The filling is the stuff you really need to look for when you buy a perfect duvet. If the manufacturer has skimped on stuffing, you’ll know about it.
Natural feather and down is the most popular – it’s warm, soft, and breathable. A duvet with a high ratio of down is lighter and loftier. Why? Because a down cluster is spherical so its 3D properties trap a lot of heat (it’s a bit like a dandelion head), while a feather is long and flat so you need more of them (they also have a longer shaft which are weightier than the fibres attached to it).
The quality of the ingredients is important too. The bigger the down clusters, the more warmth they retain (this means a lighter duvet). Cold climates produce ducks and geese with bigger, fluffier down filaments…the way they are farmed plays a part too! Shake them out for comparison and you’ll easily see that goose is the lightest while duck gives a heavier, snugglier feel.
Another natural choice is wool. We could talk about the benefit of wool for pages and pages but we will summarise. Wool is unique: unlike fur it’s crimped, elastic and grows in clusters. It’s the crimp in it that makes wool chunkier and able to retain air (giving it its famous insulating properties)….the sheep know their stuff, but they have been around a long time!
When the body is cold, wool removes moisture from the skin and traps dry air and warmth. When the body is warm, the wool retains air, removing excess heat and moisture. The original all-seasons duvet! It’s hypoallergenic (mites and bugs just hate the stuff…are they mad?), dirt resistant, resilient, eco-friendly and helps you sleep better. A house favourite here at Soak&Sleep!
You could also go for natural silk…a real luxury choice. Silk has very similar properties to wool: it’s breathable, hypoallergenic and surprisingly strong. We don’t know why but those silk worms spin their cocoons with a fibre stronger than steel (maybe they’re paranoid)! This is great for a duvet filling as it means it survives washing and even tumble drying (although it does begin to lose its natural properties when it’s washed too much). This is a feature that wool cannot claim. We’ve also heard rumours that silk helps anti-ageing…
If you want a synthetic duvet, the most common choice is microfibre. Microfibre strands (if they’re a fine denier and good quality) can be very very soft. In fact, to the touch microfibre strands could be mistaken for silk fibres. When stuffed into a duvet, fine denier microfibre does a good job at mimicking the feeling of a down duvet but it will get flattened a little more quickly.
Hollowfibre is your other synthetic choice. It’s thicker and more wirey than microfibre which provides greater loft and weight in the duvet. It is a really hardwearing product and excellent value for money. If you’re an allergy sufferer but don’t want to opt for silk or wool then look out for a hollowfibre or microfibre duvet that has been treated with an anti-allergy chemical.
As always, the quality of the materials and where they are sourced from can either break or make the bed!
Know your Togs:
Tog is a unit of measurement telling you how much heat a duvet will retain. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want a 4.5 Tog duvet for summer, a 9 Tog for spring or autumn, and a 13.5 Tog for winter. Some people prefer to buy all three and store the others away (make sure you invest in a good quality duvet storage bag to protect it), others prefer to get an all seasons set of 4.5 and 9 Tog duvets that pop together for winter.