Are you buying real down and feather products?

Nationally published Fall 2018

From pillows to parkas, most of us purchase a down or feather product to keep us warm and comfortable during the winter. Whether you’re looking for apparel, bedding or upholstery, here are some tips to help you find a quality product.

Understand the filling. Make an informed decision by knowing what the terms indicating what the filling is mean on the law tag. “Goose down” and “duck down” are what they say, and both “waterfowl down” and “down” usually mean duck down or a blend of duck and goose down. Meanwhile, “down fibre” means worthless dust left over from the separation of down and feathers. Down fibre won’t keep you insulated like the others, so steer clear of this filling.

Check the label. Due to the popularity of down products, there are thousands of counterfeit products on the market and it is very difficult to know exactly which products are legitimate. To buy down products with confidence, always look for the Downmark label, which is the gold standard for quality assurance and certifies that the product you are about to purchase is a genuine item. You can be confident about all down and feather inside products you buy with the non-profit organization’s label attached, which assures that the item has been made in Canada according to strict ethical and manufacturing standards.

Inspect the details. Typically, good finishing reflects the overall quality of the product. Careless finishing is one sign of a low-quality product. Look for straight and even stitching as well as clear and well-printed packaging and tags that meet Canada’s labelling requirements.

Use your sense of touch. Pinch the down filling through the fabric and rub it between your fingers. It should feel soft to the touch, with a minimum of spiky feather quills. If you feel a lot of prickles, the item likely will not provide the comfort and insulating benefits you get from higher-quality products.

For sleeping bags, duvets and pillows, simply pick up the unpackaged item and see how it feels. Higher-quality products will feel soft, bouncy and full of life. Poor quality items will feel heavy and limp.

Curious about quality down and feather products? Learn more at

Nationally published by News Canada - Fall 2018