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With the best down jacket, your outdoor adventures can continue even in freezing temperatures. They’re designed to keep you warm, just as down and feathers keep ducks and geese warm.
You’ll find that there is a wide-range of options of down jackets, from budget ones to top of the line brands that might be too expensive. To guide you, we’ll talk about important features that you should consider before you make your purchase.
First Off, What is A Down Jacket?
For those of you who aren’t too sure, a down jacket is one that has uses down or under feathers of ducks or geese for insulation. Down is fluffy and has many small pockets that trap and retain warm air, so it keeps the user warm. That’s why you can use it in jackets and duvets.
Down can be from ducks, geese, or a mix of both. In general, goose down is more expensive than duck down. They have bigger down clusters and have a higher loft factor, so they trap and spread more warmth.
That’s why it remains to be the norm for outdoor jackets. However, for those who want a cheaper option, there are also duck down and mixed.
Down Jacket Buyer’s Guide
We buy down jackets for the purpose of keeping us warm, so the warmth measure is crucial. One of the first things you need to look into is the coat’s fill power, which refers to the amount of lift the jacket has.The higher the fill power, the better the insulation ability.
Compressibility refers to how small you can stuff a jacket away. But more than that, it also refers to how well the material goes back to normal state after compression. Every time you roll up and compress the jacket, you are affecting the insulation ability of the down fill.
Down can take compressions better than synthetic insulators. They’re also smaller and lighter, making them easier to bring around.
For long distances and high altitudes hikes, or whenever you need to carry around gear, weight becomes a critical issue. It’s always better to have lightweight, yet functional gear. A down jacket doesn’t have to be heavy to provide the warmth you need.
With the tech these days, you can get the warmth you need without additional weight. For a lightweight jacket, look for one that has a high fill power. A low fill power jacket will be bulkier and heavier than a high fill strength to be able to give the same kind of warmth.
Aside from the type of down and the fill power, the material used for the shell and the lining are important things to look. These things also affect weight, warmth, water resistance, and durability.
Almost all down jackets use lightweight shell fabric. The weight of the fabric is measured by “denier.” The lower it is, the light the fabric is also. However, low denier also means less durable and has high chances of abrasions.
If weight matters like in the backcountry, then get an ultralight one. For more casual use like in the city, a sturdy shell will save you money in the run.
Down material will lose its insulation when wet, so water resistance is another important criteria to consider. Today, gear manufacturers are taking measures to treat down to make them more resistant to water.
Another way down jackets become water resistant is with durable water repellant (DWR) treatment on the shell of the jacket. It prevents water droplets from entering the jacket; the water droplets roll off instead.
When it comes to down jackets, you get what you have to pay The higher the quality and fill power of the down, the more expensive it will be. However, branding is also a factor affecting the price.
For instance, a famous brand will have 500 fill power that will cost the same as a lesser known brand that has 800 fill power. For some cases, you will be paying for the brand rather than the quality.
Other Features and Accessories
Once you’re down to your final options, what separates each jacket from each other are the small details. The style, a hood, pockets, zippers, color, etc.
- A hood will keep your head and neck warm but it adds to the bulk. If your down jacket is something you’ll wear as a mid-layer, then you won’t need the hood.
- To help seal warmth, consider cuffed waist and wrist.
- Pockets are great for cold hands.
3 Best Down Jackets For Men
1. Patagonia Mens Down Sweater Jacket
Patagonia’s Down Sweater is one of the most popular options. But that’s no surprise, considering that it gives you great quality for the value. This sweater has 800-fill power and uses traceable European goose down, making it top notch in insulation.
The outer shell is polyester ripstop and treated with DWR (durable water repellent) for optimal insulation. It weighs 371 grams, which is much less than the previous option.
- Great weight for travel with high insulation performance.
- High compressibility.
- You can choose from a wide selection of colors so that you can personalize more.
- Handwarmer pockets are very convenient.
- I love the simplicity. It’s perfect for casual wear or a day in the mountains.
- The length is not as great as I imagined, but otherwise, it’s perfect.
- No hood, so if you need one with a hood, this jacket is not for you.
2. North Face Nuptse Jacket
Northface is one brand to look out for when it comes to outdoor gear. They’ve been around giving the market products that work for about 50 years.
The Nuptse Jacket is a classic down jacket with a 700 fill power, 50D nylon plain weave fabric. It uses goose-down that is Certified to the Responsible Down Standard, offering an excellent insulation for the user.
The jacket weighs about 650 grams, and you can stow it in the internal chest pocket.
- Great insulation capacity at 700 fill power.
- Velcro adjustable cuff tabs are convenient for sealing warmth.
- It has a high compressibility; it stows into the internal pocket so you can take it on your travels
- Bulkier than the others on this list.
- Expensive, considering you can get higher fill power at about the same cost.
3. Arc’Teryx Men’s Cerium LT Hooded Jacket
This white goose down jacket has the highest fill power in the bunch, running at 850. It’s also the most lightweight, weighing only 295 grams. You can use it all around, but ideally as a mid-layer or on its own in cold and dry conditions.
However, the shell has a DWR finish, so you don’t need to worry about light precipitation.
- Great insulation capacity along with DWR finish for protection from water.
- This one has the best weight, weighing only around 295 grams.
- Adjustable hood to seal the warmth and prevent the cold from going in. The drawcord is easy to reach and use.
- The mouth, underarms, cuffs, shoulders and the front of the mouth have extra insulation, with the use of Coreloft synthetic insulation. These areas have higher chances of coming contact with moisture, so it needs the extra insulation.
- It doesn’t have a waist cinch. The cuffs stretch, but it moves around a lot too.
So there you have it – a simple guide to finding the best down jacket for men. There are a lot of options, so it’s important to know what exactly you should be searching. Since the primary purpose of a down jacket is for insulation, make sure you look into the fill power capacity of the down.
The higher the fill power, the better the insulation. Other important factors to consider are weight, compressibility, and the shell material.
I hope you found this helpful. Now as for the best jacket, it totally depends on you and how you plan on using it. Some jackets are only meant to be mid-layers, while others can protect you from light to mid precipitation.
Some coats have a tougher outer shell, while others do not come with abrasion-resistant property for weight’s sake.
While all three are great quality jackets, the best one for me would have to be the Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater Jacket. The price is reasonable, and it gives just the right insulation capacity for my needs.
What’s best for me might not be the best for you, so for better reference, you might want to try them out yourself.