Cooler temperatures shouldn’t be an obstacle to your hiking adventures. Whether you are preparing for winter or planning a trip in the high mountains, buying a good down jacket is the best thing you can do to be safe from the cold. The best down jackets are lightweight but highly effective even the harshest situations.
With hundreds of models available on the market you’ll be spoiled for choice, with cuts, colors, and unusual combinations of materials all competing for your attention. We have carefully selected the ten best down jackets out there to make the shopping process a little easier, picking models for every budget and possible use.
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Quick Answer - The Best Down Jackets
- The North Face Summit
- REI Co-op 650 2.0
- Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer 2
- Rab Valiance
- Rab Microlight Alpine
- KUHL Arktik
- Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie
- The North Face Stretch Down
- Patagonia Silent
- Cotopaxi Fuego
Comparison Table - Best Down JacketsFor the best experience turn your device horizontally
|The North Face Summit||Alpine excursions||14.1 oz||Yes||$$||5.0||Read Review|
|REI Co-op 650 2.0||Casual, Hiking||11 oz||No||$||4.7||Read Review|
|Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer 2||Multisport||8.8 oz||Yes||$$||4.7||Read Review|
|Rab Valiance||Mountaineering||1 lb. 7.2 oz.||Yes||$$$||4.5||Read Review|
|Rab Microlight Alpine||Multisport, Alpine||1 lb. 0.5 oz.||Yes||$$||4.5||Read Review|
|KUHL Arktik||Casual Use||3 lbs. 4 oz.||Yes||$$$||5.0||Read Review|
|Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie||Multisport||15.1 oz.||Yes||$$||4.8||Read Review|
|The North Face Stretch Down||Multisport||1 lb. 3 oz.||No||$$||4.7||Read Review|
|Patagonia Silent||Hiking||1 lb. 4.8 oz.||No||$$||4.4||Read Review|
|Cotopaxi Fuego||Multisport||0.87 lbs.||Yes||$$||4.8||Read Review|
Reviews - The Best Hiking Down Jackets
The North Face Summit
- Best For: Alpine excursions
- Fabric: 100% nylon ripstop, DWR finish
- Insulation: 800-fill ProDown
- Weight: 14.1 oz
- Hood: Yes
- DWR treatment fights off light precipitation
- Helmet compatible hood traps extra heat and blocks wind
- Slim fitting design layers well under technical shells
- Multiple pockets
BEST OVERALL MEN’S DOWN JACKET
If you’re a serious adventurer looking for a great all-around jacket, the Summit is sure to meet your needs.
Built for performance, this 800 fill down jacket boasts five pockets — including an external chest pocket for stashing those essentials that necessitate easy access. The tapered fit is perfect for layering underneath while providing plenty of movement through the shoulders. The extended torso allows this jacket to fit nicely under harnesses or hip belts, as well, adding an additional application.
What I like most about this jacket is the hydrophobic treated down used in construction, which serves to help repel water in wet conditions.
REI Co-op 650 2.0
- Best For: Casual, Hiking
- Fabric: Recycled nylon taffeta
- Insulation: 650-fill-power down
- Weight: 11 oz
- Hood: No
- Recycled nylon shell fabric treated with a durable water repellent finish
- Highly compressible—packs into its own left-hand pocket
- Stretch cuffs and hem hold in warmth, keep out cold and snow
BEST BUDGET CHOICE
This great entry-level down piece is ideal for trips around town or a casual weekend hiking or backpacking trip.
Weighing in at only 10 ounces, this jacket is light on both your back AND your wallet. The light weight comes from using 650 fill power down combined with lightweight shell materials, which does make this jacket slightly less durable than others on this list. It’s tailored for a loose fit, making this jacket cozy but difficult to layer over.
What I like most about the 650 2.0 are the internal stash pockets, perfect for stashing gloves or a cell phone.
Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer 2
- Best For: Multisport
- Fabric: Ripstop shell fabric with DWR finish
- Insulation: 800-fill down
- Weight: 8.8 oz
- Hood: Yes
- Two zippered hand pockets
- Elastic hood and cuffs
- Highly packable design stuffs into its own pocket with internal carabiner clip loop
BEST FOR: ULTRALIGHT HIKING
With the best weight to warmth ratio on the market, this jacket is a no brainer for those of you counting the ounces on your next adventure.
Not only does this jacket provide for a decent level of warmth in a 8.5 ounce package, but it’s also highly compressible. Mountain Hardwear beefed up sustainability this year, sourcing ethical down and using recycled nylon for the shell. The Ghost Whisperer features a no-frills design, including two hand pockets and a hem cinch.
What I like most about this jacket is the tailored athletic fit that allows me to move around really freely.
- Best For: Mountaineering
- Fabric: Nylon
- Insulation: European Goose Down
- Weight: 1 lb. 7.2 oz.
- Hood: Yes
- Ethically Sourced European Goose Down Insulation
- Durable, Waterproof, Fully Taped Outer Shell
- Comes With A Stuff Sack For Easy Packing
BEST FOR: THE ANY-WEATHER EXPLORER
Inclement weather often puts a hold on hiking and mountaineering plans but the Rab Valiance down jacket claims to shield you from that. It is equipped with a nylon lining and 800-fill, ethically sourced down. Both work together to repel water and provide warmth during rainfalls and thunderstorms. Plus, a 3-layer waterproofing treatment is sure to keep any moisture out.
Other features of the jacket add to its practicality. It has 5 different pockets, so you can store all your essentials on your body without worrying about carrying a pack. The hand pockets also have a hand-warming quality to them.
If you need to wear a helmet for biking on the trails or climbing, the jacket offers a helmet-compatible hood with a wired peak, like a cap, and insulating synthetic fibers, keeping you safe and warm. For more comfort, the drawcords at the hem and the rear of the hood are oversized, so they are easier to grab onto when you are wearing gloves, providing maximum adjustability and comfort.
Rab Microlight Alpine
- Best For: Multisport, Alpine
- Fabric: Ripstop recycled nylon, DWR finish
- Insulation: 700-fill goose down
- Weight: 1 lb. 0.5 oz.
- Hood: Yes
- Reliable hydrophobic down stays warm if it gets wet
- Adjustable hood provides coverage against biting winds
- Hand and chest pockets offer necessary storage for essential gear
- Included stuff sack allows jacket to easily fit into any pack
MOST SUSTAINABLY CRAFTED
If you care about the environment, this jacket is a great option to consider.
Excellent at repelling water, this jacket is designed for light and fast expeditions and serves as a great choice for shoulder season cragging and hiking. The weather resistance offered by this jacket combined with a 700 fill down gives you all the protection you need. Features include five pockets, hood cinches, hem cinches, and other thoughtful extras, like fleece around the face.
What I like most about the Microlight Alpine is the push to use recycled down and the more sustainable water resistance treatment Rab applied compared to others in its class.
- Best For: Casual Use
- Fabric: Waxed Cotton, Polyester, Nylon
- Insulation: 800-fill Goose Down
- Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.
- Hood: Yes
- Water-resistant Fabric Is Waxed To Withstand Rain And Snow
- Italian Faux-leather Trim Creates A Distinctive Look And Reinforces The Stress Points
- Extended Inner Cuffs With Kuhl Signature Thumbholes Seal Out Cold
BEST FOR: THE STYLISH HIKER
The KUHL Arktik down parka manages to combine two different things: style and practicality. It has several types of fabric, such as waxed cotton, polyester, micro-suede, and faux fur, to create a unique look. However, these fabrics not only look nice but they also serve specific purposes like reinforcing stress points and adding to the captured warmth. Although, undoubtedly, the main reason for the jacket’s warmth is its ethically sourced down.
The jacket has a water-resistant coating for protection against snow and rain. Plus, the wire-inforced hood can be adjusted for a snug fit. As for the sleeves, their inner cuffs with distinctive thumbholes eliminate the ingress of cold. For more practicality, the jacket includes many pockets: 2 chest, 1 inner, and 2 hand-warmer ones. And for more style, it includes a quality stitched crest patch on the shoulder, and a faux metal zipper that is more lightweight than real metal.
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie
- Best For: Multisport
- Fabric: Recycled Ripstop Polyester
- Insulation: 800-fill Traceable Down Goose Down
- Weight: 15.1 oz.
- Hood: Yes
- Tough, Windproof And Water-resistant Shell
- Zippered Handwarmer Pockets
- Comfortable Nylon-bound Elastic Cuffs Seal In Warmth
BEST FOR: THE ACTIVIST
The Patagonia down sweater hoodie starts off this list on an environmentally friendly note. Not only is it made with 100% recycled ripstop fabric but it has also been verified in using ethically sourced goose down. These sustainable materials are also backed up by water-repellent finishes, resulting in a tough and weather-proof jacket. Plus, you can stuff the jacket into a pocket sack to save space in your backpack.
As for the more minor details, this jacket has plenty. For instance, its zippered pockets have a hand-warming quality to them. Also, there is a cord in the pockets that you can pull to tighten the hem of your jacket for a snugger fit. If you need more warmth, the nylon-bound cuffs will seal it in but if you need a breather, the front zipper’s stormflap will wick away excess heat. Overall, this is a cozy and lightweight jacket with many features and care for sustainability.
The North Face Stretch Down
- Best For: Multisport
- Fabric: Nylon, Elastane
- Insulation: 700-fill-power Goose Down
- Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz.
- Hood: No
- 700-fill-power Goose Down Offers Phenomenal Warmth While Being Highly Packable
- Stretch-woven Fabric Combines Mobility And Comfort
- Zippered Hand Pockets For Keeping All Your Essentials
BEST FOR: MOBILITY
If you are looking for a multisport jacket, take a look at the North Face stretch down jacket. It is made with a special fabric – a mix of nylon and stretch-woven elastane – that gives you unrestricted movement for any activity, be that hiking, climbing, or yoga. This fabric is further treated with a durable water-repelling finish that sheds off raindrops, snow, and stains. Plus, the cuffs are elastic-bound, giving you comfort and sealing in warmth. The hem can also seal in warmth with its cinching cord.
This slim-fit jacket is not only comfortable but also warm and packable. Its 700-fill goose down proves to be very warm and compressible, enough so that you can use one of the hand pockets as a built-in stuff sack. The 700-fill down is a high rating of warmth and compressibility, yet the jacket only weighs barely more than a single pound. Also, this is a low-maintenance jacket, so it can be machine washed!
- Best For: Hiking
- Fabric: Polyester (70% Recycled) Taffeta
- Insulation: Recycled Duck And Goose Down
- Weight: 1 lb. 4.8 oz.
- Hood: No
- Water-repellent Shell Protects You From Both Rain And Snow
- Insulated With 100% Recycled Down
- Handwarmer Pockets Lined With Soft Microfleece For Extra Warmth
BEST FOR: UNIQUE DESIGN
The Patagonia Silent down shirt jacket has the look of an office shirt but the comfort of a winter jacket. It is made with 700-fill duck and goose down for warmth and polyester with a durable water-repellent for protection against rain and snow. Plus, both the down and the polyester are partially recycled, giving the jacket sustainability points. The resulting fabric is stretchy and quiet, as opposed to many other winter jackets that creak and rustle when you move.
The shirt-like collar is made to stand up, shielding the back of your neck from cold wind. The two side-entry pockets have a micro-fleece lining, warming up your hands and giving you comfort even in the bitter cold. Furthermore, there are two large chest pockets where you can stash any necessities. Finally, this jacket has adjustable sleeve cuffs with snap-tab closures that will seal in the warmth. Overall, this is a basic down jacket but it does have some hidden gems.
- Best For: Multisport
- Fabric: 20-denier Giant-ripstop Nylon
- Insulation: 800-fill-power Goose Down
- Weight: 0.87 lbs.
- Hood: Yes
- Durable Water Repellent Finish Protects Against Moisture And Stains
- Water-resistant Goose Down Retains Warmth In Colder Environments
- Two Interior Stash Pockets And Zippered Hand Pockets To Store Small Items
BEST FOR: LIGHT WEIGHT
As opposed to other men’s jackets so far, the Cotopaxi Fuego hooded down jacket is positioned as your year-round companion. It features a durable water-repellent finish, a ripstop nylon shell, and certified goose down, which together result in a warm, weather-proof, and stain-proof product. This, of course, is great for cooler times of the year. And during the warmer times, this jacket has breathable underarm panels that wick away excess heat, so you always feel comfortable.
A scuba hood offers more space and adjustability to secure its fit. The hem also features flexible adjustment, so you can seal in the warmth or make it more loose for ventilation. The Fuego is equipped with 2 stash pockets as well as hand pockets, giving you enough space for your essential and valuable belongings. Plus, the jacket comes with its own separate stuff sack so packing it away and taking it with you wherever you go is a cinch.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A DOWN JACKET
One of the first things to consider when buying a down jacket is its weight. Considering that you will often have to carry the jacket in your backpack as you start to heat up, it is important to keep in mind how much pressure it will put on your shoulders. Here are some tips on what to wear hiking.
While down is generally a lightweight material, jackets can vary a lot in terms of weight. Ultralight jackets tend to come at a higher price, however there are no strict rules that determine when this label should be employed.
Another characteristic you should keep in mind when shopping for down jackets is their packed size. Some jackets are more compressible than others and you should always take into account how much space these jackets occupy in your luggage, especially if you plan to go backpacking for many days in a row.
Compared to synthetic materials, down has the advantage of offering unparalleled compressibility. Even the jackets with higher fill power can become tiny when packed down, although the thickness of the shell, pockets, and zippers can make a difference. Some jackets come with a stuff sack that will help you reduce the size of the packed jacket to a minimum.
Fill power refers to the insulating quality of the down and usually ranges between 500 and 900. The measure is calculated based on the space occupied by one ounce of down feathers and indicates how effective it is in trapping body heat. A higher fill power means that the jacket will perform better in colder climates. Mid-range jackets usually provide a fill power of 550 to 650, while technical clothing used in extreme environments can go up to 800 or more.
Most down jackets are treated to be fully waterproof, so it’s hard to go wrong here. The outer shell of the jacket is usually made with a synthetic material that is covered with DWR (Durable Water Repellent). DWR protects from moisture, rain, and snow.
Down stops protecting from the cold when it gets wet, which is why many brands treat the insulating material as well. Hydrophobic down has been made resistant to water before being inserted into the jacket, thus providing an extra layer of protection. Check out our guide on How to Layer Clothes for Cold Weather for more information.
Some jackets come with a hood while others don’t. The clear advantage of the hood is that it offers additional protection to neck and head against both the cold and the rain. On the other hand, the hood can significantly increase the bulk of the jacket, reducing its packability and increasing its total weight.
A type of reinforced synthetic fabric, usually nylon, designed to be more durable and resist ripping.
Durable Water Repellent. A coating added to the outer shell of the jacket to make them water-resistant.
The outer layer of the jacket.
A number ranging from 500 to 900, indicating the quality of the down. Down with higher fill power offers more insulation.
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