Are you seeking the best packable down jacket? A packable down jacket is a jack of all trades, capable in the mountains, the road, or hanging around town, and it’s why I’ll never stop wearing one. With cold weather on its way, it’s time to throw my favorite clothing item in our bags, the down jacket.
I am obsessed with packing the best down jackets I can into my luggage. That only compounded when we picked up hiking, scrambling, ski, and mountaineering. Now we spend well over half our year in a down jacket. Packable down jackets are about being functional, warm, lightweight, and comfortable. On top of that, we need to make sure the outerwear can fit in a carry-on bag or backpack.
Naturally, I wanted the best down jacket possible. So I scoured down jacket reviews online and got my hands on every jacket I could try. I’ve hand-picked the best down jackets on the market for outdoor sports, travel, and life with that knowledge.
Best Packable Down Jackets
|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|
Best Overall Packable Down Jacket
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hooded Jacket
- Price: $380
- Weight: 10.8 oz.
- Material: Nylon (Arato 10)
- Fill: 3.4 oz. of 850-fill down
- Superior Warmth
- Packable Sack
- Slim Fit
The Cerium LT Hoody is an excellent packable down jacket. 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. It is easy to pack down to the size of a water bottle with the stuff sack in the breast pocket.
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 users, 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.
Shop For the Cerium LT Hoody
Best Packable Down Jacket For Travel
Patagonia Down Sweater
- Price: $229
- Weight: 13.1 oz
- Material: Recycled Ripstop Polyester
- Fill: 3 oz. of 800-fill down
- Wardrobe Staple
- Casual Use
- Roomy fit
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.
Shop For Patagonia Better Sweater
Best Budget Packable Down Jacket
REI Coop Down Jacket 2.0
- Price: $99
- Weight: 10.8 oz.
- Material Recycled Nylon
- Fill: 3.3 oz of 650-fill down
- Unbeatable Price
- BlueSign Approved
- Loose Fit
It is the most affordable packable 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 packable down jacket that’s under $100; tough not to love that price point.
Shop For REI Down Jacket 2.0
Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket
- Price: $339
- Weight: 10.6 oz
- Material: Pertex® Quantum®
- Fill: 3.7 oz. 900+ Fill
- Superior Warmth
- Company Ethos
- Super Comfortable
- Warm Hood
- Cinch Waist
- Bulky Fit,
- Not Waterproof,
If you need a warm jacket it’s tough to do better in terms of 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 make 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 passionate outdoor business. Also, you can only order their jacket through their online store (they ship internationally) or in Seattle.
Shop For Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2
- Price: $325
- Weight: 7.7 oz.
- Material: 7D & 10D Nylon
- Fill: 2.8 oz. of 800-fill down
- Not Technical
- Not Waterproof
- Durability Issue
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 packable 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.
Shop For Ghost Whisperer 2
Stio Pinion Down Jacket
- Price: $249
- Weight: 10 oz.
- Material: Pertex Quantum
- Fill: AlliedFeather™ HyperDRY™
- BlueSign Certified
- 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 effective 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 that it’s 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 larger body types. To further that point the jacket lacks a hem adjustment which is okay with its slim cut, but still allows for cold to enter the waist.
It’s a well-rounded down jacket 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.
Shop For The Stio Pinion Jacket
Cotopaxi Fuego Light Down Jacket
- Price: $250
- Weight: 14 oz.
- Material: 20D Ripstop Nylon
- Fill: 2.8 oz. of 800-fill down
- Solid Amount of Features
- Color Combinations
- Zipper Quality and Hems
- Insulation to Weight Ratio
- Okay Fit
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.
Shop For Cotopax Fuego Jacket
Best Winter Down Jacket
Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket
- Price: $375
- Weight: 22.4 oz.
- Material: Nylon
- Fill: 8.8 oz. of 800-fill down
- Super Warm
- Ton of Great Down
- 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 on this list, but an excellent option for sure!
Shop For RAB Neutrino Jacket
Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Jacket
- Price: $200
- Weight: 13.1 oz.
- Material: Polyester
- Fill: 4.1 oz. of 650-fill down
- Lacks Premium Feel
This jacket is a great alternative to the Patagonia Down Sweater we picked as our number one. It comes in at a lower price point, too, so if you’re looking to save a few bucks, this is a great option. The jacket 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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Best Wet Weather Down Jacket
Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody
- Price: $259
- Weight: 13.2 oz
- Material: Polyester/Elastane
- Fill: 65g CoreLoft Compact 80
- Durable Outershell
- Weather Resistance
- Makes Great Mid Layer
- Synthetic Down Not As Warm
- Air Permeable
Arc’teryx makes this list of hiking jackets a lot, but it does carry a big reputation for a reason. One of their best-selling jackets is the Atom LT, a tremendous lightweight, and warm mid-layer jacket.
They’ve taken the stance that it’s not broke, don’t fix it, and the jacket has remained the same for years now. The Atom delivers everything you could want in a mid-layer between warmth, mobility, and fit.
It’s similar to the Nano-Air above, but it features a more rigid shell that provides durability and sacrifices ventilation (still excellent). It’s a tough call between this and the Nano-Air, but it comes down to comfort vs. durability as Patagonia offers a more comfortable product thanks to its liner.
It does come with a drawback; the outer shell is excellent at letting heat escape, but it also means that wind cuts through the jacket. Altogether this is an ideal jacket for those who enjoy sports outdoors in cold weather like hiking, climbing, backpacking, ski touring, or snowboarding.
Shop For Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody
Best Budget Winter Down Jacket
Mountain Equipment Lightline
- Price: ($260)
- Weight: 26 oz.
- Material: DriLite Loft
- Fill: 10.4 oz. of 750-fill down
- Super Warm
- Lower Fill Power
If you’re looking for the warmest down jacket, it’s hard to find one better than the Lightline jacket from Mountain Equipment. It has an impressive fill weight of 10.4 ounces of 700-fill down for freezing temperatures.
It makes it a great winter jacket, unlike some of the lighter down jackets on offer. The outer shell is also slightly weather resistant with a Drilite shell that can handle wind and precipitation. It would do wonders for ice climbers who often have to stand while they belay a partner.
With all that in mind, its $260 price tag feels like a good deal since jackets nowhere near as warm cost a lot more. The drawbacks include the puffy size, okay packability, and weight. It’s close compared to the Rab above but offers just a little less with the 700-fill down and heavier weight.
Shop For Lightline
Common Questions About Down Jackets
Are Down Jackets Warm?
Yes! Down jackets are very warm for their weight. In particular, they are for active use in cold temperatures or casual use in more mild temperatures. If you plan on standing around in temperatures below zero, a packable down jacket will leave you a little cold.
However, most down jackets can be combined with a shell jacket to form a pretty robust jacket that is warm and weatherproof. That’s why we reference layers a lot in this article as it’s the way we use our down jackets the most.
How Cold Can You Wear A Packable Down Jacket?
A packable down jacket’s ideal temperature range is around 30-50 Fahrenheit ( 0-10 Celcius) degrees. However, when combined with a shell jacket or thermal layers underneath, they can be comfortable below freezing.
This does not take into account the heat your body produces when you’re active. I’ve spent a day out splitboarding in -14C (7F) with nothing more than a synthetic down and thermal layer underneath.
How To Pack A Down Jacket?
To pack a down jacket fold the arms in first, then roll the jacket upwards, and tuck the body of the jacket into the hood. If you have a stuff sack, use the stuff sack to pack down a bit smaller. Do not store your jacket long-term packed away as it creates lumps and bends in the insulation. It is essentially crushing and breaking the feathers.
The stuff sack or pack method is for travel only. For long term storage the jackets should be hung somewhere cool and dry, like a closet.
How to Wash a Down Jacket?
Use a front-loading washing machine to wash a down jacket as the agitato of a top loader can damage the down feathers. Set the machine to cold, add a downwash (Nikka Down Wash), and set to a delicate wash.
After the first cycle, it may be a good idea to do a second wash for a thorough rinse. After the rinse cycle, please place it in a tumble dryer on low heat. You have the option to add tennis balls to help fluff the down feathers, nothing heavier as it can damage the down.
What to Look For in a Packable Down Jacket
The majority of these jackets have a very similar look. Regarding style, you won’t have to lose too much sleep over what option to choose. A well-fitted jacket will look sleek and streamlined. It will also move well in cold weather activities.
Even if you can’t head to your local outdoor store and try on some jackets. If you can’t find some of these jacket order them online and return the ones that don’t fit. Check the return policy first (REI has a great one)!
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 uses many inferior fibers, and you will have a tough time fitting in your backpack. It is where quality fill materials come into play.
There is a large category of down jackets that are for harsh winter conditions and mountaineering. These down jackets tend to be puffier and much more prominent. That’s why they’re not on this list, as they don’t serve as great versatile, packable travel jackets.
Warmth is one of the greatest strengths of a down jacket. The benefit of down insulation is its ability to expand and retain body heat – effectively keeping you warm. The only problem when it comes to buying jackets is the lack of a clear rating system.
Body warmth is probably the most critical aspect of a down 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 adequate job at blocking out the 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 a great down jacket 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. Ultralight jackets like the Cerium LT and Ghost Whisperer offer the best compression and come at a premium price.
With packable down jackets, the higher the fill power, the better the compression. It 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.
The fabric also plays a vital role in compression, and thin denier fabrics pack down better than heavy ones or weather-resistant versions like GORE-TEX or Pertex. Along with warmth, genuine down jackets offer superior performance to synthetic down jackets in packability or compression.
It could be the warmest jacket ever, but it needs to move with an active body. The design of the jacket should feel natural and not stiff. That means that the jacket is not all crinkly like the earliest designs and cheaper options. A comfortable jacket is critical if you’re into adventure activities like hiking, mountaineering, ski, or outdoor recreations.
Build Of A Packable Down Jacket
There is a measurement in regards to filling power. These jackets come in as 500-Fill, 700 fill, 800-fill, 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 challenging 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, 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, your body temperature will likely overheat in high activity sports. 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 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.
The majority of packable down jackets use 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. We use waterproofing to combine our down jackets with a lightweight shell, but a few down jacket options offer it all one.
Denier generally ranges from 7D up 40D. 10D is ultralight and reserved for high-end jackets. At the same time, 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. A higher denier means a more rigid material, but it is heavier.
Other features can include ripstop nylon, a patterned nylon weave designed to stop the nylon from running.
Features To Look For In A 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 is generating 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. 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 in 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.