In the last two decades, synthetic jackets have come a long way. However, the warmth-to-weight ratio offered by these innovative outfits still can’t rival that of the market’s best down jackets. After all, down provides so much warmth that it allows geese and ducks to swim in freezing water!

Besides the fact that they’re great at keeping the cold at bay, down jackets are also extremely packable and lightweight. These and other qualities turn down jackets into perfect garments for activities such as backpacking, mountaineering, and skiing, but also for everyday use around town.

However, with dozens of manufacturers and hundreds of different models, it can be excruciatingly difficult to determine which down jacket is the right option for you. We all know about the big names – but there are many other brands like Patagonia or The Nort Face that offer down jackets that are just as reliable and warm as the ones made by the well-known companies. You can check the comparison between North Face and Marmot.

In this article, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the market’s very best down jackets, with the ultimate goal of helping you find the right model for your needs. We’ll also provide an overview of features you should keep in mind while shopping for a down jacket.

The Best Down Jacket on the Market

Patagonia Down Sweater

Patagonia Down Sweater

Specifications:

  • Fill: 800-fill-power down
  • Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Category: Lightweight

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The market of down jackets ranges from casual options to technical garments and everything in between. However, there’s still one model that is far more versatile than any other on the market – Patagonia Down Sweater.

Using down whose fill power stands at 800, Patagonia Down Sweater provides enough warmth for cold-weather backpacking while staying lightweight and packable at the same time. You won’t need a separate stuff sack for this jacket – it stuffs into its internal pocket.

The build quality of this down-insulated jacket is just as great. Of all the popular brands, we consider Patagonia to be the only one whose products are truly durable and rarely let their users down. In addition, the model looks great for around-town use – not many brands can match Patagonia when it comes to crossover appeal.

When it comes to shortcomings, our biggest complaint is that this jacket isn’t as lightweight as Patagonia Micro Puff, the company’s most popular synthetic model. At 13.1 ounces, it’s all but ultralight – those looking to shave as much weight as possible should consider some of the options listed below. Furthermore, if you want your down jacket to have a hood, make sure to check out Sweater Hoody – it’s the hooded version of this very same garment.

We also have to mention that this jacket isn’t as tailored as some of the other jackets on this list (layering it is quite easy, though). Finally, Patagonia Down Sweater isn’t cheap, but that’s something to be expected from the company that manufactures some of the market’s most durable and stylish jackets.

The Good:

Exceptionally stylish, durable, and versatile

The Bad:

Could be lighter


The Best Heavyweight Down Jacket

Rab Neutrino Pro

Rab Neutrino Pro

Specifications:

  • Fill: 800-fill-power down
  • Weight: 1 pound 5.3 ounces
  • Category: Heavyweight

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Based in the United Kingdom, Rab is a favorite brand of many mountaineers and climbers. Updated in 2020, the company’s Neutrino Pro jacket is an ideal choice for all those cold-weather hiking enthusiasts.

The newest version of Rab Neutrino Pro retains most of the features that turned the previous iteration into a classic, with the addition of a Pertex Quantum Pro shell. However, the best thing about this beloved garment is undoubtedly the fact that it packs a lot of down.

As a heavyweight option, this jacket packs 8 ounces (fill weight) of high-quality down with water-resistant properties. It does this while coming at a price that’s roughly the same as that of the less warm jackets designed by the likes of Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, or Arc Teryx. What’s more, the model sports a high-quality, weather-resistant 20D shell.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that, as a heavyweight down jacket, Rab Neutrino Pro isn’t exactly the most suitable choice for trekking in mild conditions. While it does keep its user warm and comfortable during long winter hikes, it’s not as versatile as, say, Mountain Equipment Senja (which we have analyzed below). Still, this is an exceptionally well-made garment that offers a lot for the price and stands as one of the best options for folks looking for a genuinely warm down jacket.

The Good:

Packed with high-quality down

The Bad:

Not for mild-weather outdoor escapades


The Best Ultralight Down Jacket

Ghost Whisperer / 2 Hoody by Mountain Hardwear

Ghost Whisperer / 2 Hoody by Mountain Hardwear

Specifications:

  • Fill: 800-fill-power down
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Category: Ultralight

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Looking for an ultralight down jacket? Mountain Hardwear may have what you need. Their wildly popular Ghost Whisperer jacket just got an update – “2” improves upon its predecessor in almost every way.

First of all, it includes more down (fill weight – 3 ounces) in its construction. The model’s shell, on the other hand, is significantly thicker and increases the jacket’s overall durability and warmth. However, even with these upgrades, Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 stays true to its roots.

In other words, the jacket retains all the important features, such as the hem adjustment, two zippered hand pockets, and outstanding wind and water resistance. The exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio and packability of the first Ghost Whisperer are still here, too – it’s a great jacket for all of your fast-and-light backcountry adventures.

Unfortunately, no jacket is flawless, and the same is true for Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2. Unlike some popular down-insulated garments made by REI Co-Op, Feathered Friends, or Arc Teryx, this model feels awkwardly boxy and large in the torso. While it does layer well under larger jackets, the model still sports a fit that doesn’t really match its intended use.

The only other thing we didn’t like are the cuffs – they’re quite loose and allow the cold air to get inside the sleeves. However, even with these downsides, Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 is still the best ultralight down jacket on the market.

The Good:

Seriously warm for its weight

The Bad:

Loose cuffs and a boxy fit


The Best Budget Down Jacket

Marmot Ares

Marmot Ares

Specifications:

  • Fill: 600-fill-power down
  • Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Category: Lightweight

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A lot of people who know a thing or two about down jackets consider REI Co Op 650 Down Jacket 2 to be the best budget-oriented garment of this type on the market. In our opinion, nothing beats the price-performance ratio of Marmot’s affordable Ares jacket.

While REI Co-Op 650 Down Jacket 2 has a higher fill power (650 fill power – hence the name) and weighs less, it misses a couple of extra features found on Marmot Ares. The most important of these is the hydrophobic down – the one found in REI Co Op 650 Down Jacket 2 is untreated. Marmot Ares also has one extra pocket and a hem adjustment. Pretty nice, wouldn’t you say?

One of the most obvious features of this budget-oriented jacket is its retro design. Its layered, multi-colored look is a throwback to the 1990s and something that’s guaranteed to appeal to many outdoor enthusiasts. While on the subject of design, we have to mention that we’re quite pleased with the fact that Marmot is finally paying more attention to the look and feel of jackets outside their popular Featherless synthetic garments collection.

Besides the retro design, Marmot Ares also sports 600-fill down insulation, a polyester ripstop shell with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating, an interior zippered chest pocket, and two zippered hand pockets. At the price it comes at, Marmot Ares is a terrific bang for the buck.

The Good:

An affordable but stylish jacket

The Bad:

Not the best warmth-to-weight ratio


The Best of the Rest

Patagonia Fitz Roy Hoody

Patagonia Fitz Roy Hoody

Specifications:

  • Fill: 800-fill-power down
  • Weight: 1 pound 1.1 ounces
  • Category: Midweight

Check Price on Amazon

Here we have yet another Patagonia-made down jacket – the Fitz Roy Hoody. Behind this peculiar name hides a model that sports the same qualities found in Down Sweater and Sweater Hoody but it’s intended for colder trekking conditions.

In terms of fill weight, Patagonia Fitz Roy Hoody features close to 6 ounces of quality down (with the fill power of 800) which is combined with the Quantum shell (made by Pertex) for added moisture protection. Furthermore, this jacket comes with 20-denier shell fabric and small baffles that give it a look that resembles a puffed-up Patagonia Sweater Hoody.

However, the Fitz Roy Hoody provides its user with more warmth – unlike the garments from the Sweater collection, it was not designed for shoulder seasons. Another thing worth mentioning here is that this jacket has a lower fill weight than Rab Neutrino Pro, which is precisely why it didn’t take the title of the best heavyweight down jacket.

Overall, we can safely conclude that Patagonia Fitz Roy Hoody stands as a pretty well-made hybrid performance/casual garment. We really liked its extra features – such as the elasticized cuffs or the helmet-compatible hood. And while we do appreciate the model’s phenomenal construction and design, we consider the already-mentioned Rab Neutrino Pro to be a better heavyweight choice – it packs more down while coming at a much more affordable price.

The Good:

Very warm and feature-rich

The Bad:

Hefty price tag


Arc Teryx Cerium LT Hoody

Arc Teryx Cerium LT Hoody

Specifications:

  • Fill: 850-fill-power down
  • Weight: 10.8 ounces
  • Category: Lightweight / Ultralight

Check Price on Amazon

The first of two Arc Teryx down jackets we’ll analyze in this article is Cerium LT Hoody. If you’re familiar with trekking apparel, you probably know a thing or two about this company’s garments – they’re extremely well-made and fabulously stylish, but also very expensive.

Arc Teryx Cerium LT Hoody is no exception to that rule. It’s the company’s flagship ultralight model and a genuinely eye-catching jacket. It looks and feels just as advertised – it has a very clean design, a silky exterior and interior, and it uses 850-fill-power down while weighing just a bit over 10 ounces.

One thing we particularly like about Arc Teryx Cerium LT Hoody is Down Composite Mapping. Behind this complex term hides a relatively simple process which includes adding synthetic insulation to sections that are most susceptible to moisture. With most of the jackets on this list being made entirely out of down, it’s nice to see one that combines down with synthetic insulation for maximum functionality and warmth.

The only major downside of Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody is that it’s very expensive, which is the case with almost all jackets made by this company. Its price is similar to that of Feathered Friends Eos, which is a jacket we haven’t reviewed in this article but is widely considered to be one of its biggest rivals. Still, Arc Teryx Cerium LT Hoody is absolutely worth the price and is an investment you won’t regret making.

Read also: Best Arc’Teryx Jackets: Detailed Description

The Good:

Premium performance and design

The Bad:

Very expensive


Rab Microlight Alpine

Rab Microlight Alpine

Specifications:

  • Fill: 750-fill-power down
  • Weight: 1 pound 1 ounce
  • Category: Midweight

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Just like most other jackets made by this company, Rab Microlight Alpine sports a design that pays tribute to the company’s mountaineering heritage.

First of all, this is one of those down-insulated jackets that were built to withstand foul weather, i.e. heavy winds and downpours. It is capable of handling such weather conditions due to its combination of hydrophobic down, DWR finish (DWR stands for durable water repellent), and its rugged Pertex Quantum shell.

As a hooded jacket made by Rab, Microlight Alpine sports a wire-brimmed hood with a very rigid structure that provides a hardshell-like feel. As expected, this hood successfully protects the wearer’s face from harsh winds and cold rain. All in all, the jacket undoubtedly stands out as one of the most protective midweight models we’ve analyzed so far.

Using 750-fill-power down for insulation, Microlight Alpine is also significantly warmer than some of its competitors, including the already-mentioned Feathered Friends Eos. However, just like Feathered Friends Eos, this model loses the match to Patagonia Down Sweater when it comes to everyday appeal.

Not only does it take time to get used to the model’s left-hand zipper (European style), but the jacket also sports a slim fit that’s quite polarizing. And while it does pack into its own stuff sack, Microlight Alpine can be a tad bit heavy to haul in the backcountry. Still, it’s one of Rab’s best offerings and a jacket that provides weather resistance and warmth at a genuinely reasonable price.

The Good:

A well-made and weather-resistant hooded jacket

The Bad:

A bit heavy for a midweight model


Mountain Hardwear Super / DS Stretchdown Hooded

Mountain Hardwear Super / DS Stretchdown Hooded

Specifications:

  • Fill: 700-fill-power down
  • Weight: 1 pound 1 ounce
  • Category: Lightweight

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While not as popular as Ghost Whisperer 2, this hooded jacket is held in high regard by many outdoor enthusiasts all over the world. It is, in fact, the finest member of the company’s Stretchdown collection.

The flexible polyester shell of Super / DS Stretchdown comes with welded seams – their job is to increase the jacket’s heating efficiency, durability, and range of motion. Truth to be said, we consider this reduced amount of stitching in the model’s construction as its best feature.

Performance-wise, this jacket probably isn’t the best thing you can get for the money. Its lower fill power of 700, the fact that it doesn’t pack into its own stuff sack, as well as the total weight of 1lb 1oz (a bit too much for a “lightweight” jacket) hurt it in our ranking. However, the model still stands as one of the company’s best offerings due to the warmth and comfort it provides, as well as due to its clean design.

All in all, we think that it’s pretty safe to say that this model excels as an everyday jacket. Its clean styling is great for around-town use and its knit shell fabric is very tough. There’s also a roomy chest pocket and the overall plush, stretchy feeling that you don’t usually get from a down-insulated jacket.

The Good:

A casual but well-designed and super-comfortable piece

The Good:

A casual but well-designed and super-comfortable piece


Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket

Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket

Specifications:

  • Fill: 1000-fill-power down
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Category: Ultralight

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Rare are the brands that are as beloved by mountaineers as Montbell is. Based in Japan, this company designs manufactures, and sells gear that is functional and reliable – they don’t care that much about flashy looks or unnecessary gimmicks.

As far as we’re concerned, the best thing about Montbell is that they use down insulation with a very high fill power. The model we’re analyzing here, Montbell Plasma, uses high-quality 1000-fill-power down (yes, you read that right). What’s more, the jacket manages to stay ultralight (4.8 ounces) thanks to its paper-thin 7-denier shell fabric.

Now, you may be wondering – if the down insulation of this jacket is so good, why isn’t it ranked higher in this roundup? First of all, the fill weight of just 1.6 ounces works well only when it comes to warm-to-mild weather hiking. In fact, we don’t think that this jacket can keep its user warm even during a summer night in the backcountry.

Furthermore, its shell fabric is paper-thin, as we mentioned above. This means that it’s very prone to daily wear and tear, turning the jacket into an unsuitable choice for all but weekend trekkers. While it’s well-known for its technical garments, Montbell created this piece for the more casual hikers – if you’re one of them, this is undoubtedly a fun jacket to have in your backpack and an impressive technological feat.

The Good:

Extraordinary warmth-to-weight ratio

The Bad:

Shell fabric is very thin and prone to damage


Arc Teryx Thorium AR Hoody

Arc Teryx Thorium AR Hoody

Specifications:

  • Fill: 700-fill-power down
  • Weight: 1 pound 1.3 ounces
  • Category: Lightweight / Midweight

Check Price on Amazon

No roundup of the best down-insulated jackets of 2020 is complete without Arc Teryx Thorium AR Hoody. Unlike Arc Teryx Cerium LT, this is a midweight model with a thicker shell that provides a bit more warmth.

The Cerium LT model that we’ve analyzed above sports a 10-denier shell that’s pretty thin, and, as such, falls into the category of ultralight jackets. Thorium AR, on the other hand, is a bit less specialized model that uses more down (not the 850-fill-power one, though) and a sturdy 30-denier shell. In addition, it costs around $50 less than the Cerium LT jacket.

In our opinion, Thorium AR is a pretty good three-season jacket that successfully traps body heat and provides a sufficient amount of warmth for most outdoor activities. It’s a very versatile jacket – you’ll be able to use it both in the backcountry and around town. It also stuffs into its own stuff sack (the interior chest pocket).

When it comes to disadvantages, the jacket comes with increased size and weight. As such, it’s not the best choice for activities where every ounce counts, such as mountaineering. However, its hardwearing build and the warmth it provides turn it into a genuinely worthwhile investment.

The Good:

Thick, cozy, and warm

The Bad:

Too heavy for mountaineering


Cotopaxi Fuego

Cotopaxi Fuego

Specifications:

  • Fill: 800-fill-power down
  • Weight: 14 ounces
  • Category: Lightweight

Check Price on Amazon

A lot of renowned manufacturers of down jackets go with clean, minimalistic, and modern design. Not Cotopaxi, though – the jackets of this Utah-based brand are often quite colorful and retro-looking.

The company’s flagship model is called Cotopaxi Fuego, a jacket that has received the most recent update in 2020. With this model, you’ll be getting high-quality down insulation combined with a tough and versatile 20-denier shell. An important thing to mention here is that Cotopaxi adheres to the responsible down standard – the down found in their Fuego jacket is responsibly sourced.

As we mentioned above, one of the best things about Cotopaxi down and synthetic jackets is their eye-catching retro styling. The Fuego is available in eight different colors, and all but one of these bear a multi-colored section in the chest area. If you’re looking for casual appeal, seek no further – you won’t make a mistake by going with this jacket.

The only major downside of this jacket is that its manufacturer doesn’t provide information about its fill weight. And while this garment definitely feels comfortable and warm, this lack of information makes it hard to compare it with the competition. Still, we think that it’s a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a stylish jacket whose insulation consists of responsibly sourced down.

The Good:

Responsible down standard; Retro design

The Bad:

No info on the fill weight


The North Face Summit L3

The North Face Summit L3

Specifications:

  • Fill: 800-fill-power
  • Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Category: Lightweight

Check Price on Amazon

Looking for a down jacket that will keep you warm? If so, your best bet is to go with one of the big names. And when it comes to well-known outdoor apparel brands, rare are the ones that are as famous and renowned as the North Face.

Their Summit L3 jacket is warm, light, and it provides an incredible fit. It’s a well-made three-season model that uses a lot of down to trap body heat and provide its wearer with enough warmth. However, all that down also contributes to the jacket’s total weight of 13.8 ounces – although decently light, it certainly isn’t the most lightweight garment of this type that money can buy today.

Related: Columbia vs North Face Winter Jackets

While this jacket isn’t water-resistant per se, its combination of ProDown technology and the DWR finish protects the insulation from getting soaked. Features like the hem cinch cords, two drop-in style internal pockets, and two zippered hand warmer pockets increase the jacket’s value for the money. One thing we particularly like is the hood – it provides a snug fit and it does a great job of keeping the cold at bay.

All in all, the North Face Summit L3 is an outstanding down jacket with just one major downside – its price. Just like most North Face products, this one is also accompanied by a hefty price tag. You won’t regret the purchase, though – this jacket is a perfect choice for serious adventures in the mountains.

The Good:

A warm and water-resistant jacket with a great fit

The Bad:

High cost


Canada Goose Lodge Jacket

Canada Goose Lodge Jacket

Specifications:

  • FIll: 750-fill-power down
  • Weight: 1 pound 2.2 ounces
  • Category: Midweight

Check Price on Amazon

The most important thing to note about Canada Goose as a brand is that it’s more oriented towards fashion than performance. You are far more likely to spot a Canada Goose jacket on the streets of some big city than in the great outdoors. In addition, most of the jackets made by this company are really expensive. Read also our comparison Canada Goose vs Mackage to find more about this brand.

That being said, their Lodge Jacket still deserves a spot on our list of the best down jackets of 2020. This non-hooded garment provides a sufficient amount of warmth due to its 750-fill-power down insulation. Its shell, on the other hand, offers some wind and water resistance due to its water repellent coating. The premium-quality feel of this model is similar to the one provided by the Arc Teryx, Patagonia, or Feathered Friends jackets – it’s an attractive option for both urban and backcountry use.

While the manufacturer doesn’t provide info on the model’s fill weight, Lodge Jacket falls into the midweight category based on its fill power and total weight. As such, it is more than capable of providing more warmth than most ultralight or lightweight models from our roundup. In addition, it has a large, zippered chest pocket on the front and it’s very packable for a midweight down-insulated garment.

When it comes to downsides, keep in mind that Canada Goose Lodge is a non-hooded jacket and that it costs a lot. This is a seriously expensive garment – you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re on a budget.

The Good:

High-end design and performance

The Bad:

The most expensive jacket on our list


Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody

Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody

Specifications:

  • Fill: 650-fill-power down
  • Weight: 1 pound 0.2 ounces
  • Category: Lightweight

Check Price on Amazon

Whether they’re using down or synthetic insulation, Outdoor Research jackets rarely offer the best performance on the market. They do, however, provide a great value for the money, with their Transcendent Hoody being a great example.

Coming at a price that’s significantly lower than that of many jackets on our list, Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody is a seriously good deal. With its 650-fill-power down insulation, it provides its user with quite a bit of warmth and wearing it feels very comfortable. In addition, the model comes equipped with a couple of convenient features (like the fleece-lined pockets) and can be purchased in 16 different color combinations.

Recently, the company has updated this jacket with a softer shell and wider baffles. More importantly, they now adhere to the responsible down standard – all of the down used in the manufacture of Transcendent Hoody is now responsibly sourced.

All in all, we really like the look and feel of the updated version – it retains all those fundamentals that made it popular while looking a bit more modern. Obviously, the fact that this model uses down with the fill power of 650 means that it’s not as warm as some of the other jackets in our roundup. Still, we think that it’s an excellent choice for casual winter escapades and everyday use.

The Good:

Great value for the money

The Bad:

Not as warm as the premium down jackets


Mountain Equipment Senja

Mountain Equipment Senja

Specifications:

  • Fill: 700-fill-power down
  • Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Category: Midweight

Check Price on Amazon

No down-insulated Mountain Equipment garment is as popular as the company’s Lightline model. However, as a winter-ready jacket designed for cold-weather camping, this model isn’t as versatile as its younger and more stylish brother – Mountain Equipment Senja.

Behind this interesting name hides a midweight down garment whose looks resemble that of the many synthetic fill jackets. Truth be told, this model doesn’t use that much down at all (7.7 ounces), but that’s precisely what allows it to be so versatile. Wearing it with just a t-shirt underneath provides enough warmth in all but the most freezing conditions. Its affordable price, on the other hand, turns it into a very tempting deal, particularly when compared to other midweight jackets.

Now, you may be wondering – why is this jacket so affordable? Truth to be told, Mountain Equipment doesn’t keep the prices of its products low by cutting corners in terms of performance or design. They are, however, equipping their jackets with down that has a lower fill power than that used in Arc Teryx or the North Face garments.

However, we think that it’s pretty safe to say that Mountain Equipment Senja comes at a lower price than many down or synthetic fill jackets that provide less warmth. It may not be as warm or packable as, say, the Fitz Roy jacket made by Patagonia, but it’s still a great option for both winter hiking and everyday use.

The Good:

An affordable midweight model that provides sufficient warmth

The Bad:

Not for use in more frigid temperatures


Best Down Jackets Buying Guide

Buying a down jacket is an important decision, and there are many factors that go into it. In this part of the article, we’ll be taking a closer look at all those vital aspects you should consider when shopping for one of these wonderful garments.

Hood

Most of the down jackets we’ve analyzed above can be obtained in booth hooded and non-hooded variants.

Obviously, non-hooded variants weigh less and are typically cheaper. If you’re a bit more serious about your backcountry adventures, however, go with a hooded down jacket – the extra comfort and warmth are definitely worth it. If you’re a casual weekend hiker, a simple beanie will do the trick.

Fit

Fit is a very important factor, but also the one that’s most difficult to talk about as it is very jacket-specific. In other words, the fit varies notably from one brand to another.

For example, jackets made by Arc Teryx, whether they’re sporting down or synthetic insulation, typically provide the slimmest fit on the market. Brands such as Mountain Hardwear, Outdoor Research, or Patagonia, on the other hand, design jackets with more relaxed fits that balance performance with everyday comfort. It’s all up to the user’s body shape and personal preference.

Water Resistance

Unfortunately, down turns into a soggy and clumpy mess when it comes into contact with water. If that happens, it loses its insulating properties, and that’s the last thing you want to happen during your cold-weather backcountry adventures.

Related: Best Lightweight Rain Jackets

To prevent this, many manufacturers of down jackets use hydrophobic down. This “treated” down still isn’t as water-resistant as synthetic materials, but having some of it inside your jacket will give you peace of mind in case of light precipitation.

Another important technology to mention here is the DWR treatment. This is a special type of coating that goes on the outside of the garment, and its job is to prevent the water droplets from penetrating the shell fabric. If you’re often trekking in moist environments, make sure to get yourself a jacket whose outer shell sports a DWR finish.

Compressibility

One of the best things about down is how compressible it is. An ultralight model, such as the already-mentioned Ghost Whisperer 2, packs into its own stuff sack and becomes a package smaller than a water bottle in a matter of seconds. This allows the jacket’s owner to easily stuff this compressed package into his or her backpack.

If you want a down jacket that compresses very easily, look for the ones with higher fill power. Another important factor is the fabric thickness – the thinner its outer shell is, the more easily the jacket will compress.

Durability

Never underestimate the importance of denier (D). This would be the measurement of the thread’s weight, or how durable a particular down jacket is.

The best down jackets are also the most durable, and they achieve this by using thicker outer shells (30-50D). However, to make a particular jacket ultralight, the manufacturer has to trim down the thickness of its shell – 10D is a standard when it comes to genuinely lightweight down garments. Obviously, such models have a much shorter lifespan, as they’re far more prone to damage caused by daily wear and tear.

Weight

Weight plays a particularly important role if you’re a serious hiker who often lugs around a lot of outdoor gear. On the other hand, folks who only need a layer for occasional outdoor escapades and everyday around-town use shouldn’t pay that much attention to it.

Obviously, winter-ready jackets are the heaviest – they pack a ton of down and sport thick outer shells to keep their wearers warm. Trekkers who want to move fast and light should look into ultralight down jackets, such as Montbell Plasma 1000. Just keep in mind that these should be used only in mild weather conditions or in combination with other apparel.

Warmth

The final and the most important factor to consider is warmth. Here, you’ll have to pay special attention to the fill power and the fill weight of a particular jacket.

Related: Best Fleece Jackets

The higher the fill power number is (600-fill, 700-fill, etc.), the higher the quality of down used in the jacket’s construction is – it’s as simple as that. Fill weight, on the other hand, is the actual amount of down that’s present in a particular jacket and it’s typically measured in ounces. For example, if jacket A has 4 ounces of 700-fill down, and jacket B has 8 ounces of 700-fill down, the latter one will provide more warmth.

Best Down Jackets – Conclusion

So, there you have it – our roundup of the market’s best down jackets has come to an end.

While we do consider Patagonia’s popular Down Sweater to be the best down jacket for the money, you won’t make a mistake by going with any other garment from our list. In our opinion, Patagonia’s model strikes the perfect balance between warmth, durability, and versatility, but if you’re looking for a more specialized down jacket (i.e. an ultralight or a heavyweight model), make sure to check out the rest of the jackets from our list.

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