Here’s to the most ubiquitous item in every skier’s quiver of kits. Old Reliable, if you will. It’s there when you need it the most while comforting you through any season. From sweating up the skin track to stumbling down Main Street, it’s seen the four corners of the Earth right from your back. It’s perpetually saturated with a campfire scent on the outside while the pockets are sure to be tainted by grease from your trusty chairlift bacon. You’ve taken it on so many adventures that it’s a shame you can’t connect it to a frequent flyer card. She’s seen some love but hey, haven’t we all?
Yup, that’s right – it’s your steadfast down jacket.
I’m a firm believer that a token down jacket is the MVP of any outdoor enthusiast’s outerwear collection. The anatomy of the down keeps you warm by trapping body heat without adding weight creating an unmatched warmth-to-weight ratio. This allows you to wear it as either a mid-level layering piece on colder/wetter days or an outer layer. A quality piece can last you decades especially with programs like Worn Wear from Patagonia where they repair your gear to extend it’s life. It’s a tried-and-true game changer for any outdoor activity.
We put together a list of our top choices in the industry for you to pick from! If you don’t have a down or need an upgrade, do yourself a favor and treat yourself while it’s still apple pickin’ season.
Cover Photo: Patagonia, Ken Etzel
PATAGONIA DOWN SWEATER HOODY
Patagonia may be the top dog when it comes to making down jackets. They make a number of options but our favorite is the Down Sweater Hoody which is made in both Men’s and Women’s fits. This hoody is lightweight and windproof with a 100% recycled polyester ripstop shell and 800-fill-power Advanced Global Traceable Down. While the price may be high, Patagonia has a lifetime warranty and will repair your gear to extend it’s life!
ARC’TERYX CERIUM DOWN HOODY
Arc’teryx is another company that prides itself on the quality of it’s products that are built to withstand the elements. The Cerium Down Hoody is no exception! The premium 850-fill goose down paired with the wind-resistant nylon shell will protect you against anything Mother Nature throws your way. This down is also available in both Men’s and Women’s fits, so don’t be afraid to match your better half!
STIO’S HOMETOWN DOWN HOODED JACKET
Stio is fairly new to the game compared to the big dogs but is quickly getting recognized across the outerwear world for it’s quality of gear. The Hometown Down features 800-fill responsibly sourced, HyperDRY™ water repellent goose down. It is reinforced with a Pertex® Microlight mini-ripstop nylon that is sure to shed the elements, keeping you warm and dry in harsh conditions. Also, take note of the zippered hand-warmer pockets and interior stash pockets to keep those paws toasty.
REI 650 DOWN JACKET 2.0
If you are looking for a jacket that is more moderately priced then the REI 650 Down Jacket is for you! While this down may sacrifice a little warmth and durability, it is priced at just under $100 which is over half the price of the other jackets on this list. The nylon shell will block wind like a champ while the 650-fill count will keep you warm on most excursions! Also, it is highly compressible by being able to pack into it’s left-hand pocket. This jacket is a great option for a casual adventurer who doesn’t want to spend an arm and a leg.
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR MEN’S NILAS JACKET
The new Mountain Hardwear Nilas Jacket is designed for high-altitude alpinist who need extra warmth, lightweight materials and reinforced windproof technology. The Nilas™ features Q.Shield™ down that resists moisture to retain critical loft and warmth even in damp conditions. While the AirShield™ technology keeps the wind at bay so even when it’s howling, it’s always calm and dry inside!