My sleeping bag is shedding feathers: Is this normal?

Megan Smith
 min read

My sleeping bag is shedding feathers, is that normal? The answer is: yes.

My sleeping bag is shedding feathers: Is this normal?And we are going to try to understand why a sleeping bag or a down jacket can lose some feathers with time.

Use, quality of the feather, type of filling, compression, wear and tear, and more will be discussed below so read on!

My sleeping bag is shedding feathers: Introduction

Many parameters can influence the fact that a sleeping bag can lose its feathers. But let’s remove a doubt right away.

Some sleeping bags do not shed feathers at all. Yes, these are the synthetic down sleeping bags.

For use in humid environments, it is recommended to use a sleeping bag with synthetic filling.

Synthetic, by definition, does not have natural elements, such as down or feathers, which are often from geese or ducks.

Tip: If you’re a plus-size camper, you’ll find our other post most handy where we compare sleeping bags for big guys and girls.

What’s a down sleeping bag made of?

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter. What is a typical down sleeping bag made of?

Well, down and feathers. But very rarely feathers. Let’s see what it’s all about.

The down of a sleeping bag

Down is located under the belly and under the wings of the goose or duck.

Flexible, very light and swelling, it is the most precious part of the feathers.

The feather of a sleeping bag

It is located on the down that it protects by keeping it dry.

This small feather ensures the homogeneity of the filling of the down jackets while giving them some swelling.

It is located all over the rest of the body of the goose and duck.

Rigid and not very elastic, it is rarely used for the filling of down jackets, because it wouldn’t be comfortable.

It doesn’t insulate well either.

So what are the proportions?

A good filling should have a majority of down in its composition.

The 90/10 distribution corresponds for example to a filling composed of 90% down and 10% feathers.

High-end down jackets can go up to 95% / 5% which seems to be the current maximum.

In most cases, a proportion of feathers will be kept to ensure the cohesion of the filling.

Not all down sleeping bags are created equal

A goose from a cold country has a better down than a goose from a warmer country because the winters are colder and longer.

The age of the animal also counts. The down of very young ducks is of lower quality.

Related: What should I look for when buying a sleeping bag? Insights

My sleeping bag is shedding feathers: Why do a few feathers escape?

Everything is in the title.

Indeed, it is not down that comes out, but rather a feather.

When your down jacket or sleeping bag is compressed (through use or storage), air is pushed towards the surface.

If a feather is close to the surface, in a pointed position, then a feather is coming out of your down jacket or sleeping bag.

Contrary to popular belief, a feather does not necessarily come out at the seam.

More and more high-end manufacturers are sealing the seams, which is not necessarily the case with low-cost manufacturers.

So it’s quite possible that one or more feathers could get out in the middle of one of the compartments of your favorite down jacket or sleeping bag.

How to put a feather in its compartment?

If the feather is all the way out, there’s not much we can do.

If it is barely out, you can try to get the other end from underneath, a bit like pulling the thread of a sweater inside out to put it back on.

My sleeping bag is shedding feathers: What if we lose (a lot of) feathers?

A good quality down jacket or sleeping bag does not lose feathers.

At the most it will lose an insignificant amount.

However, over the years, or with micro-scratching, or dust, the outer fabric of your equipment loses its original qualities.

It is then advisable to clean your down jacket or your sleeping bag, then to waterproof them again.

For more information on how to wash a down sleeping bag, read our other post How do you wash a down sleeping bag without ruining it?

What if I ripped my down jacket or sleeping bag?

In the specific case of a tear, it is different.

There is indeed a possibility of losing its down and feathers, if nothing is done.

The damaged compartment will then no longer provide insulation.

If you have torn your down jacket or sleeping bag, the easiest and most effective solution is to stick a small rectangle of self-tape.

Very practical and inexpensive. If it is a small hole, some nail polish can be a temporary measure.

In any case, back home, you can start a little sewing session with thread and needle.

If not, a visit to your dealer would be best.

My sleeping bag is shedding feathers: Conclusion

A down jacket or a sleeping bag, made of down and feathers, are very efficient materials but they require precaution and care to make them last.

In this post we have explained what to do because yes, your bag can lose a feather or two.

Now you know all about the feathers that come out of down jackets or sleeping bags!

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More