Jackets are an important part of outerwear for lots of people, whether you live in a cold area or just like to travel to places that can be cold. It’s critical that you have a jacket and layer system that keeps you warm and happy as the day goes on. But just because a jacket has a job to do doesn’t mean it has to look frumpy!
Down jackets do a great job of mixing form and function. In the past few years, jackets in this style have become more and more popular because they pack a lot of warmth into a very low profile. Wearing one can let you stay out in all kinds of weather without being too bulky or oddly shaped.
In this article, we’ll examine some of the best options you have for down jackets online right now. We’ll look at a mix of jackets designed for men, jackets designed for women, and unisex jackets so that everyone can find a product they’ll love.
Let’s take a look at the 9 best down jackets to keep you warm this year!
This jacket from Wantdo is a traveler’s best friend. Not only does it provide an excellent, and warm, stylish down jacket, but this product packs up incredibly small. The insulation on this jacket contains a lot of air when it’s being warm, and Wantdo has a system where that air can be squeezed out as the jacket is packed, allowing it to become much smaller when it’s in your bag.
The design of the jacket itself is pretty basic other than the packability. It does contain several inner and outer pockets that can help keep your hands warm and store anything you might be carrying.
- Packs super small into included pouch
- Very warm
- Shell material has some wear and tear concerns
- Not the best for extremely cold weather
Why it’s on this list: It’s great to have a jacket you can quickly toss in your bag for a long trip.
Many people who avoid animal products choose not to wear down in their coats or jackets. Freeze Defense has produced an excellent down alternative jacket that is much more than just an imitation of the original.
This jacket is easily just as warm as similar jackets that use real down. But the lining material is all polyester which means this jacket will do much better in the rain than a typical down jacket. This one can even be machine washed and tumble dried. This is an alternative anyone can get behind.
- Excellent alternative to traditional down
- Very warm
- Easy to clean
- Not available in many colors
- A bit bulky
Why it’s on this list: t
As the name indicates, this jacket is quite lightweight. That means it is not truly ideal for extremely cold weather conditions. This jacket does have a hood and good down coverage all over, but its design does not do a great job of trapping heat.
This particular jacket is much more of a fashion accessory. It is a great-looking puffer coat. It’s not too bulky and it has nice clean lines that go with any winter outfit. Take this home if you want to look great as the temperature goes down.
- Looks amazing
- Comes in several fun colors
- Very lightweight
- Not super substantial
- Won’t do a good job of heat retention
Why it’s on this list: This jacket is for anyone who doesn’t want to sacrifice warmth for fashion.
I’m a big fan of North Face products and this light puffer jacket is an excellent option for this winter. The jacket does some serious work, especially when you consider its size. The Thermoball in the name refers to a lining North Face says will stay warm even when wet.
All this comes in a jacket that is so lightweight it can actually pack up inside its own pocket for storage. That means this jacket won’t take up much room in your pack and can be used for all sorts of excursions.
- Very lightweight
- Seriously warm
- Despite manufacturer claims, this performs about the way any other down coat does when wet
Why it’s on this list: This North Face jacket packs a lot of technology into a very small package.
The Columbia Omni-Heat system is an inner lining they use on some jackets which aims to prevent heat loss by reflecting a lot of the wearer’s heat back onto them. It’s an innovative technology and it really goes a long way to boosting the heat retention of a jacket.
Having this system incorporated in the Light II makes it one of the best jackets to pick up for cold weather. If you’re going camping during the winter, this is the down jacket you’ll want to have in your cabin.
- Omni-Heat system traps more heat
- Low-profile design
- Quality zippers and seams
- Won’t be great for milder temperatures
- Not very breathable
Why it’s on this list: This is a serious jacket that will trap lots of heat when you need it.
6) ZShow Lightweight Stand Up Collar Jacket
ZShow have produced an interesting jacket here. This product has a medium amount of down and is much more an autumn jacket than a winter one. The outer material is quite soft, though, and the whole coat is very comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
It is worth noting that this is one of the few jackets on this list that does not have a hood, either attached or unattached. The fact that there is no hood makes it very clear this product is only meant to be worn in relatively warm weather.
- Very stylish
- Breathable shell material
- Lightweight down
- No hood
Why it’s on this list: This is a good looking jacket that might not be very warm but could be perfect for the fall.
This jacket does a great job of shutting out the rain and snow. It covers well past the waist and has a cinch in the middle that helps it fit nicely and keep your torso warmer. The hood comes up and covers, as well. The whole shell here is much more rigid than you’ll see on other jackets, and that makes a big difference in terms of waterproofing and windproofing.
One issue that some users have with this jacket, however, is that the filling is not necessarily as heavy as you’d expect for a winter coat. This coat is much better in slightly warmer conditions.
- Good weatherproofing
- Strong outer shell
- Stylish cinch at the waist
- Not very warm
Why it’s on this list: This jacket is for conditions where precipitation is more of a concern.
This jacket from Bosideng is pure fashion: it won’t hold up very well under even mild weather conditions but it will help you look great for a chilly night on the town. The puffed design is elegantly cut and it fits true to size.
This might not be the best jacket for hiking up a mountain, but if you like the look then it’ll be a staple of your closet for many winters.
- Very warm
- Quality materials
- Difficult to clean
- White fabric will get dirty easily
Why it’s on this list: If you like the look of this jacket, then go for it!
Marmot is a serious producer of outdoor gear and this jacket is designed to be incredibly warm even in very harsh conditions. The jacket is bulky and packed with high-performance down that helps trap heat near the body and keep the wearer very warm. The stuffing and lining have been specially treated to help retain warmth even when the jacket is wet.
The hood of this jacket offers great coverage of the head and as part of a layering system, this jacket could keep the wearer warm even when things get very warm outside. This is a great addition to your closet if you like to go on extended winter hikes or camping trips.
- Packed with warm down
- Special treatment to remain warm even when wet
- Spacious pockets
- Outer shell material is not the strongest
Why it’s on this list: This is a down jacket meant to keep you warm in extreme conditions.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re picking out a down jacket. Choosing the wrong one for your application could lead to you having a coat that will never find its way out of your closet. Or what’s worse, you could find yourself in cold-weather conditions without a proper coat to keep you warm. For that reason, you should consider all of the following factors before selecting a coat.
Form vs function
The essential question you must answer for yourself is what exactly you’re going to expect this coat to do. Some jackets are really consciously designed to keep the wearer as warm as possible in cold weather. Others do not contain as much warming technology and are more meant to look good and to be worn in mild conditions.
Both kinds of jackets can be good purchases, the only question is which direction you want to go. Note that neither category of jacket is excused from having good quality materials. You should always be looking for a coat you can wear for many winters.
Natural or synthetic
Many people try to avoid using or consuming animal products and for them natural down is not an option. These feathers usually come from goose or ducks and while they are very warm, they are not vegan. Right now there are plenty of great down alternatives on the market that do not sacrifice any warmth, meaning that there’s never been a better time to try one.
Down alternatives were not always as good as they are now, but at this point, you can safely consider these jackets to be on par with their natural counterparts.
You’ll find a wide range of outer layer materials when it comes to down jackets. They will mostly be synthetics but some natural cotton or other fabrics can be found out there. You want to consider how important it is to you that your jacket be windproof and/or waterproof. The main way you’ll be able to achieve such protection is with a good outer layer.
In some applications, pockets on a garment can be very intrusive, but for the puffy down coats, we see today they are actually right at home. You’ll find lots of different options when it comes to internal and external pockets. Very few of these will contain special inner linings to help keep your items dry.
Personally, I always like to have a hood on my jackets, just in case of rain or high winds. However, some people like to have their jackets without any attached hood, and those are available from some retailers. Make sure you understand what hood options are available for the jacket you’re considering and that you’re happy with them.
When looking at zippers, consider the size of the teeth of the main zipper. Larger teeth will be easier to use but make for a much less tight seal around the inside. Less heat will escape through a zipper with lots of smaller teeth.
Shopping for a down jacket can be difficult, with lots of options out on the market that all claim to offer similar products. Take a look at these items and decide for yourself if they pack the warmth, comfort, and style that you want for your winter jacket. Hopefully, you’ll find one you can happily use for a long time!