There is no shortage of down jackets for women these days. With only a few ounces of weight, these cozy jackets excel at retaining heat and enveloping the wearer in a cozy cocoon. It’s our favorite piece of outdoor wear and one of the first items we throw in our suitcase for a trip.
As a reliable source of warmth, the garment has come to dominate the outdoor industry and work its way into our everyday urban lives. Whether it’s running errands in the city or traversing a precarious alpine ridgeline, down jackets, have proven themselves time and again. Over the years, I’ve taken dozens of down jackets worldwide and up mountains to find my favorites and the best down jackets for women.
Best Performance Women’s Down Jacket
Arc’Teryx Cerium LT
- Weight: 9.9 oz.
- Material: Nylon
- Fill: 3.35 oz. of 850-fill down
- Superior Warmth
- Packable Sack
- Tight Fit
The Cerium LT Hoody is an excellent down jacket for women. It has a sleek design and an exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio. Yet, what stands out about the Cerium is how it manages to supply everything you could want and remain an attractive jacket. It looks and feels as premium as you’d expect from a nearly $400 jacket.
Of course, the price point is detracting. The other drawback is the durability due to the thin denier shell. However, we’ve had ours on plenty of craggy peaks in the Canadian Rockies, and they still look great. That exterior shell is rated 10-D, making the jacket incredibly light, and the premium down inside supplies the warmth.
Warmth is exceptional thanks to 3.35 ounces of high-quality 850-fill-power down. I love the high-tech design feature of composite mapping. Arc’teryx has effectively added a small amount of Coreloft synthetic insulation to areas prone to moisture. Its location is on the shoulders and underarms to fight off precipitation and sweat.
The Cerium is well-loved by outdoor enthusiasts, and they put them through the wringer daily. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise they have a loyal client base. For the more active women, the Cerium jacket would be a solid choice. It has become my go-to down jacket and what we use for sports in the Canadian Rockies. It’s easily the best down jacket, but you’ll have to pay for that performance.
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Best Overall Women’s Down Jacket
Patagonia Down Sweater
- Weight: 12.2 oz
- Material: Nylon
- Fill: 3 oz. of 800-fill down
- Comfortable, Warm
- Style and Cut
- Patagonia Brand Name
- Wardrobe Staple, Casual Use
- Not Waterproof
The Better Sweater was the first down jacket I ever bought, and it became a staple in my wardrobe. I love that the jacket blurs the line between casual and performance perfectly. Whatever scenario you’d need, a down jacket for the Down Sweater will be up to the task. I use the jacket as a mid-layer for skiing, traveling around Europe, and casual walks in the neighborhood.
We also love Patagonia’s commitment to sustainable practices and activism. The jacket shell is 100% recycled polyester, and the fill is traceable goose down. Its casual looks feel appropriate everywhere, and it does a beautiful job of keeping you warm.
On the spec side of the things, the down jacket uses a nylon 20-D shell, and the insulation is 3.4 oz of 800-fill power goose down. The down does an excellent job of handling wet conditions due to the DWR, which provides a hydrophobic quality.
It is comfortable and well suited for city wear, weekend trips, or mountain summits. The Patagonia Down Sweater is versatile! It’s been Patagonia’s best-selling product for years because it feels equally at home in the mountains and city while not breaking the bank.
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Patagonia Down With It Parka
- Weight: 37.8 oz
- Fill: 8.3 oz. of 600-fill down
- Super Warm
- Plenty of Coverage
- Very Stylish
- Heavy and Bulky
If you want to maximize your coverage with a down jacket, the Patagonia Down With It Parka is an excellent choice. The jacket utilizes a massive 8.3 ounces of 600 fill power down. That makes for a warm jacket in frigid weather, which may be too warm on a chilly day.
It has a durable water repellent finish, a contoured fit to look sleek, and a princess seam fit in the front and back for excellent shaping for a woman’s body. The three-panel hood is removable, and we love the handwarmer pockets that are fleece lined.
As a parka, it has a knee-length cut. This style is excellent for walking around the city or on a winter stroll, but it’s far too long for any sort of active movement. However, the knee cut retains far more heat than a regular jacket. It uses some lightweight finishes, but the long style and massive amount of down means is a bulky jacket.
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REI Coop Down Jacket for Women 2.0
- Weight: 10.8 oz.
- Material Nylon
- Fill: 3.3 oz of 650-fill down
- Unbeatable Price.
- Loose Fit
It is the most affordable women’s down jacket on this list. REI has designed a great jacket that is perfect for casual use and cool climates. It’s a down jacket that only costs $100, which is about as inexpensive as they come in the down jacket world. When REI first released this down jacket, it flew off the shelves and has been in high demand ever since. Its closest competitors in quality come in at about double the price.
The jacket is lightweight at only 10.3 ounces and packs up nicely. Warmth is its only downfall, but the 3 ounces of 650-fill-power down will keep you warm in cool climates. It’s not the warmest jacket by any means on this list, but it gets the job done, especially at the price point.
When it comes time to move to the next destination, the jacket packs up into the left pocket and occupies minimal space in your luggage. It has a water-repellent finish that should handle a light rain, snow, and wind.
If you’re looking for an affordable no-fuss jacket that will handle travel, light winter sports, and cool days, then this is a great choice. It’s a lightweight women’s down jacket that’s under $100; tough not to love that price point.
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Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket
- Weight: 9 oz
- Material: Pertex® Quantum®
- Fill: 2.8 oz. 900+ Fill
- Superior Warmth And Weight
- Super Comfortable
- Warm Hood
- Cinch Waist
- Bulky Fit
- Not Waterproof
If you need a warm jacket, it’s tough to do better weight vs. warmth than Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket. This down jacket features 2.8 ounces of 900-fill down with a down hood and an insulated draft tube behind the zipper. The jacket design effectively retains your heat.
While it may not be best for climates with a light chill, it is perfect for cold weather. Our only gripe with the jacket is the slightly bulky fit. It also has a very technical appearance and isn’t as appealing for wear around town. However, for the price, it’s tough to beat the warmth and weight.
When it comes down to packability, this down jacket comes with a nylon stuff sack that is about the size of a Nalgene water bottle. The stuff sack is great for packing down the jacket and attaching the bag to the outside of a hiking backpack, harness, or slipping it in your luggage or backpack.
Feathered Friends is in Seattle, Washington, and hand makes every jacket order. Their goal is to make ethical down garments for those who seek out the best performance. Be warned. It takes up to a week to receive the down jacket, if not longer in peak season. However, you’re supporting a dynamic outdoor business. Also, you can only order their jacket through their online store (they ship internationally) or in Seattle.
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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2
- Weight: 7.3 oz.
- Material: Nylon
- Fill: 2.8 oz. of 800-fill down
- Not Waterproof
- Ultralight Sacrifices Durability
Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer 2 can take you from the airport to the backcountry. It has less warmth than the competitors but features a slim cut in an ultralight package. The lightweight nature is due to a 7D ripstop nylon shell and 2.8 ounces of 800 fill-power down.
The 800-fill power down has Q.Shield moisture-resistant hydrophobic down. Water-resistant down combined with Mountain Hardwear’s ripstop nylon does a great job protecting from elements like wind and light precipitation.
With darker, more subtle colors, a slim cut, and the classic puffed ribbing, it’s a sharp-looking jacket. While this women’s down jacket won’t replace a heavyweight jacket, it is exceptional in its ability to compress. Despite that, it is an excellent jacket for standalone winter travel gear. It’s a perfect option for those obsessed with as light as gear as possible.
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Stio Pinion Down Pullover Down Jacket for Women
- Weight: 10 oz.
- Fill: AlliedFeather™ HyperDRY™
- BlueSign Certified
- Great Front Pocket
- Smaller Independent Brand
- No Hem Adjustment
- No Hood Adjustment
Stio has some excellent down jackets in their line of clothing at a great value. The Pinion Down Pullover has quality Bluesign 800-Fill down throughout, and the baffles do an adequate job at keeping down in place.
It features an exterior Pertex Quantum Shadow Ripstop shell that holds up well to the elements and offers a heck of a lot of performance. We also love a small brand based in Jackson Hole, where the garments are designed (not manufactured).
The down jacket does come with a few drawbacks. Most notable is the fit. While its slim fit works well for us, it won’t fit more significant body types. The jacket lacks a hem adjustment which is okay with its slim cut but still allows cold to enter the waist.
It’s a well-rounded down jacket for women that is perfect for walking around town, city, or in the airport. The pullover design makes for an alternative style in a sea of similar down jackets.
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Cotopaxi Fuego Down Jacket
- Weight: 12 oz.
- Material: 20D Nylon
- Fill: 2.8 oz. of 800-fill down
- Company Ethos
- Colors can be polarizing
The combination of style, performance, and value makes Cotopaxi’s Fuego Down Jacket an excellent purchase. It features a 20 D shell with some outstanding colorways that match current trends very well. The attractive retro looks combined with actual performance like a premium 800-fill down for one of our favorite down jackets for women.
The secret to it being so lightweight is the 800 fill goose down with Polartec underarm insulation. The Polartec Alpha insulation makes the jacket packable, fast-drying, and easy to care for. This excellent mix of materials keeps the heat in while still releasing it where you don’t need it (i.e., underarm). Although the jacket is light, it has heavy-duty 20D ripstop nylon and elastic binding at the arm cuffs and hem.
Cotopaxi stands behind their “61 years” guarantee for good, which claims their products are suitable to last for at least 61 years. After testing out this jacket, we can attest to that. We also love that Cotopaxi gives back to some of the world’s poorest communities, improving health, education, and livelihoods.
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Rab Neutrino Pro Down Jacket
- Weight: 18.7 oz.
- Fill: 8.8 oz. of 800-fill down
- Super Warm
- Heavy Jacket
- Too Warm Outside Winter
- Not Super Packable
This U.K.-based company has been creating some exceptional outdoor gear. With almost 8 ounces of 800-fill-hydrophobic-down, this is the warmest down jacket for women on this list. However, it remains competitive in pricing to other lightweight jackets mentioned.
The jacket uses a 30D Pertex shell that leaves it lighter in weight and offers good weather resistance. The rugged shell and 8 ounces of down make this jacket our heaviest pick. So expect it to occupy more space in your luggage. It’s for harsh winter and mountain conditions. You won’t want this if you are just casually strolling around Italy on a cool winter day.
In mild temperatures, the jacket’s warmth may be too much, especially if you’re an active traveler. It’s an exceptionally warm and great piece of winter gear for those in cold environments. Maybe not the most versatile down jacket for women on this list, but an excellent option for sure!
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Outdoor Research Transcendent
- Weight: 11.9 oz.
- Fill: 4.1 oz. of 650-fill down
- Quality jacket for the price
- Lacks premium feel and doesn’t pack as well as competitors.
This women’s down jacket is an excellent alternative to the Patagonia Down Sweater we picked as our number one. It comes in at a lower price point, so this is a perfect option if you’re looking to save a few bucks. The Outdoor Research provides plenty of warmth with 4.1 ounces of 650-fill down.
I love the soft fleece-lined hand warmer pockets and the fact they now use responsibly sourced down. The materials in the jacket feel great, and it does pack down small enough to fit in your luggage. At just under $200, it’s a pretty great value with a high-quality feel.
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Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody
- Weight: 12.3 oz
- Fill: 65g CoreLoft Compact 80
- Synthetic, Lightweight
- Durable Outershell
- Weather Resistance
- Makes Great Mid Layer
- Synthetic Down Not As Warm
- Air Permeable
Arc’teryx makes some exceptional products, and their synthetic hoodys hit the sweet spot for those of us that spend a lot of time active in cold weather. The advantage these jackets deliver is their ability to handle moisture, allowing for a more excellent range of temperatures. It is the jacket I wear out when I think or know it’s going to rain.
We use an Arc’teryx synthetic down jacket for snowboarding and touring as a mid-layer or as an outer layer when climbing a steep hill in the snow. These are the areas where a synthetic shines and the Proton in particular.
They do come with their drawbacks. The outer shell is excellent at letting heat escape, but it also means that wind cuts through the jacket. Altogether this is an excellent jacket for those who enjoy sports outdoors in cold weather like hiking, climbing, backpacking, ski touring, or snowboarding.
Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody
Black Diamond Access Down
- Weight: 14.8 oz.
- Fill: Primaloft Gold Down Blend
- High End Down Jacket Performance With Better Water Resistance
Black Diamond apparel comes from the right background, the climbing world. The Cold Forge down jacket is cozy warm, packs down, and is ready to tackle more adverse conditions. Our first synthetic down addition to the list but made with Primaloft “Gold,” a blend of down and synthetic materials equivalent to 750 fill down. These synthetic materials will help in wet climates as natural down is not effective when wet.
It feels closer in warmth to the Better Sweater and a little more than the Transcendant above. It’s a terrific value sweater as the added weight comes in the form of a more robust jacket that would be capable of handling ski or snow conditions without the need for a shell. It’d make for a great mid-layer if it weren’t for the weight. Also, the sleeves only have an interior elastic cuff that doesn’t feel great compared to the exterior on most jackets.
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Women’s Down Jacket Table
|Down Jacket||Pros||Cons||Avg Price|
|Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hooded Jacket||Superior Warmth, Lightweight, Style, Cut, Packable Sack, Insulation, Fit||Price, Slim Fit For Some Builds||$380|
|Patagonia Down Sweater weather||Comfortable, Style, Cut, Wardrobe Staple, Casual Use||Waterproofing, Not Super Warm||$229|
|REI Coop Down Jacket 2.0||Light, Comfortable, Unbeatable Price.||Loose Fit, Warmth||$99|
|Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket||Superior Warmth, Company Ethos, Lightweight, Super Comfortable, Warm Hood, Cinch Waist, Weatherproof||Bulky Fit, Not Waterproof, Expensive||$339|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 ||Comfortable, Warm, Style, Ultralight,||Slim Fit, Not Technical, Not Waterproof, Expensive, Durability Issues||$325|
|Stio Pinion Down Jacket||Lightweight, BlueSign Certified, Comfortable, Value, Great Front Pocket, Style, Smaller Independent Brand||No Hem Adjustment, No Hood Adjustment||$249|
|Cotopaxi Fuego Light Down Jacket||Solid Amount of Features and Warmth, Eco-Friendly Design Elements||Lightweight Sacrifices Zipper Quality and Hems, Okay Fit||$250|
|Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket||Super Warm, Comfortable, Fit||Heavy Jacket, Too Warm Outside Winter or Mountaineering, Not Super Packable||$375|
|Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Jacket||Quality Jacket for the Price||Lacks Premium Feel, Doesn’t Pack as well as Competitors.||$200|
|Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody||Synthetic, Lightweight, Durable Outershell, Weather Resistance, Makes Great Mid Layer||Price, Synthetic Down Not As Warm, Air Permeable||$259|
|Mountain Equipment Lightline||Super Warm, Style, Value||Lower Fill Power Means Heavier Weight||$260|
|Patagonia Down With It Parka||Super Warm, Plenty of Coverage, Very Stylish||Heavy and Bulky||$299|
Buying Advice For a Down Jacket for Women
The majority of these down jackets for women have a very similar look. Regarding style, you won’t have to lose too much sleep over what option to go with. I choose to focus on fit instead. A well-fitted down jacket will look sleek and streamlined. It will also move well in cold weather activities. Even if you can’t head to an REI to try on their jacket I’d recommend ordering and returning if the fit doesn’t work for you.
A distinct advantage of down jackets is the amount of size they occupy in your luggage. The down filler in these jackets allows them to pack down to a reasonable size. A cheap jacket is packed with too many cheap fibers and you will have a tough time fitting in your carry-on luggage. This is where quality fill materials come into play.
There is a large category of down jackets that are made for harsh winter conditions and mountaineering. These down jackets tend to be puffier and much larger. That’s why they’re not on this list as they don’t serve as great versatile packable travel jackets.
This is one of the greatest strengths of a women’s down jacket. Down insulation is great at expanding and holding onto body heat – effectively keeping you warm. The only problem when it comes to buying jackets is the lack of a clear rating system.
This is commonplace with many similar products. Body warmth is probably the most important aspect of a winter jacket. When it comes to measuring warmth you can look at two measurements fill power and fill weight.
Then you have the exterior fabric, a fabric that does an effective job at blocking out wind that will trap body heat and keep you warm. That shell exterior can come with a downside for high energy activities as it can easily trap heat and moisture. So finding the right balance is in art and why most companies seem to have settled on a lightweight nylon exterior — most commonly 20D nylon.
The idea behind the best down jacket for women is its compression and ability to pack down. The size difference between these packable down jackets varies from the size of a water bottle to a six-pack. Ultra-lightweight jackets like the Cerium and Ghost offer the best compression but also come at a premium price.
With packable down jackets the higher the fill power the better the compression. This is one of the most notable differences between entry-level and premium down jackets. High-end jackets can pack down amazingly well and bounce back within moments of unpacking.
It could be the warmest jacket ever, but it needs to be able to move with an active body. The design of the jacket should feel natural and not stiff.
This is really important if you’re into adventure activities like hiking, mountaineering, ski, or outdoor recreations.
What’s the Build Of a Women’s Packable Down Jacket?
There is a measurement in regards to fill-power these jackets come in as 500-Fill, 700 fill, 800-fill, and etc. At a baseline, you’ll find the more budget-friendly jackets with about 500-600 fill power. These jackets are great for running around town or a chilly evening, but when it comes to the hard elements of outdoor sports like mountaineering or skiing they’ll leave you cold.
High-end jackets come in at around 800-fill power which seems to be the sweet spot for performance wear. Premium outerwear like this comes with a higher price to keep you warm in the backcountry. Several of our favorite brands like Patagonia, Arc’teryx, and Mountain Hardwear regularly use this fill level.
While fill power refers to the actual quality of the down insulation in a jacket fill weight is the amount. Most jackets will advertise the amount of fill power in ounces.
The heavier the weight, the warmer the jacket will be. When purchasing, you should consider fill weight, fill power, and the intended activity of the jacket. If the fill weight is too high it’s likely that in high activity sports your body temperature will overheat. Fill weight varies a lot from down jacket to down jacket and many times, you’ll get superior performance with better fill power and less weight than vice versa.
While you’d think fill weight and total weight would be closely linked, this is not necessarily true. Companies use a wide range of materials in the outer shells of jackets and hardware like zippers. We love a jacket that packs good fill weight and remains light in total weight.
Fill power gets the most attention, but fill weight is equally if not more important in picking a warm down jacket for yourself. That’s because fill weight, as mentioned above, is the number of feathers stuffed into the jacket.
Because of the premium products, you can expect these jackets to have a higher price tag. If you seek a jacket where every ounce counts, you’ll want to look at ultralight-down jackets for women, but they may not be worth the high price tag if you explore cities or go on day hikes. Our favorite ultra-lightweight jackets are the Patagonia Down Sweater and the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2.
Lightweight down jackets are still very lightweight and the most popular type of jacket you’ll find in outdoor stores. They are great for daily town use and travel, everyday hiking, resort skiing, and other adventures. We easily double them as mid-layers, often bringing them on hikes and putting them on when we reach a summit, followed by a windbreaker or packable rain jacket. They are also great to wear as a standalone product, especially when traveling abroad with minimal luggage space.
They aren’t quite as expensive as ultra-lightweight jackets as they don’t use ultra-lightweight premium products. Just because they are lightweight doesn’t mean they aren’t warm either – make sure to check out the fill-weight and power on every lightweight women’s down jacket you are considering. Our favorite lightweight jackets are the Stio Pinion Down Pullover and the REI Co-Op Down Jacket.
Midweight and Heavyweight down jackets offer supreme warmth but are more burdensome and often bulkier. They are best for serious winter expeditions. Activities in Alaska, Walking around Whitehorse, Yukon in January, or heading to Antarctica – those kinds of things. These jackets are puffier and won’t pack up as well, so you’ll likely be wearing this jacket on the airplane if you’re traveling. However, with up to 10 ounces more fill, they can provide optimal warmth.
The majority of packable down jackets are made with a nylon shell. The exterior holds up well to the elements like wind, rain, and cold. It does have a simple measurement number that refers to the weight of the thread used in production. Other choices include Pertex or GORE-TEX that are nylon blends that are layered and laminated for superior waterproofing.
The problem with these robust shells is that they tend to trap heat and moisture while adding weight. The strategy we use for waterproofing is to combine our down jackets with a lightweight shell, but a few down jacket options offer it all one.
The metric is referred to as denier. Denier generally ranges from 7D up 40D. 10D is ultra-light and reserved for high-end jackets. In comparison, 20D is more standard but provides a nice blend of toughness and weight. The best way to think of it is the width of the nylon fibers weaved to create the fabric. Other features can include ripstop nylon, a patterned nylon weave designed to stop the nylon from running.
Features To Look For in a Women’s Packable Down Jacket
When determining the style of your new jacket, you should consider its intended use. Hoods are a great way to stay warm when you wear them. However, when you pull them off your head they tend to pull the neck back, allowing the heat your body generates to escape.
Many people who use the down jacket for hiking, backpacking, or everyday use opt for the hood. The added warmth is an excellent decision for those chilly days. I use the sweater version as a mid-layer when snowboarding. It happens to be the most popular version as it’s easily the most versatile.
The second area you’re most likely to lose heat around is your waist. It is especially true if you’re doing winter sports like skiing, mountaineering, or hiking. A tight-fitting jacket is a key to trapping that much-needed heat inside.
For everyday wear, a light weather-resistant jacket should do the trick, but if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll likely need a jacket that can fold up to the elements. Down feathers lose almost all of their ability to keep you warm once they’re wet.
It is a problem for frequent travelers or outdoor enthusiasts who often end up in wet environments. Due to this, many people opt for synthetic material if they’re worried about getting wet.
In recent years gear manufacturers have begun adding DWR to the down-fill in jackets. It’s a process that adds a polymer to the down jacket filling, providing hydrophobic properties.
Down feathers, unfortunately, lose much of their ability to insulate when wet, turning into a clumpy and soggy mess. It makes them a severe liability of wet conditions or if you’re sweating heavily, which is why some prefer a synthetic jacket that continues to insulate when wet.
I like the packability with a genuine down jacket and paired with a waterproof shell for the wet days. It adds a lot of versatility to my suitcase, and I can handle just about any environment.
Sustainable Materials Made for These Packable Down Jackets
When searching for the best packable down jacket, you’ll find a lot of words: PFC Free DNR, Recycled Fabrics, and RDS Certified Down. These all refer to sustainable materials and practices when. It comes to sourcing for down jackets and other outdoor gear.
Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an industry-standard in the market. Companies like Feathered Friends were some first adopters. It means there is no forced plucking, no forced eating, and generally looks after animal welfare. When a company utilizes RDS, they are ensuring their feathers come from animals that have not had to endure unnecessary harm. You can read more about RDS here.
Using recycled fabric is an essential part of being sustainable. Many outdoor gear companies like Patagonia and Arcteryx uses recycled goods for their clothing.
PFC-Free DWR is a phrase you’ll see a lot when searching for outdoor gear. PFC refers to perfluorinated chemicals, which are often used on fabrics to help repel water and protect surfaces from picking up dirt or other stains. The release of these chemicals into the air and water during manufacturing can lead to environmental contamination.
DWR stands for durable water repellency, which you’ll want in outdoor gear. So if you see products that are PFC Free DWR, you can rest assured you are buying effects not as harmful to the environment.
Should I Just Buy a Synthetic Jacket?
Synthetic jackets are a great alternative to down. They insulate better when they get wet and cost less than down. If you live in a rainy environment (like Vancouver) or plan to spend a lot of time skiing in your down jacket, you may consider a synthetic alternate. If your primary concern is warmth in cold weather and carrying a light load, stick with natural down. If you want to go with a synthetic jacket, my favorite is the Arc’teryx LT Atom.