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There is no one single best down jacket, and that’s a good thing because it means we have choices — there are many best down jackets. Everyone has different body types, likes different outdoor sports, has different budgets, and needs different levels of insulation, breathability, and waterproofness.
In fact, as we see it, there are 29 best down jackets that span three key categories. This might sound daunting, but it’s not: If you understand the key elements that go into your own best down jacket decision, it’s pretty easy to find the best lightweight down jacket for you.
Because most readers just want to get right into the best down jackets and coats, we’ll list them out. If, however, you want to learn more about down, down fill power, water repellant coatings, and fit or sizing tips, use the table of contents links to jump down to those sections.
Lightweight down jackets — as opposed to ultralight down jackets noted below — are the best down jacket choice for most people. Why? Lightweight down jackets tend to use more durable fabrics than ultralight down jackets, making them better for a wider range of everyday uses.
1. REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0
Weight: 13.75 oz Down Fill: 850 fill power goose down, with DWR Best Feature: Outstanding price-to-value ratio
The REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0 delivers an impressive price-to-value ratio though quality materials. One key feature is the Pertex Diamond Fuse ripstop shell. The woven filaments of this shell are diamond shaped instead of simply rounded, which lets them lock together to make the fabric more abrasion-resistant. The shell is also treated with a DWR finish to protect against light rain. Meanwhile, the down is high-quality 850-fill DWR-treated goose down. The underarm baffles are smaller for better arm movement, and a drawcord hem helps seal out drafts. It includes an exterior chest pocket plus two hand warmer pockets positioned to accommodate hip belts. Regular fit, about 13.75 ounces, hoodie only.
REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0
Outstanding quality-to-price ratio
High-quality, hydrophobic down
The Pertex Diamond Fuse ripstop shell is fantastic
Feathered Friends uses super high-quality 900+ fill down, but what’s most great about Feathered Friends is that the company is an enthusiast craftsmanship-focused small business that manufactures in the U.S. And when it comes to the best down jackets, this is rare. The fit and finish of the Eos is fantastic — utterly, truly fantastic. It has a slim fit without binding anywhere. It’s big enough to layer underneath and trim enough to layer over. We’re huge fans. The average weight of the Eos is 10.6 oz, but the overall construction and quality of its down elevates the timeless Eos design to create a down jacket that is everything you need it to be and nothing you don’t. We took the Eos backpacking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in August and were treated to three inches of snow (full Eos review here). All that was needed was a t-shirt, the Eos and a rain jacket shell for toasty, nimble warmth. If you want to support a high-quality U.S. manufactured down-filled jacket, sleeping bag, or quilt, check out Feathered Friends. Plus, if you’re in the Seattle area, check out their store to see their jackets in person.
3. Arc’teryx Thorium AR Down Jacket
Weight: 15.3 oz Down Fill: 750 fill power European grey goose down Best Feature: Excellent fit and finish throughout
Arc’teryx Thorium AR is a lot like the ultralight Cerium LT (skip down to our Best Ultralight Down Jackets section to see it) but the Thorium AR uses a more durable, recently updated shell. You get 750-fill power European grey goose down in the torso, but you also get synthetic Coreloft insulation in the collar and shoulders. Why synthetic insulation in the collar and shoulders? Those two areas get wet the fastest from rain or snow, and synthetics can still insulate while wet. Choose the Thorium AR instead of the ultralight Cerium LT if you want the slightly tougher Arato 30 nylon face fabric and bomber zipper — seriously, we love this zipper. The elasticized cuffs help keep drafts out and are low-profile for easy layering under shell jackets. The Thorium AR also has an adjustable hem drawcord. Arc’teryx says the fit is regular, but we find it slightly trimmer than most regular fit down jackets, making it great for most everyone.
4. Stio Pinion Down Sweater
Weight: 11 oz Down Fill: 800-fill HyperDRY down Best Feature: Near-perfect trim fit
The Stio Pinion Down Sweater is a mountain-town down jacket that fits the Jackson Hole, Wyoming manufacturer’s outdoor ethos — to produce clothes for outdoor enthusiasts for both the “epic and everyday” moments of their lives. We’re on board with that, and the Pinion Down Sweater doesn’t disappoint. The Pinion has 800 fill power hydrophobic goose down. The shell is made from 20D Pertex Quantum Shadow Rip Nylon fabric, which is basically a lightweight ripstop with a tight weave that’s surprisingly supple. A DWR coating sheds light moisture, and the whole jacket weighs in at a very respectable 11 ounces. The zipper is fantastic for this class of lightweight down jacket, but the best feature is the Pinion’s trim fit. The torso is slimmer than most down jackets, but not so trim that you’ll have to avoid the holiday eating season — so don’t size down or up unless you’re super skinny or extra heavy. Check out our full Pinion review for more detail. Oh, one more thing: The sleeves are long enough to cover your wrists when you get active, which is a pleasant surprise.
5. Patagonia Down Sweater
Weight: 13.1 oz Down Fill: 800 fill power goose down Best Feature: Many color options
You can’t go wrong with any Patagonia down jacket or layer, but the Patagonia Down Sweater has 800-fill goose down with a 20D recycled polyester ripstop fabric with a DWR finish. It’s solid, lightweight and dependable, and it includes an interior chest pocket and drawcord waist. The regular weighs about 13.1 ounces. Nothing fancy about the regular-fit looks, but it’s altogether excellent in function and craftsmanship. Again, it’s another long-time Patagonia fan favorite.
The newly updated L.L.Bean Ultralight 850 Down Jacket now has 15% more down, which has been upgraded to DownTek PFC-Free down that stays dry 50% longer than the original DownTek. L.L.Bean also added a bit of length for more coverage and protection from the cold. The Pertex Quantum shell is soft, and wind and water resistant — and it feels great on your skin. The men’s version has a zippered chest pocket (but the women’s version does not). Both have elasticized cuffs and an adjustable drawcord hem. The fit is slightly fitted. Comes in great color choices, too. Learn more:
7. Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket
Weight: 17 oz Down Fill: 750 fill power fluorocarbon free hydrophobic down Best Feature: Excellent slim fit design
The Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket has been an absolute classic for years, and the updated Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket version is even better. It uses a tightly woven Pertex Quantum fabric. The down is a 750-fill power European goose down with fluorocarbon free hydrophobic down, which was developed in conjunction with Nikwax. The adjustable hood has a laminated brim and a flexible polymer peak. For true cold and windy weather, the collar is tall to help protect your face. The Microlight Alpine Down Jacket comes in eight color choices and weighs in at about 17 ounces. Aside from the moisture resistance and excellent overall quality, the Microlight Alpine’s best feature is its extra slim and stylish design.
Mountain Hardwear’s Super/DS StretchDown is a new stretchy technical fabric that is more abrasion-resistant than the company’s previous Stretchdown design. The key difference is the new stretch-baffle construction actually weaves the fabric’s layers together — no more stitching, welding or gluing. The result is a super strong stretch with much improved durability. The stretch, of course, gives you better range of motion during activities, so it’s perfect for climbers, winter athletes, and anyone who likes to throw snowballs. The downside is that it weighs in at just over 1 pound, but compared to most fleece and soft-shell jackets it is still very light. The 700 fill power Q.Shield down is treated, and the 20D nylon/elastane shell has a DWR coating. The active fit is a bit slimmer than average — but that’s perfect because of the stretch.
9. L.L.Bean Ultralight 850 Down Sweater
Weight: 10.0 oz Down Fill: 850 fill power DownTek PFC-Free down Best Feature: Also comes in “tall” versions!
For this season, L.L.Bean has updated its popular Ultralight 850 Down Sweater with boost of 15 percent more down. Plus, L.L.Bean upgraded the down to 850-fill power water-resistant DownTek PFC-Free down. The new down stays dry 50 percent longer than the previous generation of DownTek down. Meanwhile, L.L.Bean is one of the few down jacket manufacturers that offer “tall” versions, which is great for those who have longer arms and torsos. Weighing in at about 10 ounces, it has Pertex Quantum shell that made from recycled ripstop nylon. The stitching also got an upgrade: the new version has a switchback stitch pattern. It is slightly fitted and has an adjustable drawcord at the waist. Most importantly, if you want to size down to get a trimmer fit, the extra sleeve length is particularly nice for those of us with long arms. One last point here: The Ultralight 850 Down Sweater comes with L.L.Bean’s legendary customer satisfaction guarantee.
10. Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 StormDown Jacket
Weight: 12 oz Down Fill: 800 fill power hydrophobic StormDown Best Feature: Tall versions let you size down for an even trimmer fit
The Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 StormDown Jacket is a bit of an anomaly: It’s a down jacket but it’s not really designed to be a “puffy” down jacket. It starts off a little flat looking, but once you put it on and wear it around, it begins to look great. It is one of the thinner down jackets available, and the baffles have an interesting size and angle pattern, so if you’re unsure about the full-on traditional puffy look, the MicroTherm 2.0 StormDown should make your shortlist. We were skeptical at first but became fans (see our full review of the 1.0 version). It has a StormRepel Super DWR finish, but more importantly it’s windproof, and has hydrophobic “StormDown.” Plus, it is one of the few jackets that have tall versions. A Tall XL fits a 6’3” 225-pound athletic guy snug in the torso and its arms are plenty long. It has stretch panels for decent movement around the shoulders, too. What about the 2.0 changes to the previous version? Fit is a bit better, it’s slightly longer, the fabric is softer, and you now get a drawcord at the hem to seal out the cold. We like it well enough at full price but consider it a steal when it’s on sale.
11. Mammut Broad Peak Down Jacket
Weight: 13.4 oz Down Fill: 800 fill power goose down Best Feature: Blends solid style with technical chops
Mammut makes a lot of high-quality, technical alpine gear, and the Broad Peak jacket is our favorite for its overall design — it’s technical and stylish. It uses 800 fill power goose down with a lightweight Pertex Quantum ‘Y Fuse’ material, which feels great, performs well, and is water repellant. You also get a chest pocket, and hand pockets situated higher than usual for accessibility while wearing a backpack or climbing harness. Mammut says it has a regular fit, but we think the fit is just a bit trimmer than average. If you’re looking for a lighter, more down sweater -like version, be sure to check out the new Broad Peak Light.
12. KÜHL Spyfire Down Jacket
Weight: 14.4 oz Down Fill: 800-fill goose down Best Feature: Great overall style
If you want a lightweight down jacket that doesn’t look like a down jacket, the KÜHL Spyfire is for you. It’s decidedly stylish and seems to look great on most everyone . . . but it is built to handle more outdoor adventure than you might think. For instance, the TUFFLEX soft shell reinforced shoulders are strong enough to let you carry skis or equipment with sharp edges. You also get lightweight underarm knit panels that help heat escape when you’re active. The Spyfire is water-resistant, windproof, and uses 800-fill goose down. One key to most KÜHL clothing is the attention to movement — the company uses articulated panels better than most any other company (read our ‘Once You Go KÜHL, You Never Go Back’ post for more detail). If you want a down jacket that can transition from snowshoeing in the woods to hanging out in a mountain town, it’s hard to go wrong with the KÜHL Spyfire Down Jacket — just know that’s it’s a fairly light jacket, so it doesn’t have the same level of warmth as puffier options.
13. Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown Jacket
Weight: 15.4 oz Down Fill: 800 fill power hydrophobic StormDown Best Feature: Classic design, classic fit — with a tall option
While the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm down jacket noted above is on the thinner side of down jackets, the Downlight StormDown Jacket has a more classic down baffle design. The 800 fill power StormDown delivers more puff and insulating capability through the larger baffles. Perhaps most importantly, it also has a tall option. The fit is a classic universal fit, which means there will be more room around the torso. If you want a slimmer fit, choose the tall and size down to keep the sleeve length where you want it. The 20D ripstop polyester shell uses the Eddie Bauer StormRepel Super DWR finish.
14. Columbia Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Hooded Jacket
Weight: N/A Down Fill: 550 fill power Best Feature: Many size options
Columbia’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown line of down jackets now come in tall versions . . . as well as big versions. This is awesome news for those of us who aren’t an average size but still want a great fit. Better yet, Columbia’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown series offers an excellent midrange price-to-value ratio. The 550-fill-power down isn’t the fluffiest grade of down, but it’s combined with a Columbia Omni-Heat thermal reflective layer to help reflect your own body heat back to you. Plus, it includes 40g of Microtemp XF II polyester insulation, which if you’re doing math, leads to the “590” in the jacket’s name. But that’s not all, Columbia welded the Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket with wavelike baffles that combine three offset layers of insulation to avoid cold spots that can come through stitching areas. This leads to better heat retention. The shell includes a DWR coating. If you don’t want the hood, you can nab a non-hooded version, too. Columbia offers the Voodoo Falls in several standard sorts of colors, but the Navy Topo Fade Print that fades from a bright blue to a darker blue? Very nice.
15. Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Jacket
Weight: 13.7 oz Down Fill: 650 fill power goose down Best Feature: Baffle design looks great (and works well)
The new Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Jacket has been updated with increased down and modern design lines — but retains the timeless design that has made it so popular. The 20D ripstop shell and lining does a great job of blending lightness with durability. As for pockets, the 650-fill goose down jacket packs into its own pocket and has a handy chest pocket. It comes in at about 13 ounces, which is pretty light considering the baffle size. Of course, OR makes it in a variety of excellent colors. The big win here is the price-to-value ratio — it’s spot on.
Best Budget Down Jackets
The best budget down jackets should cost around $100 or less. . . .
16. REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0
Weight: 11 oz Down Fill: 650 fill power down Best Feature: Great entry-level pricing
The REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0 offers one of the best overall price-to-value ratios. The men’s version only weighs 11 ounces, which is surprisingly competitive for the price point. The 650-fill-power down isn’t the fluffiest, but the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket will stuff down into its own pocket. Both pockets are zippered, which we always appreciate. The nylon shell fabric has a DWR finish. The sizing is about average, but the new 2.0 versions now include a tall sizing option . . . but only in black. Still, it’s a great start for tall guys. The women’s versions also offer plus sizing (no specific tall). All-in-all, the the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket is an affordable, no-frills jacket that does its job — in fact, it’s easily our favorite down jacket under $100. The men’s hoodie version is a bit more, as is the women’s down parka option — but they’re still great values at can’t-go-wrong pricing.
When it’s at full price at $99 or so, the Eddie Bauer CirrusLite is a decent deal, but when you nab it on sale it’s a fantastic budget down jacket. You get 650 fill power RDS down and the nylon shell has a DWR finish. Better yet, Eddie Bauer offers it in Tall sizes, too.
Best Ultralight Down Jackets
To make it into our ultralight down jacket category, the down jackets should weigh under 10 ounces.
18. Arc’teryx Cerium LT Down Jacket
Weight: 9.9 oz Down Fill: 850 fill power goose down Best Feature: Shoulders use synthetic Coreloft insulation for backpacking durability
Arc’teryx consistently produces awesome backcountry gear and the Cerium LT — the LT in the Arc’teryx naming scheme stands for lightweight — could make most anyone’s best down jacket shortlist. At 9.9 ounces, the Cerium LT uses a 850-fill power European white goose down in the torso and arms but uses a synthetic Coreloft insulation for the shoulder and collar, which is better for durability under a backpack as well as potential wetness from rain. The DWR shell is made of Arato 10 ripstop nylon. The Cerium looks superb, has a trim fit, is very functional, and has impeccable design. Oh, one last thing: If you want to drop nearly three ounces, try the superlight Cerium SL version.
Made in Canada, the Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody is one of the most expensive down jackets going today, but it’s loaded with features, starting with 800-fill-power goose down. It weighs just 9.6 ounces but Canada Goose packs in two hand pockets, two chest pockets, and an internal mesh stretch pocket. Plus it has a stretch Lycra hood edge, and the sleeves have thumbholes — and pretty much everyone loves thumbholes. The sides are made from a stretchy material which makes the Hybridge Lite suitable for active wearers, but that stretch design also helps ensure a trim fit. The 10D outer fabric has a DWR coating to fend off some moisture, but it is super thin, so wear a protective shell in the woods. Still, Canada Goose has created something special here: The Hybridge Lite is able to show off its technical construction and hints at its interior down insulation in a way that elevates it into a something downright stylish. It even has reflective tape on the back of the hood for nighttime visibility. If you can afford it, choose a Hybridge Lite and don’t look back. Oh, one more thing: There’s a sweet camo version, too.
20. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2
Weight: 8.3 oz Down Fill: 800 fill power Q.Shield DWR goose down Best Feature: Ultralight weight
The Ghost Whisperer ultralight down jacket has been a long-term high-performance favorite, and the updated Ghost Whisperer/2 continues to deliver, now with a 100% recycled shell fabric. On the inside, it uses 800-fill Q.Shield hydrophobic treated down with smaller baffles that are nicely packed with down. The shell is thin and ultralight — it’s a 10D ripstop nylon, which helps keep the weight to a low 8.3 oz. Still, the Ghost Whisperer/2 is surprisingly warm. If you find a previous generation on sale in the colors you like, we wouldn’t hesitate to nab it. The only downside is that the 10D Ghost Whisperer fabric is thin and can tear if you wear it in the woods without a shell — so pack a GearAid adhesive patch in the backcountry. Size down if you want a trimmer fit — we find that it runs slightly big in the body.
Weighing in at a mind-blowing 4.8 ounces, the Plasma 1000 is even lighter than the Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer. To reach this level of lightness, Montbell uses the best down and then makes some sacrifices. What sacrifices? The Plasma 1000 does not have pockets, nor does it have a drawcord to seal out drafts. The exterior fabric is super thin, too, so much so that Montbell warns that it requires special care. Despite the drawbacks, if you want a barely-there, super ultralight — but toasty warm layer — the Plasma is for you.
These are the warmest down jackets for men and women in our guide. They might be technically named jackets, but for practical purposes, most people consider them to be down coats or even down parkas. If you’re looking for down coat warmth you don’t need to layer with, start here.
22. The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket
Weight: 25.4 oz Down Fill: 700 fill power goose down Best Feature: Classic style and superb warmth
The North Face has brought back the classic styling of its iconic Nuptse Jacket from its 1996 collection — so cool. The “new” 1996 Retro Nuptse is a big and unapologetic puffy that’s insanely warm and looks as good on a city street as it does on the sidewalk of a mountain town. Nobody looks slim in this jacket, but somehow everyone looks good in it — and in the 1996 Nuptse Vest, too. If you’re stuck on a gift idea this year, it’s hard to go wrong with a 1996 Retro Nuptse — the North Face was onto something special in 1996, no doubt about it. You get oversize down baffles with the original shiny ripstop fabric. The shell has a DWR coating to fend off snow and light rain, and it comes with a stowable hood that packs into the collar. The goose down is 700-fill-power. Despite the size, it packs down into its own pocket, includes an internal zippered pocket, and has adjustable Velcro cuff tabs and a bungee cinch at the hem to help you seal out cold drafts. Oh, one more thing: We like the burly front zipper.
23. Rab Neutrino Pro Jacket
Weight: 21.3 oz Down Fill: 800 fill power European hydrophobic goose down Best Feature: Lightweight (but very puffy) and super warm
This technical mountaineering jacket boasts 800 fill-power goose down and uses a Pertex Quantum Pro outer fabric. The adjustable hood is helmet compatible and features a wired peak. The front zipper is two-way, so you can unzip the bottom, which can be handy for venting and even just sitting down to prevent the front from ballooning out. If you fear the cold and want hard-core warmth, the Neutrino Pro is for you. The mid-level pricing for this jacket is great, too.
24. Stio Hometown Down Hooded Jacket
Weight: 2o oz Down Fill: 800 fill power HyperDRY goose down Best Feature: Versatile midsize baffles for warmth without too much bulk
If want a bit more warmth and insulation than you’ll find in most typical lightweight down jackets, the Stio Hometown Down Hooded Jacket might be right for you. You get 800-fill responsibly sourced HyperDRY water repellant goose down that is stuffed into versatile midsized baffles. And — as with most of the generally excellent outdoor-ready Stio clothing line — the color options rise above standard fare: Stio delivers rich, distinctive hues to choose from.
25. REI Co-op Stormhenge 850 Down Jacket
Weight: 27 oz Down Fill: 850 fill power goose down with DWR Best Feature: Two-layer waterproof outer shell
This waterproof down jacket from REI is definitely more of a coat or parka than a lightweight down jacket. In fact, it’s super warm. Its best feature is the two-layer waterproof outer shell, but the massive pits zips are awesome and let you easily dump excess heat while active (read our full Stormhenge review). The Stormhenge uses high-quality DWR-treated 850-fill power goose down that’s body-mapped to deliver more insulation where you need it most. The fit and finish compete well against jackets that cost twice as much. In fact, the price-to-value ratio of the REI Co-op Stormhenge 850 Down Jacket is superb. It runs just a bit big, which is great for multiple layers, but if you want a slimmer fit that you can throw on over any shirt (because the Stormhenge is plenty warm for most activities) size down.
26. Mountain Equipment Lightline
Weight: 26.1 oz Down Fill: 8 Best Feature: Adjustable zip-off hood
There is a lot to appreciate about the Lightline. It’s a bit heavier than some lighter down coats, but it’s packed with 700 fill-power duck down. It boasts a windproof and water-resistant Drilite 40D shell. It straddles the line between a down parka that can handle challenging environments but the affordable price and style can work well for casual use, too. Velcro cuffs, adjustable hem, and get this: It has a fully-adjustable zip-off hood. Gotta love that.
27. Marmot Guides Down Hoody
Weight: 23.2 oz Down Fill: 700 fill power hydrophobic down Best Feature: Excellent price-to-value ratio
The Marmot Guides Down Hoody uses 700 fill power down with Marmot’s hydrophobic Down Defender coating and a DWR coating on the nylon shell. Zippered hand warmer pockets, chest pocket, interior pockets, and adjustable Velcro cuffs. You get an elastic drawcord at the hem, as well as Marmot’s “Angle-Wing Movement” design, which gives you plenty of mobility around your arms and shoulders. It’s a classic overall design, built with Marmot excellence.
28. Outdoor Research Floodlight II Down Jacket
Weight: 29.4 oz Down Fill: 650 fill power goose down Best Feature: Zip-off hood
The new Outdoor Research Floodlight II is waterproof, windproof, breathable, and fully seam-taped . . . and it uses 650 fill power goose down. For 2019-20, Outdoor Reseach updated the Floodlight II with improved seam taping, a sleeker exterior design, and increased down insulation. You get hook/loop cuffs, an elastic drawcord hem, and chest pocket. Plus, Outdoor Research includes two interior mess stuff pockets, which are fantastic for googles, hats and gloves. All-in-all, OR has packed a lot of greatness packed into this one — especially if you’re expecting big wet snowflakes. Hooded only!
29. Triple F.A.T. Goose Norden Hooded Bomber Jacket
Weight: 60 oz Down Fill: 700 fill power white goose down Best Feature: Outstanding style
If you’re looking for a down coat that is freakishly warm yet screams classic style, the Triple F.A.T. Goose Norden Hooded Bomber Jacket is for you. We must admit we initially had our doubts, but after Triple F.A.T. Goose sent us a review unit to get us a closer look (full review coming soon), we knew we had something special on our hands. Triple F.A.T. Goose is more of a lifestyle brand that hit the scene in the 80’s with super warm luxury down jackets — think coats and parkas that tend to look stunning on cold city streets. But that’s not exactly the whole story. The F.A.T. stands for ‘For Arctic Temperatures’ and while we’re not in the Arctic, we can confirm that the Norden Hooded Bomber Jacket is very warm. In addition, while the Norden has stylish design elements, it also boasts mountain-ready features like pit zips that let you dump heat and interior stretch wrist and thumb cuffs that seal out cold drafts. The coat is loaded with a thick layer of 700 fill power goose down and the shell has a DWR coating.
Better yet, that cool hood is removable . . . but if you want to keep the hood but aren’t confident enough to rock the fur, the fur zips off, leaving you with a slimmer hood. And without the hood, the Nordon still looks fantastic. We didn’t expect to like the Norden Hooded Bomber Jacket this much, but here we are. If you error toward wicked cool style over techie down jackets, try the Triple F.A.T. Goose Norden Hooded Bomber Jacket. Sizing is about a half-size small, but if you look at the sizing charts for chest circumference and size to the right chest size, you’ll be good to go.
What is down Fill Power?
Down is basically the ultralight and ultra-fuzzy plumage from geese or ducks. It’s one of nature’s most amazing insulating materials — it’s lighter and better than any synthetic insulation. Down is measured by fill power, which ranges from 550-650 on the entry-level end to 850-900 or so on the high end. The fill power is a measurement for the fluffiness of the down — higher fill power means the down fibers can trap more air, which provides more insulation. In general, higher fill power ratings equate to lighter, fluffier, higher-quality down fibers.
What is RDS down?
The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) identifies and tracks humanely and responsibly sourced down insulation from their farm source to the manufacturer via third-party audits. The best down jacket manufacturers only use RDS-tracked down.
What is DWR?
DWR stands for Durable Water Repellant. Some of the best down jackets have a DWR chemical coating on the outer shell that repels water. These coatings are pretty much never fully waterproof, but they can shed a lot of water when they’re new. After a year or two, expect the DWR coating to wear off even the very best down jackets, after which you can often refresh it with some spray-on options.
What is hydrophobic down?
Hydrophobic down refers to down that has been chemically treated with a water-resistant coating. While a DWR coating helps keep water on the outside of a jacket, hydrophobic down tries to keep the down fibers dry on the inside. There are several different brands of hydrophobic treatments, but the effects are similar. Hydrophobic down resists moisture in the form of rain, sweat or water vapor produced by your own body. If you’re highly active, error toward hydrophobic down.
If you plan to wear your down jacket in wet weather, for instance, you’ll want to layer it under a waterproof shell like a rain jacket or ski jacket. In fact, two light layers — a down jacket with a waterproof jacket over the top — combine to create a super warm system that’s great for snow sports and even backpacking in the mountains.
Fit & Sizing Tips
Down jackets are generally made for layering — they are cut so you can wear a base layer or t-shirt as well as a long-sleeve shirt underneath the down jacket. Sizing is usually pretty accurate, but if you’re a tall thin guy, you’ll want to pay close attention. Some brands and models provide more torso space than others. Average builds win out with down jacket size options.
Men and women looking for more athletic cuts should carefully read the descriptions below, and if your best down jacket will be worn over just a t-shirt, you might want to size down for a slimmer fit.
Men’s down jackets tend to have straight torsos while the best women’s down jackets are starting to narrow the waists and flare the hips for better fit. Either way, most down jackets look a bit blocky when you first buy them. Once you wear them in, the exterior fabric will soften and look more rounded and natural.
For example, if your brand new down jacket sleeve — which was folded during shipping or sat on a hanger for 6 months — looks funny out of the package with a crease, rest assured, it’ll soften and start looking normal after you wear it for a few days.
On one final note, if you’re into winter and cool-weather sports where you’re going to be so active that you either sweat or release gobs of water vapor, a real down jacket probably isn’t the best jacket for you. No, if you’re super active and tend to sweat easily under exertion, just get the Patagonia Nano-Air Insulated Hooded Jacket. It’s not down, but it’s lightweight, water-resistant, and boasts 4-way stretch. Hardcore hikers, skiers, and active adventurers love it. Skiers and snowboarders even wear the stretchy hood underneath their helmets for extra warmth. It’s a bit spendy, sure, and it doesn’t look as a great as a down jacket, but it’s a can’t-go-wrong synthetic layer that should last years.