/13 Best Down Jackets for Women • Packable, Ultra light, and Everything in Between

13 Best Down Jackets for Women • Packable, Ultra light, and Everything in Between

No matter the season, an awesome down jacket for women is always appreciated. In the winter they keep you warm and cozy, and in the summer they’ll keep your body comfortable when hiking on top of mountains.

Down jackets are light, pack up well, and warm so there really is no reason not to have at least one of these best packable women’s packable down jackets.

Whether if we are traveling abroad, or heading out on our home trails in Canada we always have a down jacket in our bag. We’ve tested out a ton of down jackets and have narrowed our favorite women’s down jackets here.

Scouring women’s packable down jacket reviews online is time-consuming and can be a drag. We’ve taken the time out of the equation and hand-picked the best down jackets on the market for travel and life.

Hiking in CanadaHiking in Canada
In my Cotopaxi Fuego Light Down Jacket

The Best Packable Down Jackets for Women


Best Overall Packable Down Jacket for Women

Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket


Feathered Friends EOS Down JacketFeathered Friends EOS Down Jacket
  • Weight: 9 oz
  • Material: Pertex® Quantum®
  • Fill: 3.7 oz. 900+ Fill
  • Pros: Superior Warmth And Weight, Super Comfortable, Warm Hood, Cinch Waist, Weatherproof
  • Cons: Bulky Fit, Not Waterproof

If you need a warm jacket it’s not possible 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.

While it may not be best for climates with a light chill, it is perfect for cold weather. This is our favorite down hiking jacket for women, I have taken mine on every hike with me in the Canadian Rockies. Our only gripe with the jacket is the slightly bulky fit.

When it comes down to packability, this down jacket comes with a nylon stuff sack that is about the size of a large 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 just slip it in your luggage or backpack.

Feathered Friends is based in Seattle Washington and hand makes every jacket order. Their premise is about making 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.


Best Women’s Packable Down Jacket For Travel

Patagonia Down Sweater Weather


Best down jacket for womenBest down jacket for women
  • Weight: 12.2 oz
  • Material: Nylon
  • Fill: 3 oz. of 800-fill down
  • Pros: Comfortable, Warm, Style, Cut, Patagonia Brand Name, Wardrobe Staple, Casual Use
  • Cons: Not Waterproof

This was the first down jacket I ever bought and it became a staple in my travel warddrobe. The only downside is it comes with a higher price tag, but we love the Patagonia brand. In addition to being a great sweater the jacket shell is made from 100% recycled polyester and the fill is traceable goose down.

We love the look of this jacket and it does a wonderful job at keeping you warm. There is a lightweight version of the jacket, but it has an even higher price tag and the shell is less durable. However, the lightweight version does compress better due to a 15-D shell. The shell of the down sweater is a nylon 20-D and the fill is 800-fill power goose down.

The down does a good job at handling wet conditions due to the DWR treatment it receives. This provides a hydrophobic quality to the down. The Down Sweater has a comfortable design and fits that is well suited for city wear and weekend trips. This is my packable hiking down jacket of choice.

I personally love the versatility of it. When combined with an outer shell you’re sure to be warm no matter what the temperature is outside. It’s an easy pick and is cheaper than the Feathered Friends above which is better in terms of mountain performance, not something everyone needs.

What really stands out about the Better Sweater is the versatility and price. 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. It’s an easy pick for the number two down jacket and edges out the Cerium hoody below because of its price point. The cerium is a superior jacket, but hard to say $150 better!


Best Budget Packable Down Jacket for Women

REI Coop Down Jacket for Women 2.0


Best Packable Down Jacket REI Coop 2.0Best Packable Down Jacket REI Coop 2.0
  • Weight: 10.5 oz.
  • Material Nylon
  • Fill: 650-fill down
  • Pros: Light, Comfortable, Unbeatable Price.
  • Cons: Loose Fit, Warmth

This is the most affordable womens 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. 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 incredibly lightweight at only 10.2 ounces and packs up well. 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.

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. A nylon shell is lightweight and has some water-resistant capabilities. It has a water-repellent finish that should handle light rain, snow, and wind.

If you’re looking for an affordable no-fuss jacket that will be able to 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 a $100, really tough not to love that price point.


Best Lightweight Winter Jacket for Women

Arc’Teryx Cerium LT Hooded Down Jacket for Women


  • Weight: 10.8 oz.
  • Material: Nylon
  • Fill: 3.4 oz. of 850-fill down
  • Pros: Market Leading product with Great insulation
  • Cons: Tight Fit

Arc’Teryx is Canada’s answer to Patagonia in the United States and they sure do deliver on just about every outdoor front. The Northern neighbors have brutal winters and they’re very much into winter weather activities with some of the best alpine sports in North America. It’s a pricey brand like their competitor, but they deliver a quality product.

The Cerium is a great looking lightweight women’s down jacket. A sleek design and an exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio make the Cerium LT a winner. You can wear the jacket as a mid layer or a standalone. With the only drawback being durability in regards to branches or sharp points.

It’s filled with a high-quality 850-fill-power down. The shell is rated 10-D which makes for an incredibly light outer layer at only 10.8 oz in total weight. If we’re only judging packing power in regards to jackets the Cerium takes the cake.

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. The synthetic material is vitalized around the shoulders, collar, cuffs, and most importantly underarms.

Their well loved by outdoor enthusiasts and they put them to the test on a daily basis. Shouldn’t be much of a surprise they have a loyal client base. For the more active travelers, the Cerium jacket would be a solid choice for their winter wear.


Best Ultra light Women’s Packable Down Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2


Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Best Lightweight JacketsMountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Best Lightweight Jackets
  • Weight: 7.3 oz.
  • Material: Nylon
  • Fill: 2.8 oz. of 800-fill down
  • Pros: Comfortable, Warm, Style, Ultralight,
  • Cons: Not Technical, Not Waterproof

If you’re looking for an ultra lightweight women’s down jacket that can take you from the airport to the backcountry than Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer is leading in class. It has less warmth than the Feathered Friends above but makes up for that with its slim cut style and weight.

Although the jacket is made with a thin 7D ripstop nylon fabric it still effectively maintains body temperatures in low temperatures. The 800-fill power down is treated with Q.Shield moisture-resistant hydrophobic down. Water resistant down combined with Mountain Hardwear’s ripstop nylon does a great job at fighting the elements like wind and light precipitation.

Outdoor manufacturers have not always nailed it when it comes to style, but this lightweight down nylon blend jacket is here to change your mind. With darker, more subtle colors, slim cut, and the classic puffed ribbing, this jacket will help you turn heads while keeping you exceptionally warm in the coldest of climates. 

While this women’s down jacket won’t replace a heavyweight jacket it is exceptional in its ability to compress. Fitting this outerwear in your carry on luggage will be a breeze. This jacket like many on this list is best used when layering or for activewear in cold environments. Despite that, it is an exceptional jacket for stand-alone winter travel gear. Because of its weight, this is one of the best down jackets for women backpacking.


6.) Stio Pinion Down Pullover Down Jacket for Women


best packable down jacketbest packable down jacket
  • Weight: 10 oz.
  • Fill: AlliedFeather™ HyperDRY™
  • Pros: Lightweight, BlueSign Certified, Comfortable, Value, Great Front Pocket, Style, Smaller Independent Brand
  • Cons: No Hem Adjustment, No Hood Adjustment

The Stio down line is one of the best ultra light down jacket for women on the market. We think the Stio brand delivers high-quality apparel at a great value. They use quality Bluesign 800-Fill down throughout the jacket and the baffles do an effective job at keeping down in place. Furthermore, 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). They’ve also taken steps to ensure they use traceable BlueSign Down certified down in their apparel.

The down jacket does come with a few drawbacks. Most notable is the fit. While it’s 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. If you want a pullover jacket this jacket the Stio is for you, if you are looking for something to zip up and avoid messing up your hair it may not be the best option.

That being said it’s a well rounded packable down jacket that has great styling perfect walking around a mountain town, city, or in the airport. That doesn’t mean it isn’t capable in the mountains as it still delivers good performance.

More serious mountaineers who need features like a helmet-compatible hood and adjustments will be happy with this down jacket. This is why we use our Stio jackets for travel and casual use around town.


Cotopaxi Fuego Light Down Jacket


best packable down jacketbest packable down jacket
  • Weight: 12 oz.
  • Material: 20D Nylon
  • Fill: 2.8 oz. of 800-fill down
  • Pros: Solid amount of features and warmth
  • Cons: Lightweight sacrifices zipper quality and hems

I got the Fuego Light a few years ago and absolutely love it. First off, style-wise, it’s cute and slimming for women. It’s incredibly lightweight and packs up well making it a great jacket to travel, hike, and camp with.

The secret to it being so lightweight is the 950 fill goose down with Polartec underarm insulation. The Polartec Alpha insulation makes the jacket packable, fast drying, and easy to care for. This nice 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 is still made out of heavy-duty 20D ripstop nylon and elastic binding at the arm cuffs and hem.

I loves how well this packs up while still being warm enough to handle light winter conditions. If you’re looking for a more heavy duty option from Cotopaxi their regular Fuego Down Jacket is made out of 800 fill responsibly sourced goose down and has a hood attached.

Cotopaxi stands behind their “61 years” guarantee for good, which claims their products are good to last for at least 61 years. After testing out this jacket we can definitely attest to that. We also love that Cotopaxi gives back to some of the worlds poorest community improving the health, education, and livelihoods for all.


Best Winter Women’s Down Jacket

Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket


Best packable down jacketBest packable down jacket
  • Weight: 18.7 oz.
  • Fill: 8.8 oz. of 800-fill down
  • Pros: Super Warm, Comfortable
  • Cons: 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 shell is made from a 30D Pertex shell that leaves it lighter in weight and offers good weather resistance. The tough shell and 8 ounces of down make this jacket our heaviest pick. So expect it to occupy more space in your luggage, it’s meant 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 warmth of the jacket may be too much especially if you’re an active traveler. However, for those spending time in cold snowy cities, like Helsinki or Oslo, and frigid temperatures you’re guaranteed to stay warm.

It’s an exceptionally warm and great piece of winter gear for travelers headed to cold environments. Maybe not the most versatile option on this list, but a great option for sure!


Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Jacket


  • Weight: 11.9 oz.
  • Fill: 4.1 oz. of 650-fill down
  • Pros: Quality jacket for the price
  • Cons: Lacks premium feel and doesn’t pack as well as competitors.

This women’s down 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 Outdoor Research provides plenty of warmth with 4.1 ounces of 650-fill down.

I love the soft fleece-lined hard 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 high quality feel.


Best Wet Weather Down Jacket for Women

Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody


  • Weight: 12.3 oz
  • Fill: 65g CoreLoft Compact 80
  • Pros: Synthetic, Lightweight, Durable Outershell, Weather Resistance, Makes Great Mid Layer
  • Cons: Price, 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 which allows for a greater range of temperatures. This is the jacket I wear out when I think, or know it’s going to rain.

We both use an Arc’teryx synthetic down jacket for snowboarding and touring, either as a mid-layer or as an outer layer when climbing a steep hill in the snow. These are the areas where a synthetic really shines and the Proton in particular.

They do come with their drawbacks the outer shell is great 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.


Black Diamond Cold Forge


  • Weight: 14.8 oz.
  • Fill: Primaloft Gold Down Blend
  • Pros: High End Down Jacket Performance With Better Water Resistance
  • Cons: Heavy, Fit

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. This is our first synthetic down addition to the list, but ti’s made with Primaloft “Gold” a blend of down and synthetic materials that is equivalent to 750 fill down. These synthetic materials will help in wet climates as natural down is not effective when wet.

This is more of a feels closer in warmth to the Better Sweater and a little more than the Transcendant above. It’s a great 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.


Best Budget Winter Down Jacket for Women

Mountain Equipment Lightline


best packable down jacketbest packable down jacket
  • Weight: 26 oz.
  • Fill: 10.4 oz. of 750-fill down
  • Pros: Super Warm, Style, Value
  • Cons: Lower Fill Power

If you’re looking for the warmest puffer down jacket for women 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. This 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.

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 really close in comparison to the Rab above but offers just a little bit less with the 700-fill down and heavier weight.


Best Puffer Down Jacket for Women

Patagonia Down With It Parka


  • Weight: 37.8 oz
  • Fill: 8.3 oz. of 600-fill down
  • Pros: Super Warm, Plenty of Coverage, Very Stylish
  • Cons: Heavy and Bulky

If you are looking to mazimize your coverage with your down jacket the Patagonia Down With It Parka may be for you. With 600 fill power it’s a warm jacket, definitely something you’ll want if you’re heading to Canada in the winter, but may be too warm for just your average day out on a chilly day.

Some of its main features include a durable water repellent finish, a contoured fit to look sleek, and a Chevron inspired princess seam fit in the front and back for excellent shaping made specifically for women’s bodies. The three panel hoos is completley removable and we love the handwarmer pockets, that you will no doubt use on a cold winter day.

The only aspect of this puffer down jacket that you may not be used to is the knee length fit. While I love knee length womens down jackets when I’m walking around the city or having a leisuirly winter stroll, many people may think it’s too heavy and bulky. That being said the extra material that extends to (almost) the knee keeps my thighs super warm on harsh days. If you’re wearing dresses or leggings a lot this may be a good option. The other thing is this jacket isn’t exactly packable, and will take up a good deal of space.


Buying Advice for Those Purchasing the Best Down Jacket for Women

Ultimate Backpacking ChecklistUltimate Backpacking Checklist

Fit

The majority of these down jackets for women have a very similar look. In regards to style, you won’t have to lose to much sleep over what option to go with. I choose to focus on fit instead. A down jacket that is well fitted 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 to order and return if the fit doesn’t work for you.


Size

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 in size. That’s why they’re not on this list as they don’t serve as great versatile packable travel jackets.


Warmth

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 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 setttled on a lightweight nylon exterior — most commonly 20D Nylon.


Packability

The idea behind the best down jacket for women is its compression and ability to pack down. 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.

The fabric also plays an important 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 real down jackets offer superior performance to synthetic down jackets in terms of packability or compression.


Comfort

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?


Fill Power

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.


Fill Weight

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 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.


Weight

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 outer shells of the 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 amount of feathers stuffed into the jacket.

With down jackets, there are a few categories to look for in terms of weight. Ultralight, lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight.

Ultralights, are, of course, the lightest packable down jackets. They are specifically designed for backpacking, hiking, backcountry skiing, multi-day hikes and any activity where you will want to save on weight. Besides the actual down inside the jacket, these jackets are made with thin shell fabrics, lightweight zippers, premium down, and won’t have any extra bells and whistles.

Because of the premium products, you can expect these jackets to have a higher price tag. If you are seeking a jacket where every ounce counts, you’ll want to look at ultra light down jackets for women but if you are just exploring cities or going on day hikes, they may not be worth the high price tag. 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 as well as 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 you’re 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 obviously 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. Our favorite women midweight down jacket is the Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket.


Shell Fabric

Ripstop Nylon vs Pertex (Macro lens to highlight difference)

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 laminatted for superior waterproofing.

The problem with these robust shells is that they tend to trap heat and moisture while adding a lot of weight. The strategy we use for waterproofing is to combine our down jackets with a lighweight shell, but there are a few down jacket options that offer it all one.

The metric is referred to as denier. Denier ranges generally from 7D up 40D. 10D is ultra light and reserved for high-end jackets. Whereas 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 that is a patterned nylon weave designed to stop the nylon from running.


Features To Look For in a Women’s Packable Down Jacket


Hood

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Helmet Compatible Hood

When determining the style of your new jacket you should consider it’s 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 a great decision for those chilly days. I use the sweater version as a mid-layer when snowboarding. It happen to be the most popular version to as it’s easily the most versatile.


Cinch Waist

The second area you’re most likely to lose heat around is your waist. This is especially true if you’re doing winter sports like skiing, mountaineering, or hiking. A tight fitting jacket is key to trapping that much needed heat inside.


Waterproof/DWR

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.

This is a problem for frequent travelers or outdoor enthusiasts who often end up in wet environments. Due to this many people opt for a synthetic material if they’re worried about getting wet.

In recent years gear manufacterers 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. This makes them a serious 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 real down jacket and when paired with a waterproof shell for the really 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

A lot of words you’ll find when searching for the best packable down jacket are PFC Free DNR, Recycled Fabrics, and RDS Certified Down. These all refer to sustainable material and practices when. it comes to sourcing for down jackets and other outdoor gear.

Responsible Down Standard (RDS) was introduced to the market, companies like Feathered Friends were some of the first adopters. This means there is no forced plucking, no forced eating, and in general looks after animal welfare. When a company utilizes RDS it means 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 a class of chemicals 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 are PFC Free DWR you can rest assured you are buying products not as harmful to the environment.


Should I Just Buy a Synthetic Jacket?


Hiking Wasootch RidgeHiking Wasootch Ridge
Outdoor Research Syntetic Soft Shell 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 want to consider a synthetic alternate. If your main concern is warmth in cold weather and carrying a light load stick with real down. If you want to go with a synthetic jacket, my favorite is the Arc’terux LT Atom.

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Last Updated on May 15, 2020