Every winter weather wardrobe needs a puffy down jacket. But how to choose? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
It’s one of the simple truths of the outdoors: When warmth is a must, it’s gotta be down. Synthetic has come a long way, but its warmth-to-weight ratio just doesn’t quite rival down (yet).
Down is plush, warm, packable, and even something of a fashion staple nowadays. But with dozens of brands offering hundreds of different styles, it can be damn near overwhelming to peg which down jacket is right for you.
So we leaned on our experience, testing, research, and insight to cull the best of the best. Each of these down jackets is available now and merits a look for its construction, price, features, and, of course, warmth.
Best Down Jackets for Men
In researching all the men’s down jackets on the market, we paid particular attention to standouts within a particular category. For example, we have selections for those shopping on a budget, those searching for more sustainable options, and for others who just want the most bomber puffy of all.
Best Overall Puffy: Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody ($279, $140 on Sale)
All things considered, it’s pretty tough to beat Patagonia’s tried-and-true Down Sweater Hoody for the price. It wasn’t the absolute comfiest, warmest, or most feature-rich in our testing. But Pata’s Down Sweater Hoody remains perhaps the most ubiquitous down jacket you’ll see in cities or on snowy trails for a reason: It’s a solidly built, reliable winter coat at a fair value.
At $279, it’s not the cheapest option on this list. But as far as down jackets go, it’s well within the reasonable range. And its 800-fill Advanced Global Traceable Down provides both peace of mind and plenty of packability. Add to that the Down Hoody’s DWR-treated, 100% recycled polyester, Bluesign-certified outer shell and liner, and you’ve got a down coat with plenty of upside.
Pros: High recycled content, variety of colors, overall value.
Cons: Sizes run big, heavier than other options.
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody
- Fill: 800
- Weight: 15.1 oz.
- Price: $279 (select styles/sizes often on sale)
- Key features: Bluesign-certified fabric, 100% recycled polyester shell/lining, Advanced Global Traceable Down
Best Budget Puffy: Decathlon Forclaz Trek 100 ($80)
We expected France’s Decathlon Sports would make a splash in the U.S. And for us, it starts with this 800-fill Trek down jacket ($80). At that loft and price, the Trek 100 even beats out REI’s very popular 650 Down Hoodie. For the money, you get a highly packable jacket (stuffs into its own pocket) that meets the Responsible Down Standard.
Unlike the higher-end offerings on this list, it isn’t loaded with features like two-way front zippers, felt-lined pockets, or recycled materials. But it does stand as a remarkable value considering its light weight (10.2 ounces), warmth, and basically unmatched price.
Pros: Price, price, price.
Cons: No recycled content, basic construction.
Decathlon Forclaz Trek 100
- Fill: 800
- Weight: 10.2 oz.
- Price: $80
- Key features: Responsible Down Standard, DWR coating, packs into its own pocket
Most Durable Puffy: Eddie Bauer Mountain Ops Down Hooded Jacket ($399, $200 on Sale)
If money’s less a concern than the years you’ll get out of a puffy, then Eddie Bauer’s Mountain Ops Down Hooded Jacket is as hard to beat as it is to tear. Unless you’re using this jacket as a doormat, it’s pretty much indestructible — and even then it might hold up.
Built for cat skiers and heli guides, the Mountain Ops down jacket sports a burly ripstop nylon shell with basically bulletproof 500-denier waterproof nylon canvas overlays at the shoulders and sleeves. Uber-cozy felt-lined pockets are perfect for bare hands, even when the temps drop to the coat’s lower limit rating of -25 degrees Fahrenheit. And the rest of you will stay plenty warm too.
Pros: Basically indestructible, soft-lined pockets (including chest pocket), very water-resistant.
Cons: Heavy, not packable, no recycled content.
Eddie Bauer Mountain Ops Down Hooded Jacket
- Fill: 650
- Weight: It’s heavy
- Price: $399 (on sale for $200)
- Key features: Waterproof nylon ripstop shell and canvas shoulder/back overlays, windproof
Best Puffy for High Activity: Black Yak Bakosi ($500)
Built in all the right ways for high activity, the Bakosi uses a variety of materials arranged to vent, stretch, and insulate exactly where you need it most.
Yes, it’s the most expensive down jacket on this list — and that’s saying something! But with a mix of Polartec Alpha and Powergrid, CORDURA, PrimaLoft Gold, and traceable goose down, the Bakosi is all about performance. Down covers the top, chest, and upper arms, while PrimaLoft synthetic wraps the lower arms and around the belt.
For venting and stretch, Polartec Alpha runs down the back. But the Bakosi also has loads of nifty features, including two big (unusual but helpful) external mesh pockets, dual zippered chest pockets, and two interior stash pockets (one mesh, one zippered).
And the Polartec fleece hood offers a stretchy, snug, lay-flat option.
Pros: Versatile for high activity, loads of pockets, athletic fit.
Cons: Very expensive, not very packable for its volume.
Black Yak Bakosi
- Fill: 750 (w/synthetic hits)
- Weight: 21.4 oz.
- Price: $500
- Key features: Mix of premium materials, excellent venting, many pockets
Best Lightweight Puffy: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 ($300, $210 on Sale)
Remarkably light and reliably warm, Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer puffy remains the standard for ounce-counters. With 800-fill RDS down and a 100% recycled ultralight ripstop shell, the Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Jacket packs down ridiculously small and weighs a scant 8.8 ounces.
Mountain Hardwear built on the reputation of the original Ghost Whisperer Down Hoody by recreating the puffy’s iconic weight — or lack thereof — and using 100% recycled face fabric and trim.
Pros: Very light, very packable, warm.
Cons: Expensive, less durable than other options.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2
- Fill: 800
- Weight: 8.8 oz.
- Price: $300 (on sale for $210)
- Key features: Extremely light, recycled face fabric, zip pockets, snug hood
Most Sustainable Puffy: Mammut Whitehorn IN ($249, $160 on Sale)
Most puffy jackets on this list have some sustainability story — whether it’s recycled yarn or recycled fabrics. But the Mammut Whitehorn takes it to another level, seemingly finding sustainable alternatives at every stitch and build process.
Like other coats here, the Whitehorn utilizes recycled yarn for its face fabric. But Mammut also used a PFC-free DWR treatment to repel moisture without shedding trace chemicals in the process.
And the story continues inside the jacket, with 650-fill recycled down over the body and recycled synthetic Ajungilak insulation along the shoulders. What’s more, the Whitehorn is reversible, so you’re essentially getting two puffies for the price of one, perhaps extending the lifespan of the jacket.
Pros: Reversible, PFC-free DWR, recycled materials inside and out.
Cons: Not packable, not built for backcountry pursuits.
Mammut Whitehorn IN
- Fill: 650
- Weight: 22 oz.
- Price: $249 (on sale for $160)
- Key features: Sustainable construction, hybrid insulation, reversible
Honorable Mentions: Best Down Jackets to Compare
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody ($379, $245 on Sale)
A little of all the best performers: lightweight, high quality, and reliable warmth. The Cerium LT definitely contends for best overall, but this premium build comes at a premium price.
Pros: Lightweight, warm, durable for its weight.
Cons: Small zippers can snag, snug fit (size up if layering under).
Feathered Friends Eos ($339)
Feathered Friends specializes in down, and it’s apparent. The Eos has been the flag-bearer for the brand’s insulated jackets for years — and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Eos is not only warm and pleasantly puffy, but the fit is more dialed than any of the competitors’.
Pros: Warm, lightweight, packable, cozy.
Cons: Expensive, light water resistance, no phone pocket.
Stio Hometown Down Hooded Jacket ($299, $254 on Sale)
Stio’s Hometown Down Hooded Jacket will fly under the radar for many shoppers. And that’s too bad; it’s probably the coziest jacket we tested.
Pros: Plush, lined pockets, warm.
Cons: Not very water resistant, heavy.
As you’d expect, Black Diamond’s Vision Down Parka provides super-high-loft warmth and just the right feature set for cold-weather belays. What’s more, BD employs new technology to add surprising durability, reinforcing the fabric with a liquid crystal polymer (LCP).
Pros: Extremely warm, very durable, great for belays.
Cons: Heavier than many options, expensive.
Marmot Hype Down Hooded Jacket ($300, $180 on Sale)
Designed to wear over a shell or other layers, the Marmot Hype has belayers in mind — but not exclusively. Not as technical as The BD Vision Parka, the Hype strikes a little more balance with everyday pursuits. It’s not ultralight but not heavy, and durable but not overbuilt.
Pros: Windproof, plenty of pockets, sizes large for layering.
Cons: Price and sizing make it less of an everyday puffy.
Norrona Falketind ($329, $164 on Sale)
The Norrona Falketind strikes a great balance of sustainability, durability, and performance. Very much a Goldilocks jacket, the Falketind offers a lot of protection against cold temps and foul conditions. But it does so with a solid composition of sustainable materials and a stylish design.
Pros: PFC-free DWR and recycled materials, warm, stylish.
Cons: Expensive, less packable.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a 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, compressible, and maintaining warmth due to intricate clusters that capture air and body heat.
Fill power is a measurement of that loft, on a scale of 400 to 900 cubic inches per ounce, which reflects the down’s quality and warmth-to-weight ratio. The higher the quality, the less down is needed to create the same warmth, so a jacket will be lighterweight, more packable, and pricier.
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.
Down vs. Synthetic
Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is made from polyester fibers and 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.
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 need also to be durable, warm, and wind resistant. It’s a tricky balance.
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 such as the Responsible Down Standard, the Patagonia Traceable Down Standard, and the National Sanitation Foundation’s Global Traceable Down Standard. Down suppliers like ALLIED Feather and Down have even launched their own traceability initiatives. For example, TrackMyDown allows consumers to see from what animal and in what country the down originated, along with performance attributes and third-party certifications. Without meeting such standards, abuse can become part of the supply chain. Synthetic choices can set some folks at ease.
Overall, in super-wet or mixed weather, synthetics can be a safer choice. 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, plus a few alternative fills, to keep you covered in the cold.
Have a favorite down jacket we missed? Let us know in the comments for future updates to this article.