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Best Down Jacket: Staying Warm for the Winter

Best Down Jacket
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Are you ready for a new winter jacket? Do you need something light that will keep you warm while skiing or building a snowman? Winter is here and you really should consider what type of jacket you will wear on those chilly winter days and nights, and we recommend that you look for the best down jacket the market has to offer.

The down jackets are the type of jackets that’ll resist the rain, snow, cold, and keep you warm without feeling like you’re carrying 30 pounds around town. With that being said, there’s a couple things you need to know before going out and buying a winter jacket, and that is why we decided to help you out in your search.

In this article, we will first talk about the features that are most important and should be considered before making the final choice. After that, you will have a chance to read the reviews of the best models on the market, and with the knowledge you gained in the previous section, you will have no problems picking exactly the model you need. Let’s first start with the table of the reviewed models, so that you know what to expect.

Our Top Picks

ProductWeightSizesDWR finishPrice
Arcteryx Cerium16 ouncesSM to XXLYesCheck price on Amazon
Western Mountaineering11 ouncesSM to XLNoCheck price on Amazon
Canada Goose Hybridge Lite33 ouncesSM to XXLNoCheck price on Amazon
Arcteryx Thorium33 ouncesSM to XXLYesCheck price on Amazon
Rab Neutrino Endurance33 ouncesSM to XXLNoCheck price on Amazon
Patagonia Ultralight10.6 ouncesSM to XXLYesCheck price on Amazon
Canada Goose Women’s Hybridge30 ouncesXS to LNoCheck price on Amazon
Arcteryx Thorium AR16 ouncesXS to XLYesCheck price on Amazon
Rab Microlight Alpine16 ouncesXS to XLNoCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

There are several different kinds of down for you to choose from. Knowing the difference will help you find the one most suitable to your needs. Below, we are going to go over the many features of finding the best down jacket. Read on for more information.

Types of Jackets

There are a few down jacket types and you need to get more familiar with all of them so that you make sure your choice is a perfect one.

Down

Ever think of how geese stay so warm? That’s because they have nature’s best insulator. Geese and duck feathers, also known as down, is the best option for a lightweight and less bulky jacket.

Down jackets have a reputation of being extremely lightweight, ultra-warm and highly convenient for packing. However, it doesn’t do too well when it gets wet – as it provides for poor insulation when damp. The best way to measure the quality of a down jacket is with the fill count.

Man with Down Jacket

The fill power ranges from 450 to 900, it’s the volume in cubic inches that one ounce of down fills, so the higher the fill power, the higher the quality and the warmer the jacket. It’s best used for casual wear or mild activity.

Water-Resistant Down

A water-resistant down jacket is essentially the same as a down jacket, however, has a polymer treatment which helps reduce the dampness that can be caused by rain and snow. It still retains its ultralight, ultra-warm and ultra packable features, however, it’s usually more expensive than your regular winter jacket.

Down/Synthetic

Down/synthetic is the happy medium of both materials. Depending on the company, designers will blend the materials in different ways. This blend can handle all environments and are also cheaper than 100% down jackets.

Hood

Some people are anti-hood, they don’t want the extra weight and prefer to wear hats instead. Some jackets come with removable hoods which can be attached with either a zipper or clasp.

Down Jacket Hoodie

Depending on your use, you may want a jacket that has an insulated hood, especially if you’ll be doing outdoor activities. If you’re wearing it casually, then you may not necessarily need a hood. It’s all based on personal preference.

Size

One size does not fit all. Everyone has a different body, so, adjustment features are necessary for giving you extra comfort and providing you a proper fit. Look for hood adjusters, front zippers, cuffs, and drawcords.

Person Wearing Down Jacket

You also don’t want a jacket that’s too loose or too fitted. You need enough space for layers, however, you don’t want too much room or else the cold air will get through. Also, you want to make sure you can comfortably move around and not look like a snowman since down jackets can be a little on the puffy side.

Pockets and Vents

Pockets are underrated. You may not even notice the importance of pockets, but you’ll need them. They provide extra storage, however, do add extra weight. There are a couple of types of pockets to choose from such as zipper, music, security, and hip belt pockets.

Person Wearing Down Jacket

Image credit: sportsdirect.com

Vents are usually found on rain jackets, however, on some winter jackets, you’ll be able to find vent features that will help reduce the heat in your jacket. This is a good feature if you sweat or are doing strenuous activities.

Other Features

Here are other important features you need to keep an eye on:

Waterproof

Water can really add extra weight to your jacket, not only that, it’s not comfortable to walk in. If you go with a waterproof option, you’ll be able to withstand any weather condition without having to feel it. It may be a pricey feature, however, you won’t have to buy another jacket.

3-in-1 Design

You’ll want a jacket that’ll have a mid layer and an outer shell that are detachable. That way, you’ll be able to wear the mid layer, or outer shell, or both.

Best Down Jacket: Staying Warm for the Winter

Image credit: emunashipping.com

This way, you can customize the jacket depending on the weather conditions.

Fill Power

You want to invest in a warm down jacket. Fill power essentially shows you the quality of the jacket – the higher the fill power, the warmer the jacket. Fill power ranges from 400-900, with most outerwear ranging between 600-800.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that you know what to look for in a down jacket, here are some of the best down jackets available. Let’s take a closer look.

Arcteryx Cerium Jacket

Price: $280 – $380Arcteryx Cerium Jacket

Weight: 16 ounces

Sizes: SM to XXL

Specific features: Many color choices, quilted nylon taffeta, machine wash warm

Best use: From mild to strenuous climate conditions

Arcteryx Cerium Jacket is made in the USA, and this down jacket places synthetic Coreloft in strategic areas to reduce moisture and provide you with the most warmth: sleeves, underarms, shoulders, and collar. It’s lightweight, however, the fabric is highly durable with a DWR finish that repels against the elements.

Filled with 850 white geese down, this is one of the highest quality jackets. This means that the jacket will be able to dry easily in dry conditions. If you want a jacket with a hood, this one comes with a down insulated StormHood that also is equipped with an adjuster. So, if you’re looking for a reputable and high-quality jacket, this is the one.

We like this jacket because it is so warm. Made of durable nylon material, you can actually machine wash this jacket at home. Great for all kinds of winter conditions, this is definitely a jacket to check out.

PROS:

  • Detachable hood
  • Warm and durable
  • Many color choices
 CONS:

  • Hard to find in stores
  • No internal pockets
  • Priced high

Related: The jacket does have a hood, but adding another layer of insulation would be a smart thing to do, especially if you are in windy areas. The Arc’teryx Men’s Bird Head Toque is a great hat made of Merino wool and includes a little insulation. It breathes well and costs about $20.

Check the price on Amazon

Western Mountaineering Flash XR Jacket

Price: Approx. $375Western Mountaineering Flash XR Jacket

Weight: 11 ounces

Sizes: SM-XL

Specific features: Insulated hood and pockets, adjustable hood, YKK zippers

Best use: Mountaineering and strenuous activity

The Western Mountaineering Flash XR Jacket is a great option if you’re looking for a jacket that can withstand more strenuous activity such as mountaineering. Though it’s lightweight, it’s more water resistant than your typical down jacket as it’s made with Proloft XR – a laminated shell fabric. It’s made with 850 plus fill goose down and has insulated pockets and hood.

Furthermore, the insulated pockets have zipper closures for extra protection and also keeps the water out. The hood is easily adjustable, blocking out draft from coming inside. The mountaineering jacket also comes in navy, black, sage or raspberry colors.

This jacket is great because it works in all types of winter weather. The fact that it is water resistant means you will stay dry while you are mountaineering or camping outdoors. We especially like the external fit adjustment strap that lets us get comfortable in this winter jacket.

PROS:

  • Water resistant
  • Breathes well
  • Right amount of insulation
 CONS:

  • Quite pricey
  • Not waterproof
  • Hood does not come off

Related: Having some high-quality booties while outdoors in the winter can ensure that your feet are warm and dry. The Western Mountaineering Flash Booties have a draw cord and are made of synthetic materials that make them light in weight.

Check the price on Amazon

Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody

Price: Approx. $530Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody

Weight: 33 ounces

Sizes: SM-XXL

Specific features: Light, quilted design, Tensile-Tech inserts

Best use: Casual to strenuous activity

Canada is known for many things and their goose down jackets are one of them. The Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody is feather-light with 10D outer shell that’s abrasion resistant.

Though it’s stuffed with Canada’s finest goose down, it’s designed to be easily packable, making it a great jacket for traveling. The Tensile-Tech inserts are located at the side and underarms, to provide you maximum comfort and fit.

There’s also a center front YKK 2-way locking reversed coil zipper for perfect insulation and protection. An insulated storm flap is designed for the center front and prevents any harsh climates from hitting your chest. The lower hand pockets are all fully secured with YKK reverse coil zippers and internal stretch mesh – a perfect jacket to withstand the harsh elements.

We adore this jacket for the style, warmth and the abrasion resistant feature that keeps this jacket from wearing out too fast.

PROS:

  • Insulated storm flap over zipper
  • Very light weight
  • Abrasion resistant
 CONS:

  • Highly expensive
  • Zipper isn’t the best
  • Can run big

Related: Beside a good jacket, having a great pair of gloves can be crucial outdoors. The Black Diamond Men’s Guide Gloves are made of mostly nylon with a polyester lining. They are waterproof and abrasion resistant as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Arcteryx Thorium Hoody

Price: Approx. $300Arcteryx Thorium Hoody

Weight: 33 ounces

Sizes: SM-XXL

Specific features: Low profile, elastic cuffs, zippered hand pockets

Best use: Casual to strenuous activity

Available in 9 fun colors, the Arcteryx Thorium Hoody will make sure to keep you warm during those snowy days. Thorium’s down strategically blends synthetic and down insulation together, making sure areas which need extra protection are fully secured.

The durable fabric withstands abrasion while the DWR outer shell finish repels moisture while keeping the heat in. Thorium also has two zippered hand pockets and one internal zipper pocket which includes a stuff sack and one internal dump pocket. So, if you’re worried about storage, this jacket has plenty of options.

It also has elasticized cuffs at the wrist to prevent the elements some seeping in. A great option if you’ll be hiking and/or mountaineering.

We like the low profile look and the fact that this jacket is incredibly warm as it is made for strenuous outdoor activity. It’s so soft and comfortable to wear, that we were not disappointed!

PROS:

  • Zippered pockets
  • Comes with stuff sack
  • Soft and very durable
 CONS:

  • No inside pockets
  • A little pricey for some
  • May need to buy one size up

Related: Get yourself some great hiking shoes. The Arc’teryx Men’s Acrux FL GTX Approach Shoes are durable, breathe well and great for all types of environments. Under $150, these hiking shoes have Gore-Tex lining for support.

Check the price on Amazon

Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket

Price: Approx. $300Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket

Weight: 33 ounces

Sizes: SM-XXL

Specific features: Stitched baffle, 800 FP European goose down

Best use: Strenuous activity

If you’re planning on hiking or mountaineering in extreme weather conditions, then you’ll need the Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket, which will be able to protect and support you during your travels.The Rab Neutrino is certainly one of the best down jackets on the market for this.

The Nab Neutrino is made of 800 fill power, making this one of the warmest and highest quality down jackets. It’s designed with a Pertex Endurance outer shell and a Pertex Quantum inner layer providing you with extra insulation and warmth.

Furthermore, the jacket’s fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down developed in conjunction with Nikwax, provides moisture repellent. It features a down filled hood, 2-way YKK Aquaguard front zip, internal insulated zip baffle, chin guard 2 YKK Aquaguard hand warmer pockets, Velcro cuffs, hem drawcord and stuff sack. So, if you’ll be outdoors this jacket is equipped with everything you need for a warm and secure journey.

PROS:

  • Pertex outer and inner
  • Fluorocarbon free down
  • Warm and durable
 CONS:

  • A little pricey
  • Stubborn zipper
  • Not many color choices

Related: In harsher conditions, you may want to consider the Outdoor Research Men’s Crocodile Gaiter which is made of all nylon. Durable, these gaiters are waterproof and abrasion resistant. Under $70, you will get a secure, long lasting pair of gaiters.

Check the price on Amazon

Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody

Price: Approx. $220Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody

Weight: 10.6 ounces

Sizes: SM to XXL

Specific features: Polyester inner and lining, DWR treated, contoured fit

Best use: Casual to strenuous activity

Truly an exceptional jacket for the winter months, the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody is extremely warm and lightweight. It’s made of 800 fill power Traceable down with a 15-denier 100% nylon Pertex Quantum shell. What does that mean? It’s means that all the warmth stays in, which is exactly what you want.

The great part of the traceable down is that you can actually see exactly where the goose down is coming from – it’s certified by NSF and ensures that the geese are not force-fed or live-plucked, so you can wear this jacket with a clear conscious.

The fabric is made with bluesign, a Swiss company which designs material that is environmentally conscious, however, still maintains quality and durability. If you’re someone who’s environmentally aware and wants to be conscious of your environmental footprint, Patagonia is a company that promotes environmental responsibility, safe working conditions, and fair labor practices.

PROS:

  • Hand warmer pockets
  • Made of recycled nylon
  • Adjustable hood
 CONS:

  • Too warm for high activity
  • Fits snugly if you have thick clothing on under

Related: If you are interested in a warm shirt to wear under your new jacket, the Patagonia Down Shirt – Men’s can work for you. It is light, windproof and made of all polyester.

Check the price on Amazon

Canada Goose Women’s Hybridge Lite Hoody

Price: Approx. $600Canada Goose Women’s Hybridge Lite Hoody

Weight: 30 ounces

Sizes: XS to L

Specific features: Quilted design, light, 10D nylon

Best use: Casual to strenuous activity

Another high-quality goose down produced in Canada, the Canada Goose Women’s Hybridge Lite Hoody is another exceptional down jacket that’ll take you through winter without any problems.

The 10D outer shell insulated the jacket and is also abrasion resistant. The quilt design is meant to allow the jacket to reduce significantly in size, creating easy packing. The lycra hood is stretchable and fits any head, as well as the cuff are binding to prevent wind, rain, and snow from entering inside.

The Tensile-Tech inserts at the side and underarms provide you maximum comfort and fit. For extra protection from the elements, the center front has a YKK 2-way locking reversed coil zipper and an insulated storm flap. If you’re worried about storage, the Hybridge has lower hand pockets with YKK reversed coil zippers and an Upper Napoleon chest pockets.

In addition, there are two vertical strips of reflective tape on the back of the hood for extra visibility. If you plan on doing some late night walking and/or hiking, the extra safety features make it a great jacket.

PROS:

  • Very light
  • Comfortable fit all over
  • Center storm flap is insulated
 CONS:

  • Zipper can stick
  • Not warm for colder temperatures
  • Extremely expensive

Related: Get some great hiking pants with the The North Face Paramount Peak Ii Convertible Pants that cost under $80. They can be machine washed, have big pockets, and are abrasion resistant.

Check the price on Amazon

Arc’teryx Thorium AR Women’s Hoody

Price: Approx. $200Arc’teryx Thorium Women’s Hoody

Weight: 16 ounces

Sizes: Womens XS to XL

Specific features: DWR finish, soft, packs down easily

Best use: Casual to strenuous activity

Available in XS-XL, the Arc’teryx Thorium Women’s Hoody comes in 9 fun and vibrant colors. Arcteryx is a very reputable brand and designs well thought out down jackets. The down composition of the Thorium is designed to strategically place the down and synthetic blend in areas which need more insulation and moisture protection such as the underarms, collar, and sidearms.

The jacket is incredibly soft, however, extremely durable as it’s abrasion resistant due to its DWR outer shell finish. The hood is synthetically insulated to repel moisture, with hem draw cord sealing out any draft.

Furthermore, you want to make sure your arms are protected so the cuffs are elasticized for proper insulation and protection. The two zippered hand pockets are designed to insulate and secure your belongings, while you also have a stuff sack for traveling.

This jacket is definitely more affordable than others without sparing the quality and durability of a great down jacket for winter.

PROS:

  • Conforms to the body
  • Keeps heat inside
  • Down Composite Mapping
 CONS:

  • Too thin for some
  • Not for extreme cold

Related: Having good socks on the trail is highly important. The Showers Pass Waterproof Crosspoint WP Crew Sock are under $40 and are totally waterproof. They breathe well and keep your feet dry for all outdoor activities.

Check the price on Amazon

Rab Microlite Alpine Jacket

Price: Approx. $150Rab Microlite Alpine Jacket

Weight: 16 ounces

Sizes: Womens XS to XL

Specific features: Goose down, fluorocarbon free, many color choices

Best use: Casual to strenuous activity

Even though the Rab Microlight Alpine Women’s Jacket features 8 vibrant colors, it is not only a fashionable jacket, but a rather warm jacket. It says it in the name, the microlight outer shell is made of Pertex, while the inner layer is made of 100% nylon ripstop.

Made of 750 European fill power, the down is fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic, meaning, you’ll be able to go in the rain without having to worry about ruining the down as it has a water resistant finish.

The mini stitch-through baffle gives the jacket extra durability and also makes it easy to fold up and pack. The hoodie is adjustable with a flexible polymer wired YKK front zip, internal insulated zip baffle and a chin guard – all features that will come in handy during a strong wind storm. The 2 YKK zipped hand warmer pockets and chest pocket will easily secure and protect your belongings.

PROS:

  • Mini stitch baffle construction
  • Polymer peaked hood
  • Light and comfortable
 CONS:

  • Runs big
  • Hood does not detach

Related: In the winter, conditions can be icy. The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles are great because they won’t slip, are made of all carbon fiber and are adjustable.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

With the Rab Microlite Alpine Jacket, we have reached the end of our article. Now that you’ve learned what features to look for in a down jacket and the various materials used for insulation, you’ll be able to find the best down jacket that will fulfill your needs.

The down jackets we reviewed are notably the best ones on the market, so during your search, make sure you try on some of these well-known and reputable brands, as these jackets mentioned above will all be able to keep you safe and warm.

People With Down Jackets

While you can use these jackets as a guide, it really comes down to how the jacket fits you, the way the fabrics feel and work for you, and that you get something that fits your needs. All of the above down jackets are great for winter use and are light enough that you won’t feel weighed down or have to worry about a really puffy coat. They will work in various types of winter weather, which is great because you never know what the winter season will bring!

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know below. Thanks for reading.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.