio.
    This is not true.

    900fp down is nearly all down clusters and nearly no feathers...at least as much as is feasible. The more quills you add, the lower the fp becomes (it's based on weight vs volume, not merely volume). Start adding in feathers and you generally can't go above 550fp.

    So if you were to take out all the feathers and quills, leaving yourself with only the down clusters, you could possibly increase the fillpower of your down...but it's really not feasible, and if you tried to turn 550fp into 900fp you wouldn't have much left.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  3. #3
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    Darn

    Ok cool, that's pretty much what I wanted to know. I think I mainly just didn't want to believe him haha!
    That's a shame, but I appreciate the help.

  4. #4
    Senior Member turnerminator's Avatar
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    Quite simply, no.

    The quality of the down is a function of the maturity of the geese it came from, combined with sorting. The older the goose, the bigger the clusters and the higher the fill power.
    Lower fill powers come from younger birds and its cheaper becuase the geese don't have to be kept for as long, reducing food and other costs.

    If its a real 95/5 550 fill, you've got no chance of upping the fill power. Thats what it is unfortunatley. removing even 1% of the feathers would give you a tiny increase and take you days to do.
    Last edited by turnerminator; 12-04-2011 at 15:26. Reason: Slow typing, already answered.

  5. #5
    Member bluefields181's Avatar
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    sooo...what would the 550 be good to? Like, about what temp would the 550 get you to? I've got a mummy bag thats 650fp rated to 40° and i've had it to the low 30's. So an underquilt topquilt set of 550, (maybe a layer of insul-tex on the inside), would be way cool.cool as in warm i mean

  6. #6
    Senior Member BullFrog's Avatar
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    The fill power of the down doesn't determine the warmth, the loft does. It's just that lower fill powers weigh more per ounce. You could achieve the same temp rating, it will just be heavier.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rip waverly's Avatar
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    i don't think its a matter of how warm when talking fill power... but rather how much you need to develop the loft and reach a certain rating. as i understand it.
    "Jeff-Becking"

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  8. #8
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    Down, like wool, gets sorted. But that's likely a complex mechanical process. No telling whether your lesser quality down is a mix lesser and higher quality downs which could be separated. More likely it is homogeneously less lofty. So, you won't be able to treat it like falling grains and chaff, the denser stuff falling before a breeze while the same breeze pushes the good stuff to the side. (Or however sorting of wool and down is done.)

    There have been multiple secondary reports here of warmth from the down itself, independent of the loft. Not hard to believe: when synthetics are used, it isn't the loft that is the sole basis for a Resistance to heat loss rating. That results in people claiming/finding that their quilts can be somewhat compacted without commensurate/any loss of insulation.

    Why does that matter? Because you have a whole lot of down of lesser quality for lofting. It may take twice as much 500 fill power down (by weight) to hold up the test weight above some test volume than required of 1000 fill power down, but that does not mean that 50mm of loft of each has the same insulative value. To the extent that heat flow behaves as light does, the denser quilt may be more opaque. To the extent that the quilt is subject to strong air currents, the denser quilt may be more restrictive of heat-robbing forced air flow.

    Lightness is much valued here, but there are many folks who sleep better, more securely, under some weight. You might be one of them!

  9. #9
    Member bluefields181's Avatar
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    thanks, that really clears things up.

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