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The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023

We found the best women's down jackets for every budget and activity. Whether you're looking for a versatile hoodie, a high-end technical outer layer, or a wallet-friendly puffy, we have you covered.

a roped up female climber wearing a pale coral puffy jacket and white climbing helmet as she ascends a gully in winter(Photo/Xander Bianchi)
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Down jackets are a winter staple but are functional year-round in certain climates. They provide top-level warmth while packing down fairly small. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to choose.

Our group of testers donned dozens of the best down jackets in salty elements at work and exploring the outdoors. We tested these outer layers while running errands around town, shoveling snow, camping, rock climbing, hunting, and more.

And while there isn’t a perfect jacket for every single activity, we’ve found a variety of the best down jackets for women to keep you warm all season. This collection of down layers focuses on a variety of functional hip-length puffy jackets.

To learn more about the details of down jackets, check out our buyer’s guide, FAQ, and comparison chart lower in the article.

If you’re interested in everyday longer-length jackets and parkas, read our women’s winter jackets buyer’s guide. Otherwise, keep scrolling or jump to our favorites below:

The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023

Best Overall Women’s Down Jacket

Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody


  • Weight 371 g
  • Fill 800 FP down (RDS certified by Control Union)
  • Waterproof No. Water-resistant shell and liner with PFC-free DWR finish
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, everyday, around town
  • Key features Interior chest pocket doubles as a stuff sack with carabiner loop, two zippered hand pockets and drop-in interior pockets, fixed hood
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Nice amount of stretch for movement
  • Lightweight
  • Really soft liner inside chin guard


  • Not waterproof
  • DWR finish is not fluorocarbon-free
Best Budget Down Jacket for Women

Duluth Trading Women’s AKGH Eco Puffin Hoodie Jacket


  • Weight N/A
  • Fill Synthetic
  • Waterproof Water resistant
  • Best use Dry to wet winter conditions, general wear, downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing
  • Key features Two zippered hand pockets, one internal zippered chest pocket, waist cinch, fixed and insulated hood
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Economic
  • Great pliability and range of movement
  • Resistant to precipitation
  • Durable


  • No hood cinch (on hem or back of hood)
  • Could use a soft chin guard
Runner-Up Best Women’s Down Jacket

Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 Down Jacket


  • Weight 289 g
  • Fill 800 FP down
  • Waterproof No. Features a DWR treatment to repel water off surface
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, general wear, hiking, camping
  • Key features Two interior stash pockets (for goggles or gloves), packs into its chest pocket and has carabiner clip-in loop, zippered chest pocket, hand pockets with zip closures, Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified, 50% recycled ripstop polyester shell
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Great fit
  • Stretch side panels increase overall range of motion, comfort, and breathability
  • Hood-free (lessens bulk)


  • Not waterproof
  • Some ladies might be looking for a bulkier, cozier option for everyday use
Most Sustainable

Paka Apparel Women’s PAKAFILL Lightweight Puffer


  • Weight 600 g
  • Fill 100% Alpaca from Peru
  • Waterproof Water resistant — treated with PFAS-free DWR
  • Best use Everyday errands and travel
  • Key features Bluesign-certified polyester in shell and liner, two zippered hand pockets, one internal zippered chest pocket, fixed and insulated hood
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Super-soft brushed tricot chin panel
  • Works with the The International Alpaca Association to ensure herds are cared for and healthy
  • Hire local Peruvians and compensate quadruple the average living wage


  • No hood cinch
  • Lacks integrated brim on hood
  • Shoulder seams and fabric are not the most stretchy
Best Stretch Down Jacket for Women

Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody


  • Weight 396 g
  • Fill 700 FP down
  • Waterproof No. But the Q.Shield goose down resists moisture
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, climbing, biking, shoveling snow, everyday
  • Key features Fabrication removes the need for stitching and glue, chest pocket, two zippered hand pockets, fixed hood, RDS certified down, fluorine-free water resistance treatment on down
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Excellent freedom of movement thanks to stitch-free design
  • Durable face fabric is pliable and soft


  • Not waterproof
  • Hood is streamlined which could be a drawback for some
Best Waterproof Down Jacket for Women

Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket


  • Weight 682 g
  • Fill 700 FP down
  • Waterproof Yes. Goose down features Nikwax fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic finish. Inner and outer fabric is treated for waterproofness and features fully taped seams. Plus there’s synthetic insulation in the hood and around the cuffs.
  • Best use Dry to the wettest coastal winter conditions, working on the snowmobile and trailer, cold campouts, traveling outside in blizzard or gusty conditions
  • Key features Fully taped seams, helmet compatible and insulated fixed hood, drawstring cord for hood rim and back-of-hood for overall snugness, wide Velcro wrist cuff closures, plus YKK zippers used on front, two hand pockets, and internal chest pocket
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Extremely warm
  • Super durable face fabric
  • Blocks wind and water like a superhero


  • Not as athletic-fitting as other down jackets
  • Pricier option

Best of the Rest

KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket


  • Weight 193 g
  • Fill 850+ FP down
  • Waterproof No. But the down and face fabric are DWR-treated to prevent moisture absorption
  • Best use Dry to moderately wet winter conditions, hunting in the mountains, backpacking, backcountry skiing, skiing (especially while going slower and teaching the kiddos)
  • Key features DWR-treated down, left-hand pocket doubles as stuff sack, fixed hood, YKK zippers, adjustable hood with drawstring along hem and in center back for overall tightening
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Extremely warm
  • Very quiet fabric


  • Pricier choice
  • DWR treatment is not eco-friendly

REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0


  • Weight 306 g
  • Fill 650 FP down
  • Waterproof No. DWR-treated to repel moisture off surface
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, everyday, camping, hiking
  • Key features Two zippered hand pockets, recycled nylon taffeta shell fabric, Bluesign certified nylon taffeta liner, RDS certified
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Includes plus sizes in 1X, 2X, and 3X
  • Wind-resistant


  • No hood
  • Those feathers sneak out of the seams

Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie


  • Weight 600 g
  • Fill 700 FP down (plus synthetic fill in the tops of the shoulders)
  • Waterproof No. Water-resistant
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, sailing, ski touring, resort skiing, everyday
  • Key features Bluesign-approved materials, 53% recycled polyester shell and lining, 85% recycled polyester insulation in tops of shoulders and wrist cuffs, wrist gaiters with thumb loops, fixed hood, RDS certified
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Size range is from XS to XXXL
  • Wind- and water-resistant
  • Lofty


  • Heavier jacket
  • Slightly longer design compared to our other options — a con for some
  • Not a streamlined-looking silhouette

Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket


  • Weight 558 g
  • Fill Wool
  • Waterproof No. Water-repellent
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, everyday use, freeride skiing, and snowboarding
  • Key features PFC-free, Fair Wear certified, climate neutral, two-way front zipper, wrist gaiters, one interior chest pocket, two large exterior hand pockets, extra zippered pocket on arm for ski pass or keys, insulated fixed hood, drawstring cord on back of hood snugs up the fit
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Windproof
  • Four pockets
  • Down alternative


  • Not the most packable
  • Pricier choice

Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket


  • Weight 397 g
  • Fill 800 FP down
  • Waterproof No. Treated with DWR
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, casual, layering beneath a rain coat
  • Key features Two interior stash pockets, two zippered hand pockets, jacket stuffs into its own pocket, fixed hood
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Fun color options
  • Sheds light precipitation


  • Little too boxy for some
  • Won’t keep you warm enough at a bus stop in Chicago

Marmot Women’s Highlander Jacket


  • Weight 377 g
  • Fill 700 FP down
  • Waterproof No. But the down is treated for water resistance
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, everyday, camping, hiking, layering beneath ski shell
  • Key features Two zippered hand pockets
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Wind resistance
  • Multiple interior chest pockets


  • Not waterproof
  • Shoulder and bust area can be snug with layers beneath

Mammut Whitehorn IN Jacket


  • Weight 454 g
  • Fill 650 FP down (plus strategically placed synthetic insulation along shoulders)
  • Waterproof No. Water-repellent exterior fabric
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, casual winter days, around-town errands, general travel
  • Key features Zippered chest pocket, two interior side pockets with snap buttons, two zippered exterior side pockets, 100% recycled down, synthetic fill in shoulders is recycled, Bluesign approved, PFC-free DWR treatment, Fair Wear certified, collar only (no hood)
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Reversible design
  • Strong 50-denier fabric


  • Doesn’t pack down the smallest
  • No hood

Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody


  • Weight 205 g
  • Fill 850 FP down (plus synthetic insulation in spots where moisture builds)
  • Waterproof No. Moisture-resistant outer fabric treated with DWR
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, backcountry skiing, splitboarding, ski mountaineering, plus ice, alpine, and rock climbing
  • Key features Synthetic insulation placed where moisture accumulates, down insulated and fixed hood that fits over helmet, includes stuff sack, two hand pockets that are zippered, minimal zippers reduce bulk (yet have never broken in several years)
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Ultralight technical design
  • Highly compressible


  • Not waterproof
  • No interior pockets
  • Feathers can sometimes sneak out

The North Face 1996 Nuptse Down Jacket


  • Weight 685 g
  • Fill 700 FP down
  • Waterproof No. Features DWR treatment on face fabric
  • Best use Dry to mildly wet winter conditions, everyday casual wear
  • Key features RDS-certified, stowable (non-insulated) hood, two zippered hand pockets, jacket stows in right-hand pocket
The Best Down Jackets for Women in 2023


  • Hood can be stashed into collar (it’s not removable)
  • Classic wide baffle and aesthetic


  • Fit is not as athletic as other jackets
  • DWR treatment and fabric are not recycled or chemical-free
  • Easily stains so be careful

Down Jackets for Women Comparison Chart

Down JacketPriceWeightFillWaterproofBest Use
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody$329371 g800 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Duluth Trading Women’s AKGH Eco
Puffin Hoodie Jacket
$130SyntheticNoDry to wet winter conditions
Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 Down Jacket$249289 g800 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Paka Apparel Women’s PAKAFILL
Lightweight Puffer
$329100% Alpaca from PeruNoEveryday errands and travel
REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0$100306 g650 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody$290396 g700 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket$395682 g700 FP downYesDry to the wettest coastal winter conditions
KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket$319193 g850+ FP downNoDry to moderately wet winter conditions
Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie$229600 g700 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket$400558 gWoolNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket$275397 g800 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Marmot Women’s Highlander Jacket$225377 g700 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Mammut Whitehorn IN Jacket$239454 g650 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody$359205 g850 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
The North Face 1996 Nuptse Down Jacket$320685 g700 FP downNoDry to mildly wet winter conditions
women's winter jacket
GearJunkie Senior Editor Morgan Tilton wearing the Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody; (photo/Xander Bianchi)

Why You Should Trust Us

Our GearJunkie team has tested and reviewed dozens of women’s down jackets in a range of cold-weather conditions across the country. For this guide, we examined the fine details of each down jacket, including comfort, functionality, protection from the elements, ease of use, and style. We also strongly considered the most popular, highly acclaimed, well-made, and size-inclusive women’s down jackets across price points.

Throughout the West and Rocky Mountains, we’ve cruised on our bikes, walked in blizzards, sat on park benches, cheered on cross-country ski races, and shoveled our rigs out of powder piles. We used these down jackets farming, hunting, camping, backpacking, backcountry skiing, splitboarding, and rock climbing. We tested down jackets in Colorado’s Gunnison Valley — one of the coldest, snowiest destinations in the United States.

While a single jacket likely won’t meet all of a person’s needs, this comprehensive list provides options with unique specialties and versatility. We’re confident these are the best women’s down jackets of the year.

Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody — Women's
Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton wearing the 800-fill Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Women’s Down Jacket

Down insulation is made from goose or duck plumage, a natural undercoat beneath feathers. This traditional jacket fill is known for being lightweight and compressible while maintaining warmth due to intricate clusters that capture air and body heat.

In frigid conditions, an insulated down jacket is perfect for wearing after a gym workout, before you step into a frigid car, and for running errands. Some down jackets are more water- and wind-resistant than others based on how the surface fabric or fill has been chemically treated. Down fill that’s chemically treated for water resistance is called hydrophobic down, so the down absorbs less water and dries faster.

Among the options, technical down jackets are typically lightweight and constructed with super durable materials, so they’re more tenacious against the surrounding terrain and dynamic activity, as well as packable. The price tag can often be higher than other casual down jackets.

A dependable and easy-to-pack down jacket (or a synthetic fill jacket) is pretty much a requisite for camping in high alpine or desert climates, backcountry trips like backpacking, alpine or rock or ice climbing, and backcountry splitboarding or skiing.

Beefier down jackets feature a higher down fill, so they’re warmer, which is excellent for winter camping, emergencies, or arctic conditions.

Down vs. Synthetic

You may be wondering if you even need a down jacket. Down is incredibly insulating and warm. It’s also very light. The downsides of down are a loss of insulation when wet and an inability to dry fast. In the long run, it also requires special cleaning.

Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is made from polyester fibers and is designed to imitate down clusters and properties with a few key differences. If you compare two equal-weight jackets, down is warmer than this alternative. But synthetic insulation retains warmth even when wet. It’s also easier to wash and usually comes at a lower price point.

  • Pros of down: excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, comfort, compressibility, lightweight, high inherent warmth
  • Cons of down: inability to insulate when wet, more difficult to wash, pricier

Some down jacket designs have a hybrid fill — they integrate synthetic fill into areas where moisture tends to collect like over the shoulders and around the wrist cuffs. That includes the Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie, Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody, and the Whitehorn IN Jacket. And in a very unique approach, the Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket uses sustainably sourced wool for insulation instead of down.

Within synthetic jackets, active insulation is another progressive subcategory to know. These technical garments are designed to dump extra heat and dry fast, so you don’t have to remove the jacket during vigorous activity. But these layers also need to be durable, warm, and wind-resistant. They ultimately won’t be as warm as a straightforward down jacket. It’s a tricky balance.

Down Fill

Down fill power measures the loft and quality of the down. To calculate fill, a one-ounce sample of down is compressed in a cylinder. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the higher the quality and warmer the jacket — though the fill power isn’t the only variable affecting a jacket’s warmth.

But the higher the fill quality, the less down is needed to create the same warmth. This is because it’s able to trap more air and warmth within the jacket. Higher fill power — around 800 to 900 — is more compressible, loftier, more lightweight, and pricier.

Fill power ratings range from 400 to 900 and even greater. Most of the jackets on this list are in the 800-fill range, with a few clocking in above or below. Generally, the quality increases with the fill number:

  • 400-500: fair quality
  • 600: good quality
  • 700: great quality
  • 800: excellent quality
  • 900 and above: highest quality

The other thing to consider is fill weight.

Layering Down Jackets
Layering a down jacket over a fleece and a long-sleeve base layer lets you shed layers while working outdoors; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Fill Power vs. Fill Weight

A down jacket’s fill power is the down’s quality and amount of loft. You’ll see jackets labeled as 600-fill or 800-fill, for instance. The fill weight, which is measured in ounces, reflects the density or amount of that down stuffed inside the jacket. (Note: fill weight differs from the jacket’s overall weight.)

So when two 700-fill jackets have different weights, we know the heavier one is warmer.

On the other hand, if two down jackets weigh the same with different fill power (such as two 15-ounce jackets with 650 fill and 800 fill), the higher fill jacket is going to be less bulky, lighter, and more compressible.

It’s also trickier to compare jackets with differing fill power. But in general, the lower the fill power, the less loft and warmth are provided.

Water Resistance & Hydrophobic Down

Down does not perform well when wet. And this is one of the places synthetic jackets tend to win out. To catch up, there has been a growing use of hydrophobic down, which has evolved over the past decade.

Essentially, the down feathers are coated in a water-resistant polymer. It still doesn’t match the water resistance of synthetics. But for light precipitation, hydrophobic down can’t be beat.

The face fabric of some down jackets is treated with DWR to help block light moisture, too, which can be eco-friendly formulas or chemicals that are toxic to the environment. Jackets can also have sealed seams to block moisture.


Many down jackets are not waterproof, but some offer a degree of water resistance, which works fine in dryer winter climates — where the snow water equivalent (read: the amount of liquid water in the snow) is lower. If serious rain is in the forecast, though, it’s best to pair these jackets with a solid raincoat.

There are four general snow climates: coastal, transitional, intermountain, and continental. Generally, the closer you are to the coast, the more precipitation you’ll experience and the water content will be higher in the snow — it’ll be wetter and heavier!

In contrast, the snow in continental climates is dryer, lighter, and accumulates less compared to the coast. That includes most of the Rocky Mountains, such as in Colorado. Intermountain regions and ranges show characteristics of both and transitional areas are similar to the coast but with less rain and snow.

Examples according to the Utah Avalanche Center:

  • Coastal (wettest): California, Washington, Oregon, coastal Alaska, and coastal British Columbia
  • Transitional (moderately wet): Areas and targeted locations in Montana, northern Idaho, and Oregon
  • Intermountain (mildly wet): Utah’s Wasatch Range, most of Idaho, Montana, and portions of Northeast Oregon and Southwest Colorado
  • Continental (mostly dry): Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, interior Alaska, and interior British Columbia
Some Down Jackets Are More Packable Than Others
Some down jackets are more packable than others and great for road trips or airplane travel; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Collar & Hood

An ergonomic collar and hood are significant features for protecting your face, head, ears, neck, and hair against sun, snow, sleet, hail, wind, or rain. Pulling up a hood can help the body retain heat in chilly conditions while shielding you from the elements.

Jacket collars vary in height and ideally have an interior chin guard that feels comfortable against the face, a key component on a windy day. Hoods on down jackets are typically insulated and fixed rather than removable or non-insulated, which you’ll see on lifestyle parka designs. Certain designs have an elastic cinch in the back to snug up the overall fit or one along the hood’s hem.

Occasional hood designs are non-insulated or feature a rigid brim to help keep moisture away from the face. The North Face Nuptse Down Jacket has both, as well as a unique packable (non-removable) hood — it rolls down and stuffs into the collar.

Sleeve Cuffs & Pockets

On most women’s down jackets, the sleeve cuffs have a streamlined elastic wrist cuff that stretches when you slide your hands through, meaning it’s easier to pull the jacket on before you put on your gloves. A handful have a wide velcro strap to tighten down the closure once you pull the jacket on.

The cut of cuffs is typically straight across at the wrist, so the arm length is functional and not cumbersome.

Very few down jackets feature wrist gaiters with thumbholes for extra hand warmth, but the Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket does.

Most jackets include two exterior hand pockets with zip closures. Often, there is at least one interior chest pocket with a zip closure, which can be great for chambering a credit card, ID, or key.

Fit & Size

Women’s down jackets are generally either trim with a streamlined fit or they can be roomier, puffier, and boxier with a more relaxed silhouette. Many materials offer a bit of flexibility or a ton of stretch for a wide range of movement. Not many down jackets look like a marshmallow these days — even the thickest jackets have articulation and style.

Both options can be comfortable. A roomier jacket is better if you plan to wear a bunch of layers beneath your jacket. You can still add layers beneath a fitted style but you might want to consider sizing up, because often the arm, shoulder, or chest areas can get too snug with a midlayer or two beneath.

Size-wise, each manufacturer has its own size charts. Be sure to take your personal measurements and match them up with the size charts, which can differ across brands.

Some companies provide more size inclusivity with broader offerings. That includes Outdoor Research with a size run of XS to XXXL. The North Face has sizes XS to XXL, and Eddie Bauer offers a size range of XS to XXL including regular, petite, tall, and plus options. Everyone’s body is unique, so check the exchange and return policy before you buy.

Hooded or Not? Down Jackets Have Options
Down jackets include options with a fixed or removable hood or no hood at all; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Weight & Compressibility

A down jacket’s weight and compressibility can be an important variable for cargo space and airline travel as well as storage and closet space. Otherwise, a jacket used for everyday errands and social events will generally weigh more than a lightweight technical down jacket made for athletic pursuits. Having a lightweight design for an everyday jacket is typically less of a priority because the comfort, ergonomics, and high warmth factors are the most important.

The longer a jacket is, the more it will weigh and the more space it will take up. The heavier a jacket is, the warmer it will be (read more about fill weight above). If you don’t need a warm winter jacket built for arctic conditions and need one for milder winter temperatures that hover above or around freezing, then the jacket will most likely weigh less.

The lightest down jackets range from the 850+ KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket at a mere 193 g and the 205 g Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody to the 600 g Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie and Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket, which is 615 g. The majority of our favorite down jackets sit around 300 to 400 g.

Ultimately, don’t compromise a jacket’s safety or comfort features and adequate warmth to drop grams.

Length & Zippers

The length of women’s down jackets typically reaches the hips but can reach a bit further, below the hips, which affects the overall warmth and protection from the elements.

Down jackets typically use a single one-way zipper in the front and zippered exterior hand pockets. To help snug up the fit, the hip-length jackets usually have a streamlined drawstring cord that can be easily tightened and loosened, which can help prevent gusts or snowflakes from scurrying up into the jacket.

The Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket is among the few down jackets with a two-way front zipper, which helps with harness compatibility.

Eco-Friendly & Recycled Materials

Beyond responsibly sourced down, like the ethically-sourced Advanced Global Traceable Down in the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, down jackets have an opportunity to include a bunch of eco-friendly design traits.

Some jackets are created with PFC-free DWR treatments for the exterior or down. That includes the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoodywhich employs a fluorine-free water resistance treatment on down fill. The Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket likewise features a Nikwax fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic finish on its down fill.

Other designs are made with recycled materials from recycled down to recycled polyester or implement recycled down or a recycled interior fabric liner. The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody has 100% recycled ripstop polyester shell and liner. The Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 implements a 20-denier ripstop polyester that’s windproof and 50% recycled. The REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket uses a recycled nylon taffeta shell fabric. In its hybrid design, the Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie even uses 85% recycled polyester insulation in tops of shoulders and wrist cuffs.

Some jackets also guarantee Fair Trade sewing, Bluesign, climate neutral, or Oeko-Tex Certified fabrics.

Our Down Jacket Choices Run From a Budget $100 to $400
The price of down jackets reflects many factors including durability for various activities; (photo/Xander Bianchi)


Our budget pick in this guide is the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket ($100).

At full price, the most expensive down jackets on our list are among the warmest and offer the most coverage against the elements. Those typically sit in the $300 range like the Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket ($385), KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket ($319), Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody ($359), The North Face Nuptse Down Jacket ($320), and Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody ($329).

Reaching an even higher price is the wool-filled Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket ($400).

A huge variety of warm down jackets exist between those two price marks. Most of our favorite down jackets are in the $100 range: Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie ($172), Marmot Women’s Highlander Jacket ($158), and the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket ($165).

A handful are in the $200 zone, including the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody ($290), Whitehorn IN Jacket ($239), and Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 ($249).

As fill power and fill weight increase, the warmth increases, and you’ll see the price of a jacket go up. That’s one reason why super lightweight, durable, technical cold-weather jackets are pricy. Jackets that are more expensive also feature more technical design features, materials that are more robust against a range of weather conditions and materials, as well as high-end sustainable materials.

Down Standards

Outdoor industry brands have made an effort to source down ethically without animal cruelty and create transparency in the global supply chain. Various certifications exist, but the most common is the Responsible Down Standard and Global Traceable Down Standard. Without meeting such standards, animal abuse can become part of the supply chain. Synthetic choices can set some folks at ease.

Animal materials aside, synthetics can sometimes be a safer choice overall for wearers in wet or mixed weather. Active insulation is best for high-output action. If it’s cold and dry, down is optimal despite a higher cost. The above are a handful of the best down jackets to keep you covered in the cold.

Finding the Best Down Jacket for Women
The durability and ease of using a zipper, especially in the jacket’s front, is key; (photo/Eric Phillips)


What Are the Different Types of Winter Jackets?

After you learn the different types of winter jackets, you might need to get one of each! This guide focuses on warm, functional, well-made choices for being outside during everyday commutes, errands, and casual activity. They’ll protect you on your bike ride to the post office, walking the dogs, or going to and from the nordic center or gym.

Here’s how winter jackets as a whole are each a bit different:

Down Jackets

  • Provide warmth — some are warmer than others
  • Good for dry, cold conditions and drier snow
  • Some designs are stylish and tailored to everyday use, while athletic-oriented designs are great for winter activities like ice climbing
  • Length can reach the hip, knee, or ankle (to learn more about winter jackets that are longer than hip length, check out our women’s winter jackets buyer’s guide)
  • Example: Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody

Synthetic Jackets

  • Warm outer layer — can also be layered beneath a waterproof non-insulated shell
  • Suited for wet environments
  • A good choice for activity like skiing or snowboarding in very cold conditions
  • Synthetic jackets can also be called insulated shells
  • Example: Norrona Trollveggen PrimaLoft100 Zip Hood

Active Insulation Jackets

  • Lightweight, streamlined, athletic jacket that is breathable yet insulated
  • Nice for cardio activity like nordic skiing or running
  • Some designs are hybrid with two types of visible fabrics strategically placed
  • Typically have panels of synthetic insulation but are more breathable than full synthetic jackets
  • Example: Helly Hansen LifaLoft Hybrid Insulator Jacket


  • Waterproof or water-resistant and block wind
  • These jackets are most often not insulated
  • Offer more range of motion than insulated synthetic jackets
  • Great for high-output cardio activity like shoveling, backcountry snowmobiling, or powder skiing
  • To clarify, a synthetic jacket is often called an insulated shell
  • Example: Ortovox 3L Guardian Shell Jacket

3-in-1 Jackets

  • A waterproof or water-resistant shell zips into a separate jacket liner
  • The interior jacket could be a fleece, synthetic fill, or down fill
  • You can wear the two jackets separate or together
  • Good budget option
  • Example: Columbia Bugaboo II Fleece 3-in-1 Interchange Jacket
What’s the Best Down Jacket to Buy?

The best down jacket to buy is based on how technical you want your down jacket to be and how warm or water-resistant you need it to be. Take a close look at the product details for each down jacket in our guide to see if it’s a good fit for your intended use.

In general and for everyday casual use in cold conditions, one of the best down jackets that reigned supreme in our testing was the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, but we also included a runner-up (the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 Down Jacket). But a single jacket isn’t going to perfectly fit and please everyone. You simply can’t go wrong with either of these for everyday use and travel.

Is Down Good for Backpacking?

Generally, a down puffy is a perfect layer to add to your backpacking pack, whether it’s for day hiking or backpacking — unless you expect a ton of moisture then consider a synthetic option.

If you’re buying a puffy specifically for backpacking, you’ll also want to make sure it works with your other layers, is comfortable to wear with a pack, and can pack down small.

How Should a Down Jacket Fit?

Down jackets are designed to be insulating and warm. However, you should still leave a little room for layering. That being said, you don’t want a jacket to be too big. If so, the airspace between your body, the inside of the jacket, and the insulation is wasted space and you’ll lose heat.

If a jacket is too small, you won’t have as good of a range of motion — essential, especially when engaging in high-output activities in the cold — or be able to layer much beneath.

We recommend checking each brand’s sizing guide (which is unique to each and very single brand) to ensure that you get the best-fitting jacket possible.

What Is the Highest Down Fill Power?

The highest fill power, 900, is also going to be the warmest. The majority of down jackets we tested (and a good reflection of what’s on the market) were 650-fill to 800-fill.

Which Down Fill Is in My Price Range?

Our down jackets range in price from $70, the 650-fill REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket, to the 800-fill Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket ($385). For a dependable, long-lasting, and comfortable jacket that blocks the elements and keeps us safe, that price range isn’t too bad even at the high end.

Fill power ratings range from 400 to 900 and even greater. Most of the jackets on this list are in the 650- to 800-fill range, with a few clocking in above or below. Generally, the quality increases with the fill number:

  • 400-500: fair quality
  • 600: good quality
  • 700: great quality
  • 800: excellent quality
  • 900 and above: highest quality

The 900-fill down is probably overkill, unless you’re traveling to arctic or high alpine environments in winter.

The higher the fill power, the higher the price will be. You’ll want to weigh price but also usage. Do you frequent cold places and need a quality jacket? Do you run cold? Then consider investing in a higher-fill down option, like 800-fill Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket or 800-fill Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody.

Also consider that not all down jackets are the same level of windproofness or water resistance, which can influence your overall warmth depending on the conditions where you’ll be. Some jackets are also loftier than others and better for stationary activities like standing at the sled hill versus dynamic heat-producing activities like alpine climbing.

That said, if you’re deciding between two jackets and one is much higher in price, always check the fill power. Most well-made down jackets we own are between 650- and 700-down fill. As we mentioned, the amount of fill power you need depends on where you’ll be adventuring — how cold it will be — and whether or not the activity is sedentary. But it doesn’t hurt to have an 800-fill for your coldest adventures.

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