Down jackets are essential parts of hiking gear, especially when trail conditions consist of low temperatures or harsh winter. Similar to a good pair of hiking boots, you will only enjoy your time in the wilderness, once you have the right accessories.
Don’t let the name of the site fool you. I darn well realize that, next to boots, there are plenty of other important accessories that a hiker needs in order to truly enjoy his/her walk in the wild. You can have a high-end set of boots on your feet, but if you’re going for a winter hike without a proper jacket to keep you warm… then good luck having fun!
Summing it all up, good hiking gear can save you from serious conditions. A warm jacket can create all the difference between going all the way to the peak, and turning back due to biting cold. So what exactly is a down jacket?
What Is A Down Jacket?
A down jacket is simply a jacket that has been insulated with warm or soft feathers from geese or duck. Their outer layer or shell is usually created with materials such as polyester or nylon. Down is one of the best materials when it comes to insulation and providing warmth. The loft or fluffiness of this material traps warm air while retaining heat, to ensure that the person wearing the jacket remains warm throughout. Goose down is usually the warmer and lighter material between the two. However, a combination of the two helps to push prices down.
Down versus Synthetic
The first decision to make when looking for a down jacket, is choosing between down or synthetic. Down is preferred since it is much warmer, compresses better and has a better breathing ability. However, once it becomes wet, its warmth retention abilities become highly compromised. On the other hand, synthetic jackets tend to be more durable in terms of holes and cuts. Holes and cuts in the down jacket often lead to a leak of feathers. Synthetic jackets don’t experience this kind of leak. Taking that into consideration, synthetic jackets last at most 10 years while down jackets can serve you for up to 20 years.
Tips for Buying Down Jackets
You don’t just walk into a store and buy any down jacket, just because it is on offer. It is important to select the one that suits your lifestyle. There are different factors to consider when selecting a down jacket. For example, men and women have varying needs and preferences. Additionally, if you are more of an outdoor person, then your down jacket will be different from someone who spends a lot of time in the city. Consider the following tips when purchasing a down jacket.
Consider the Fill Power
The fill power of a down jacket refers to the loftiness or fluffiness as well as its insulating properties. A jacket with a higher fill power has more air pockets. This translates to a higher insulating power. Apart from insulation, fill power also indicates the down quality used. Jackets with higher fill power are usually filled with high quality down.
Weight of the Jacket
A down jacket for hiking and backpacking should be obviously light. A heavy jacket might wear you down, which might reduce your hiking speed. Jackets with a higher fill power tend to be much lighter. High quality down will usually be needed in smaller quantities, to provide the same amount of warmth as compared to lower quality down.
Apart from the materials used for insulation, shell materials are equally important. The lining and shell of the material plays a very vital role on the warmth, durability, water resistance and weight of the jacket. You should also determine whether the shell is treated for water resistance, especially since you will be hiking in wet or cold conditions. Polyester and nylon are some of the most common materials used in making the outer shell.
Best Down Jackets For Hiking For Women
1. Orolay Thickened
Hit the trails with assured protection against all types of weather, with this thick down jacket for hiking. The choice of materials is excellent and the workmanship is solid, giving you one of the best weather protection jackets for hiking. Whether you are facing persistent showers or blustery winds, you can always rely on the warm embrace of this jacket, keeping you comfortable and warm. When you combine these qualities with excellent stitching, you get a jacket with a charming appearance. The adopted polyester used to make the jacket is 60% denser than conventional materials in the market. This gives the jacket warm-keeping quality and excellent wind-proofing abilities. Although the jacket appears puffy, it is definitely lightweight, unless you encounter very heavy rainstorms. The fit is perfect, there is no tightness and the material does not shrink or stretch unnecessarily. It has roomy pockets that can be used to store a camera, purse, hiking gloves or even your phone. If you don’t want to wear it at the end of your hiking day, you can just fold it up to form a pillow, and have a comfortable night. It is versatile, comfortable and the quality is great.
2. Columbia Lay ‘D’
When you combine Omni-Heat thermal reflective, 550 fill power down insulation and Omni-Shield advanced repellency, you can a jacket that is thick enough, to keep you warm during your winter backpacking trip. Butterfly soft fabric and feminine design lines ensure that you don’t have to purchase male jackets just to keep warm. This one was specifically designed for women, and you can even wear it every day. The outer material is polyester and nylon, ensuring that water does not penetrate inside. This keeps you warm while the valuables stored inside the jacket don’t get wet. The omni-heat reflective feature on the inside helps to trap the heat, keeping you warm throughout. This down jacket for trekking is designed with comfort cuffs, together with thumb holes, which help in protecting the wrists against cold, which is an added benefit. Although the external material looks soft, it is very strong, to withstand strong winds and storms. The hood is detachable, giving you the option of wearing it or not, depending on the weather conditions. It comes with fleece pockets, which add to the overall warmth of this jacket. You can use the pockets on the inside of the jacket to carry your hiking accessories such as credit cards, keys, phones and even a small notebook.
3. Wantdo Hooded Packable Ultra Light Weight Short
This down jacket is designed for the hiking woman who wants to stay fashionable and stylish, even in the wilderness. It is super light but padded with innovative material to keep you warm. It is designed with a compact silhouetted, to maintain that feminine appeal. It is lightweight and thin enough, which means that it can be worn even under another layer of clothing. The raglan sleeve, the hood and the zip closure, all come together to give the jacket a sporty look. It is treated with a water repellent coating. This ensures that water does not penetrate inside, thus ensuring that you remain cool and dry throughout. The stretch taps fitted inside the hem and cuffs are very suitable for wind protection. It packs compactly, and even comes with pouch that ensures easy carrying. You can still remain warm without appearing bulgy or bulky, thanks to this down jacket.
4. The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket
The North Face Women’s Thermoball Full Zip Jacket is a very popular jacket among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to its water-resisting ability and high warmth-to-water ratio. It can be worn as a standalone jacket in fall or spring. The water-repelling ability can be attributed to the material used on the external part, which is 100% nylon. It also comes with an internal hemline drawcord, sealing in the warmth of the jacket, with just a single pull. The Thermoball insulation is what sets this jacket apart from the rest. Sandwiched between the liner and the shell, it is able to retain internal heat, with the used of small air pockets, thus keeping you warmer. It features a nice zipper together with great interior cuffs, preventing the wind blowing from the inside. It comes with large hand pockets, which can easily accommodate gloves. Its most impressive feature is the ability to fit into a small carrying case, just in case of drastic weather change.
5. The North Face Aconcagua Jacket
If you are looking for a down jacket for cold weather and you are on a budget, this is the one to go for. It features a stylish fit, the fabric used is water resistant and durable. The jacket is thus ideal for everyday winter layer or even for trekking in wet conditions. Slightly different from the older versions, this new one features 100% nylon while the weight has been drastically cut down to 40g. Moreover, the side panels on this hiking down jacket have been re-worked and have been insulated using Heatseeker synthetic insulation. You can obtain the jacket in several colors, all depending on how you want to look. Since it is bulky, it is just perfect for those who camp a lot. It can be folded down to form a pillow, keeping you comfortable even at night. The tightly woven nylon makes sure that it is water resistant. The nylon fabric used is durable. It can handle more rough wear comfortably, even better than more expensive varieties. The soft fleece near the collar as well as the inside pockets provide an additional layer of warmth.
6. Columbia Gold 650 TurboDown Radial Down Hooded Jacket
The Women’s Gold 650 creates a unique blend between synthetic insulation and a duck down, for a result that is lightweight and warm. The design is both street-friendly and hiking-friendly. The transition is easy from the city to the wild. Its warmth is further enhanced by the Omni-heat reflective lining to produce an unbeatable combination. Those blasts of cold air up your back are now a thing of the past, thanks to the addition of a drop-tail hem. If your hands are getting cold, just stuff them the two hand pockets, to keep warm. The two hand pockets are also zippered, keeping your smaller items like keys and phones secure and moisture-free. The jacket is super lightweight and warm. You will not feel as if you are carrying a blanket over your back. Apart from providing you with warmth, it does not limit mobility in any way. It is a very nice jacket for layering, especially when trekking during the colder months. Additionally, it is not too bulky, thus fitting inside your travelling bag without consuming much space.
7. Columbia Sportswear Hexbreaker Long
When Mother Nature wraps her icy hands around your neck, just wear this jacket and tell her to get the hell out of here! It features trail-tested insulation, giving you the assurance that you are not alone in the wild, thanks to the comforting embrace of this jacket. Featuring Omni-heat reflective coating and 600-fill down insulation, this jacket is able to retain heat while keeping your body warm throughout the cold weather. It also comes with a water resistant nylon shell. When combined with a soft polyester lining, you remain comfortable and cozy, even when the trial conditions are miserable. It has a flattering and slim cut, looking great on you, whether you are walking on the streets or hiking in the Himalayas. Metallic lining reflects heat generated from the body for improved warmth retention. The membrane consists of 65% lining material, to give this hiking down jacket some aspect of breathability. An adjustable drawcord gives it some shape while inset elastic cuffs prevent winds and cold air from moving up your sleeves. The hood is removable. Its flexible relaxed fit makes sure that you have a flexible range of motion.
8. Steve Madden Chevron Packable Puffer Coat with Hood
Chic and fashion are all expressed in this puffer coat by Steve Madden. Featuring a classic design, this jacket will ensure that you remain warm, against the chills and colds of winter. Additionally, you style will not be sacrificed. The thick down material fills the outer shell while the detachable hood comes with an elastic material, to seal in warmth. If you intend to do some layering, just purchase a slightly larger size and you will be good to go. It does not limit your movement in any way. Despite being thick and warm, the jacket is very lightweight, thus suitable for those who are going for long backpacking trips. The hood can be removed, in case of weather changes on the trails. The sleeves cover your arms and wrists entirely and even extend, to prevent entry of cold. Fabric used is durable and lightweight. The outer shell is also water resistant, while the front pockets keep your hands warm throughout.
9. The North Face Gotham
This jacket offers a lightweight stylish Parka, in a sleek simplicity. Featuring a mid-thigh length, it does not constrain your movement like other Parka jackets. Unlike other hiking jackets, the North Face Gotham does not sacrifice style for comfort. The high-loft baffles combined with the 550-fill goose down provide you with sufficient warmth, even during the harshest winter weather. It does a very nice job when it comes to keeping cold out and heat in. The hood is also filled, keeping your head warm at all times. Featuring 100% nylon shell, this is also coated with durable, water and repellent finish (DWR). You are sure that moisture will just remain outside, but will not get inside. The sleeves feature elastic curves, thus keeping heat in and precipitation out. Moreover, the adjustable cord just around the hood gives you that needed tighter fit, during inclement weather. It fits comfortably without leaving you feeling bulky and over-dressed. It gives you the freedom in doing a lot of activity, without feeling weighed down. The standout feature in this hiking jacket is the elastic waist that keeps feminine looking and form-fitting.
10. Tommy Hilfiger Down Alternative Coat with Faux Fur Trim Hood
Tommy Hilfiger is a popular brand when it comes to clothing. You can feel an exquisite touch of luxury, the moment you slip this jacket on. It is comfortable, cozy and warm, just what you need when you are looking for the best down jacket for hiking. The length is just ideal, allowing you to wear it with tights or even leggings. It is classic and stylish. High quality materials are used to make this jacket. Even if you buy the black one, you will not observe any fading at all, even when you wear it for long. It is slightly pulled in, to flatter your curves and show your hips. Therefore, you don’t have to go around looking like a box. It is comfortable and stretchy. The side pockets are welted, providing an additional measure of strength and durability. It is available in different colors giving you versatility in what to wear it with.
Best Down Jackets For Hiking For Men
1. 32Degrees Weatherproof Packable Down Puffer Jacket
Warm, comfortable and economical is the description that fits this puffer jacket. The shell is purely nylon while the interior has a down fill to keep you warm. It is ultra-light and super packable, especially when you have several items to fit inside your travelling bag. This puffer jacket is suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities, since it is light, loose and not tight-fitting. The jacket does not make you feel as if you are overdressed. Side pockets help to carry your things, as well as keeping your hands warm. You can simply tuck it inside its color coordinated carrying pouch, when you are not wearing it. It is breathable, thus does not retain sweat or bad odors, even when you go for several months without washing it. The zipper runs through to the collar, ensuring your neck remains warm also. The material used is 100% nylon, ensuring durability, water protection and lightweight travel.
2. Hawke & Co Packable Down Puffer Jacket II
If you are looking for a hiking jacket that is stylish and durable, then look no further. The Hawke & Co Men’s Packable Down Puffer Jacket II. It is a highly packable jacket, especially who are going for hiking and camping trips. With its amazing performance and high quality materials, you get one of the best down jackets for hiking. Your winter days become much warmer, allowing you to have fun and enjoy the day, without the miserable weather. The material is 100% nylon, which is known for being durable and lightweight. It is one of the few hiking jackets, with a standing collar. There are several slick colors to choose from, based on your preferences. Hand pockets are zippered, providing you with a secure place to store your valuables. It is easy to clean, which can even be done with a washing machine. It is ideal for hiking in spring and fall since it is not very thick and heavy. There is an elastic fit at the bottom of the jacket. The same feature has been applied at the end of the sleeves, to prevent body heat from escaping. The elastic material also prevents entry of cold into the body.
3. Hawke & Co Packable Down Puffer Jacket
You don’t have to break the bank when searching for a nice packable jacket. This particular one from Hawke & Co is available in different colors, ranging from green, black, red, blue and grey. Created using 100% nylon, with 10% feathers and 90% down fill, this combination produces a warm and comfortable puffer jacket. Featuring two zippered pockets, you can securely store your valuable items like a phone or even keys. It is a slim-fitting coat, ensuring that you remain stylish, no appear like a box. It is highly packable, and comes with stylish pouch for convenient carrying. There are also inside pockets where you can store your wallets, and ensure that they will not be affected by external moisture. Its good wind-stopping abilities make it a nice accessory, especially when hiking on those high trails. It is also good for layering, and you will not feel overheated. It is true to size and the zippers are nice quality. With its reduced weight, you have the flexibility of engaging in several outdoor activities, without feeling bulky or weighed down.
4. The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket
The North Face Thermoball is a compressible and lightweight synthetic jacket. It features Thermoball insulation, which traps and retains heat, for that exceptional warmth during wet and cold weather. Featuring a relaxed cut, this full zip jacket is very comfortable. It provides a nice fit, while still allowing sufficient room inside for layering. The drawcord hem and the elastic piece provide an airtight seal, keeping wet and cold weather elements outside. It has been designed with a high collar, thus protecting the neck from windy and cold conditions. Unlike other down jackets for hiking, this one does not limit mobility in any way. The generous upper arm cut allows a good amount of overhead reach. The fabric can handle a lot of abuse, but this does not mean you go through thorny hedges! The entire jacket can also fit inside one of its pockets, for easy carrying. The main problem of adding many layers, is breathability. However, that is not the case with this one. It breathers well, even during exercises without the retention of sweat and moisture.
5. Tommy Hilfiger Packable
Packable jackets are very popular with backpackers. They are easy to fold and fit inside without taking too much space. This is the same case with this packable down jacket from Tommy Hilfiger. The thin and lightweight material might make you think that the jacket will fall apart easily. However, despite being lightweight, the material is very durable. It can withstand all manner of outdoor activities without needing a replacement any time soon. It has a wide climate range. It can be worn comfortably, even to temperatures of around 100 F, allowing you to avoid the bulky of conventional winter jackets. Breathability is another feature that makes the jacket suit different weather conditions. It does not get overly hot, or retain moisture and perspiration. It performs exceptionally well, even in windy conditions. It is stylish, allowing you to match it with different outfits. It is true to size, without appearing too bulky. The standing collar keeps your neck warm, while the draw string included provides a convenient means of carrying it.
6. Columbia Frost-Fighter Puffer Jacket
Featuring a street-friendly style, this quilted jacket is ready to handle bad weather elements. The faux-down insulation, as well as the water resistant fabric ensures that you remain warm and dry, even during wet weather. It is one of the best down jackets for cold weather hiking, mountain climbing or snow backpacking. Featuring polyester taffeta lining and more than 150 grams of synthetic polyester, you get a warm and comfortable jacket. The Omni-shield fabric used in making the jacket is stain-repellent and water resistant to ensure that you stay dry and clean. It also comes with an adjustable draw cord, to ensure a great fit. The fabric is easy to clean, since it does not collect stains. Hand pockets are zippered to provide security to your accessories while the binding at the cuffs prevents wind and cold air from slipping up he sleeves. It has been fitted with an abrasion resistant chin guard, for preventing chin chafe, especially when the zipper is fully closed. You have more than ten colors and color-combinations to choose.
7. Hawke & Co Packable Down Puffer Jacket with Shoulder Stitching
Hiking is fun, until you start freezing and water starts getting inside your inner clothes. However, this should not happen anymore, thanks to this puffer jacket. Although it will not keep your inner clothes completely moisture-free, it has a certain level of water resistance, especially when you encounter light snow, drizzles or showers. It is lightweight but incredibly warm. Workmanship and build are great and the seams are done in a way that they don’t burst even under pressure. It is easy to pack which means that you can even fit it inside one of its pockets, zip up, and carry it as if it was a small bag. The material use is stain resistant, which makes it even better, when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. For a hiking jacket, this one is stylish too. It has been fitted with an inside pocket. The inside pocket can also be used to carry the jacket. Outer pockets are deep and zippered. They can accommodate several items, and they will remain securely in place.
8. The North Face GOTHAM JACKET II CYK7
Comfortable and stylish, the North Face Gotham II combines modern features with a classic style, to produce to produce one of the best down jackets for hiking. This great winter coat can be worn every day, to keep you protected from the harsh winter weather. It is also appropriate for snowboarding and skiing. Featuring a 550-fill down, the jacket will keep you warm throughout the day. The outer cover acts as a breathable and waterproof shell, keeping out rain and snow. Additionally, moisture does not build up inside the jacket. Some of the useful features you can count on include a hood, fitted with a detachable faux-fur trim. There is also a dedicated media pocket on the inside for storing smaller items such as wallets, phones, and cash, among others. Four external pockets give you wider options, on what to carry. Strong nylon is used in the crafting of this jacket. Therefore, you will not encounter any issues of product failing or even falling apart any time soon. The buttons are also solid and remain firmly in position, even when the jacket is subjected to aggressive use. Despite its burly outside appearance, there is a comfortable and soft lining on the inside.
9. Hawke & Co Hooded Down Puffer Packable Jacket
Light and thin enough, you can use this jacket to provide a sub-layer of insulation. Featuring 100% nylon, the jacket is stain-resistant. Cleaning is also easy, since you just need to toss it in the machine wash, then sit back and relax. Whenever you want to carry it, you just fit it inside its own inner pockets, and then carry it like a small purse. You can travel with it as your main jacket, without the additional bulk of most winter jackets. The shell is water resistant while keeping you warm and dry. Side entry pockets are zippered while the vertical seaming at the shoulders provides an extra layer of durability. The jacket is available in more than five different colors, including black, silver, blueprint, medieval blue and chili pepper, among others. It is true to size.
10. The North Face Nuptse Jacket
Sporting sleek quilt lines and an updated fit, this Nuptse jacket provides puffed and lofty warmth especially during cold and wet weather. Its durability, coupled with a simple design is one of the reasons why it is so popular among hikers. Featuring 500 nylon fabric, the Nuptse is able to resist tearing, even when you are hiking through thorny trails. Shoulders are reinforced to provide extra durability. It comes in a stowable design, allowing you to stuff it inside the internal chest pocket during your ski-touring or backpacking weekends. With a zipper extending all the way app, this hiking jacket is able to provide sufficient coverage around the neck area. Other features include two-zippered hand pockets as well as two cinch cords. The two cinch cords, situated on the front can be used to tighten it around the waist for a secure fit. Durable fabrics have been used, giving it a touch of ruggedness for outdoor use.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Down Jackets For Hiking For Women
- 1.1 1. Orolay Thickened
- 1.2 2. Columbia Lay ‘D’
- 1.3 3. Wantdo Hooded Packable Ultra Light Weight Short
- 1.4 4. The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket
- 1.5 5. The North Face Aconcagua Jacket
- 1.6 6. Columbia Gold 650 TurboDown Radial Down Hooded Jacket
- 1.7 7. Columbia Sportswear Hexbreaker Long
- 1.8 8. Steve Madden Chevron Packable Puffer Coat with Hood
- 1.9 9. The North Face Gotham
- 1.10 10. Tommy Hilfiger Down Alternative Coat with Faux Fur Trim Hood
- 2 Best Down Jackets For Hiking For Men
- 2.1 1. 32Degrees Weatherproof Packable Down Puffer Jacket
- 2.2 2. Hawke & Co Packable Down Puffer Jacket II
- 2.3 3. Hawke & Co Packable Down Puffer Jacket
- 2.4 4. The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket
- 2.5 5. Tommy Hilfiger Packable
- 2.6 6. Columbia Frost-Fighter Puffer Jacket
- 2.7 7. Hawke & Co Packable Down Puffer Jacket with Shoulder Stitching
- 2.8 8. The North Face GOTHAM JACKET II CYK7
- 2.9 9. Hawke & Co Hooded Down Puffer Packable Jacket
- 2.10 10. The North Face Nuptse Jacket
This page was authored by Brian Bradshaw, who represents the Boot Bomb. Brian is backed up by an expert team, made up of experienced family and friends, all of which are knowledgeable in the ways of footwear and/or hiking. His ancestors used to own a shoe store for almost a century. He has lived and breathed footwear for as long as he can remember.
This page was last updated on .