One of the best, recent inventions in the bedding industry is the synthetic down fiber, also known as down alternative. Since the mid 1990s, consumers have had this extra option in addition to traditional, real down feather accessories like comforters and pillows.
There are many reasons why this alternative, synthetic fiber has quickly grown in popularity. We’ve discussed some of these reasons and one of the leading fiber materials below.
Mass Production & Cost
Real down is harvested from either wild birds or other birds that have been domesticated for other purposes. Ultimately, it is not cost effective to simply raise animals like geese only to harvest their down feathers. As a result, real down is expensive.
With a synthetic fiber, all of the problems associated with raising geese, harvesting feathers, and sterilizing the down are no longer important because the material is manufactured in a lab!
The result is an truly affordable alternative to down feathers. In fact, many products made with synthetic filler instead of the real thing can cost 50% less or even more!
Real feathers lose their thermal insulating properties, clump together and deteriorate over time when they get wet. The same can also happen from rigorous and/or frequent washing and drying at home.
Synthetic down is water resistant and much more durable than the real thing, so caring for comforters, duvets and pillows made with this material is much easier. Best of all, washing can be done more frequently with this alternate fill, while real feather blankets should only be washed a few times in their entire lifetime!
Thermal Retention When Wet
The real reason the US Army wanted a down alternative fiber manufactured was so that it could be used in sleeping bags, footwear, and jackets that could be used in real-world conditions and still keep the user warm. This means that they can get wet and still retain heat, which is something that real down feather products are simply unable to do.
A lot of people are very concerned with allergies, while some may not suffer from them at all. People with allergies are often sensitive in real down feathers because they came from a living bird, so they simply had to avoid the use of these comforters for the longest time.
With the creation of an alternative, that worry is no longer relevant because this fill material isn’t created from a bird feather at all – the fibers are synthetically created in a science laboratory in sterile conditions.
Now anyone can enjoy the use of a down comforter. For more information on this subject, take a look at our page on hypoallergenic down.
One of the most successful and popular of the synthetic fibers is PrimaLoft, which was originally contracted for development by the US Army for use in field equipment for soldiers.
The idea was to synthetically create a down feather fiber that had all of the same loft and characteristics of real down but without some of the major drawbacks.
PrimaLoft emerged as a water resistent and hypoallergenic alernative that has since moved into production for commercial products for consumers.
Find more information about this material on our PrimaLoft page.