You may have heard the word “fill power” float around in conversations about duvets. Fill power indicates the quality of a duvet, by measuring the loft, or fluffiness, of the down particles. But just how exactly does that work?


The same experiment is used over and over to determine the fill power of a duvet. A cylinder is filled with 30 grams of duvet filling. This can consist of feathers and down, or pure down. That 30 grams of filling is subjected to a fixed amount of pressure. The amount of pressure is always the same, otherwise the fill power wouldn’t be a representative number. The result is expressed in millimeters per 30 grams, and the greater the amount of millimeters, the more air is trapped between the down particles. 


Now, we know that air and down particles create an insulation layer that traps body heat, so a higher amount of millimeters pers 30 grams means the down has a greater ability to hold onto air, which will result in a more qualitative duvet. Down particles in their normal state are fluffy because they are surrounded by air to hold onto. So the fluffier the down particles are after the test, the better their ability to create an insulation layer. It’s all about the down particles’ ability to create heat-trapping air spaces within the down fill. 


Another amazing feature of down is that it will become fluffy, or lofty,  again once the pressure is removed. The higher the quality of the down, the greater its ability to fluff back up to its original shape. The ability to compress may not be of great importance in the world of duvets, unless you like to travel with your very own duvet, but it is incredibly important in the sports and outdoor world, as it makes for some very warm but lightweight gear, such as for example our sleeping bags!


So, a 900 fill power duvet, that has 400 grams of down will be just as warm as a 450 fill power duvet with 800 grams of down. The difference is that the latter will be much heavier which can be uncomfortable as you may wake up sweating.


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