9 Best Down Jackets: Compare, Buy & Save (2019)

best down jacket

A down jacket is a seriously awesome piece of outdoor gear to own. A good goose or duck down jacket packs super compact, layers nicely and is of course incredibly toasty depending on the fill power. It’s the kind of garment that takes up next to no space in your pack, yet has you more than covered when temps drop.

When you buy any cold weather outdoor apparel or gear, you’re usually deciding between synthetic or down insulation. Down is remarkably compressible, warmer for its weight and typically lasts longer than most synthetic alternatives. It’s also usually more expensive. That being said, there are certain contexts and climates where synthetic insulation is either just as good, or perhaps superior to down – it’s all about what you’re up to in the field.

We’ve tracked down and compiled the top performing down jackets on the market and also included a few synthetic-down options that we found worthy. There’s men’s, women’s and youth sizing for most options, so we’ve got you covered no matter who you are. Read through our top picks and find the best down jacket for your lifestyle and outdoor endeavors! Stay warm, stay dry, and stay outdoors!

rab microlight summit down jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 750 fill power goose down is SUPER warm
  • Elastic wrist cuffs
  • Great full enclosure hood
Price: $244.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
mountain haardware down jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 800 fill power down
  • Weighs just 8 ounces
  • Close to body fit for easy layering
Price: $244.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
sierra designs dridown hoodie Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent price point
  • Elastic cuffs eliminate draft
  • 800 fill power DriDown
Price: $169.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
patagonia nano puff Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Primaloft Gold Eco insulation
  • Super compressible and ultralight
  • Sharp looking aesthetic
Price: $289.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
columbia heatzone 1000 down jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 1000 TurboDown Wave insulation
  • Super water resistant
  • 4-way stretch fabric
Price: $149.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
marmot tullus down jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 600 fill power down
  • Special treatment for water resistance
  • Elastic-bound cuffs and hem
Price: $125.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
columbia down jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Nice quality polyester, synthetic down
  • Great price point
  • Machine washable
Price: $86.67 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
northface thermoball Amazon Customer Reviews
  • PrimaLoft synthetic-fiber clusters
  • Packs down into its own hand pocket
  • Highly water resistant
Price: $215.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
eddie bauer down jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 650 fill power, premium down
  • Great budget option
  • Excellent customer satifaction
Price: $59.40 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Rab Microlight Summit Jacket

    Pros:
    • 750 fill power ethically-sourced european goose down is exceptionally warm
    • Hydrophobic down developed in conjunction with top water-proofing brand, Nikwax
    • Great full enclosure hood that can be worn over a helmet
    • Elastic wrist cuffs and hood cinches allow you to really eliminate drafts
    • Stuff sack is not as water resistnant as the bag itself
    • A real alpine jacket up for whatever you put it through
    Cons:
    • Expensive option, but well worth the cost
    • Limited color selection
    • Design of the hood brim includes some extra fabric (to fit over a helmet effectively) that is a bit awkward, but it's barely noticeable

    The Microlight Summit Jacket by Rab is a high performance 750 fill power, goose down jacket that is remarkably warm and effective at shielding against the elements. This is one of the best down jackets for truly rugged outdoorsmen and women who have a need for super reliable, superior equipment in the field. If you’re looking for the best of the best, this is a jacket that should be on your radar.

    Rab recently sent me a Microlight to sample, and I’ve found it to be exceptionally warm and water resistant as well as a low profile enough to do anything active!

    This jacket is built with hydrophobic down insulation, so it doesn’t wet out like a lot of other performance down jackets. It’s treated to absorb less water than regular down and also to retain its loft in wet conditions. The Microlight will also dry out quicker than standard down in the event of an intense downpour – it’s what you pay for when you buy Rab. The goose down insulation employed here is furthermore fluorocarbon free and ethically sourced which is totally awesome!

    The hood is designed to be fitted over a helmet and the elastic wrist cuffs are easily pulled up snug. The waistband can also be cinched tight as well as the hood itself making for a jacket that truly eliminates cold drafts. The Microlight furthermore packs super tight and compact when you need to store it – Rab even includes a tiny stuff sack that the jacket easily squeezes into.

    There’s plenty of sizing and a few sharp colors to choose from, so you can select the option that suits you best! Despite being a high performance outdoor jacket, the overall aesthetic of the Microlight has a great casual look that can be worn anywhere. 

    Follow this link for women’s sizing!

  2. 2. Mountain Hardwear Men’s Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket

    Pros:
    • 800 fill power down
    • Weighs just 8 ounces and stuffs into its own pocket
    • Close to body fit for easy layering underneath a shell
    • Very effectively designed hood
    • Water repellent treatment
    • Machine washable
    Cons:
    • Expensive option
    • Some might not like the aesthetic of the horizontal baffles - it's a matter of preference
    • No chest or sleeve pocket

    Here’s another excellent choice of top quality down jacket if you’re working with a more generous budget. The Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket by Mountain Hardwear is an 800 fill power, hydrophobic down jacket that’s geared towards adventure athletes and those who just prefer to stay really, really warm. 

    This unit is renowned for its incredible light weight of just 8 ounces and its impressive ability to compress into the included stuff sack. You’re paying for both incredible warmth and packability with this one.

    The Ghost Whisperer’s exterior is built from 70D ripstop nylon, so it’s about as tough as a down jacket of its weight can get. The material is also a great wind-blocker and coupled with the elastic cuffs and adjustable waist-band will ensure no chilly drafts invade your space.

    This unit has been built with a tight-to-body fit so it’s perfect for layering underneath a shell or wearing as your outer layer based on the conditions. It’s a super versatile option that will outperform most of the market in a wide variety of contexts. 

    There is a gret array of color choices for this model jacket so you can find one that truly suits your style. There is also a limited lifetime warranty for the Ghost Whisperer, a true sign of a quality product. No doubt an impressive demonstration of outdoor apparel engineering from Mountain Hardware. 

    Follow this link to women’s sizing. 

  3. 3. Sierra Designs Men’s Whitney DriDown Hoodie

    Pros:
    • 800 fill power DriDown is treated to be highly moisture resistant - up to 10 times more so than untreated down
    • Two zippered hand warmer pockets, within kangaroo pocket
    • Elastic cuffs and bungee drawstring cinch eliminate draft
    • Excellent price point
    • Great color selection
    Cons:
    • Some might not like the aesthetic of the horizontal baffles
    • Arms might run a bit short if you're particularly lanky
    • Hood does not cinch super tight

    Here’s a killer price point down jacket from Sierra Designs that’s no doubt one of the best value options on the market. The Whitney DriDown Hoodie is an 800 fill power, full feature down jacket available in both men’s and women’s sizing with a price tag you just can’t beat.

    Sierra Designs recently sent me out a DriDown Hoodie to test, and I’ve certainly been impressed by the fit, feel and warmth it provides. This one definitely seems like it should have a higher price tag. 

    This jacket is built with 40D shadow rip polyester on the exterior and a nylon liner. It’s pretty dam tough for how lightweight and compressible it is – no easy feat. The 800 fill power DriDown employed as insulation has been treated to be highly water and moisture resistant. It’s a very well reviewed insulation that’s trusted in the field by all sorts of outdoorsmen and women.

    Features include elastic cuffs, an adjustable cinch-waist, zippered hand warmer pockets, insulated chest pocket, and even an inside kangaroo pocket! Sierra Designs has stacked the Whitney DriDown Hoodie with everything you’d want in a hooded down jacket! It’s only drawback is that it’s slightly over 18 ounces – a small price to pay compared to only slightly lighter, far more expensive alteratives. None the less, if every ounce is important to you and you’re working with a bigger budget there are certainly lighter alternatives like the Ghost Whisperer Jacket by Mountain Hardware listed at #2.

    It’s also worth noting that Sierra Design’s color selection is quite attractive – this unit in particular is available in some pretty rad color schemes. 

    All in all, the Whitney DriDown Hoody is perhaps the ultimate option when it comes to performance for the money. No doubt a solid choice from Sierra Designs.   

  4. 4. Patagonia Men’s Nano Puff Jacket

    Pros:
    • Primaloft Gold Eco insulation retains 98% of it's warmth when wet
    • Eco friendly
    • Super compressible and ultralight
    • Nice array of color options
    Cons:
    • No elastic cuffs
    • No hood
    • Expensive option

    You very well may have heard of the Nano Puff Jacket from Patagonia if you’re an avid outdoorsman or woman. Chances are, you know someone who owns or who’s owned one, and they have raved about its performance, no doubt. I own a Nano Puff and although it’s the oldest and most battle-worn down jacket I own, it’s still one of the warmest and most packable garments in my closet.

    This down is wildly popular for good reason. It’s got a sharp look that’s great for both casual and active wear, high quality PrimaLoft Gold Eco Insulation and a great feeling fit that doesn’t hold you back in any way, shape or form. This is a killer all-around down jacket that is a top performer in a ton of different cold weather contexts.

    I personally love the arrangement of the down panels, rather than baffles. I’ve found that the almost quilted style of insulation is even more compressible and stuffable than most down jackets with horizontal baffles. My Nano Puff is the last thing I pack into a fully loaded hiking or travel backpack because I know I can squeeze it on top of everything without fail.

    There’s, unfortunately, no hood or elastic cuffs with this model which definitely lowers its overall warmth stats, but it’s still remarkably warm for a jacket of this weight and profile. This is the jacket to consider if you’re looking for a super packable option that still holds its own even in the extreme cold. Add some heavy winds and you might catch a draft through your sleeves and neck opening, so keep that in mind and layer accordingly. 

    There’s a wide selection of color options with this ultra-popular option from Patagonia so you won’t have to settle for an aesthetic you don’t like. All in all a great value jacket despite its higher price tag that you will own for many years of heavy use! 

    Follow this link to women’s sizing.

  5. 5. Columbia Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Hooded Jacket

    Pros:
    • 1000 TurboDown Wave insulation combines 900 fill water resistant down with 100 grams of synthtic OMNI-heat insulation
    • Super water resistant compared to the vast majority of the comptition
    • 4-way stretch fabric makes this jacket an awesome choice for fast paced activities like skiing and hiking
    • Awesome color schemes to choose from
    • Although pricey, this is a really solid value jacket considering what it's capable of
    Cons:
    • Because this jacket is built so lightweight the shell is a bit fragile, be careful not to tear this one
    • Inside lining looks a bit like a space blanket
    • Some sizing/color combinations are fairly expensive

    Here’s a seriously advanced down-synthetic blend jacket from Columbia that is making major waves in the outdoor world. The Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Hooded Jacket is a pretty unbelievable garment that is just as much of a waterproof shell as it is a down jacket. It’s obscenely warm, built for fast-paced activity and available in both men’s and women’s sizing! 

    Columbia’s Omni-TECH technology makes the Heatzone effectively waterproof and breathable. We’re talking really water resistant. Like go ahead and use it as a ski jacket water resistant. It’s all in the waterproofing treatment and critically seam sealed construction. The lining is built from Omni-HEAT Reflective 10D ripstop is fairly tough and excellent at reflecting your heat back to you. The lining looks a bit like a reflective space blanket, and the thermal concept is quite comparable. 

    The shell fabrics are furthermore designed for four-way stretch which is not at all characteristic of your typical down jacket so this is a great option for winter athletes and those who plan on being highly active in their down jacket. There’s also a great array of pockets including an inner chest pocket, inner torso sleeve for stashing goggles or a hat and even a ski-pass pocket on the sleeve – neat! The hood is designed to fit over a helmet as well so this jacket is up for whatever!

    Columbia’s 1000 TurboDown Wave insulation is the real workhorse behind this jacket. It’s a combination of 900 fill power water-resistant down combined with 100 grams of Omni-HEAT Thermal synthetic insulation. It’s the best of both worlds – the two fills truly work together brilliantly for high water resistance and for eliminating cold spots.

    It’s worth mentioning there are some radical color schemes for the Heatzone that have a unique and sharp look. There are also some more basic, solid color schemes for those that like to keep it simple. Make sure to check out the video below for a closer look at some of the Heatzone’s innovative features. 

  6. 6. Marmot Tullus Hoody Winter Puffer Jacket

    Pros:
    • Moisture-resistant Down Defender treatment keeps the 600 fill power down from clumping up
    • Elastic-bound cuffs and hem eliminate draft
    • Attached hood cinches tight
    • Zippered hand warming pockets
    Cons:
    • 600 fill power is not super warm - this is not a jacket for extreme conditions
    • Limited color selection
    • Complaints about this jacket shedding feathers are fairly common

    Marmot is a great outdoor brand that’s always been worth the cost – the Tullus Hoody Winter Puffer Jacket is no exception. This is a 600 fill power, particularly moisture-resistant down jacket that is both street and trail ready.

    The fill power is not super high, so don’t expect this jacket to compete with 750 and 800 fill power competitors. Where the Tullus excels is its low weight, breathability, and ability to endure some pretty decent wetness. Marmot has applied their down defender treatment to this model jacket making it a superior insulator in wet conditions. 

    Not only is this a great jacket for outdoor excursions, it has a pretty sharp look for casual wear as well. This is a great commuter jacket to ensure you stay warm and dry on your way to work or class, and there are five different color choices to choose from.

    Included features include zippered hand warming pockets, an interior chest pocket, elastic cuffs and attached hood with cinch-binding for great facial coverage. Marmot has hit just about all the bases on this one. The fit is more of a normal cut than an athletic one, so it doesn’t form-fit and layer very well compared to a lot of the other jackets on this list.

    This is an excellent three-season down jacket, but if you’re shopping to create a stone-wall defense against the extreme cold look towards the Microlight Summit by Rab or the Ghost Whisperer by Mountain Hardware listed at #1 and #2.

     

  7. 7. Columbia Men’s Frost Fighter Insulated Puffer Jacket

    Pros:
    • Synthetic down is very well reviewed for both warmth and packability
    • Great price point
    • Machine washable
    • Fairly water resistant
    Cons:
    • Size runs a bit big
    • No hood
    • Limited color selection

    Here’s a lower speed, highly affordable synthetic down jacket from Columbia that is an excellent option if intense, winter outdoor adventures are not what you’re purchasing for. The Frost Fighter Insulated Puffer Jacket might not be real, natural down, but it’s a super toasty and very reasonably priced alternative with insulation that behaves very much the same way as even some of the highest quality down insulators.

    The polyester synthetic down employed in the construction of the Frost Fighter is very well reviewed for its ability to compress and insulate. Columbia has come up with a kick-ass alternative to goose or duck down that is almost as effective at trapping your heat, and far less hard on your wallet. We’ve included this jacket here for those that need a highly packable and warm down jacket option without the need for a top-quality performance model jacket. This unit is perfect for chilly hiking and fishing trips, hang-outs around the campfire, winter walks on the beach and raw morning commutes. Base Camp Everest? Not the right pick. 

    You can go up against below zero temps in this unit with the proper layering, but it lacks a lot of the features and materials that higher end down jackets utilize to create a truly cold-invincible garment. There is no hood included with the Frost Fighter which no doubt lowers its heat retention. The cuffs are at least tight to your wrist to eliminate drafts at those points.

    The outer material is a durable ripstop nylon that is highly water resistant and will hold up nicely in the long run against regular wear and tear. This jacket is also machine washable which is a big perk of the synthetic down material.

    All in all, this is an excellent value jacket for the right cold weather contexts. As long as you’re not planning on conquering the Himalayas in this unit, it will serve you well for many seasons of use.

     

  8. 8. The North Face Men’s Thermoball Full Zip Jacket

    Pros:
    • PrimaLoft synthetic-fiber cluster insulation is equivalent to 600 fill goose down
    • Highly water resistant
    • Packs down into its own hand pocket
    • Wide color/pattern selection
    • Machine washable
    Cons:
    • Not technically real down material
    • Fairly expensive
    • Not suitable for extreme cold temps

    Ok, so this one isn’t technically real down, but just like the Forst Fighter Puffy Jacket by Columbia previously listed, it does an excellent job at mimicking authentic down insulation. The Thermoball Full Zip Jacket by The North Face is an impressively compressible PrimaLoft synthetic fiber jacket that has insulating power about equivalent to a 600 fill power goose down jacket. 

    This one is warm, but not SUPER warm. Similar to the Frost Fighter, if you need something for extreme winter activities and conditions, you’ll want to look elsewhere. For more casual cold weather adventures and commutes, the Thermoball is an awesome choice. 

     A hem-cinch cord and elastic cuffs eliminate chilly drafts, but there is no hood with this unit. If you layer smart, you can really endure some chilly temps with this jacket. The exterior is 15D ripstop nylon, so the Thermoball is tough against water and abrasion. It’s exterior and insulation material also make it quite stuffable for excellent packability – it even squeezes into its own pocket for storage.

    The synthetic insulation and shell of the Thermoball make it a better outer layer in snow or rain than most traditional down jackets because it doesn’t wet out. You can get away with some pretty snowy/rainy conditions in this jacket, and it’s furthermore machine washable.

    Radical aesthetic, impressive resilience against the elements and killer packability – for the right cold weather scenarios, the Thermoball is no doubt a top performer that will turn heads everywhere you go.   

     

  9. 9. Eddie Bauer Men’s CirrusLite Down Jacket

    Pros:
    • 650 fill power, premium down is certified ethically sourced
    • Great budget option
    • Excellent customer satifaction
    • Eddie Bauer gives this jacket a moderate activity temperature rating of -10 degrees F
    • StormRepel DWR finsh is effectively water resistant
    Cons:
    • Limited color selection
    • Lacks elastic cuffs
    • No attached hood

    Here’s a great budget option from Eddie Bauer that will get the job done if your wallet is tight. The CirrusLite might not be the best down jacket for intense outdoor winter adventures, but it’s a very well reviewed (and warm) jacket for casual wear and lighter outdoor excursions.

    This is a 650 fill power, premium down jacket featuring Eddie Bauer’s StormRepel DWR finish to enhance water repellency. For the money, this is an exceptionally tough down jacket that has a plethora of stellar customer reviews. People love this one for its affordable warmth – claiming comfortability in temps well below freezing with the proper layers. Eddie Bauer gives this jacket a moderate activity temperature rating of -10 degrees F!

    The CirrusLite has no hood, but a higher than average neck. The cuffs are also lacking elastic closure at the wrists, but the fit/cut is at least designed to accommodate for a mid layer so there’s no reason you can’t still equip yourself for some extreme cold with this jacket.

    It may lack the features of higher end, performance down jackets, but the materials used in its construction make the CirrusLite a more than adequate option in all sorts of winter weather and scenarios. For the budget buyer, look no further. 

See Also: 

 

 

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