Evaluate: The 10 Greatest Down Jackets of 2019

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By Michael Lanza

No matter you want an insulated jacket for, there’s a down or artificial puffy on your wants, inside your price range. And expertise has blurred the normal traces between down and synthetics, with water resistant down that traps warmth even when moist—all however eliminating the weak point that had lengthy been the Achilles heel of down—and artificial insulation supplies that strategy the warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility of down.

Whether or not you desire a puffy jacket for out of doors actions like backpacking, tenting, and climbing, or simply to maintain you heat round city or at out of doors sporting occasions, this text will assist you determine how to decide on the precise jacket on your wants, and it opinions the very best down and artificial puffy jackets in the marketplace right now.

Should you’d desire, scroll previous my shopping for tricks to dive instantly into the jacket opinions.

How you can Select a Artificial or Down Jacket

Insulated jackets right now differ not solely in sort and quantity of insulation, but in addition in water resistance, breathability, and as all the time, design options just like the hood and pockets. When selecting between down and artificial fashions, take into account the standard circumstances and temperatures by which you’ll use it—in different phrases, how moist and chilly you count on to get, and your physique sort (how simply you get chilly)—in addition to the seasonal and exercise versatility you require. Would you like one jacket for 4 seasons? Does it must be breathable since you’ll put on it whereas on the transfer at occasions, or will you solely put on it when comparatively inactive in camp?

And maybe the most-important query: How heat an insulated jacket do you want for the way you’ll use it?

 

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Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody
Testing the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody within the Grand Canyon.

Some efficiency elements of puffy jackets it’s best to perceive embody:

• Customary down feathers lose their potential to lure warmth as soon as moist, rendering down much less sensible in moist environments.
• Nevertheless, right now, some jackets are made with water resistant, or hydrophobic down feathers that drastically enhance their potential to repel water, proceed to lure warmth when damp, and dry quicker. And even these jackets that include customary down usually have a water resistant shell cloth that repels mild precipitation (however isn’t designed to resist a gradual rain).
• The down fill-power ranking is a measure of the amount, in cubic inches, that one ounce of that down fills; in different phrases, an oz. of 800-fill energy down will occupy 800 cubic inches of quantity. Down feathers are separated throughout processing in accordance with this measure.
• Increased fill-power scores translate to extra heat per ounce of down, so if two jackets include an identical quantities of down by weight, the jacket with the upper fill-power ranking will in all probability be hotter and extra compressible (and dearer). That mentioned, after all, an ultralight 800-fill energy jacket will not be as heat as a 700-fill energy jacket that incorporates extra down.
• Equally, whereas artificial insulation historically was not as light-weight, compressible, and sturdy as down, the very best trendy synthetics—together with these reviewed beneath—have a warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility that comes near competing with down.
• Some trendy artificial insulations are additionally constructed in a method that makes them extra sturdy, though, for essentially the most half, down retains the sting there.


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Insulated jackets are normally sewn in considered one of two methods:

• So-called “sewn via” development stitches the outer, shell cloth to the internal, liner cloth, creating pockets of down, but in addition potential chilly spots at seams the place there’s successfully no insulation. This technique reduces a jacket’s weight and sometimes its price, and is sensible in ultralight jackets for reasonable temperatures (assume summer time within the mountains).
• The more-expensive technique of making so-called field baffles eliminates chilly spots and makes a jacket look puffier, however provides weight and normally price.

The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody in Wyoming's Wind River Range.
Testing the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody in Wyoming’s Wind River Vary.

How Heat a Jacket Do You Want?

As I write in my weblog put up “Ask Me: How Can You Inform How Heat a Down Jacket Is?”, an insulated jacket’s whole weight presents a tough concept of how heat it’s. However that’s definitely not exact. Heat (and weight) will fluctuate with elements like sort, high quality, and quantity of insulation, the jacket’s development, and whether or not it has a hood.

Nonetheless, with down and artificial jackets, I take a look at the garment’s whole weight as a normal guideline to its heat. Though I encounter exceptions to the next weight classes, they supply a place to begin. These tips and temperature ranges additionally apply to my physique’s metabolism (my tolerance for chilly might be slightly larger than common), they usually presume I’m sporting one or two layers beneath the puffy which are acceptable to the season and temperatures.

Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody.
Outside Analysis Ascendant Hoody.

• Once I’m going ultralight on summer time backcountry journeys, and I count on temps no decrease than the higher 30s to 40s Fahrenheit, I deliver a down or puffy jacket weighing seven to 11 ounces, and I complement with my different layers or get in my sleeping bag when mandatory.
• For journeys when the temp may dip beneath freezing, I desire a jacket that’s 12 to 16 ounces.
• For colder journeys and in winter within the backcountry, my insulated jacket weighs roughly 18 to 22 ounces.

Having a hood definitely retains you hotter and is definitely worth the extra weight and value. You must take into account whether or not different layers in your clothes system have already got a hood, and make it possible for any two hoods you’re sporting collectively pair up nicely.

I normally take into account a hood necessary in temperatures close to and beneath freezing, however much less essential on milder journeys, after I’ll pack a hoodless, ultralight puffy jacket to scale back pack weight and since I’m bringing a hat, anyway. Nevertheless, I additionally take into account the actions for which I’ll use the jacket; for high-speed actions in chilly temps, I normally put on a lighter, hoodless insulated jacket.

Which is Higher, Down or Artificial?

In my expertise, in the event you evaluate a down and artificial insulated jacket of the identical weight and fundamental design—for instance, assuming each have a hood—I nonetheless discover that down feathers have the sting in pure heat. I feel that evaluation bears out within the merchandise listed beneath.

To simplify your alternative between down and artificial insulation, consider it this fashion: If you would like a puffy jacket primarily for heat if you’re inactive (say, in camp), and count on largely dry circumstances or to put on a rain shell over the puffy when wanted, get a down jacket. Get water resistant down if it might sometimes need to endure a light-weight bathe. However in the event you count on to usually put on it in moist circumstances, get an artificial puffy. If you’ll put on it whereas energetic in moist circumstances, get an artificial puffy with breathable insulation.

I’ve ranked the next down and artificial puffy jackets roughly so as from lightest to warmest in every of those two classes. Please share what you consider my evaluate or any of the jackets coated right here within the feedback part on the backside of this story.

 

You don’t need to be chilly at night time. See my “10 Professional Suggestions For Staying Heat in a Sleeping Bag.”

 

The Greatest Down Jackets

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
$325, 7 oz. (males’s medium)
Sizes: males’s S-XXL, girls’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

When my objective is minimizing pack weight on summer time journeys with cool however not freezing nights, I deliver this wispy jacket. The 800-fill, water resistant, Q.Protect down delivers beaucoup heat for such a svelte jacket, and quilted development prevents the feathers from shifting round. The design is straightforward: A excessive collar seals out chilly air and wind, and a drawcord hem retains out drafts from beneath. When stuffed into one of many two roomy, zippered hand pockets, the jacket packs right down to the dimensions of a liter bottle—and lofts up virtually immediately even after a pair days stuffed. The very mild, seven-denier by 10-denier ripstop nylon shell hasn’t leaked feathers, however be light with it.

Learn my full evaluate of the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket at moosejaw.com or rei.com.

 

Need an reasonably priced, high quality down jacket? Get the lads’s or girls’s Sierra Designs Sierra DriDown Jacket, or the lads’s or girls’s REI 650 Down Jacket. (Learn my evaluate.)

 

Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket.
Feathered Mates Eos Down Jacket.

Feathered Mates Eos Down Jacket
$309, 11 oz. (males’s medium)
Sizes: males’s S-XXL, girls’s XS-XL
featheredfriends.com

At windblown mountain passes in Glacier Nationwide Park and funky evenings and mornings in camp from Glacier to Idaho’s Sawtooths, the Eos proved itself among the finest puffy jackets in the marketplace—and an unimaginable worth. Full of 900+-fill goose down, the Eos saved me fully heat over only a long-sleeve high within the excessive 30s Fahrenheit and powerful wind—spectacular for an 11-ounce puffy. Its warmth-to-weight ratio is nearly as good as any I’ve seen. The well-fitted, elasticized hood stays put in your head even when the jacket’s entrance zipper is midway down, and the waterproof, Pertex Quantum shell with a DWR (sturdy, water resistant therapy) sheds mild rain.

Learn my full evaluate of the Feathered Mates Eos Down Jacket.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking both of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s Feathered Mates Eos Down Jacket at featheredfriends.com, or a girls’s Feathered Mates Eos Down Jacket at featheredfriends.com.

For a super-warm, winter-worthy down jacket with minimal weight and bulk—additionally splendid for individuals who get chilly simply taking three-season journeys in temps close to or beneath freezing—try the Feathered Mates Helios Hooded Jacket ($389, 17 oz.), at featheredfriends.com. Look ahead to my upcoming full evaluate of it.

 

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Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody.
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody.

Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
$379, 11 oz. (males’s medium)
Sizes: males’s XS-XXL, girls’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

Pulling on this hybrid down-synthetic jacket in a windblown campsite at round 10,500 toes in Wyoming’s Wind River Vary, I immediately felt heat infuse my torso and arms. Matched solely by the Feathered Mates Eos in heat for its weight, the Cerium provides one other dimension of efficiency: It marries the stratospheric warmth-per-ounce of 850-fill energy down within the hood, sleeves, and torso, with light-weight, breathable, and compressible Coreloft artificial insulation in areas just like the shoulders and armpits, to maintain it trapping warmth even when moist. An in depth-fitting, under-the-helmet, adjustable hood amps up the heat. It has two zippered hand pockets, and the shell’s DWR (sturdy, water resistant therapy) fends off mild precipitation.

Learn my full evaluate of the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody at moosejaw.com, ems.com, or rei.com.

 

Planning your subsequent massive journey? See “America’s Prime 10 Greatest Backpacking Journeys”
and “The 20 Greatest Nationwide Park Dayhikes.”

 

Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket.
Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket. The hood is on the shell beneath.

Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket
$250, 1 lb. 2 oz.
Sizes: males’s S-XXL, girls’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

From backcountry snowboarding in a below-zero wind chill to resort snowboarding in sunshine with temperatures within the teenagers Fahrenheit, this puffy jacket stood out for 3 causes. Most significantly, it saved me heat alone or underneath a shell. Second, it was noticeably extra snug than some puffy jackets, as a result of each the material and the down-filled chambers stretch. And third, after getting moist from sweat (inside) or falling snow (exterior), it nonetheless saved me heat. Credit score goes to Hardwear’s 750-fill Q.Protect waterproof down, which repels moisture and retains loft when moist; and the distinctive, stretch-welded channel development, which strikes with you and traps warmth extra effectively than jackets with customary stitching. It additionally has 5 pockets, an adjustable hem, and extra size than some rivals. It is available in hooded males’s and girls’s variations, too.

Learn my full evaluate of the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket or StretchDown Hooded Jacket at moosejaw.com, ems.com, or rei.com.

 

Plan your subsequent nice backpacking journey in Yosemite, Grand Teton, or different parks utilizing my skilled e-guides.

 

Marmot Boy's Guides Down Hoody
Marmot Boy’s Guides Down Hoody.

Marmot Guides Down Hoody
$250, 1 lb. 7 oz.
Sizes: males’s S-XXL, girls’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

Marmot Boy’s and Woman’s Guides Down Hoody
$140, 1 lb. 6 oz.
Sizes: boys XS-XXL, women XS-XL
moosejaw.com

The lads’s and girls’s Guides Down Hoody is a basic super-fat puffy for winter—assume: belay ledges mountain climbing, a winter campsite, or driving a snowmobile. And with the Boy’s and Woman’s Guides Down Hoody, Marmot created a puffy for youths of all sizes that mirrors the standard of its grownup mannequin—at a great value. Within the grownup and kids’s fashions, 700-fill energy down balances price with holding the jacket pretty packable and heat for its weight. Marmot’s Down Defender expertise makes the down waterproof, and the jacket’s shell has a DWR (sturdy, water-repellant) therapy. They’ve an adjustable, generously insulated hood, a entrance zipper draft tube, elasticized cuffs, good sleeve size for reaching, two zippered entrance pockets that saved my son’s arms heat in freezing temps at our 12,000-foot camp beneath the East Face of Mount Whitney, and the size extends beneath the waist.

Learn my full evaluate of the Marmot Boy’s and Woman’s Guides Down Hoody.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s, or boy’s or lady’s Marmot Guides Down Hoody at moosejaw.com, ems.com, or rei.com.

 

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The Greatest Artificial Jackets

The Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody in the Grand Canyon.
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody.

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody
$299, 9 oz.
Sizes: males’s XS-XXL, girls’s XXS-XL
rei.com

The Micro Puff Hoody delivers extra heat than you count on, on condition that it weighs barely greater than a half-pound. Patagonia’s proprietary, water resistant PlumaFill insulation matches the warmth-to-weight ratio of high-quality down (850- to 900-fill energy), whereas delivering the first advantage of artificial insulation—trapping warmth when moist. That’s as a result of it’s constructed as a steady strand, which, mixed with the jacket’s discontinuous quilting design, creates inner areas that lure warmth—imitating how down delivers a lot heat. The non-adjustable, elasticized hood clings snugly round your face and suits underneath a helmet, giving the jacket a critical heat increase. Select this puffy for three-season backpacking and tenting, not deep chilly.

Learn my full evaluate of the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody at rei.com or patagonia.com.

 

Keep dry, blissful, and protected. See my evaluate of “The 5 Greatest Rain Jackets for Mountain climbing and Backpacking”
and my “5 Professional Suggestions For Shopping for the Proper Rain Jacket for the Backcountry.”

 

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket
The North Face ThermoBall Jacket

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket
$199, 12 oz.
Sizes: males’s and girls’s XS-XXL
moosejaw.com

Designed by PrimaLoft and The North Face, ThermoBall insulation has small, spherical fiber clusters—not like typical continuous-filament artificial insulation— that lends it the heat and compressibility of 600-fill energy down feathers, whereas retaining the flexibility of artificial materials to proceed trapping warmth when moist. A great worth, the unique ThermoBall Jacket packs into considered one of its two zippered hand pockets and performs as an outer layer for three-season backpacking or tenting or a center layer in sub-freezing temps. TNF has produced variants of this jacket, together with the ThermoBall Lively Jacket, which removes the insulation from the sleeves to make the jacket higher for on-the-go actions in chilly temps.

Learn my evaluate of The North Face ThermoBall Lively Jacket.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s The North Face ThermoBall Jacket at moosejaw.com, ems.com, or rei.com.

 

What touches your pores and skin issues, too. See my picks for the very best base layers for any season.

 

Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody.
Outside Analysis Ascendant Hoody.

Outside Analysis Ascendant Hoody
$215, 12 oz.
Sizes: males’s S-XXL, girls’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

Make insulation mild, breathable, and water resistant, and you’ve got a jacket that comes out of the closet in all seasons and stays in your again in extensively various circumstances. Polartec’s latest era of breathable insulation, Alpha Direct, consists of low-density fibers packed between air-permeable woven cloth layers, that permit moisture to move via the Ascendant Hoody. Very compressible, the jacket stuffs into considered one of its two zippered hand pockets, and has a close-fitting, helmet-compatible hood and thumbholes within the cuffs. And it’s impressively heat for 12 ounces. Whereas most helpful from fall via spring, this can be a legit four-season insulation layer for backpacking, climbing, backcountry snowboarding, mountaineering, bike commuting, or throwing on after you end a path run.

Learn my full evaluate of the Outside Analysis Ascendant Hoody.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s Outside Analysis Ascendant Hoody at moosejaw.com, ems.com, outdoorresearch.com, or rei.com.

 

Received an all-time favourite campsite? See “Tent Flap With a View: 25 Favourite Backcountry Campsites.”

 

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody
Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody.

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody
$249, 13 oz.
Sizes: males’s XS-XXL, girls’s XXS-XL
moosejaw.com

On backpacking journeys from Idaho’s Sawtooths to the North Cascades, this packable, hooded puffy saved me heat right down to round 40° F. Made with 55 p.c recycled polyester, the PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco consists of fibers a fraction of the diameter of a human hair that create tiny air pockets to lure warmth. Softer and extra compressible than thicker-diameter artificial fibers, PrimaLoft Gold has a warmth-per-ounce ratio much like down. These water resistant fibers additionally keep their air pockets when moist: PrimaLoft claims that Gold Eco maintains 98 p.c of its dry thermal effectivity when moist. The jacket zips into its inside chest pocket, and its shell cloth has a DWR (sturdy, water resistant therapy) that repels mild precipitation.

Learn my full evaluate of the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody at moosejaw.com, rei.com, or patagonia.com.

 

Rating a preferred allow utilizing my “10 Suggestions For Getting a Exhausting-to-Get Nationwide Park Backcountry Allow.”

 

Outdoor Research Refuge Hooded Jacket.
Outside Analysis Refuge Hooded Jacket.

Outside Analysis Refuge Hooded Jacket
$199, 1 lb. 2 oz.
Sizes: males’s S-XXL, girls’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

If you would like an insulated jacket with versatility throughout actions—and exercise ranges—and in all seasons and climate, a jacket with breathable artificial insulation will normally outperform any feather-filled or artificial competitor. OR’s Refuge Hooded Jacket stands out for all of these causes, plus heat that rivals pricier down jackets. It ably crosses over from snow sports activities to backpacking, climbing, and different mountain actions in summer time, because of OR’s new, proprietary VerticalX artificial insulation, which has superior stretch, breathability, and heat for its weight that could be higher than every other artificial puffy, and that rivals many down puffy jackets of comparable weight. It additionally sports activities a totally adjustable hood, a trim, environment friendly match that also permits for layering, and an abundance of pockets.

Learn my full evaluate of the Outside Analysis Refuge Hooded Jacket.

BUY IT NOW You’ll be able to assist my work on this weblog by clicking any of those hyperlinks to buy a males’s or girls’s Outside Analysis Refuge Hooded Jacket at Moosejaw.com, ems.com, outdoorresearch.com, or rei.com.

 

Inform me what you assume.

I spent quite a lot of time scripting this story, so in the event you loved it, please take into account giving it a share utilizing one of many buttons at proper, and depart a remark or query on the backside of this story. I’d actually admire it.

 

See all of my opinions of insulated jackets and out of doors attire that I like at The Massive Outdoors.

Wish to make your pack lighter and all your backpacking journeys extra pleasurable? See my story “A Sensible Information to Light-weight and Ultralight Backpacking.” Should you don’t have a paid subscription to The Massive Outdoors, you’ll be able to learn a part of that story without cost, or click on right here to obtain that full story with out having a paid membership.

 

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