Spring and summer may bring warmer weather but that doesn’t mean you have to put away the puffy jacket. If you’re an active person, you’ll still venture outside for backpacking or camping trips, meaning you’ll likely contend with chilly mornings before the air warms up or brisk evenings after the sun goes down.
Put plainly, it’s always nice to have a jacket in your pack when hiking, biking, or even just walking around town. Whether you’re planning to sleep in the woods for several days, or just want to keep warm while waiting for the bus, you need a dependable down jacket or synthetic alternative. Here are our picks of the best down jackets for every occasion.
The best for hiking
If you’re hiking chilly hillsides or cold ridgelines, you want a jacket that’s light, moisture-resistant, and highly breathable. Arc’teryx’s Cerium SL Hoody is the perfect puffy coat for the job. Composed of minimalist down insulation, it’s lighter and more breathable than most goose down jackets, even at 850 fill power. It can be worn as a liner under a shell if you’re anticipating springtime showers, or as a standalone jacket for brisk morning treks.
The clever design features insulation around the core, upper arms, and hood where you want maximum warmth but uses Coreloft synthetic insulation in the spots that tend to get wet such as the cuffs, collar, shoulders, and armpits. The Cerium SL hoody is by far one of the best puffy jackets for getting your springtime trek on.
Whether you’re making camp breakfast or sitting around the fire at night, this pullover-style puffy jacket features 800-fill, AlliedFeather down to keep you warm and cozy. Stio designed the Pinion to have smartly-placed baffles which evenly distribute the filling, preventing it from getting that misshapen, bunched-up look. Its HyperDRY water repellent technology keeps moisture out while the storm-sealing hood gaiter prevents wind and other elements from whipping around your neck.
When it’s time to crawl into your tent for the evening, the handy zippered kangaroo pocket morphs into a stuff sack, meaning you’re able to put the jacket inside and use it as a pillow. All told, this jacket is a convenient, lightweight option that’s stylish while still fitting comfortably.
Pearl’s Izumi’s Versa Quilted Hoody is one of the best choices for those cycling days that are dry but chilly. The secret weapon to this jacket is its blend of materials, offering 133g Primaloft Gold insulation around the front and back core area while keeping the arms and upper chest free of bulk while you ride. The soft-shell fabric blocks wind at high cycling speeds and it also has reflective features that give you lowlight visibility when riding in traffic. A drop-tail hem, two hand pockets, and a bonus security pocket on the chest complete this killer jacket’s list of awesome features.
It’s not always cold enough in the spring or summer to need a full-on puffy jacket. Sometimes, the weather falls more into a category of just slightly chilly, making a down vest preferable to a giant parka. Mountain Standard’s new Unisex Down Vest is a stellar choice for exactly those days.
Aside from offering a chic, outdoorsy aesthetic, the 700-fill vest, which showcases a 90 to 10 blend of goose down and Primaloft, achieves a supreme level of comfort and warmth. With responsibly sourced Allied compressible down and YKK Vislon Aquaguard on the chest pocket, it’s water-resistant and moisture-wicking, as well. An excellent option for afternoons that are breezy but not quiet cold enough to break out the full jacket.
Not all ventures outside involve trekking off into the wilderness for days on end. Sometimes, you just need to stay warm while walking around town, hanging out at the park, or watching a sporting event from a chilly set of bleachers. Typically, for these excursions, you want to stay warm but also look good. For those scenarios, check out the Trid LP from KJUS.
This snazzy jacket is full of 70 by 30 730-fill premium goose down with a chic face fabric made from a blend of virgin and cashmere wools. Storm System membrane keeps it extra warm and a layer of DWR (durable water repellent) helps shed water if it gets misty out. Add to that its handwarmer pockets, an adjustable waistline, and a detachable waterproof hood and you’ve got an exceptionally cozy, stylish piece of winter apparel. The one drawback to this jacket is that it’s rather pricey, to the tune of around $1,500; however, if you can afford it, the coat is worth the extra investment.
You want to keep warm while you’re out and about but you’d rather avoid that “bundled up like a giant marshmallow” look. We get it and Helly Hansen’s new Verglas Light jacket is the perfect jacket for the job. This sleek hybrid features a light layer of 800-fill goose down with Primaloft Gold insulation through the torso and a lightweight, softshell fabric in the arms and lower back, offering a stylish cut that’s warm without being exceedingly bulky.
The down-free portions feature double-weave material coated with DWR so it offers wind and rain protection while remaining soft and flexible. Its seamless underarm construction ensures you have a great range of motion and the sculpted hood adds a bit of versatility. The Verglas, which comes in red goji berry and mint glacier colors, is the perfect around-town jacket that ensures you stay toasty warm while also looking good.
Featuring 800-fill DriDown and an insulated yoke with a zippered chest pocket, Sierra Designs’ Whitney Hoody is an exceptional choice to wear underneath your ski jacket or around the lodge. It easily manages to keep you warm without being overly thick and won’t overheat you courtesy of its ultra-breathable material.
It’s lightweight and superbly flexible, offering you a high level of comfort and freedom from rigid shoulders when you’re carving turns. Whether you use it as a mid-layer while skiing or a standalone puffy, the jacket keeps you warm, comfortable, and looking good all day long.
The best all-around
Patagonia’s MicroPuff is undoubtedly one of the best puffy jackets the industry’s ever seen. It boasts just about every quality you want in a puffy: It’s incredibly lightweight, water-resistant, and highly packable. The patented PlumaFill synthetic insulation stays warm when wet and works with the jacket’s quilting construction to reduce the amount of sticking while maximizing loft.
It’s loaded with quality details such as elasticized cuffs, a wicking interior storm flap on the front zipper, and a shell at the top to prevent chin chafing. Additionally, the jacket even has a pair of cozy handwarmer pockets, one of which doubles as a stuff sack. Whether you’re planning a multi-day backpacking trip, lounging around the ski lodge, or jetting around town doing errands, this jacket can be your trusted outdoor companion. Micro Puff is also available in a Jacket and Vest styles.
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