WOMEN'S CLOTHING

Best Women’s Down Jacket: Bundling Up in Comfort

Best Womens Outdoor Jacket
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

The world is a magnificent place. In a few hours by flight in any direction, you can experience climate changes and biome differences that seem night and day.

Whatever climate you seek when you are traveling, make sure that you are prepared. In instances where you are in colder climates or climates of a higher altitude, you are going to need warmth.

Weather patterns are only so predictable and can change quickly and drastically. When you are ready to take on the natural elements, the best women’s down jacket will be an essential item on your packing list.

Knowing and recognizing that you might need a coat in conditions that aren’t always obvious to you is part of the education that comes with traveling. Even in the desert, it can cool down enough at night for you to wish you had an extra layer.

But not just any extra layer: the best down coats for women have surpassed much of its competition. The best down parka is a no-brainer to take with you on all your traveling adventures. It’s the perfect balance between warmth and versatility with down lining and the ability to pack away tightly into the smallest spaces.

Qualities of The Best Down Coat

There are many things to consider when choosing such a high-quality article of clothing like a down jacket. Down consists of feathers from geese that are collected and put into the lining of the coat and has been proven to be one of the warmest materials to use.

Best Down Coat features

Not only do we have to understand down and how it’s used, but the weight, materials, construction, and fill power are also qualities you’ll have to consider.

Weight

As with every item we wear outside, weight counts, whether you’re hiking or backpacking or just going for a walk with the dog in the park. It’s uncomfortable to carry around more weight than is necessary in any situation.

A good quality parka will be heavy enough to provide the warmth and comfort that we desire while still being lightweight. It saves weight off your back and an added bonus is that the more lightweight the coat is, the easier it is to pack. It makes it easier to fold up and slide into a bag, pack, or just into the shelf in your closet.

Outer Material

The material on the outside of the coat is just as important as what is on the inside. There are many factors that are drawn from just the outer material of a coat.

Depending on the material used on the outside of the coat, you need to consider the durability, breathability, warmth, and water-resistance of the coat. You need an outer material that is durable and waterproof yet still breathable and will retain heat inside the coat.

Outer Material

Finding a balance of these things will be just one aspect in a list of very important factors to base your purchase from. The most commonly used materials for the exterior of the coat are nylon and polyester:

  • Nylon is most well known for being durable and water-resistant. However, this is often heavier and less breathable. This is important for those who need more flexibility and movement without missing out on the durability.
  • Polyester, on the other hand, is better at retaining heat and is more lightweight. It is also slightly more breathable when compared to Nylon. Polyester jackets aren’t as wind- and waterproof as nylon, however. This is important for those who need the tough protection against the elements but don’t want to miss out on the mobility of a more breathable jacket.

Construction

There are two main types or methods of constructing good quality down coats and parkas. These are called sewn-through or box baffle.

  • Sewn-Through: The inner layers of the coat are sewn directly together with the outer material to create separate baffles or sections in the coat. This is done to help prevent the down feathers from clumping up but since the feathers are pinched at the sewn sections, there is potential for cold spots in these coats.
    Sewn-through is usually a cheaper method of construction, as it takes less time to complete the jacket, less material is used, and the construction design is much simpler.
  • Box Baffle: This construction is made to maximize the warmth of the coat. Each baffle, or sewn section, instead of being sewn through into another section, is sewn closed and into a whole rectangle or square section of its own.
    This minimizes the bunching or clumping of the down, resulting in a coat that is thicker, warmer, and less likely to have cold spots. That being said, this construction is harder to make and is therefore more time consuming for the manufacturer and more expensive for the consumer.

Fill Power

Fill power is just a fancy word used to talk about the ‘fluffiness’ of the coat. It is the measure of down feathers per cubic inch per ounce. Basically, the higher the fill power number, the more air pockets amongst the down feathers and the warm and insulation the jacket will be.

Fill Power

The fill power lets the consumer know a few key things based on one number. It lets us know about the weight. The higher the fill is usually an indicator of a heavier coat. I

t displays the amount of down in each section or baffle of the coat resulting in a warmer and better-insulated coat. It also could indicate the ‘loft’ of the down which is the feathers ability to bounce back to size, shape, and consistency after being compressed or packed down.

This is important if you choose to take your coat hiking and will be getting the coat in and out depending on the time of day and weather. Fill power numbers range from 400 to 900.

The Best Women’s Down Jackets

Let’s take a closer look at these brand name jackets side-by-side and compare each of them with the details we’ve outlined above.

Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket

Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket

Weight: 7.2 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Construction: Box Baffle

Fill Power: 800 Fill Power

Best Use: Backpacking, Alpine Hiking, Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Outdoor & Recreation 

Description: The Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer down jacket is perfect for alpine hiking. It’s lightweight, at only 7.2 ounces, and also compresses down really well. It actually folds up and zips into its own pocket!

The pocket then boasts a secure carabiner so you can clamp your coat anywhere, such as on your packing bag or on your purse for trips on the go. This coat offers 800 fill power and utilizes the box baffle construction, so expect to pay a bit more.

The tough nylon outer material is durable, windproof, and water-resistant, ensuring that you stay warm even if the coat gets damp. Finally, this jacket has soft wrist cuffs made with elastic that seal out cold air from traveling up your arms and into the jacket.

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket

Weight: 12.7 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Construction: Sewn-Through

Fill Power: 750 Fill Power

Best Use: Backpacking, Alpine Hiking, Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Outdoor & Recreation

Description: The Rab Microlight Alpine jacket is made for alpine temperatures and terrain. With the highly water-resistant nylon, the outer material of this jacket is tough and built to last. At just over twelve ounces, this jacket is a bit heavier than one might like but it does still pack a 750 fill power.

With that much fill power it’s no wonder this coat is on the heavy side. It is made with the sewn-through construction and also features an adjustable down-filled hood. Near the bottom of the hood and the top of the zipper, it boasts a chin guard for wind protection and you can slide your hands into the hand warmer pockets for added warmth.

It has a chest pocket for storage and an adjustable elastic hem along the bottom with a drawcord for personalized comfort. This microlight Pertex nylon fabric is well known for being highly windproof but still breathable in cold temperatures.

Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Jacket

Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Jacket

Weight: 1.5 Pounds

Outer Material: Nylon

Construction: Sewn-Through

Fill Power: 800 Fill Power

Best Use: Backpacking, Alpine Hiking, Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Outdoor & Recreation

Description: The Canada Goose Hybridge Lite jacket is one of the heavier coats. At 1.5 pounds this coat gets a lot of bang for its buck but might not be the best to carry with you when you’re not wearing it.

The tough abrasion-resistant nylon fabric on the outside make this coat durable and the 800 fill power makes it one of the warmest coats you will find. It even has an insulated zipper flap that goes over a sturdy locking and reversible zipper on the front of the coat.

The Hybridge has chest pockets for storing important items and two side pockets that zip closed as well. The arms of this coat have Tensile-Tech material which is proven to give just enough stretch for maximum comfort and mobility around the arms.

This jacket has more hidden treasures that will help its case. These include a reflective strip on the back of hood for safety, thumb holes at end of sleeves to keep cold out, and the whole jacket actually packs down into the left-hand pocket for easy travel.

Arcteryx Thorium AR Hoody

Arcteryx Thorium AR Hoody

Weight: 13.2 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Construction: Sewn-Through

Fill Power: 750 Fill Power

Best Use: Backpacking, Alpine Hiking, Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Outdoor & Recreation

Description: The Arcteryx Thorium comes in at a little over 13 ounces and is made of tough abrasion-resistance and moisture-repellant nylon. This jacket is said to conform to your body for ultra warmth because it is a blend of 750 fill power down feathers and synthetic material.

The hood is fully insulated with synthetic filling but stays warm even when wet. This sewn-through coat packs down enough to fit into its own pocket for easy travel and carry, and features two warm zipping hand pockets.

This jacket layers easily and has a drawcord hem at the bottom to seal out all cold air when worn in combination with other clothing. It has tight elastic cuffs to keep cold out and also boasts a chin guard that flaps over the top of the zipper for added protection from the elements.

Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody

Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody

Weight: 13.1 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Construction: Sewn-Through

Fill Power: 800 Fill Power

Best Use: Backpacking, Alpine Hiking, Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Outdoor & Recreation

Description: The Patagonia Down sweater jacket prides itself on many things. First is that it is made from 100% recycled polyester ripstop nylon, which is also lightweight, waterproof, and windproof.

This coat has an 800 fill power goose down that is traceable, meaning the birds can be tracked down and the consumer will see they were never force-fed or live-plucked in the collection of their feathers.

Some basic functions of the coat include an adjustable hood that tightens and loosens to comfort and warmth, a zipper with a storm flap to cover chin area from the wind, hand warming side pockets, zipping chest pocket, and elastic sleeve cuffs to ensure no heat is escaping this super warm jacket.

Outdoor Research Aria Jacket

Outdoor Research Aria Jacket

Weight: 13 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Construction: Sewn-Through

Fill Power: 650 Fill Power

Best Use: Backpacking, Alpine Hiking, Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Outdoor & Recreation

Description: The Outdoor Research Aria jacket is lightweight, breathable, and water-resistant with its tough nylon outer material. At 13 ounces, this jacket is about average in regards to weight.

This jacket won’t be overly heavy, but it’s not the lightest either. It has a sewn-through pattern construction making it cheaper, and is warm enough to layer with few other clothing items. It does have a surprisingly low fill power, though.

At only 650, this coat will do fine on its own but it wouldn’t be a good idea to be without extra layers if the weather shifts. It does feature a storm flap over the zipper to protect your chin from wind and cold, but does lack a hood. This coat has helpful elastic hems along the bottom of the coat and along the wrist cuffs for keeping the heat inside the jacket.

Finally, this coat does pack extremely well due to the lower fill power and folds up into a small stuff sack that will fit just about anywhere.

The North Face Aconcagua Jacket

The North Face Aconcagua Jacket

Weight: 1.3 Pounds

Outer Material: Nylon

Construction: Box Baffle (Diamond Shaped)

Fill Power: 550 Fill Power

Best Use: Backpacking, Alpine Hiking, Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Outdoor & Recreation

Description: The North Face Aconcagua jacket is one of the least exciting coats on this list. It’s most likely meant for layering and fashion but it lacks a lot of the basic key elements that are so important in a good quality down jacket.

This particular North Face jacket is on the heavy side compared to the competition at 1.3 pounds. Weight is a considerable factor especially knowing that at only 550 fill power, it will need to be layered, adding more weight to travel with.

It does have a box baffle construction in a fashionable diamond design that will hold and retain heat, plus the tough outer nylon is dependable and nearly weatherproof.

It features elastic cuffs around the wrists for keeping cold out and heat in, zipping hand pockets for storing or warming hands, and also features a collar lining along the neck for added comfort and heat production.

Bundle Up: Your Dream Jacket Is Waiting

Finding the best down jacket that is right for you can seem overwhelming but it is essential to ensure that you’re prepared whenever you travel. Hundreds of people every year pack poorly and end up sick, freezing, or having a close call with hypothermia.

Bringing layers, researching the weather conditions, and owning a good quality down jacket will significantly decrease your chances of having a bad experience in the outdoors.

Choose Women’s Down Jacket

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a jacket too, outside of the main features already discussed. Other factors like comfortability or special added features might make their way up that list for you as well.

No one can make these choices for you and that’s why it’s so important to do your research, have an idea of what you’re looking for, and then compare similar jackets to make an informed choice so you know you’re getting the best jacket for your money.

Which of these jackets do you own? Do you have a favorite that you rave about to your friends?

Are you ready to start doing research in purchasing your first down jacket? You’re in the right spot. If you thought this article was helpful, please comment below and share this with your friends.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Sabrina Bell

    The Rab micro light is a fantastic jacket. I am always cold and was really worried about how thin it was but this jacket keeps me warmer than any I have ever owned! It is very light, I never sweat in it, and it is so sturdy that my dog has jumped on me few times, and has not made ANY rips. I am so happy I bought this coat. 🙂

  • Jerry Mueller

    I remember giving this jacket to a friend who is a bit picky when it comes to outerwear. She loved the look and feel of the jacket, and she often uses this for camping and trekking. The microlight Pertex nylon fabric makes this jacket breathable, light and windproof, as well.

  • Rachel Mohan

    If you’re looking for a lightweight yet warm jacket, you needn’t look further than the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket. Mine is so comfy – and stylish too – so much so that I wore it pretty much every day during the winter. Fits me true to size and comfortably sits underneath my waterproof if the weather calls for it! Comes in an array of colours too so you’re bound to find one that you like. I myself went for the ‘Twilight’ colour – very sleek!

  • Jerry Mueller

    Some might find this a bit heavy for them because of the down filling, but I’m glad that you had no “weight issues” with this one. The 750 fill power is worth it, right? And with a dozen colors to choose from, how can you go wrong?

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