FAQs – Your Frequently Asked Questions About Criterion
This section of our website is dedicated to the ‘FAQs’ you may have about our brand and our policies. Whilst we have tried to make these frequently asked questions as relevant as possible. We welcome your input with any questions we may have missed out. Please use our contact us form if you have any additional questions. Use the buttons below to quickly scroll down to any relevant sections.
Are you based in the U.K.?
Yes, we are a U.K. owned company and our offices are in Altrincham, near Manchester. Our down products are made in Poland. This is because there is a history of manufacturing sleeping bags in Poland and of producing the best quality down. Pertex our fabric of choice is known as one of the best fabrics to use with down.
I have never heard about you? Are you a new company?
We were originally an independent outdoor retailer, which had been in existence since the late 1980’s. In the early 2000s, a decision was made to diversify and we started our sleeping bag brand which re-branded to our current Criterion name in 2014. In May 2023 the owner of the business died and for a period it looked like we would close. However, an employee take-over ensured the survival of the business.In total, we have over three decades of experience within the outdoor industry and are coming up on two decades of experience in manufacturing down sleeping bags and clothing. For further verification of our company please examine the independent comments made about our products can be found in the independent review section of our website.
Ethics and Environmental Policies
Is your down ethical?
The short answer to this question is yes. Our down comes from geese which have not been force-fed for foie gras or had any down taken whilst it was alive (including being live-plucked). Our down has either Downpass or RDS certification. For a more comprehensive answer please refer to our full ethical down policy.
Why do you only use down?
There are many debates over the advantages down has over synthetic fibres and vica versa. We only use down because it offers much better warmth to weight ratios than synthetic fibres, this means that we can offer products which are lighter and pack down smaller.
From an ethical point of view down is the by-product of meat product and would be thrown away if not used. Whereas synthetic fibres can be created from oil production, can contain microplastics and are not necessarily bio-degradable. Whereas it is true that there has been positive forward momentum in creating recyclable fibres. At this moment down is a much more effective insulator resulting in less of it being needed.
Do you use recycled down?
At this moment in time we do not use recycled down for a number of reasons.
- The quality of this down at present is not high enough for our products.
- We only use Polish goose down, recycled down is a mixture of goose and duck down as well and we cannot verify where it was originally from.
- Our manufacturing base is close to our down supplier, which in turn is close to the farms who supply them, we feel that we already use as minimal carbon footprint as possible.
- There are arguments that using recycled down reduces the carbon footprint of down collection. However, down is a by-product of the food industry, geese are farmed for meat and not down, even if 100% of down used was recycled, slaughtered birds would still have to be plucked and the down/feathers disposed of before use.
How do you try to protect the environment?
We are a very small company, however, we believe that we can help to protect our environment in our own small way and are always looking at ways to be environmentally aware without cynically trying to shout from the rooftops and ‘greenwash’ our marketing.
Our down products are made in the European Union (EU) and our fabric is made in Japan. Our manufacturing process is a bulk increasing one which means that as we put our raw materials together our products increase in size. This from an environmental viewpoint is best when as in our case the final product is close to its market to reduce transport pollution. Although our fabric comes from Asia it has a smaller footprint due than for example if we were to have our sleeping bags manufactured there and transported to the UK.
Where possible we reuse paper and packaging. We do not purchase plastic packaging but do reuse what we have received. Paper which can no longer be used is sent for re-cycling (confidential paper is shredded in accordance with U.K. data protection laws). We minimise printing, using draft modes when possible. On a smaller scale we only use air-conditioning in the office in extreme heat when natural drafts from windows will not suffice, lights are turned off in unoccupied rooms, and staff fill the kettle with the water needed when making all-important brews. We also use the web browser Ecosia for our web-searches which in turn helps to plant trees.
Why do you not sell directly?
Our company was created from within an independent outdoor retailer who felt that the market did not meet their customer needs. We know first hand how people enjoy talking to and asking advice from a person in a shop who is passionate about the outdoors and feel that this helps people buy with more confidence. We also feel that having the ability to touch, feel and try our products is another essential factor for many people. For these reasons, we will continue to support independent outdoor stores and the services they provide and therefore will not sell directly to individuals unless in special circumstances such as location or availability of stock.
Do you sell to groups
In special circumstances, we do sell bulk orders to groups but this is on a case by case basis please use our contact form for information.
Where can I buy Criterion from in the U.K.
You can find your closest stockist from our retailers page. You can also contact us and we will try and help you. If you live near to our office then we are happy to show you any of our products, although you will need to book an appointment in advance.
I live outside the U.K. where can I buy Criterion from?
As well as in the U.K we have stockists in other parts of the world, please contact us directly for information.
Do you provide a product warranty?
Additionally to the guarantee you have from the retailer you purchased your goods from. We provide a lifetime warranty on our goods for defects in manufacturing and materials. This warranty only covers the original owner and does not cover, misuse, wear and tear or modifications.
What happens if I have a problem with one of your products?
If you feel that you have a warranty issue we are happy at all times to speak to you and answer any questions about what is warranty related or not. However any action has to be through the retailer you purchased the product from this is for a number of reasons, mainly due to your contract being with them and also it allows the retailer to be aware of what is going on and enact their own policies. To help them and us providing the following information is useful when you purchased the product, the nature of the issue you have with our product and if possible images of the problem/issue. For more information please see the warranty section of our website.
The retailer I bought your product from has shut down, what can I do?
If the retailer has shut down then contact us directly with your issue. Please provide when and where you purchased the item from
Caring for your down product
Do you recommend using a sleeping bag liner?
We would advise that you use a sleeping bag liner, even if you are an ultralight adventurer. Sleeping bag liners have many benefits including slightly increasing the temperature of your sleeping bag. However, the main benefit is that it is much easier to wash a liner after use than a sleeping bag. A liner protects your sleeping bag by keeping it cleaner thereby prolonging the life of your sleeping bag and reducing the need to wash it. A liner is also much cheaper to replace.
How do I wash my down sleeping bag?
Many people are unsure how to wash and dry a down product, especially at home. You can wash your down sleeping bag in many ways, by hand, in the washer or professionally. We recommend reading and following our down care guide which explains how to clean your bag.
How often should I wash my sleeping bag?
Unfortunately, there is no hard or fast rule to the frequency of washing. It depends on lots of variables such as how often you use the bag, whether you use a liner, where you use the bag, how you look after the bag etc. You will know when it is time to wash the bag depending on its appearance and smell etc, you will also know whether a full wash is needed or a spot clean (ie a dab here or there with a damp sponge). The more you wash the bag the quicker you will wash the DWR coating away on the bag. If you notice your bag getting wet or water not beading off then you will need to apply a DWR treatment.
Using your Criterion down sleeping bag
Can your sleeping bags be zipped together?
With the exception of our post-2017 Expedition 900 and 1100 sleeping bags all of our bags can be zipped together with each other. In our Lady range of sleeping bags we use a shorter zip so there is some overlap when zipped into a unisex bag. Our bags can be zipped with bags from other manufacturers so long as they have a YKK 5 zip.
How do I get the best insulation when outdoors?
Giving your bag the longest time possible to fluff up is the best the way to ensure the best night’s sleep possible. As soon as you have camped and got your tent up or bivi out, put your sleeping bag on your sleeping mat, gently shake to un-clump the down and then leave it to loft naturally. We recommend leaving your bag to loft for a least an hour, having something to eat before sleeping and wearing dry clothes for optimum comfort.
On multiday adventures if possible put your sleeping bag over your tent to allow it to air and dry (from your perspiration). Do not do this in the rain or in high humidity.
How should I store my bag when outdoors
All of our sleeping bags are provided with a small stuff sack for use when in the outdoors, these keep your bag compact in your pack. But do not store them in this when at home as prolonged compression will affect the bags ability to loft. We also offer a range of Roll Top Dry Bags which can be used for storing you bag when outdoors, these are waterproof and give more flexibility to storage size than our stuff sacks.
How should I store my bag at home
Ideally it is best to store your bag flat or hung in a wardrobe as this will not compress the down. However, in most cases, this is not possible to space limitations. All Criterion sleeping bags come with a large mesh storage bag which can be used for home storage. We recommend that every few weeks you take your bag out of the sack and lay it on the floor/bed to air and de-clump as prolonged storage in a semi-compressed state can lead to clumping and a drop in performance.