Depending on the source birds, down may be grey or white in colour. Grey down is more common than white down and is sometimes regarded as less desirable because it may sometimes be seen through translucent or lightly coloured fabrics. However, colour has no bearing on the down’s thermal performance or cleanliness, and in the vast majority of products an end user will not even be aware of it.
Most of the down that we buy is grey. However, in some products with lightweight and lightly-coloured shell or lining fabrics we pay an additional premium for white down. White down is permitted to contain a small percentage of grey down or ‘black spots’, as obtaining a completely pure white down naturally is not practicable. These black spots do not affect performance and the down functions identically whether it is white or dark. As down moves inside baffles the position or even appearance of these spots is only ever temporary. It is possible to buy pure white down where there are no black spots, but this down has undergone an additional processing stage where it is sorted by hand. As a result, its price is much higher and it is available only in limited quantities.
Our down undergoes testing before it leaves our down supplier, once it reaches the garment or sleeping bag factory, and some final production garments are tested to ensure that the down meets the specification that we require.