Unless you want to be shivering all the time, or even worse, having to deal with all the issues caused by frostbite, you should invest in a cozy winter jacket before winter starts. It is generally accepted that down jackets are by far the warmest, most comfortable jackets out there, which is precisely where you should begin your search.
These jackets aren’t just warm and comfortable but they’re also lightweight, at least when compared to heavy fabric-based jackets or any winter coat that comprises fur or leather. After taking into consideration everything the market has to offer, we put together a list of the ten best down jackets money can buy for you to look at.
Best Down Jackets – Reviews
9Montane Hardwear Micro Jacket
Mountain Hardwear offers a super packable and lightweight option that comprises immense technological provisions and engineering in its build. It features a micro baffle construct that is slightly lighter than full baffle but still provides better performance compared to through quilted sewn stitch. Additionally, it is breathable and waterproof. With the durable and lightweight PERTEX Quantum material with DWR coating, it effectively shields rain from penetrating in. Nonetheless, its underlying HyperDRY ECO fluorocarbon-free down material further fortifies the waterproof aspect.
8Columbia Diamond-890 (TurboDown) Jacket
Columbia Diamond 890 is a lightweight yet super warm jacket for winter conditions. It features a thermal-reflective material both on its inner lining as well as the interior of its outer shell. With this double-up heat reflection, it minimizes heat loss while exuding double its thermo-reflective power. Likewise, although it compromises on breathability, its water-resistant 850FP goose down complemented by Omni-Heat insulation ensures that it remains warm and dries faster when wet.
7Wantdo Men’s Hooded Packable Down Jacket
Wantdo Men’s Hooded Packable Down Jacket waterproof AquaGuard zips plus Pertex DWR 20D material which render it weatherproof without compromising its breathability. This jacket has a box-wall build on its torso as well as a hood that safeguards against any cold spots not to mention maintaining the down uniformly spaced. Not only that but it also has sewn-through sleeves and Velcro adjustments to act as a barrier for snow and wind. Made using European 800P (10oz) Goose down, you will enjoy superior warmth and loftiness without having to compromise on weight.
If you want unmatched warmth and comfort, go for the Patagonia Hi-Loft jacket. Warmer than a typical down sweater, this is an easily packable jacket even if it is not super lightweight. It features a sturdy polyester ripstop recycled shell comprising DWR coating that blocks out wind and harsh weather while resisting rips and abrasions. At the same time, its drop tail hem and shape establish a long fit which is fortunately adjustable to retain warmth.
5Mountain Hardwear Men’s Micro Ratio Down Jacket
Made of Hydrophobic Down (700FP) that allows it to repel water for about 16 hours, Mountain Hardwear Men’s Micro Ratio Down Jacket is your ideal choice for winter use. Its characteristic Down is RDS certified and PCF free. What’s more, the jacket features PERTEX Quantum(CS10) face material that is windproof, breathable and breathable and Micro baffles which down its underarms and sides to boost body-mapping performance while maintaining an exclusively low profile. Its wire-stiffened peaks and effortlessly adjustable hood allow it to fit over standard helmets, while all its toggles and zippers can subsequently be operated even with gloves on.
4Arc’teryx Thorium SV
Look elegant while staying warm with the Arc’teryx down jacket. It is made using a durable face fabric reinforced with a blend of Coreloft synthetic insulation and 750 down to give it an appealing look while giving its warm characteristic. It also features an improved box-wall build that offers it excellent loft even after packing, a soft outer material with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish not to mention being abrasion resistant. Furthermore, its elegant yet straightforward exterior design cleverly conceals its inner placed composite quick down mapping with ideally positioned synthetic insulation for enhanced comfort.
3Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer jacket is a compact and super lightweight jacket packed with handy features and remarkable warmth. At just 7.5 ounces and with the ability to pack into its exclusive stuff sack, it is an ideal option for backpacking. It features a quilted through low profile design that offers it fantastic freedom of movement especially when moving not to mention the narrow tubes that establish channels for this down to trap warm air efficiently. This jacket also comprises super soft cuff (elasticized) that keep out rain and wind while its interior toggle adjustment facilitates the tightening of its hem using a single hand. While its layer is not fully waterproof, its fill (Q.Shiled DOWN 800) is not only moisture resistant but an excellent warmth retainer even when wet.
2Arc’teryx Cerium SV
This Cerium SV Arc’teryx jacket is a light down jacket that incorporates a high fill power down to guarantee warm and efficiency. This accessory comes with a DWR finish that helps it repel moisture and ideally positioned synthetic insulation that retains warmth even when wet. What’s more, it athletic fit allows simple packing besides offering balanced warmth to weight ratio. While the elasticized hood and cuffs render it compromisingly adjustable, it is, however, a highly functioning mid-layer jacket for both dry and cold weather.
1Canada Goose Hybridge Lite
Canada Goose Hybridge Lite is a mid-layer super lightweight down jacket which is expertly designed to ensure you remain warm at all times. While it is the costliest, it, however, boasts the most exceptional quality of material inclusive of sturdy fabric (1O D). It comes with an attractive design that includes thumb loops, tech panels plus double chest pockets and what’s more since it is shy of significant down amounts, this jacket is both quite breathable and easily packable. Last but not least, its Tensile-Tech inserts facilitate maximum mobility as well as allowing you to stretch/climb up without it racking up.
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What To Look For When Buying A Down Jacket
We call a ‘down jacket’ any jacket that uses feathers or any synthetic equivalent to provide insulation in cold weather. What makes feathers so good at doing so is their outer quills layer which not only increases buoyancy but also provides warmth by keeping body heat from passing through the clothes. Feathers have been used to make clothes and bedding for centuries and understandably so. What we’re going to be focusing on over the next few minutes, is what to look for when shopping for a down jacket, whether it contains feathers or not. So without further ado, here is what to look for when buying one.
Traditional or synthetic?
The first thing to consider when buying a down jacket is whether you want a standard down jacket comprising of actual feathers or a synthetic jacket that uses synthetic fibers. Keep in mind that synthetic down jackets are engineered to provide the same insulation as a traditional down jacket, with the added benefit of being somewhat lighter in weight. Although some believe them to be inferior in terms of general comfort, we should point out that they’re usually more affordable and easy to care for.
The main advantage synthetic fibers have over natural materials is the increased insulation in all weather conditions. We say this because traditional feather-based down jackets tend to become much heavier when wet, which adds the stress of always having to worry about spending too much time outdoors when it’s snowing or raining. Speaking of wetness, synthetic jackets will also dry off quicker than traditional jackets which tend to clump up when they get wet.
Nowadays, you get roughly the same standard of comfort thanks to revolutionary materials like Pertex or similar fibers that are 100% synthetic. With the main argument being that traditional down jackets are more comfortable, there is virtually no reason why you should prefer one over the other at this point in time if comfort is all you’re interested in. What’s great about these modern synthetic fibers is their capacity to fend off humidity in light showers or snowy conditions.
Types of Down Jackets
Sewn Through Jackets – It is common for most down jackets to comprise feathers that have been sewn through in tubes or quilts, meaning that the outer material is usually stitched to the inner lining. This allows the feathers to be separated into lines for a more defined insulation. Although cheaper, it is quite effective when it comes to retaining the overall structure of the jacket over long periods of time, even if you’re wearing it on a daily basis. That said, you should expect the cheaper models to suffer from so-called ‘cold spots’ after a while, in areas where the feathers get loose from the lining.
Box-baffled Down Jackets – These particular jackets tend to be of a much higher quality in terms of sewing, which indirectly means that they comprise of much more fabric. More fabric means more weight, which is the main downside of these otherwise spectacular jackets. In terms of their construction, these jackets are made with box baffles that have extra pieces of fabric sewn into them in a way that joins them to the outer and inner material of the jackets. Due to this extra material, these jackets will not develop any ‘cold spots’ over time, although like we said, they tend to be slightly heavier.
When we talk about a down jacket’s insulation we mainly point out ‘Fill Power’ as a good metric of determining the standard of insulation they provide. When we say ‘fill power’, we refer to the space that 1oz of down will fill in cubic inches at its maximum loft. This means that 1oz of 600 fill power down will occupy 600 cubic inches, with the same equivalent for higher numbers. We should also point out that a higher fill power means a much larger down cluster, thus a much higher quality when it comes to insulation.
Reasons For Getting A Down Jacket
Weight – The main reason for getting a dawn jacket instead of any other type of winter jacket is the weight. Like we said, down jackets tend to be much lighter in weight, thus easier to care for. Not only that but these jackets are also unlikely to gain weight when they get wet, not as much as fur coats tend to anyway. In terms of weight, they are perhaps the lightest winter jackets out there.
Comfort – The sheer comfort down jackets provide is unmatched, at least not when you consider how affordable they are. Some would say that if kind of feels like surrounding yourself with a warm breeze every time you put one on. Thanks to their lightweight construction, these jackets also accommodate underclothing much better than other winter jackets, which is bound to make the whole experience even more comfortable.
Warmth – No amount of comfort can make up for a winter jacket that doesn’t keep you warm in cold weather. In this regard, let us point out that down jackets are exquisitely warm, even when compared to high-end, expensive winter coats. For instance, high-quality goose down is generally considered the best insulation material out there as far as filling goes, even when you’re dealing with sub-zero temperatures.
Compression – Due to the way they’re built, most of these jackets can be folded down to a very small size if needed. This makes carrying them around much easier, not to mention the space they save you when dealing with lots of luggage. It is also why these are the preferred choice for anyone who enjoys backpacking or going on long camping trips.