Down jackets are a dream item for many people. There’s nothing like pulling puffy warmth over each arm to fend off winter’s chill. The best down jackets are cozy, technical pieces of equipment that work equally on the mountain, on the couch, and out at a bar. Down jackets are centuries-old clothing, and the modern take is all about exceptional warmth, low weight, and durable materials.
We have extensively tested and reviewed several down jackets and have highlighted the best down jackets for you below. The jackets are broken into even smaller sub-categories for specific uses, but we think that almost anyone could wear and love any down jacket on this list. Read on to learn everything you need to know about selecting your next down jacket.
Down Jacket Comparison Table
|Best Down Jackets||MSRP||Weight||Down Fill||See Down Jackets|
|Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody||$329||15.1 oz||800||Women’s, Men’s|
|Jack Wolfskin DNA Tundra Hoody||$200||14.5 oz||700||Women’s, Men’s|
|Arc’teryx Cerium Hoodie||$400||11.8 oz||850||Women’s, Men’s|
|Feathered Friends Eos||$409||10.6 oz||900+||Women’s, Men’s|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded||$350||7.7 oz||800||Women’s, Men’s|
|REI Down Jacket 650||$99||10.5 oz||650||Women’s, Men’s|
|Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket||$280||17 oz||750||Women’s, Men’s|
|Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Jacket||$550||9.5 oz||800||Women’s, Men’s|
|The North Face Nuptse||$320||22 oz||700||Women’s, Men’s|
|KUHL Spyfire Down Hoodie||$289||16 oz||800||Women’s, Men’s|
|OutdoorVitals NovaPro Ultralight Jacket||$250||14.5 oz||850||Women’s, Men’s|
The Best All-Around Down Jacket
- Weight: 15.1 oz
- Cost: $329
- Best For: Car Camper, Day Hiker, Ultralight Backpacker, Urban Hiker, Wilderness Backpacker
The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody is a classic, highly versatile piece of kit that works for extended backcountry and city use alike. It is heavier than most of the other down jackets on our list at nearly 15 ounces, but it is beefier, too. The Down Sweater Hoody still uses 800-fill down, but the face fabric is 20x30D (and 100% recycled), meaning it doesn’t pack down nearly as small but is much more tear-resistant than most. The jacket has two zippered hand pockets, an internal zippered pocket, technically stuffs into itself (but it’s tight), and comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and with or without a hood.
This is your typical, high-end, eco-friendly, big-brand down jacket that simply rocks. It’s also warmer than you can imagine.
Patagonia Down Sweater Star Rating
The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody is a down jacket with a reputation for warmth and durability. It doesn’t care much for the ultralight tendencies, and uses more down and thicker materials than comparable (and lighter) jackets, but this extra beefiness adds up a longer lasting product, and a warmer product in most cases. Patagonia’s attentinal to detail, from the felt-lined neck zipper to the evenly spaced (and filled) baffles to the high quality zippers all make this an excellent pick for outdoor enthusiasts.
The Most Sustainable Down Jacket
- Weight: 14.5 oz
- Cost: $200
- Best For: Car Camper, Day Hiker, Ultralight Backpacker, Urban Hiker, Wilderness Backpacker
The Jack Wolfskin DNA Tundra Hoody is a featherweight down hoodie comprising dual STORMLOCK fabrics to fully protect you from the elements. It weighs in at near the middle of the pack here on our best down jacket list, and it’s a top contender for the Best All-Around Down Jacket title.
That said, what really makes this Jack Wolfskin Tundra Hoody stand out, aside from its stellar performance and sharp looks, is its inherent sustainability. This jacket is stuffed with 700-fill power of RDS-certified responsibly sourced natural duck down. Plus, it is 100% PFC-free, which means fewer greenhouse gases, and it is made from recycled polyester. If you want a well-rounded jacket that’ll keep your bones warm, protect you from erratic weather patterns, and put your mind at ease—the Tundra Hoody is your GOAT.See Women's Jack Wolfskin DNA Tundra Hoody See Men's Jack Wolfskin DNA Tundra Hoody
The Most Refined Down Jacket
- Weight: 11.8 oz
- Cost: $400
- Best For: Car Camper, Day Hiker, Ultralight Backpacker, Urban Hiker, Wilderness Backpacker
The Arc’teryx Cerium Hoodie is a meticulously engineered down jacket. From its slim yet comfy fit to the large baffles of high-quality goose down, you will be very warm and well-dressed for the backcountry. The 850-fill down is used alongside the synthetic Coreloft, which can be found in the shoulders and wrist cuffs, and helps fend off water and dampness. Arc’teryx uses Arato 10 fabric which is incredibly lightweight, even to the touch, and yet has a surprising rip strength.
The jacket weighs just under 12 ounces (depending on size), has a full down-filled hood that fits more casually than technically, and three zippered pockets, one internal. The hand pockets are backed by lofted down, and all the zippers are thin and discreet yet slide with ease. Pack it into the included stuff sack if you want ultimate portability. Down jackets are an impressive field of gear, and the Arc’teryx Cerium LT hits each mark exceptionally well.
Arc'teryx Cerium LT Star Rating
The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody is a down jacket that hits nearly everything a weight- and cold-conscious backpacker could want. It is light, filled with premium goose down, incredibly puffy, and has a large hood that is quite cozy. The cost is extreme, but for that you get a precise fit, premium materials, and a very capable down jacket.
The Warmest Lightweight Jacket for the Backcountry
The Feathered Friends Eos is a big down jacket from a small brand. Feathered Friends, headquartered in Seattle, has been making extremely high-quality down gear for decades, and their dedication to warmth and function for the backcountry culminates in this fast and light down jacket.
The Eos is minimal, very warm, and uses high-grade materials to create the best minimalist lightweight down jacket around, all while costing quite a bit less than the high-priced competition. The Eos also weighs just under 11 ounces (depending on size), uses 900+ fill goose down, and a Pertex Quantum shell to create a super light, super durable, super warm experience. There are two zippered hand pockets, a generous hood (with no adjustments), and that’s about it. You can’t order it in a jacket version, it doesn’t have very many colors, and it will last a lifetime if properly cared for. The Eos surprises most people, and we think it’s an incredible down jacket.
Feathered Friends Eos Star Rating
The Feathered Friends Eos is a star-studded puffy with heaps of responsibly sourced down to keep you cozy in freezing temps. The no-frills design focuses on comfort and warmth, so there’s only two zippered pockets, a single well-made front zipper, a full hood, and an elastic cinch at the waist. The jacket comes with a bright yellow stuff sack, which is easy to lose but doubles well as a pillow.
If you know Feathered Friends, you know this jacket is quality. When going ultralight this should be near the top of your list.
The Best Ultralight Down Jacket
The Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded Jacket is probably the most “famous” down jacket on this list. Known for its incredible warmth-to-weight ratio, the Ghost Whisperer has a distinct look, weight, and fabric that has kept it in the “best down jacket” conversation for years.
At under 8 ounces for a hooded-down jacket, the Ghost Whisperer is best for those who care about weight more than anything. It’s not as warm as others on this list but is warm enough for most 3-season backpacking, even at elevation. It uses 800-fill down and a custom Whisperer fabric, which is a minuscule 7D x 10D and has a shiny (sometimes called “trash-bag”) appearance. This jacket is minimal, so it has just two zippered hand pockets. Still the best ultralight down jacket around.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded Star Rating
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded down jacket is simply an ultralight masterpiece. At under 8 ounces for a warm, durable, and comfy down jacket that packs into its own pocket and layers exceptionally well, it will be hard to find a better warmth to weight ratio.
The Best Budget Down Jacket
The REI Down Jacket 650 2 is a model that receives improving tweaks year after year and is the retailer’s excellent attempt at a well-made budget down jacket. It is not as warm or as high of quality as some other jackets, but it costs ~$100 (or less, on sale), rather than the $250-plus of its competitors. For that cut in cost, you get 650-fill down, which is heavier and not as lofty, a more generic treated nylon exterior, and two basic hand pockets. However, we’ve found that this level of warmth, weight (still under 11 ounces), and quality is ideal for most urban hikers, day hikers, and car campers.
If you don’t want to drop a lot on a high-performing down jacket that excels at backcountry use, the REI Down Jacket 650 is an incredible, affordable option, especially with the guarantee and REI’s recent commitment to ethically and environmentally sourced goods, like RDS down (used in every jacket on this list), and bluesign approved fabrics.
REI Down Jacket Star Review
The REI Down Jacket is a decent budget choice for those who want responsibly sourced down, bluesign approved fabric, and a lightweight puffy in a wide range of colors. None of its features or warmth will blow you away, but for the price it’s a very capable, versatile jacket.
The Best Down Jacket for Wet Day Hikes
The Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket is a unique down jacket in that it excels at water resistance, a quality not often found in down jackets. It does this in three ways. First, it uses Hydrophobic Treated 750-fill down that’s PFC-free, in conjunction with Nikwax, the leader in waterproofing tech. Second, it uses Pertex Quantum fabric, which is very tightly woven and sprayed with more PFC-free DWR to heavily fend off water. Finally, it has a stiff wire brim, not found in almost any other down jacket, and this keeps the hood up against wind and rain.
The Microlight Alpine Jacket is 17 ounces, which is heavier than other jackets on this list, so unless wet weather is your main issue, we do recommend a lighter jacket. However, the Microlight Alpine Jacket works well in the back- and frontcountry, and doesn’t have the highest end price despite being a very high-quality product.See Women's Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket See Men's Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket
The Best of Premium Down Jacket
The Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Jacket is a feathery beast. Created by ultra-premium, ultra-hip brand Canada Goose (best known for arctic wear worn by celebrities), the Hybridge Lite is their fast and light (of course) jacket billed for city or forest.
It relies more heavily on movement than others in this list and has a Tensile Stretch material along the sides of the torso and arms so that you can bend and twist while also staying warm. It weighs under 10 ounces, has thumb holes, and is one of those very shiny down jackets that’s modeled after a flight jacket. We’ve found the durability and warmth to be incredible. The main barrier is cost, which is exorbitant. You’re paying for brand cache, which is frustrating, but the jacket is made with the highest quality materials in the industry.
Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Jacket Star Rating
The Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Jacket is a surprsingly versatile down jacket that works for urban hikers that want to make a fashion statement, and outdoor enthusaists that want a highly active puffy. The tough 10D exterior shell fabric combines with Tensile Tech, a stretchy panel that runs along the torso and arms for exceptional movement. The Hybridge Lite is stuffed full of 800-fill down, has thumb holes, and weighs just under 10 ounces. It will last, and it will look good doing so.
The Best Classic Down Jacket
The North Face Nuptse is a fun, colorful down jacket that’s been styled in a retro way if “retro” is applicable to the 1990s. It is the heaviest down jacket on this list and is not meant for the backcountry but for urban warmth and style.
It uses 40D and 50D face fabric for serious durability and 700-fill down for an impressive amount of warmth. With a full hood, two zippered hand pockets, and deep style, this is the puffy you will want on those cold city nights.
The North Face Nuptse Star Rating
With a boxy, relaxed cut and enough down filling to make a cloud envious, The North Face Nuptse is both fashionable and absurdly comfortable.
The Best Fitting Down Jacket
- Weight: 16 oz.
- Cost: $290 – $330
- Best For: Car Camper, Day Hiker, Urban Hiker, Wilderness Backpacker
An incredibly warm, windproof, and water-resistant down layer, the KUHL Spyfire is yet another top contender for best overall down jacket. The large baffles are packed with 800-fill down that has been body-mapped to provide you with the most insulation where you need it, and less where you’re body naturally articulates and vents excess heat.
The multi-panel hood features a sizeable brim that’ll surely keep the sun, snow, and rain out of your eyes, which can be clutch. There are five zippered pockets, and this jacket can be had in either jacket or parka lengths.See Women's KUHL Spyfire Down Parka See Men's KUHL Spyfire Down Hoodie
The Best Down Jacket for Bad Weather Backpacking
- Weight: 14.5 oz.
- Cost: $250
- Best For: Car Camper, Day Hiker, Urban Hiker, Ultralight Backpacker, Wilderness Backpacker
The OutdoorVitals NovaPro Ultralight Jacket is a standout ultralight down jacket that excels in water and wind resistance. Made with Nova Zero Stitch fabric, this jacket is completely free of stitches, which means no weak points for rain or wind to penetrate.
What’s more, the jacket’s DownLT insulation combines 850-fill HypderDry down with a small amount of synthetic LoftTek insulation to retain loft even if the jacket does soak through. The combination of supremely warm insulation, weather resistance, and light weight make this an excellent choice for foul-weather backpackers and those who prefer to brave the elements during their adventuring.See men's and women's OutdoorVitals NovaPro Ultralight Jacket
Down Jacket Features
There are many features and specs to look over when deciding on a down jacket. Are all of them important? Sure, if you’re a gearhead. But only some are super important. We highlight them below.
Down Fill Power
One of the key stats you’ll see in any down jacket is “fill power” — as in, the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody uses 800-fill power down. Complicated science aside, this is an easy number to reference the quality of the down. The higher the number, the loftier the down is, which means the warmer it will be.
This means brands can either use less down overall to create the same warmth as a lower down fill jacket or more down to create a much warmer jacket.
Down fill power is about the almighty weight-to-warmth ratio. The higher the fill power, the better your warmth-to-weight ratio.
Down Fill Power Reference Chart
- 900-1000: Extremely high quality. Best loft and warmth-to-weight.
- 800-850: Excellent quality, used most commonly in high-end jackets.
- 700-750: Moderate quality, used in mid-range to high-end jackets.
- 650: Lowest “acceptable” quality in outdoor down jackets.
Pro-Tip: You’ll need to wash your down semi-regularly for it to maintain the loft it came with. Without that, all the fancy down won’t be as warm.
Down Fill Weight
Not to be confused with Down Fill Power, Down Fill Weight is the literal weight of just the down in a jacket. This is an excellent metric that gives you a sense of how warm the jacket will be and how heavy the other materials in the jacket are.
The Feathered Friends Eos down jacket weighs 10.6 ounces overall, and the down fill weight is 3.7 ounces. That means that roughly one-third of the jacket is down, which is quite high. You can surmise then that the jacket will be very warm, and the materials used are very light.
The down fill weight isn’t always that ratio and really depends on the jacket’s purpose. Most of the jackets listed here are all about lightweight warmth rather than big parkas, which often have a very high down fill weight.
Note that not all down jackets list Fill Weight — in fact, many do not — which we think is too bad.
Pro Tip: If you’re buying online and want to answer “will it be warm enough,” check the down-fill weight or ask the company for the weight. This will help you get an answer.
Down jackets are known for poor water resistance. So poor, in fact, that synthetic jackets were created to combat the issue. When down gets wet, it loses loft and, therefore, warmth, and it takes forever to dry out.
Yet down is still the lightest, warmest material out there, so outdoor engineers have set about to improve its water resistance. Today there is “hydrophobic down” — water-resistant down — that has been treated with chemicals at the plume level. This helps it repel water, but more importantly (and more often), it really helps the dry-out time of down.
You can see this in a few of the jackets above, specifically the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket.
While this system works, it’s still not quite as good against water as synthetic insulation.
Pro Tip: If you want a down jacket but are worried about water, look for hydrophobic treated down or a down and synthetic combination.
The hem cinch is a toggle and elastic string at the waist, allowing you to trap in air at the bottom of the jacket.
Since down jackets are used so much for warmth, especially while standing around (or setting up camp) in the brisk hours of the day and night, we find that being able to nearly seal the bottom of the jacket is critical to maintaining that warmth.
Two zippered hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket, preferably internal—that’s what we consider to be the ideal pocket distribution. This allows ample storage around camp and makes for easy use around town too. Your preferences may differ, however.
That said, if you want a truly ultralight down jacket that can double as a backpacking pillow, the fewer pockets and zippers, the better.
Finally, some pockets allow you to stuff a down jacket inside, creating a very small portable package. The best of these work as a pillow. Some people love this, and others just stuff the down jacket deep into their pack.
Pro Tip: Look for jackets that line the hand pockets with down! This will keep your hands toasty.
Picking a jacket with a hood is up for debate. We love hoods, especially down hoods, because when done right, they make sure your noggin’ is warm no matter the situation.
However, if you have a dialed-in layering system that makes a down hood bulky or unnecessary, you can get a jacket version (no hood), which cuts weight and reduces the chance of a large part of the jacket getting wet.
How to Buy Down Jackets
You can simply pull the trigger on any of the jackets above and be assured of receiving a quality product. But there are a few things to consider when looking for a new down puffy.
Ethical and Environmental Responsibility
We’re in an age where ethical and environmental responsibility is on the mind of most consumers, especially outdoor-focused ones.
Down jackets use a live animal product — down feathers.
Down feathers are a byproduct of the meat industry, and therefore have a supply chain that has historically been questionable. Recently the Responsible Down Standard — an agency that ensures ethical sourcing of down — has become the norm for outdoor brands (and other agencies like it).
We believe you should only buy a down jacket that uses the RDS or an equal program, and all the jackets that we have listed do.
Online vs. Real Stores
It’s always nice to feel a product, especially a jacket where sizing is important. However, most of the jackets above follow a form-fitting, active design that is meant to hug the body. If you are typically a size Medium, you should fit into most brands’ Mediums.
Buying online vs. in-person doesn’t matter too much, and online, there are usually more color options and sizes. That said, if sizing is often difficult, try some jackets on in stores.
Used vs. New
Used or new — down jackets continue to work year after year. Unlike synthetic jackets, down can retain its warmth properties for a very long time (20+ years) if properly maintained, so buying used isn’t a problem there.
Make sure the garment is washed or that you can wash it, as dust mites can live in the down and cause allergies.
But, if the product is well-made, fits, and you like it, there’s no reason to get a brand-spankin’ new jacket.
Down Gets Responsible
We mentioned this above, but the push these days is for responsibly sourced down feathers, water-resistant down, and environmentally neutral chemicals to treat that down.
RDS is the leader in the responsible field, and Nikwax is the leader in the chemical field.
A high-end down product today will often have traceable down feathers, be treated down with PFC-free chemicals, and wash fairly easily. We expect this trend to continue and increase in frequency.
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