Down is one of the lightest, most compressible, and most versatile insulations available. There are many different types of down, but we stick to using high quality options, that will make your sleep system one of the lightest around. Down is measured using a system called fill power. Fill power (fp) is a way of measuring how much space a given down type can fill. For example, 850fp down will loft up to fill 850 cubic inches with 1 ounce of down, whereas 950fp can fill 950 cubic inches per ounce. Since insulation works by trapping microscopic air pockets, a higher fill power can trap more air pockets per ounce. For use in a sleep system, this means that fewer ounces of down can be used to provide the same insulation by moving to a higher fill power. A 20°F rating is always 20°F, but by choosing a higher fill power, less down (by weight, not volume) is used to achieve that insulation rating. Enlightened Equipment uses Grey Duck Down (GDD) for our 850fp down, and Grey Goose Down (GGD) for our 950fp down.
All our down is sourced from an RDS certified supplier, and we use only zero PFC DownTek water repellant treated down. DownTek™ is a water-repellent coating that is added to goose or duck down, and helps the down resist moisture longer and dry out more quickly if it does get wet. It is not fully waterproof, so normal precautions should be taken to keep your gear dry (such as a trash bag for use as a pack liner, and/or the included water resistant stuff sack). As an added layer of protection, DownTek can give you more time to react to bad weather, pack or shelter failures, etc. You can read about one test of DownTek's water repellency here. All of our down is sourced from Europe. It is a side-product from the meat industry, and third-party audits verify that none of the down in the supply chain is acquired through live plucking, force-feeding, etc.
Loft is the measurement of how thick your quilt or sleeping bag is (or more specifically the down). You can figure out the loft of your down item, by laying it out flat, and measuring how thick (or tall) your quilt or bag is. Keep in mind that you only want to measure the part on top of you, so if it's a sleeping bag, you don't want to measure the part on top of you, as well as the part you lay on. We use the following loft measurements for our temperature ratings:
50° - 1"
40° - 1 1/2"
30° - 2"
20° - 2 1/2"
10° - 3"
0° - 3 1/2"
30° Regular/Regular Enigma APEX (Blue) vs. 30° regular/regular Enigma (black)
Synthetic insulation has some tradeoffs with down that may or may not make it more suitable for you. While it's less compressible and somewhat heavier when used for larger items like quilts, it's excellent all-weather performance, faster drying, easier cleaning, and overall lower cost can make it a great choice for many, especially for warm-weather quilts. The synthetic material we use is called Climashield APEX synthetic insulation which is one of the lightest and most versatile synthetic insulations on the market today.
We use the following APEX weights of insulation per temperature rating:
50°F - 2.0 oz/yd²
40°F - 4.0 oz/yd²
30°F - 6.0 oz/yd²
20°F - 8.0 oz/yd²
Synthetic material weights may vary +/- 10% due to production variances.