6 Of The Best Packable Down Jackets

down jackets, packable down jackets

Nothing screams versatility like a great down jacket. Whether you are heading into the mountains, off on your travels or are looking for something light, warm and comfortable, we have taken a look at the best packable down jackets to save you the time.

And when we say packable, it is a pretty big understatement, as the heaviest jacket we feature weighs in at a feather-light 17 ounces. One of them even folds up into its own pocket. How cool is that?

And when we say packable, it is a pretty big understatement, as the heaviest jacket we feature weighs in at a feather-light 17 ounces. One of them even folds up into its own pocket. How cool is that?

Why do I need a down jacket?

If the weather is both dry and cold, these jackets make an excellent outer layer. Down is not actually the feathers of a duck or goose, but rather the soft, fluffy stuff up against the body. It provides excellent insulation while remaining breathable, so any perspiration that transpires under your jacket will find a way out.

Down jackets tend to be made with a nylon exterior, adding a certain protection against the elements, although they will never be completely waterproof. If you are heading out in cold, wet weather, the down jacket is compact and therefore perfect to downgrade to a mid-layer. In these instances, I would recommend a light base layer (maybe a merino thermal top), followed by the down jacket with a light Gore-Tex-clad outer shell over the lot.

The unbelievable warmth-to-weight ratio of these jackets make them an ideal companion for travel, or for those heading off to explore the great outdoors.

What to look for in a down jacket

  •  Down fill power: This is such a commonly misunderstood term. It has nothing to do with the weight of the down, but how fluffy it is. The higher the number, the stronger and larger the clusters of down, therefore allowing the jacket to trap more warm air through the combination of down and air voids. Jackets with a higher down fill number have better warmth-to-weight ratios.
  •  Weight: If you are planning on taking that jacket on an ultralight backcountry adventure, then weight is a massive thing to consider. The lightest jacket on this list is just 8 oz, and would blow away in a gentle breeze.
  •  Hooded: This is a personal preference of mine. I love a jacket with a hood, especially one that is filled with lovely soft down that feels divinely warm when wrapped around your head.

For can find all the information you could ever need on down fill by watching this YouTube video:

Should I buy a down or synthetic jacket?

I have mentioned that down jackets are not waterproof. I have not yet told you how much it sucks when they become wet all the way through. It sucks big time! All that aforementioned breathability goes out the window and you will be left with a heavy, cold and soggy jacket that firmly traps the moisture in. This is the only downside of the down jackets.

The synthetic insulated jackets do not represent the same warmth-to-weight ratio as their down counterparts, which means you need a lot more mass of the synthetic stuff to make it as warm as a down jacket. They do, however, breathe a lot better in wet weather conditions and dry a lot faster, too, but I would not base your choice on this. No jacket, whether down or synthetic, is designed for the wet weather.

Due to the durability and lightweight nature of down jackets, I would choose them over their synthetic rivals for any kind of trip.

Read more6 Of The Best Packable Down Jackets