Contrary to popular belief, down is not made from fowl feathers, but rather from duck plumage. It is the soft, fluffy, and lofty stuff under the feathers. Down is found beneath this protective covering – usually on the belly of a bird - and is light and fluffy. It provides the insulation birds need to keep themselves warm. Instead of quills, a cluster of down has a round center called a plumule. Soft, fluffy, and airy, it has thousands of tiny fibers that radiate from its core. Considered as nature’s insulator, it is effective in trapping air and body heat, while still being breathable. Hence, it wicks unwanted moisture away from your body.
After washing the bag, yes, you could put it through a dryer; most sleeping bags are designed to withstand industrial dryers. Dry in a front load industrial dryer at the Laundromat, since a lot of home dryers are too small for your sleeping bag.
Yes, fortunately, a lot of sleeping bags in the market could take a few spins in the washing machine. However, it is best to use a front-loading washer (or top-loading machine without an agitator) instead of a regular top-loading washing machine. Please be advised, though, that some home front-loader machines are usually small and would not give your sleeping bag enough space to tumble and clean properly.
Like the temperature rating, sleeping bags are also labeled by seasons to help you choose which bags would suit for your needs. A 3-season sleeping bag has a temperature of +10° to +35° and would be best suited to use during the seasons spring, summer, and fall. Winters require a sleeping bag that’s designed withstand much colder temperatures, though.
Some of the features to look for in a quality 3-season bags are the following: cinch-able hoods, draft collars, and zipper draft tubes.
Yes, down is warmer than synthetic. Down is the soft, fluffy, and lofty stuff under the feathers. Considered as nature’s insulator, down (made from duck plumage, not feathers) it is effective in trapping air and body heat, while still being breathable. Hence, it wicks unwanted moisture away from your body.