Western Mountaineering Goose Down Sourcing Commitment
GOOSE DOWN SOURCING COMMITMENT
We feel that goose down is an amazing and ideal natural insulator to use in sleeping bags and clothing due to its superior warmth to weight ratio, compressibility, and outstanding longevity. In fact, loft can be restored to a down sleeping bag just by laundering it and this can be done numerous over several decades.
We have seen many examples of older down sleeping bags with no apparent loss of the original loft despite 1,000 nights of use and 40 years of service. Unfortunately there are some questionable practices that occur in the supply chain which we do not find ethical such as force feeding, live plucking, confinement and caging, poor diet, inadequate shelter and short life span. Geese raised for meat are slaughtered after just 15 to 18 weeks and this is where most of the world’s down is generated.
None of those practices are needed to collect the finest quality of down because the plumage naturally falls from mature geese during a process called “molting” which occurs multiple times per year along with seasonal climate changes. Since we are focused on making products with goose down, it was important that we found the best possible source which gathered the down naturally from mature healthy geese. We found this from a very unique and special supplier in Poland which collects our down from the nests of birds that are kept for breeding and live on rivers, lakes and open farm land, after the olting periods which occur multiple times per year. The plumage that falls naturally during molting is then hand collected from the nests without disturbing the birds who are allowed to live to a mature age, usually between three and four years, in a natural wild setting.
This method insures that the natural life activities and welfare of the birds are not diminished by the collection of the down. We strongly support this approach and feel that it results in higher fill power since the down falls from mature healthy geese naturally, with no harm to the geese, and the perfectly developed, high quality large down clusters are collected with are away from the sheltered nesting area.
We visit both the farm and the processor personally, sometimes without advance notice, to insure that they continue to provide us with the best possible quality down gathered naturally with great respect and care for the geese who provide us with this great natural resource. Our down is pure and natural, with very little handling and no harsh agents used to wash the down, allowing it to retain the natural properties which make down very resistant to water. Let’s not forget that geese are “waterfowl” without any treatment or help.