Goose Down

Written by Shirley Parker
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Goose down is collected from geese raised in far corners of the world. Among the finest is Hutterite Goose Down from Alberta, Canada. Another "best" and very dense variety comes from Siberia. High to poor quality down is collected in Asia where many products are also manufactured offshore, for the world market. (In this article, offshore means outside the USA.)

Quality varies so much that it's reassuring to find a tag or label on products, confirming that the manufacturer has met specific standards. Reasons for differences in quality, not including country of origin, may be that down is being collected from geese that are just too young, or down is cleaned carelessly or with too harsh a chemical. Sometimes, too many feathers are included in the filling, though if the mixture includes duck feathers, they are very small and tend to be soft.

Goose down products are warm, but not overwhelmingly so. They work because the down traps air and that air re-directs body heat toward you instead of away. Down pillows may be a problem for someone with allergies but quality fabric covering can minimize problems. If all else fails, a down comforter or duvet will not normally be up around the head and may be tolerable. But do check more than one manufacturer; some have been very successful with hypoallergenic products.

Is Goose Down Worth the Price?

All things are relative, of course. What's "worth the money" to some of us may seem like money spent foolishly to others. If the manufacturer has a solid reputation, a product costing two or three times more than a competitor's will probably last three times longer--maybe even five or more times longer.

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