Duvet tog boggle
September 30, 2012 5:02 AM   Subscribe

I could use some duvet advice, re tog and filling.

I'm going to buy a duvet, and I'd like to use it without adding a blanket or anything else, but can't decide what tog rating I should get. I know some all-season duvets come as a set of two with different tog ratings (like a 4.5 plus a 10.5 for a 15 tog when used together), but they are more expensive and most likely overkill for my needs.

My usual problem is being too hot, so in winter I turn off the radiator in the bedroom and have slept under a regular bedspread + sheet... only occasionally breaking out another blanket. (Average low winter temperatures here are in the mid 40s F (– around 7 C)... it sometimes but very rarely will get to freezing. Our house is not cold or drafty.)

Would a 4.5 tog be way too light? I know it's supposed to be "summer weight" but who knows what that means, given that summer low temperatures elsewhere may be as cold as most of winter is here. But I thought if it wasn't warm enough, I could buy one more and put together my own all-season combo of two 4.5 tog duvets. The price would probably still be less than an off the shelf all-season combo. But maybe there's something I don't know about how that works?

I also don't know about material. I'm eyeing this right now. I'm worried about feather/down because of clumping and I need to be able to wash in my machine and line dry (no dryer). I was looking at one microfibre option, but it recommended professional cleaning.

Obviously, I've never used a duvet before and don't know what I'm doing. Anything else I'm missing?
posted by taz to Shopping (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Of course in the US they don't generally label duvet fillers with their tog rating, but a summer-weight filling is warm enough for me at 40F. I really think this is something you'll have to experiment with - putting two duvets in the same lining seems like a good solution to me.

We only wash the filling maybe once a year (that's one of the benefits of a duvet - you can wash the lining more often than the filling) so having to dry clean it once a year isn't a big deal for us (I'm slightly allergic to down so we go with 'microfiber')..
posted by muddgirl at 5:34 AM on September 30, 2012

In my experience, down breathes much more than other fills. I tend to overheat a lot at night, and I much prefer a light down comforter, even on only slightly cool summer nights, to anything else.

I have used comforters specifically labeled "Down Alternative," and they're a close second choice, but I do find them warmer than real down.
posted by jaguar at 6:09 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Similar winter temps here, although once I get cold in Jan/Feb, I stay cold. I use a 7-9 tog duvet with synthetic fiber fill, mostly due to humidity/ washability. The dry cleaner wants $75 here to clean a down-filled queen duvet.

I will occasionally throw an additional cotton quilt over my feet, because they are like ice.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 6:19 AM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: The combo duvets you can buy have some kind of fastening (like poppers) to hold them together at the corners, otherwise it's very difficult to put cases on and get everything lined up. I have done this with two duvets without fasteners, but I ended up sewing them together all the way round to keep the corners where they should be.

If you get a duvet that's too warm, you can always stick a leg out, but if it's too cold you'll have to get up to add more.

I very much prefer synthetic fill, but I don't like the dust and feathers that you get otherwise.
posted by kadia_a at 6:41 AM on September 30, 2012

Put a heated mattress pad on your bed (under your fitted sheet) during the winter. You can turn it on if you get too cold, but you mostly won't need it, and you can just ignore it the rest of the time. (I have a comforter that's probably supposed to be used with a full blanket set or some such silliness, but I don't like having more than one loose thing on my bed.)
posted by anaelith at 8:34 AM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: I'd buy a summerweight one.

If you get too cold, you can always add another blanket.

At your temperatures it sounds like it doesn't ever get terribly cold, and that you have plenty of other options for warming up. For example you say that you tend to get hot in the night and turn off the radiator -- couldn't you just turn it back on if you got cold?
posted by Sara C. at 8:38 AM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: We use a 4.5 tog feather/down duvet all year round and have similar (if not slightly colder) winters here. On an exceptionally cold night, I'll break out another blanket to put over the duvet in its cover and find that perfectly adequate. In summer, I generally bunch the duvet up into the middle of the bed and just use it to crawl under if I get cold.

In terms of the filling not "clumping", the duvet is fashioned such that it has little pockets sewn into it to keep the filling in place which works pretty well.
posted by car01 at 8:58 AM on September 30, 2012

Response by poster: I just keep the bedroom radiator off all the time, Sara C. ... turning it on involves a couple of different valves, and would probably upset the rest of the radiator system by introducing hiccups of air into the flow. (We usually bleed all the ones that we use once it gets cold enough to turn them on.) However, I have an easypeasey split system AC/heater with remote control in the bedroom, so I don't even need to leave the bed to use that if it gets too hot/cold. (Though electric, so $$)

I didn't realize about the fasteners for the two duvets in the all-season versions. Probably my idea of just "adding" a second one is not too bright, since I'm no so skilled at the sewing arts. It's probably best to get the lightweight one, and if there are actually enough cold days that it becomes a problem, just get another 10.5 tog or whatever next season and have the light one for late fall / early winter /early spring and the heavier one for the coldest days. I can't imagine ever, ever needing a 15 given my usually warm state, and the mild climate here, so the All Season combo is probably a waste of money since I don't see using a 4.5 and a 10.5 together, and they are less expensive bought separately.
posted by taz at 9:19 AM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: I bought a 4.5+9.5 tog one in Dublin and there were times in the last winter or two I was there when it wasn't enough. Then I brought it to Doha where a sheet is often too much in summer. A Doha winter is possibly slightly colder than a Greek summer but not much (and having been in Athens in August, I have some idea what the Greek summer is like--not too different from here except less dusty).

I've given the 9 tog part to my daughter in England. Which is to say, as long as you have a blanket handy in case of extreme cold, I can't see you ever needing more than a 4.5.
posted by Logophiliac at 9:21 AM on September 30, 2012

Disclaimer: I grew up in Michigan, where cold is serious. I love covers.

The heavier down covers make me sleep better. They are easy to push aside and easy to slide under. The parts under are guaranteed warm.

With the light weight cover, when it is chilly (deliberately subjective term), it's harder to tuck it around you tight. The heavy cover is effortless warmth (and utterly useless over 59F/15C outdoor temp).

I just switched back to winter covers.
posted by Goofyy at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the info, everyone. Based on reassurances here, I did buy the 4.5 tog that I linked, and it has arrived and I'm using it, and I can say that it's lovely at this point in the season (warm days, cool nights, but I'm still using the fan at night to make it even cooler) and is not too hot for me.

I was attracted to the "light" aspect of it since a heavy thing seemed something that would bug me and make me feel hot no matter what, and this one really is rather wonderfully cloudlike and feels just perfect... at least for now. I'll update once the weather actually gets a bit cold, but it feels much, much better to me than a blanket or bedspread (or even just a sheet, for some reason), and even if I do end up having to get a higher tog for our brief actual-winter, I won't mind now (though it would be an unwelcome challenge for my poor overtaxed minimal closet space, so I'm pulling for this one to be The One).

Thanks again!
posted by taz at 9:49 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Three months later, definitely into the chilly season, such as it is (we actually got some snow a couple of days ago, though!), and the "summer tog" perfect. I'm very glad I didn't get a higher tog or an all-season 2-for-higher price. In fact, yesterday our heater went out for around 20 hours, and the whole house was without heat, not just the bedroom – and I was blissfully warm (but not hot!) and snug under the comforter overnight. And it does feel like a super-light, soft, cozy cloud*.

I'm definitely too spoiled for heavy bedding now, and even though I spent my whole life with a top sheet and then blanket, bedspread or whatever, not having even that light extra layer of sheet is sweet. I do a whole lot less tossing, twisting, turning and jerking bedclothes around now (but also because I got a very nice, soft cotton duvet cover that was quite a bit more expensive than the duvet itself – which is how it goes, it seems – and high quality cotton bottom sheet and set of pillow cases, finally, and have to say that it makes a big, big difference for this "hot sleeper").

* Even my husband, who is a stubborn heavy-quilt guy, admits that it feels pretty heavenly.
posted by taz at 11:12 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

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