What Is Eiderdown?

Eiderdown is the down made by the eider duck.

About 75% of the eiderdown worldwide comes from Iceland and Icelandic eiderdown is considered to be of the highest quality.

Eiderdown has unique properties that give it very powerful insulating effects, despite being one of the lightest materials known to man.

Because of its unique properties, it is considered to be the best insulating material that can be used to make duvets and comforters.

What is eiderdown and where does it come from?

The eiderdown is a type of down feather, which is a soft and fine layer of feathers located under the bird’s tougher exterior feathers.

The female eider duck plucks the feathers off her chest into her nest in order to keep her eggs and youngs warm.

This is what the eider duck looks like, also known as the common eider:

Eider duck wings sunset
The female eider duck, also known as common eider or Somateria mollissima in latin.

If you look closely at the picture, you can see that the bird is laying on top of a nest with a thin layer of fluffy eiderdown.

In Iceland, there are certain areas where the eider ducks gather during the summer to lay eggs.

The farmers who own these areas provide sanctuaries for the ducks. They even create structures and habitats for the ducks to help them lay their eggs safely. They also protect the birds from predators like the fox and mink.

While the eggs are growing, the eider farmers take some of the eiderdown out of the nests and replace it with dry hay. When the bird and youngs leave the nest at the end of the summer, the farmer takes the rest of the eiderdown.

In this way, no birds are harmed during harvesting. The birds are completely wild and free, they arrive at the start of summer and leave by August.

Without man’s help, many of the eggs would likely never hatch as they would get eaten by Iceland’s natural predators. In fact, the eider duck would likely be at a high risk of extinction if it wasn’t for the sanctuaries provided by the eider farmers.

The bird also really likes the presence of the farmers. They can walk through the fields and even touch the birds without problems.

Each bird nest produces about 15-17 grams of eiderdown per year, or about 0.5-0.6 ounces.

Eiderdown has unique characteristics

Eiderdown fibers close up

There are good reasons why the eiderdown is so valuable and why it’s considered to be a high-end luxury product.

This is because it has several unique characteristics:

  • Fiber structure: The fibers of the down are tangled together in a unique way.
  • Softness: Eiderdown is incredibly soft, so soft that it feels like you’re touching a cloud.
  • Insulating: It has powerful insulating and temperature-regulating properties.
  • Ligthness: Eiderdown is very light. It naturally expands and holds a lot of air while providing powerful insulation.
  • Compression resistance: It is extremely resistant to compression, ensuring that duvets made from it will continue to stay fluffy.

It is hard to explain the incredible feeling of eiderdown in words. Holding and touching it is really an incredible experience, it feels like something from another world.

Eiderdown likely is the lightest, softest, warmest and most comfortable material on the planet.

Products made from eiderdown

Eiderdown duvet with silk fabric

Eiderdown is used in various high-end luxury products that require powerful insulating properties, such as duvets and arctic clothing.

It is most commonly used as a filler and insulating material in high-end duvets, which are incredibly light and soft due to the unique properties of the down.

The demand for these duvets far outweighs the supply because the worldwide production of eiderdown is only about 4 tons per year.

If all of it was used to make duvets, that would only amount to 4000-5000 duvets per year. Because of this, eiderdown duvets are considered rare and in short supply.

Because eiderdown is so rare, the price of duvets made from it is relatively high. A single duvet can cost from 5-15 thousand US dollars, depending on the size and a few other factors.

Benefits of eiderdown duvets

Because eiderdown duvets are incredibly light and soft, they provide unmatched comfort for sleep.

They help regulate the temperature around you, helping you keep cooler when it’s warm and warmer when it’s cold. The incredible comfort helps you sleep more soundly throughout the night.

People spend about a third of their life sleeping and good sleep is one of the most important things people can do for their health and longevity. Good sleep is even considered crucial for weight loss and metabolic health.

For this reason, the high price of eiderdown duvets can be justified. They improve your sleep drastically, which leads to much better health and a higher quality of life.

Consider the amount of money that people spend on their cars, despite probably spending less than an hour per day driving. At the same time, people spend about 7-9 hours per night sleeping. Plus a high-quality duvet lasts much longer than a new car.

Fun facts about eiderdown

Here are some more fun facts about eiderdown:

  • Eiderdown has been used for hundreds of years. In the past it was commonly used by royalty and extremely wealthy people.
  • The Titanic, which sank in 1912, had 800 eiderdown duvets on the ship.
  • Two times more ferraris than eiderdown duvets are made each year.
  • About 75% of the world’s production is in Iceland.
  • No birds are harmed during harvesting, in fact they are protected by the farmers.
  • Icelandic eiderdown is animal-friendly and eco-friendly.