Without a doubt, down is the best insulation on the market. A good down jacket will become a staple in any adventurer’s gear closet. Choosing the right jacket can be a daunting task.
Below are 5 jackets spanning the range from lightweight minimalist to extreme weather parka.
Patagonia Down Shirt
Weight: 9.1 oz
Fill Power: 600
The Down Shirt from Patagonia is a minimalist jacket for lightweight warmth and is best suited for active pursuits or as a mid layer when temperatures drop below 20-degrees. Holding firm to the company’s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment, the jacket’s shell and liner are made of 100% recycled polyester while the 600-fill-power is 100% recycled from down reclaimed from used down products.
Both the shell and liner have a DWR (durable water repellant) finish and make the jacket an ideal choice for everyday wear. Two external drop-in hand warmer pockets provide unsecured storage while also doubling as a stuff sack option.
Brooks-Range Down Hoody
Weight: 14.2 oz
Fill Power: 800
This lightweight and warm Down Hoody from Brooks-Range Mountaineering is perfect for those days that require extra warmth without the weight. This helmet compatible jacket is a budget conscious choice for those looking for a jacket equally suited for a day in the backcountry or an evening around the campfire.
The jacket’s 10d nylon shell is enhanced with Polartec Power Shield softshell reinforced forearms for increased durability. Two zippered hand warming pockets, along with a external zippered chest pocket and two internal mesh storage pockets, round out the features of this jacket.
Best Mid Layer:
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
Weight: 10.4 oz
Fill Power: 850
This jacket is a truly unique entry in our review. The Cerium LT Hoody utilizes down composite mapping. Arc’teryx placed Coreloft, a synthetic insulation in the areas of the jacket that are typically more prone to getting wet or exposed to moisture (the shoulders, underarms, cuffs and the collar). The areas where warmth is most needed (core and sleeves), is filled with premium down.
This premium jacket is lightweight and is designed for an athletic fit. While intended to be used as an insulating layer in drier environments, the DWR (durable water repellant) finish will protect against light precipitation.
Outdoor Research Floodlight Down Jacket
Weight: 22.6 oz
Fill Power: 800+
The already impressive Floodlight Down Jacket from Outdoor Research just got better. The Pertex Shield+ shell provides a waterproof and windproof barrier to the jacket’s 800-fill-power insulation. Recently, the jacket received an additional 20 percent more down for increased warmth and is slightly longer than previous models for more coverage.
This is the ideal jacket for all weather, winter pursuits. The waterproof shell make it ideal for wet conditions while the 800+ fill down make it exceptionally warm regardless of your activity choice. The jacket is complimented with a wire-brimmed helmet compatible hood, two large hand warmer pockets, two large internal Shove-It pockets and a zip chest pocket.
Feathered Friends Icefall Parka
Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz
Fill Power: 850+
The Icefall Parka from Feathered Friends is designed to withstand the most extreme conditions that Mother Nature has to offer. This jacket is created to be the outer layer and is built to accommodate additional baselayers. Made in the USA, this 850+ fill-power expedition fit jacket is protected by a Pertex Shield XT shell.
Made with traceable, ethically sourced goose down, the Icefall contains a dual zippered system and insulated draft tube to protect you in even the harshest environments. Additional features on this expedition jacket include: detachable/adjustable hood with Velcro-sealed storm flap, large cargo pockets, large hand-warmer pockets and two interior chest pockets.