Best Down Jackets
Being cold is never fun, and fun fact, it can even do some irreparable damage to your health. But why is it that ducks and geese seem to be A-OK floating around semi-frozen lakes without a care in the world? How is that possible? The credit goes to down – the small fluffy feathers found next to the skin of various waterfowl species. Mother Nature is ingenious, isn’t she? And for us humans, there are now all sorts of selections of down jackets that also maintain waterproofing abilities. Take a gander through our list of down jackets to help you choose an option that works best for all of your needs.
- Orolay Women's Thickened Down Jacket
- Marmot Guides Down Hoody
- Fjallraven Arktis Parka
- Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody
- Arc'teryx Thorium SV Hooded Down Jacket
- Triple F.A.T. Goose Chenega Mens Goose Down Jacket Parka
- Mountain Hardwear Nilas Jacket
- Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Women's Parka
- The North Face Arctic Parka
- Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Down Jackets
1. Orolay Women's Thickened Down Jacket
Breathability is ok but could be better, frontal zip can be used to regulate body temperature
This ladies down jacket has the puffy warmth appearance which is often a feature for down coats. The symmetrical features are balanced via pockets which are aligned and of a square dimension and fitted with zippers and further snap accents for more security.
This features real quality down, wearable as a travel jacket, casual in cold weather or for a good range of outdoor pastimes. thoughtful design has been put into this product to ensure performance, comfort blended with style.
Offered in a range of neutral colors blended with an eye-pleasing stylish jacketRead more
When a jacket features a blend of duck and gooses down you can be assured you are on to a winning combination for warmth, comfort, and protection. The exterior or shell is made from highly durable polyester at 100% quality, this enables the jacket to have a good level of protection against water and cold wind.
Though this product is long below the waist it is also surprisingly light and this is due to the use of down.
Featuring a full-length front zip which is protected by a wind flap, two front pockets so you can securely carry a phone or others useful items and two deep side pockets for keeping the hands warm and protected.
A synthetic fur feature around the hood gives added protection with style, the hood construction is thick and gives or retains good warmth.
This can be pulled to a tighter fit at the middle while being able to fan out over your hips and the coat/jacket drapes down to the thighs. The down quilting ends at the waist area which means that the part of the coat which drapes over the waist down to the thighs does not feel heavy and restrictive, flexibility for movement is very good.
For comfort at times when you might feel warmer, it is useful to use the full front zipper system as a temperature regulator, adjust the zip to allow body warm to escape and air to circulate.
Higher than average prices and a nice investment for ladies to give protection from the cold.
2. Marmot Guides Down Hoody
Great weather protection
Can feel bulky
The Marmot Guides Down Hoody provides you with one of the warmest jacket options available on the market today. While it isn’t very lightweight, it is made to do a great job of keeping you warm while you are out in the winter weather.Read more
Comfort & Warmth: Designed to be extremely warm, The Marmot Guides Down Hoody is packed with 700-fill down material, which provides you with a lot of insulation. Also, this jacket is very comfortable, with an interior that is soft to the touch.
Weather Protection: The exterior shell of this jacket is designed with a DWR coating to help repel water. Also, the hydrophobic down designed in the interior of this jacket is designed to be fast drying, and will also repel water.
Durability: The Marmot Guides Down Hoody is designed to be very durable, and features strong materials and a good design that makes this jacket long-lasting. So, for the money, you’ll get a lot of use out of this jacket.
Features: Made with fleece-lined hand pockets, you’ll get plenty of opportunity to organize your items and keep your hands warm. Also, you get a two-way zipper and a dual hood pull cord for easy adjustability.
3. Fjallraven Arktis Parka
Fjallraven is a brand from Sweden so you would expect them to know a little bit about keeping warm in the cold, and they do. Having a classic parka style of a long coat, it’s not what you want if you plan to go snowboarding or skiing, but if you want to relax and enjoy the beautiful outdoors in Arctic sub-zero temperatures you will be snug. But this parka is not for just lazying around in the snow, it is an adventure jacket.Read more
Comfort & Warmth: Although this coat is heavy compared to many down jackets, 450g of that weight is the down. Imagine how many feathers you need to weigh half a kilo. That a lot of down and therefore a lot of insulation. If you’re thinking of a trek to the south pole to see the penguins, then take a look at this parka.
Weather Protection: The jacket’s hood is fully adjustable with a removable synthetic fur trim that protects against snowstorms. A snow lock and a drawcord hem and adjustable sleeves. The material is a heavy-duty polyester/cotton mix and water and windproofed.
Durability: Fjallraven has long been known for creating products that are almost too durable – as if there were such a thing. This jacket is no different, showcasing the best of what the brand has to offer.
Features: You want pockets! It has many pockets; breast pockets so large they can hold a Thermos, smaller outside pockets perfect for your keys, multi-tool and a compass, and two large bellow pockets at the hem to keep your hands warm, and that’s just the outside. Inside you have two more large mesh stretch pockets and a zippered pocket for your cell phone.
4. Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody
Could be lighter
Outdoor Research’s Transcendent Hoody comes with an excellent design, and brings you a lot of durability and functionality packed into one jacket. It’s light and warm, and also is made to take plenty of abuse while you are in the great outdoors.Read more
Comfort & Warmth: Made with 650-fill power down insulation on the inside, the design of this jacket helps lock warmth in and keeps moisture out with its ventilation. Also, you get drawstrings in the hood that help keep your head warm throughout your day.
Weather Protection: The exterior shell of this jacket is made with 20 denier ripstop polyester, which makes this jacket wind resistant and water resistant. This jacket is not totally waterproof, but it does offer a decent amount of weather protection.
Durability: This jacket has performed very well when taking a lot of abuse outside, so no matter what sports you like to do in the winter, this jacket will keep you going strong. You’ll get several seasons of use out of this jacket.
Features: This jacket gives you some oversize zip pulls, and you can easily adjust layers without having to remove your gloves. You also get several large-sized pockets to help you stash your things.
5. Arc'teryx Thorium SV Hooded Down Jacket
Not as high down fill as other Arc'teryx products
If you are looking for a jacket that is super light, but incredibly warm, the Arc'teryx Thorium SV is a go-to option. The price-tag on this jacket is hefty; however, Arc'teryx delivers on quality and versatility with the Thorium.Read more
Comfort & Warmth: The Thorium is 100 per cent Arato 40 nylon, which stops coldness from entering. Along with this, the Thorium has a DWR coating to keep it water repellent. While it's fill is 750 premium European Goose Down, which isn't as high as other Arc'teryx jackets, it certainly won't leave you shivering in most frigid temperatures.
Protection: This jacket has a waterproof and durable shell.
Durability: The fabric is designed to be abrasion resistant, and should keep you going for a few years, no problem.
6. Triple F.A.T. Goose Chenega Mens Goose Down Jacket Parka
Decent price point for the quality
Sizing may vary
The Triple F.A.T jackets offer a fantastic price point in comparison with competing brands like Canada Goose. However, the quality, while some may argue is not the same as Canada Goose's more expensive versions, is pretty darn reliable, durable, and warm. Reviewers and testers alike all agree, this jacket is warm and comes with a much less heftier price-tag.Read more
Comfort & Warmth: Much to many people's surprise, the Triple F.A.T line has been a trusted go-to for warmth in subzero temperatures since 1987. Not only have they been engineered to withstand freezing temperatures, but the proof is in the pudding. They have been worn in places such as the Antarctica.
Weather Protection:This jacket is made with a premium nylon called taslan and has a Durable Water Repellent coating that is combined with Teflon. This combo offers supreme water protection. The water repellency of the Chenega is at 10,000 mm.
Durability: These jackets have been featured in major publications, such as The New York Times and Men's Health - this is for good reason. These jackets use premium materials and are built to last.
Features: This jacket has a real coyote fur rim around the hood, which provides optimal protection as coyote fur doesn't freeze or absorb water. The sides of this coat feature vents with mesh inserts, so that you can control the temperature of your core. There are holes in the cuffs of the sleeve, so that your hands are better kept warm without jacket slippage.
7. Mountain Hardwear Nilas Jacket
High quality down
The Nilas Jacket is a warm lightweight and windproof jacket. It was designed and used by the speed climber Ueli Steck. So, with Mr. Steck’s knowledge of what a mountain climber needs this jacket has some nice features.Read more
Comfort & Warmth: The wind resistant material really pays off here, as this is one extremely versatile and warm jacket. The 850-fill power down is as heavy duty as it gets, and it provides enough warmth for even the most insane conditions.
Weather Protection: The 850-fill power down has been treated with their Q. Shield in which they infuse a permanent water repellent to the down fibers enabling the down to maintain its loft and insulating properties even when wet. The main jacket fabric is wind and water resistant.
Durability: We found that Mountain Hardware knows their niche very well, and that means that their jackets cater strongly to hikers in need of something durable enough to make the long haul.
Features: The hood and hem drawcords have been designed to be used one-handed for quick adjustments, so if you need to adjust the hem draw cord whilst holding onto the rock face with one hand you can. The hood is insulated with down and has a low profile but cannot be removed. On the price side, it is a little more expensive that others, but the quality of the down used and the other nice features would make the money well spent.
8. Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Women's Parka
Wide range of sizes
Pockets could be deeper
For a lightweight jacket that will stand up to the elements and won't break the bank, the Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka is the way to go. It also comes in a wide range of sizing options, ensuring a good fit for every body type.Read more
Comfort and Warmth: Not too slim but not too relaxed in fit, the Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka is true to size and designed to fit comfortably over midweight layers. It has 650 fill premium down to keep you warm without being bulky, and the outer shell is primarily nylon with a proprietary DWR finish.
Weather Protection: This jacket is designed to withstand wind and rain, with a good amount of down and a nice DWR finish. Water beads on the surface of the shell, rather than soaking into the fabric and ruining your day.
Durability: The two-way adjustable zipper resists breaking or getting stuck, and the jacket itself is fairly strong against snags and tears. Caring for it is easy, too; just put it in the washing machine. No dry clean necessary!
Features: Metallic cross-dyeing adds a subtle, iridescent sheen to the jacket, making it stand out in a crowd. Pockets are fleece-lined with a zip closure for keeping your hands extra toasty. Available in a wide range of sizes: Petite, Regular, Tall, and Plus. This is definitely a jacket designed for a variety of body shapes.
9. The North Face Arctic Parka
Faux fur ruff
Wide range of colors
A leader in the industry, The North Face's Arctic Parka has features that make it very strong in cold conditions, and a stylish fit with faux fur accent.Read more
Comfort and Warmth: The North Face Arctic Parka II is a lightweight, knee-length jacket with 550 fill goose down, so it's got what it takes to stand up to the cold while offering ease of movement and a relaxed fit. The outer shell is made of a seam-sealed HyVent nylon fabric, allowing for breathability and waterproofing.
Weather Protection: Featuring a thermal 550 goose down and a water and windproof Nylon outer shell, this jacket can withstand even the sloppiest of weather.
Durability: The seam-sealed outer shell prevents down feathers from escaping, and the thick material resists snags and tears very well. This is one of the more durable lightweight jackets out there.
Features: The knee-length fit and faux fur in the hood provide additional warmth while adding a stylish and feminine appeal to the jacket. Five pockets throughout the jacket provide ample space to store essentials, without adding too much bulk.
10. Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket
The Rab Neutrino Endurance jacket is incredibly lightweight at just over half a kilo. The jacket is filled with 800 fill-power hydrophobic down, meaning it has the highest quality down available and the down has also been treated to repel water.Read more
Comfort & Warmth: Rab is no stranger to making clothing for cold conditions, and this is no exception. This jacket is comfortable and works very well as a layer. It also works perfectly on its own, thanks to the fantastic hood tech on display.
Weather Protection: The outer shell is water resistant, but in prolonged rain exposure you might get a bit wet. The jacket is designed to make movements easy in lightweight ascents.
Durability: The only area of concern here is the zipper hardware, which we found a few reviews noting was a bit finicky and fragile for some. Other than that, Rab’s time-tested materials hold up here, and this jacket should keep you moving for several years to come.
Features: The down filled helmet compatible hood can be rolled down for easy storage. This is a very good jacket, that not only serves the purpose of an adventure jacket but will also look good just running down to the shops to get a pint of milk on a cold winter morning.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
As mentioned earlier, down is the fluffy clusters of filament that form the undercoating of waterfowl. it is incredibly light, and yet, because of the 3-dimensional structure and its ability to “loft”, each filament traps more air for its weight than any synthetic material. On average, every ounce of quality down has around two million filaments that overlap and form a protective layer of air. This layer of air insulates the cold out but keeps the warmth in. Due to its structure, it is difficult for it to be compressed and flattened. Conveniently, if it does, you can just shake it like a pillow.
Fill power is a measurement of how fluffy the down is, it is not really related to its insulating value. But that said a higher fill power number the more air it traps and will provide more insulating ability when compared to the same weight of a lower fill power down. Down fill power is measured from 300 to 900. 400 to 450 is medium quality, 500 to 550 good quality, 550 to 750 very good and 750+ excellent quality. Almost all commercial down comes as a secondary product from geese reared for meat consumption. Most geese raised for meat consumption are around 4 months old, meaning the feather down is smaller and with a 400 to 500 fill power. The higher fill power down of 700+ comes from mature birds. These are usually birds which are kept for breeding purposes, these geese or duck will molt them down in the spring where it is collected. This makes it rarer and as such more expensive.
There are a lot of downs which have been treated with a durable water-repellent (DWR). And it helps the down repel water if you happen to be caught in a heavy downpour. If down gets wet, no damage is done to the down; however it will become heavier, and it will no longer e an effective insulator. By coating the down with a DWR the hope is that it will repel the water and this combined with a good level of waterproofing on the jackets materials has made down jackets more and more practical for outdoor and adventure uses.
Most down jackets have some kind of water-resistant material on the exterior shell of the jacket. Some jackets come with hydrophobic down, but most often, the down jackets also feature some type of water-resistant coating features over the shells.
One of the types of coatings you’ll find on many down jackets is a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating. DWR coatings are a treatment that goes over the exterior of the shell and helps to repel water off of the jacket before it can enter the fabric area or make it to the down. DWR also helps to make jackets water-resistant while still keeping them comfortable with a good ventilation system.
However, it’s important to note, that not all DWR treatments are created equally. Some manufacturers use better DWR treatments than others. Also, DWR coatings can break down and wear off over time, so you need to make sure you pay attention to the performance of your DWR coating as your jacket ages.
Some manufacturers also add extra water resistance to their jackets by treating their down with some kind of DWR coating in the actual insulation, making the down hydrophobic and able to repel water. However, it can still be difficult to tell even how strong the DWR coating is on the down insulation, so you need to pay attention to customer reviews to find out how well the jacket performs when you are out in the winter weather.
The main material of the jacket will have a major impact on the jacket’s water resistance, weight, and durability. There are some things to consider when choosing your coat. Are you going to get wet often? Do you really need the lightest jacket available?
The weight of the jacket includes zippers and buttons. The more zippable pockets the heavier the jacket. Is there a possibility that you may be brushing against a rock face or tree branches, if so are these going to rip the jacket. A hole in your down jacket and it will leak some down, not normally enough to affect your warmth, but worth considering.
Do you need a hood? If you don’t need a hood, then opting for a hoodless jacket will save you some money. But if you want a hood, consider if you will also be wearing a helmet. Some hoods are designed to go over a helmet, and some are designed to go under a helmet. Tailor your choice to fit your needs. For example, if you know that you will be in high winds, you will want a jacket that provides higher face coverage.
If you are going to be mountaineering at high altitude or chilling out on a glacier, you should be looking at an expedition jacket or parka type. They tend to be heavier and have more pockets and other features, and they are warmer and better suited for your adventures. Whereas if you are backpacking or skiing, a lighter jacket could be a better option. And it can be used as a mid-layer or an outer layer.
There is a lot to consider when making your jacket choice, but the best thing to do is to head to your nearest retailer and try them on or read other’s reviews.
Down jackets come with a bevy of features attached to them, depending on the style and brand. The products we’ve provided on our list all come from well-known manufacturers that all make high-quality products, so selecting what type of down jacket you really want to buy can sometimes come down to the features the jacket has.
Some jackets have zippers that are waterproof or easier to use. Also, some jackets include more pockets on them than others. Some jackets might have a longer hem or a shorter hem. You’ll find some jackets that have excellent drawcord hoods and great insulated pockets.
Depending on what you really need to get out of your jacket, consider the features you really want before you select the jacket you want to purchase. The more features your jacket offers, typically the more expensive that jacket will be. So, if you are shopping on a budget, you want to try and remember this, and try to focus on getting a jacket that offers the features you really need and want.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking for the perfect down jacket, make sure that it has a loose fit. You do not want your down jacket to be to tight as it will be uncomfortable and will loose all purpose of being a down jacket. A down jacket is supposed to add comfort and fit great. Keep your fit loose and if its to tight, look at another jacket.
Other Factors to Consider
Depending on what you are planning to accomplish while you wear your jacket, you’ll need to think about how much weight you can carry along with you each time you put your jacket on. If you’re going to be using a lot of energy and performing some highly aerobic outdoor activities during the winter, then you want to make sure you purchase a jacket that can keep you warm while still remaining lightweight. So, what you’ll need is to check out the warmth-to-weight ratio of any jacket you want to select.
When a jacket has good fabric and an excellent design, it can get rid of some weight and still give you a warm, durable, highly functional jacket that can assist you with all of your cold-weather adventures. Some jackets that are designed to be ultra-light will subtract other features from the jackets to cut back on weight. So, if you are going for a super light jacket, remember it probably won’t offer as many features, and the jacket will seem simpler in design. Some ultra-light jackets, however, aren’t very durable, so you need to make sure you wind up with a jacket that can withstand your planned winter weather activities.
The products we’ve provided on our list all use high-quality materials to make their jackets. However, all of the jackets here vary greatly in their weight and how thick they are. Remember that when the material is heavier, it’s usually more durable, and lightweight materials won’t be as strong.
When trying to figure out the weight and durability of a jacket, you’ll need to consider the denier of the fabric or the thread count. The denier tells you how durable and heavy your jacket will be. Typically, the higher the number of the denier on the jacket, the heavier and more durable the jacket will be.
When you are trying to make your choice about how light you want your jacket to be, remember you can still sacrifice some durability when you go for a lightweight jacket. So, consider what you will really need before you make your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Compressibility helps tell us how well a jacket will pack down when you carry it along with you, and it also lets us know how well the materials in the jacket can resist damage after it has been compressed. Down is far better than synthetic insulation where it comes to compressibility since it can recover and retain its features better when compared to synthetic insulation. Also, another benefit is that down is lighter when you compress it and carry it along.
Some down jackets come with hoods, and others come without hoods. If you purchase a down jacket without a hood, it’ll be more lightweight and cost less, but you’ll lose out on the extra comfort and warmth a hood can provide you. If you’re going to be outside doing your sports often during the winter weather, it’s almost always best to just spend the extra money and get the hood. You won’t regret it since you’ll be able to stay much warmer with your hood.
The fit is something that is up to personal preference and can also depend on the style and brand of the jacket you select. If you wind up with a down sweater, it’ll fit and appear more casual. But ultralight and jackets made for sports will have more options for warmth and flexibility, including hood features. No matter what type of down jacket you wind up with, you need to know that how the jacket fits can vary a lot depending on the brand. For instance, Arcteryx jackets tend to have a slim fit and can run small, so that’s something to consider if you are purchasing a jacket from that manufacturer.
Hydrophobic down is a type of down that is treated with some type of water-resistant technology. Sometimes, brands will use a DWR coating on the down insulation as well as the exterior shell of the jacket to help make the down hydrophobic. However, depending on the brand, different types of technologies might be used to treat the insulation in the jacket, and not all treatments work as well as others. It can be difficult to test out or know how well hydrophobic down will work until you’re outside and it gets wet, but just keep in mind you might need to do some research and read reviews regarding the hydrophobic down in your jacket.
A DWR treatment on a down jacket helps to repel moisture, giving your jacket some element of water protection. DWR is also known as Durable Water Repellant and helps water drops from making it through into the interior area of the jacket, which can make you wet through your insulation, creating a very miserable day. With DWR treatment, you’ll have less of a chance of experiencing misery since you’ll be protected against the water. DWR treatments are not fully waterproof, but they do offer some element of water protection.
Denier (D) tells you how much a thread weighs. Typically, the lower the denier count, the more lightweight your jacket is. On the other hand, the higher the denier count, the heavier and more durable the jacket will be. Lightweight jackets with low denier counts will be more prone to abrasions.