As impressively warm and cozy insulators, down jackets are one of our favorite pieces of outdoor gear. Whether you’re looking for an uber-light alpine piece for the mountains, a casual fur-brimmed parka for around-town use, or something in between, there’s a down jacket that fits the bill. Switchback Travel’s female editorial staff hit the slopes, trails, and city streets to compile this list, which ranges from technical, performance-oriented jackets to casual everyday designs. Below are our picks for the best women's down jackets of the 2023-2024 season. For more information, see our women's down jacket comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
- Best Overall Women's Down Jacket: Patagonia Down Sweater
- Best Performance Down Jacket: Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody
- Best Budget Down Jacket: REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket
- Best Everyday Down Parka: Patagonia Down With It Parka
- Best Heavyweight Down Jacket: Rab Neutrino Pro
Best Overall Women's Down Jacket
Weight: 10.3 oz.
Fill: 3.5 oz. of 800-fill down
What we like: Impressive versatility; made with a recycled shell and ethically sourced down.
What we don't: Expensive; a bit short and boxy.
Some down jackets are unmistakably casual, while others are designed specifically for the backcountry. But if you’re looking for one jacket that can do it all, the Patagonia Down Sweater is perhaps the most versatile option on the market. Like some of the more specialized picks below, the Down Sweater is light enough to pack on your next hiking trip yet warm and streamlined enough to layer under a shell for skiing. And with that premium Patagonia build quality and finish and a variety of fresh colorways, it doesn’t look overly technical for walking around town or grabbing a drink after a long day in the mountains.
With a recent redesign, the Down Sweater features an all-new NetPlus shell (made from recycled fishing nets), lower weight, added warmth features like larger side baffles and a more structured collar, and drop-in pockets for additional storage. The new jacket costs $50 more than the previous version, but it’s even more versatile than before and gives performance-minded designs like the Cerium below a run for their money in terms of warmth-to-weight ratio. We’ve been wearing the updated design for a year now, and are huge fans of its flattering fit and soft, sleeping-bag-like construction. For those who want added coverage, the Down Sweater also is made in a hooded version for $50 more... Read in-depth review
See the Patagonia Down Sweater
Best Performance Down Jacket
Weight: 10.2 oz.
Fill: 3.2 oz. of 850-fill down & 80/100g Coreloft
What we like: Great warmth and weather protection in a 10-ounce package.
What we don’t: Expensive and not super durable.
The Patagonia Down Sweater is a great pick for everyday and light performance use, but you’ll want a more purpose-built piece for serious days out. Arc’teryx’s Cerium Hoody is the definition of performance down jacket, combining high-fill-power down, a thin shell fabric, a svelte fit that maximizes mobility with minimal bulk, and a simple yet functional feature set. With a total weight of 10.2 ounces, it can stuff away into a corner of your backpack or the included stuff sack, but when deployed, the 850-fill down packs an impressive punch. Importantly, Arc’teryx also added synthetic Coreloft insulation in areas most prone to getting wet, including the shoulders, underarms, cuffs, and collar. All told, for backcountry skiers, backpackers, climbers, and other weight-conscious adventurers, the Cerium Hoody is one of the best-equipped options on the market.
While we love the Cerium Hoody for days that venture far from the car, it doesn’t cross over particularly well for daily wear. Most notably, the 15-denier face fabric is prone to punctures and abrasion, and the trim fit doesn’t layer well over bulky sweaters or fleeces. And at $400, you’ll be paying for a whole lot of premium tech that you might not need. But serious backcountry-goers will benefit from the top-notch warmth-to-weight ratio and added wet-weather assurance, and the Cerium’s trim build layers sleekly underneath a rain jacket or hardshell. Arc’teryx also makes the Cerium Lightweight Hoody ($360; 7.2 oz.), which shaves weight with an even thinner shell (7D) and less insulation.
See the Arc'teryx Cerium Hoody
Best Budget Down Jacket
Weight: 10.2 oz.
Fill: 650-fill down
What we like: Considerably cheaper than any other jacket on this list, yet surprisingly well built.
What we don’t: Not warm enough for true winter use.
The majority of down jackets on this list hover between $250 and $400, but REI’s 650 costs a fraction of that at just $129 (and often less on sale). Despite the low price point, it's still a well-rounded piece with 3.3 ounces of 650-fill down, a wind- and water-resistant shell, and a reasonably light weight. And with a recent update, REI honed the design by adding a hem adjustment, a more durable ripstop nylon shell, and traditional horizontal baffles (the previous version had box baffles). The price did go up by $29, but the 650 Down is still a great budget choice for everything from daily use to hiking and resort skiing.
Keep in mind that although the REI 650 Down Jacket stuffs into its hand pocket, the 650-fill-power down isn’t as lofty or compressible as more premium models that hit 800-fill- power or higher (including REI’s own Magma 850). Because of this, the 650 suffers in the warmth-to-weight department compared to the pricier options here (for example, the Arc'teryx Cerium above is much warmer at a lower weight). Further, REI doesn’t offer the jacket in a hooded version. But like many modernized jackets, the 650 uses a recycled nylon shell and RDS-certified down, which add to overall appeal. For a functional down jacket at a great price, the REI 650 Down Jacket is tough to beat.
See the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket
Best Everyday Down Parka
Weight: 2 lb. 5 oz.
Fill: 8.3 oz. of 600-fill down
What we like: Great styling and a major boost in warmth over shorter down jackets.
What we don’t: Bulky packed size; not everyone will like the length.
Down is the best insulator for weight-conscious mountain activities, but it’s also an ideal way to stay warm around town. For a high-quality option that doesn’t skimp on style, the Patagonia Down With It is our favorite women's down parka for winter 2023-2024. You get a healthy 8.3 ounces of 600-fill down, a DWR finish for repelling light moisture (which is PFC-free in the latest version), and cozy features like a fleece-lined collar and pockets. Further, the Down With It earns major style points with its chevron baffles and princess seams, removable hood, and a pair of snaps along each side that ensure you can wear it while seated without pesky bunching (most parkas don’t have this feature, and it’s a good one).
The big difference between the Down With It Parka and the options above is length, and not everyone will want the knee-length coverage and bulk. Some parkas, like Marmot's Montreal below, are classified as thigh-length rather than knee-length, but the added inches here (the Patagonia’s center back length is 35 in.) are especially nice in cold climates like the Midwest or Northeast. And while the Down With It doesn’t compress well for travel, it’s got one big thing going for it: warmth. 600-fill isn’t as light and compressible as higher-fill-power down, but this is less of a concern for casual use, and 8.3 ounces is a generous supply. And for warmer conditions, the Down With It is available in a hip-length version, which packs in 7.1 ounces of 600-fill down and is more affordably priced at $229... Read in-depth review
See the Patagonia Down With It Parka
Best Heavyweight Down Jacket
Weight: 1 lb. 2.7 oz.
Fill: 7 oz. of 800-fill down
What we like: Loaded with premium down.
What we don’t: Heavy and the left-hand zip can take some getting used to.
U.K.-based Rab is among our favorite outdoor clothing brands, and the Neutrino Pro is their beloved down jacket for cold-weather climbing and mountaineering. Updated last year, the jacket now sports a water-resistant Pertex Quantum Pro shell but retains everything else that made it a classic. Most importantly, it packs in a ton of down—7 ounces of 800-fill hydrophobic down, to be exact—at roughly the same price as less-insulative options from Arc’teryx, Patagonia, and Mountain Hardwear. Further, the 20-denier shell has a quality feel and offers surprisingly good abrasion resistance. Even at $400, that’s a lot of bang for your buck.
What are the downsides of the Neutrino Pro? The first is the total weight at 1 pound 2.7 ounces, which is reasonable for serious winter use but too heavy for shoulder-season conditions. Second, Americans may have problems with the European-style left-hand zipper, which can take a while to get used to. Finally, the Neutrino Pro is overkill for all but the coldest days and therefore isn't as versatile as midweight options like the Patagonia Fitz Roy and Arc’teryx Thorium Hoody below. These issues aside, the Rab is an exceptionally warm and comfortable winter piece at a good price. For an even warmer yet lighter jacket, check out Rab’s impressive Mythic Ultra Down ($495), which uses 900-fill-power down and a 10-denier Pertex Quantum (no “Pro”) shell.
See the Rab Neutrino Pro
Best of the Rest
Weight: 15.5 oz.
Fill: 3.3 oz. of 700-fill down
What we like: Soft, stretchy, and durable face fabric.
What we don’t: Not equipped for wet weather and shorter cut than much of the competition.
Mountain Hardwear launched its Stretchdown line a handful of years ago, epitomized by soft and stretchy shells and welded seams (rather than stitched baffles). The goal here was to combine the insulation of down with the range of motion, durability, and comfort of a softshell—and we’d say Mountain Hardwear pulled it off pretty well. The jacket’s knit fabric is very tough, and the stretchiness gives it a plush feel that you typically don’t get from a down piece. Tack on some clean styling—even the logo is understated—and the Stretchdown is a practical and good-looking jacket for everyday use.
But the performance chops of the Stretchdown are limited: The 700-fill-power down has less loft than the true backcountry pieces on this list, and the jacket is bulky and heavy for the amount of warmth you get. Further, $300 is no small price for a casual item (you can save with the REI 650 above or Patagonia Silent Down below), and some will appreciate the added warmth of the Arc'teryx Thorium Hoody (below). Finally, we have noticed that the Stretchdown’s fabric has a tendency to hold stains, and the elastic in our cuffs has grown tired over time. But we have a soft spot for this jacket (no pun intended), which receives compliments almost every time we go out. It’s also worth noting that Mountain Hardwear offers a number of versions of the Stretchdown, including a heavyweight parka, which has become one of our tester’s go-to jackets for everyday winter use.
See the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody
Weight: 14.8 oz.
Fill: 4.5 oz. of 800-fill down
What we like: Sleeping bag-like loft; impressive warmth for the weight.
What we don’t: Not as durable or versatile as other midweight options.
For a step up in warmth and performance from Patagonia’s Down Sweater, check out their Fitz Roy Down Hoody. This midweight offering features 4.5 ounces of 800-fill down (the Down Sweater has 3.5 oz.), along with a Pertex Quantum shell for excellent wind protection, two external chest pockets, a 1.5-inch-longer hem, and a helmet-compatible hood. With lightweight materials and Patagonia’s high-quality construction, the result is one of the best warmth-to-weight ratios here and an ideal insulator for speedy winter missions when every ounce counts. And with soft fabrics and a fashionable fit and finish, the Fitz Roy is the kind of jacket you’ll put on and never want to take off.
Patagonia updated the Fitz Roy a couple seasons ago, with changes including a 5-ounce-lighter weight, noticeably less down (4.5 oz. compared to the previous version’s 6.4), and a slightly shorter hem. The Fitz Roy Hoody (the previous model was the Parka) now falls into the midweight category, similar to the Outdoor Research Coldfront and Arc’teryx Thorium below. Neither the OR nor the Arc’teryx can compete with the Fitz Roy in terms of warmth for the weight, although both jackets use thicker 30-denier shells (compared to the Patagonia’s fragile-feeling 20D) and get the edge in versatility for everyday use. But for a high-performance midweight down jacket in an impressively cozy package, look no further than the Fitz Roy... Read in-depth review
See the Patagonia Fitz Roy Down Hoody
Weight: 8 oz.
Fill: 2.1 oz. of 900-fill down & PrimaLoft Gold
What we like: A great price for a very premium ultralight jacket.
What we don’t: Thin shell is too fragile for everyday use.
Rab’s Mythic Alpine Light is a relatively new entry on our list, beating out the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer (below) as one of our top-ranked ultralight picks. We haven’t stopped singing the jacket’s praises since we first tested it last year. It’s incredibly premium considering the price point, touting 900-fill down and PrimaLoft Gold insulation along with a protective and durable Pertex Quantum shell. And at just 8 ounces, it’s an excellent option for those looking to maximize warmth for weight. But the Mythic Alpine Light is not all function: It’s also a great-looking piece with boxed baffles and a variety of classy colorways, and we love the flattering length that offers a bit of extra coverage down the back.
If you’re considering the Cerium Hoody above, don’t overlook the Mythic Alpine Light. The Rab is a couple ounces lighter and features more premium down (900 vs. 850-fill-power)—all for a full $70 less. What’s more, it’s almost 3 inches longer than the Arc’teryx, which we love for standalone use but might cause the Mythic to peek out from underneath the hem of a rain jacket or hardshell. You also get a bit more warmth with the Cerium, and its marginally thicker shell (15 vs. 10D) makes it the more durable offering. But as a slightly more minimalist option (both in terms of weight and price), the Rab is well worth a closer look. For those who want a bit more warmth, Rab also makes the standard Mythic Alpine, which features more than double the down for just 2 ounces and $60 more.
See the Rab Mythic Alpine Light Down Jacket
Weight: 2 lb. 2.2 oz.
Fill: 7.1 oz. of 700-fill down
What we like: Mid-thigh length and soft liner.
What we don’t: Fits small and some might prefer a longer cut.
Casual down jackets come in all shapes and sizes, but we love the extra warmth and coverage that a parka provides. Marmot’s Montreal checks all of the important boxes with 700-fill down, good freedom of movement, and a super cozy hood with a removable faux fur liner. The inside of the jacket has a fleece liner that is noticeably soft to the touch, and the outside has a DWR treatment to help with light precipitation. Add in clean lines and some classy colorways, and the Montreal is a great all-around parka for the cold at a reasonable price point.
Keep in mind that the Marmot Montreal's thigh-length cut is a little shorter than competitors like the Patagonia Down With It Parka, which translates to less protection and warmth (but a more playful style). And in our experience, the Montreal is slightly less insulated and not suited for temperatures much below freezing without layers underneath. In terms of the all-important fit factor, we found that the jacket runs slightly small and would recommend sizing up if you're in between sizes or plan on layering. But if you can get the fit dialed, the Montreal is a winner... Read in-depth review
See the Marmot Montreal Down Coat
Weight: 1 lb. 5.2 oz.
Fill: 5.6 oz. of 700-fill-power down & 150g VerticalX ECO
What we like: Comfy, classy, and well-priced for what you get.
What we don’t: Doesn’t pack down nearly as small as more premium options.
Outdoor Research is known for producing quality gear that consistently undercuts the competition in price, and their Coldfront Down Hoodie is no exception. At $279, it’s considerably cheaper than the more premium options on this list but doesn’t fall too far behind in terms of performance. In testing the Coldfront, we were immediately impressed by the lofty and cozy build that uses a mix of 700-fill down and weather-ready VerticalX Eco synthetic insulation at the shoulders and cuffs. We also love the soft-yet-rugged shell and nice touches like fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, snug-fitting cuff gaiters with thumb loops, and classy branding on the sleeve. For everyday use and casual winter adventuring, the Coldfront is a very well-rounded option.
How does the OR Coldfront stack up to the picks above? It’s warmer than lightweight options like the Patagonia Down Sweater and Arc’teryx Cerium but falls short of a heavyweight like Rab’s Neutrino Pro for truly frigid conditions. It’s also on the heavier side for performance use (6.4 oz. heavier than the Fitz Roy) and lacks the Rab’s weather-ready shell and hydrophobic down, which go a long way in boosting protection on particularly wet adventures. Finally, the Coldfront doesn’t pack down as small as the higher-fill-power options above and below, but considering the price and warmth, it’s all most women need in a down jacket. Outdoor Research also makes the Coldfront in a more casually minded jacket version, which features a shorter hem length and a full-length snap placket at the front.
See the Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie
Weight: 7.8 oz.
Fill: 2.5 oz. of 800-fill down
What we like: One of the best warmth-to-weight ratios on this list.
What we don’t: Not as premium as the more affordable Rab Mythic Alpine Light above.
For backcountry missions when every ounce counts, you’ll need a jacket that offers big warmth for a low weight. Enter the 7.8-ounce Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2, one of the most impressive jackets in its class. You get 2.5 ounces of premium 800-fill hydrophobic down in a package that stuffs down smaller than a 1-liter Nalgene (complete with a carabiner clip loop). Impressively, despite the low weight and small packed size, the Ghost Whisperer/2 doesn’t compromise much on functionality or features with zippered hand pockets, a hem adjustment, and decent wind and water resistance.
However, while the Ghost Whisperer/2 is built to resist a light chill at the belay or during a summer evening at camp, it’s notably less insulated than most other options here (when you factor in the difference in fill power, it’s approximately as warm as the REI 650 above). And with a thin 10-denier shell, we still don’t recommend it as your daily driver. Finally, compared to the Rab Mythic Alpine Light above, the Ghost Whisperer/2 is $30 pricier despite using less premium materials, including lower-fill-power down and no added synthetic fill for breathability and moisture resistance. For the most diehard of ounce counters, Mountain Hardwear also makes the Ghost Whisperer UL Hoody, which features a 5-denier shell, 1,000-fill down, and clocks in at only 6.2 ounces.
See the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody
Weight: 1 lb.
Fill: 5.0 oz. of 750-fill down
What we like: Do-everything personality.
What we don’t: Expensive despite having less premium down.
While Arc’teryx’s Cerium series shaves weight and features for technical pursuits, their Thorium collection places a bigger premium on everyday functionality. With the Thorium Hoody, you get more warmth than the Cerium Hoody above, along with a considerable boost in durability and wind resistance (30D vs. 15D). Further, its regular fit (vs. the Cerium’s “fitted” designation) gives you ample room for layering underneath while still being streamlined enough to wear as a midlayer (under a roomy ski jacket) or classy standalone piece. All in all, the Thorium Hoody is one of the most well-rounded jackets here and it’s hard to argue with Arc’teryx's top-notch build quality, too.
Despite its casual, urban-ready design, the Thorium is no slouch in the performance department. You get 5 ounces of 750-fill down (it’s not ultra-premium, but 750 is still pretty good) in a one-pound package, a two-way zipper, and synthetic insulation in areas most prone to getting wet: along the hood, cuffs, and under the arms. The price point is decidedly high for most casual users, but the Thorium Hoody’s premium materials and construction will last you season after season. And Arc’teryx also makes the Thorium Jacket ($450), which features a one-way zipper and stylish cropped hem that’s about 4 inches shorter in length... Read in-depth review
See the Arc'teryx Thorium Hoody
Weight: 14.6 oz.
Fill: 5.1 oz. of 700-fill down
What we like: Warm for the price; water-resistant build.
What we don’t: Not as warm or packable as the Patagonia Fitz Roy.
Like the heavyweight Neutrino Pro and ultralight Mythic Alpine Light above, Rab’s popular Microlight Alpine Jacket pays tribute to the brand’s climbing heritage. To start, it's built to handle wind and light moisture thanks to a tough Pertex Quantum shell, DWR coating, and hydrophobic down. Further, the rigid structure of the jacket’s brimmed hood has a hardshell-like feel, offering great all-around coverage and protection. You’ll still want to don a waterproof layer if the skies open up, but the Microlight Alpine stands out as one of the more weather-ready midweight down jackets we’ve tested.
With medium-quality 700-fill-power down, the Rab falls a bit short for weight- and space-conscious adventures like alpine climbing. By contrast, the Fitz Roy above checks in at the same weight, but its 800-fill down offers a bit more warmth and a more packable design. We do think the Microlight Alpine is the more versatile option for everyday use, with a thicker shell (30D) and more easy-going design (we find the Fitz Roy's loft and two chest pockets to be a bit overkill in the city). And for just $295, the Rab is significantly less than the competition... Read in-depth review
See the Rab Microlight Alpine
Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz.
Fill: 850-fill down
What we like: Fully waterproof and very warm.
What we don’t: Pretty heavy and bulky.
REI isn’t known for pushing the boundaries of jacket design, but we really like what they’ve come up with in the Stormhenge Down Hybrid. The Stormhenge stands out with its fully waterproof 2-layer shell (a rarity in the down jacket world), meaning you get the protection of a rain jacket alongside the lofty warmth of a down insulator. The jacket also features nice touches like pit zips, two internal dump pockets, and a sleeping-bag-like draft tube at the neck. Unfortunately, REI does not provide the fill weight, but with a significant dose of premium 850-fill down, the Stormhenge nevertheless is one of the warmest options on this list.
The Stormhenge’s unique waterproof construction helps it stand out among other foul-weather-ready down jackets like the Rab Neutrino Pro above. Both models have DWR treatments that cause water to bead up and roll off of the shell, but without a waterproof membrane, the Rab falls well short of the REI in consistently wet conditions. However, the Stormhenge is the heaviest performance-focused jacket on the list at 1 pound 10 ounces and doesn’t pack down very small. As a result, it lacks versatility for uses like backpacking or climbing, but the waterproof, warm build is still a great match for everything from cold winter walks to downhill skiing.
See the REI Co-op Stormhenge Down Hybrid
Weight: 2 lb. 3.5 oz.
Fill: 8.3 oz. of 700-fill-power down
What we like: A true knee-length parka with a durable woven shell.
What we don’t: Expensive and sizing can be tricky.
We often turn to Outdoor Research for reasonably priced technical outerwear, but the Seattle-based company has gone fully casual with the Coze Down Parka here. And we like what they’ve done, combining high-quality materials with an elegant urban style. The knee-length Coze is by far the longest parka on this list, touting a 43-inch center back length that’s a full 10 inches longer than a jacket like the Marmot Montreal above. On top of that, you get a soft and durable 70x90-denier plain weave shell—great for withstanding the rigors of city use—and side zips that make it easy to sit, bike, or drive.
There are a lot of reasons you might want the extra coverage of the Coze, especially in particularly frigid winter climates. For one, the length eliminates the need for insulated pants on quick jaunts around the block. Second, you’re ensured insulation under you while sitting, which you don’t always get with a parka-length jacket. And finally, the style is undeniably classy, whether you’re walking the dog or going out on a Saturday night. Sizing can be tricky—we recommend finding a way to try on the Coze or purchasing from an online retailer with a good return policy—and unlike many parkas, you don’t get a cinch at the waist. But for top-notch coverage from a trusted brand, the Coze is an attractive option.
See the Outdoor Research Coze Down Parka
Weight: 15.3 oz.
Fill: 3.5 oz. of 700-fill down
What we like: A technical down jacket with classy Scandinavian styling.
What we don’t: Expensive and not as warm or light as other options here.
Style and technical performance don’t always go hand in hand, but Fjallraven manages to merge the two better than most. On paper, their Expedition Pack Down Hoody looks a lot like many other jackets here: you get 3.5 ounces of 700-fill down and horizontal baffling in a sub-1-pound build that packs nicely into its own pocket. But the devil is in the details here: the Expedition boasts a layer of synthetic insulation over the shoulders for added protection against moisture, and contrasting pullcords and leather tabs at the collar and a classy logo patch on the chest add a nice dose of flair. For days that start at the trailhead and end at the brewery, the Fjallraven is a versatile and standout piece.
We’re used to paying a pretty penny for all things Fjallraven, so it surprised us to see the Expedition priced relatively affordably at $275 (for comparison's sake, Patagonia's Down Sweater Hoody is $329). But with a larger dose of higher quality down, the Patagonia is significantly warmer, and it's over 3 ounces lighter, too (12.1 oz.). Alternatively, Cotopaxi’s Fuego is another option that nicely balances around-town-friendly looks and performance, with a distinctive casual appearance and higher-quality down. But these are minor nitpicks if you like Fjallraven’s styling (we do), and it’s hard to argue with the Expedition’s premium all-around design.
See the Fjallraven Expedition Pack Down Hoodie
Weight: 10 oz.
Fill: 3.7 oz. of 900-fill down
What we like: Premium build quality and superb warmth-to-weight ratio.
What we don’t: Updated model is heavier and has a boxier fit.
Most of the brands here design and produce full lineups of outerwear, ranging from hardshells to hiking pants and more. But not Feathered Friends. As their name implies, just about every product made by this Seattle-based company is stuffed with high-quality down, from sleeping bags and insulated pants to jackets and bedding. As true down specialists, Feathered Friends’ jackets stand out from the rest for their quality craftsmanship, ethically sourced materials, and high performance for serious outdoors people.
With that in mind, it comes as little surprise that the Feathered Friends Eos is one of the most technically savvy jackets here. The Eos packs 3.7 ounces of 900-fill goose down into a 10-ounce package—a very impressive amount of warmth for the weight. You do pay a bit of a premium at $409, and the jacket certainly doesn’t have as much daily appeal as the Down Sweater or Cerium above, with limited color options and overall technical appearance. What’s more, the recently updated Eos is fairly boxy—not ideal for layering—and the new hood adjustment lacks the fit and finish of most modern designs. But for lightweight warmth in a premium package, the Eos is a great match for serious adventurers... Read in-depth review
See the Feathered Friends Eos
Weight: 1 lb. 4.1 oz.
Fill: 3.7 oz. of 700-fill down
What we like: Soft and stretchy fabric is incredibly cozy—and durable too.
What we don’t: Heavy; not versatile for performance use.
The fourth and final Patagonia offering to make our list is the Silent Down Jacket. Like the Down With It Parka above, the Silent Down appeals to a casual audience but takes a noticeably different approach with a playful hip-length (rather than knee-length) design. The most notable feature of the Silent Down is its face fabric, which is made with a stretchy polyester that has an impressively soft, sweatshirt-like feel. Adding to the everyday appeal, you get a full-length zipper flap with metal snaps, fleece-lined handwarmer pockets (which close with a single snap), and a down-filled collar that traps warmth without the bulk of a hood.
We love wearing the Silent Down—so much so that we’ll often keep it on indoors (much like some of our favorite synthetic insulated jackets). And with a thicker-than-average shell, it’s proven to be nicely abrasion-resistant throughout a few seasons of daily wear. However, while a jacket like the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown above can pull double duty for both front- and backcountry use, the Patagonia’s hefty weight and bulky packed size, short hem, hoodless design, and overall appearance are decidedly casual and lack versatility for serious outdoor activities. For more coverage, Patagonia also makes the Silent Down Long Parka ($429), which features a similar design in a below-the-knee (44.5 in.) length.
See the Patagonia Silent Down Jacket
Weight: 14 oz.
Fill: 800-fill-power down
What we like: Retro styling with premium down fill.
What we don’t: Not a lot of subtle color options, no fill weight provided, and not the softest hand feel.
There’s no shortage of down jackets to choose from, but the Cotopaxi Fuego stands out with its fun, retro styling. Featuring premium 800-fill down and a versatile 20-denier shell that is reasonably tough yet lightweight, the Fuego is well-built and capable despite its clear casual intentions. Of course, the retro styling is its calling card, and the Fuego is currently offered in seven fun colorways, all but one with the signature multi-colored baffles across the torso. Throw in responsibly sourced down and the fact that Cotopaxi is a certified B Corp, and the Fuego is an easy jacket to get behind.
In terms of competitors, Patagonia’s Down Sweater Hoody ($329) uses the same 800-fill-power down and 20-denier shell, but is a full 4 ounces lighter. Without the Cotopaxi’s fill weight, it’s difficult to precisely nail down which is the better insulated jacket, but the Patagonia is the clear winner when it comes to warmth-to-weight. On the other hand, the Fuego will save you over $50, and Cotopaxi’s trademark colorblocking has become a common sight on both mountain slopes and city streets. The most discernible difference is material quality: The men’s Fuego that we tested had a noticeably plasticky and slippery feel compared to the smooth and cozy Patagonia. But for those who don’t mind a little extra weight and bulk, the Cotopaxi Fuego hits a nice balance of casual appeal and value, which is why it’s included here.
See the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded
|Patagonia Down Sweater||$279||10.3 oz.||Lightweight||3.5 oz. of 800 fill||20D||Chest pocket|
|Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody||$400||10.2 oz.||Lightweight||3.2 oz. of 850 fill||15D||Stuff sack|
|REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket||$129||10.2 oz.||Lightweight||650 fill||Unavail.||No|
|Patagonia Down With It Parka||$349||2 lb. 5 oz.||Midweight||8.3 oz. of 600 fill||50D||No|
|Rab Neutrino Pro||$400||1 lb. 2.7 oz.||Heavyweight||7 oz. of 800 fill||20D||Stuff sack|
|Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown||$300||15.5 oz.||Lightweight||3.3 oz. of 700 fill||Unavail.||No|
|Patagonia Fitz Roy Down Hoody||$399||14.8 oz.||Midweight||4.5 oz. of 800 fill||20D||Hand pocket|
|Rab Mythic Alpine Light||$330||8 oz.||Ultralight||2.1 oz. of 900 fill||10D||Stuff sack|
|Marmot Montreal Down Coat||$300||2 lb. 2.2 oz.||Midweight||7.1 oz. of 700 fill||Unavail.||No|
|Outdoor Research Coldfront||$279||1 lb. 5.2 oz.||Midweight||5.6 oz. of 700 fill||30D||Hand pocket|
|MH Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody||$360||7.8 oz.||Ultralight||2.5 oz. of 750 fill||10D||Hand pocket|
|Arc’teryx Thorium Hoody||$500||1 lb.||Midweight||5.0 oz. of 750 fill||30D||Stuff sack|
|Rab Microlight Alpine||$295||14.6 oz.||Midweight||5.1 oz. of 700 fill||30D||Stuff sack|
|REI Stormhenge Down Hybrid||$279||1 lb. 10 oz.||Heavyweight||850 fill||Unavail.||No|
|OR Coze Down Parka||$399||2 lb. 3.5 oz.||Heavyweight||8.3 oz. of 700 fill||70Dx90D||No|
|Fjallraven Expedition Pack Down||$275||15.3 oz.||Lightweight||3.5 oz. of 700 fill||Unavail.||Hand pocket|
|Feathered Friends Eos||$409||10 oz.||Lightweight||3.7 oz. of 900 fill||12Dx20D||Stuff sack|
|Patagonia Silent Down Jacket||$269||1 lb. 4.1 oz.||Midweight||3.7 oz. of 700 fill||40D||No|
|Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded||$295||14 oz.||Lightweight||800 fill||Unavail.||Inner pocket|
- Performance vs. Casual Down Jackets
- Down Jacket Categories
- Compressibility and Packed Size
- Shell Fabric and Durability
- Hydrophobic Down and DWR Treatment
- Down Jacket Fit and Length
- Hood or No Hood?
- What About Synthetic Jackets?
The first step in finding the best women's down jacket is determining what your end use will be. Although many down jackets are ideal for mountain environments and outdoor activities given their lightweight and packable nature, down jackets are also our first choice for everyday warmth in the cold winter months. In our picks above, we often call out a jacket’s intentions. If you’re in the market for a technical piece for skiing, hiking, climbing, and other human-powered activities, look for high fill power, low weight, and features like a helmet-compatible hood and two-way zipper. These jackets will likely have thinner fabrics (read: less durability), trimmed-down feature sets, and slim fits (the Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody and Rab Mythic Alpine Light are prime examples). For everyday use, jackets will have thicker shell fabrics, regular fits that are great for layering, and features like knee-length hems and fur-brimmed hoods. Casual jackets will generally use lower-quality down and weigh more, too.
Some jackets do a great job at splitting the difference, with competitive warmth-to-weight ratios but fits and finishes that transition nicely for around-town use. The entire down sweater category fits this bill, a designation that describes a traditional-looking puffy jacket with fewer performance-focused features than the technical pieces mentioned above. For example, the Patagonia Down Sweater and Cotopaxi Fuego are both great for casual wear but lightweight enough to pack for active pursuits. If you’re in the market for a single down jacket that works well in almost every environment, down sweaters are a great place to start.
The lightweight down jacket category is the industry’s most popular and our top choice for daily wear, travel, light adventuring, and layering for winter sports. Lightweight jackets (this category includes most down sweaters) are remarkably versatile too, and they can pull double duty as both midlayers and standalone pieces. Further, they’re typically more fully featured and durable than ultralight options and are less bulky (and offer greater mobility) than their mid and heavyweight counterparts. The temperature range for lightweight jackets depends on factors like layering and exertion, but we find that they are typically suitable for approximately 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (more on this in “Our Estimated Temperature Scale” below). Leading models include the Patagonia Down Sweater, REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket, and Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody.
Ultralight down jackets are specialized pieces designed for backpacking, climbing, backcountry skiing, and other outdoor pursuits where every ounce counts. These down jackets might have similar fill weights as those in the lightweight category but are ultralight due to their use of premium down (fill power), thin shell fabrics (denier), and minimalist zippers and pockets. Interestingly, we frequently see this category of down jacket worn as daily layers around cities, including the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody, Rab Mythic Alpine Light, and Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody. However, despite their high quality, we find most ultralight jackets fragile and minimalist (not to mention expensive), and thus impractical for everyday use. But for the right environment (fast-and-light pursuits), they’re indispensable.
Midweight and Heavyweight
Down jackets in mid and heavyweight categories represent a significant step up in warmth from lightweight and ultralight models and are intended for serious winter conditions (regardless of if you’re in the mountains or the city). Most notably, you’ll see fill weight go up to 6 to 7 ounces or more (for instance, the Rab Neutrino Pro has 7 oz. of down). Jackets in this weight class also are far puffier than the other categories, and as a result take up quite a bit more space when stuffed down. We’ve included a number of our favorite mid and heavyweight options in this article, but for a more in-depth look at the market, see our article on the best winter jackets.
Simply put, nothing beats the lofty and premium warmth that down provides. Down insulation functions so effectively because the loose clusters of feathers are great at trapping body heat. We’d love to have a temperature rating system to measure this warmth, but unlike sleeping bags (which are given an official EN rating), down jackets are more like the Wild West. Below is information that should help you fill in the gaps.
Fill power (600-fill, 700-fill, 800-fill, etc.) is how the quality of down is measured, and the higher the fill the better the down. The number is calculated based on how much space one ounce of down clusters takes up in a cylindrical tube. This is known as the amount of loft, and the more loft a jacket has, the more body heat it traps and the warmer you will be. Put another way, achieving the same amount of warmth with a lower fill power requires more down, adding weight and bulk to accomplish the same comfort goals.
For jackets, 550- to 650-fill down is what you’ll find in most entry- and mid-level models, which is perfectly respectable for daily wear but falls short for performance use. Premium down is 800-fill and above and what Arc’teryx, Patagonia, and Mountain Hardwear use for their high-end down jackets. At this level of quality, you reap the highly touted benefits of down insulation: lightweight and ultra-compressible warmth. Some high-end climbing brands like Feathered Friends even use 900-fill down (or higher), but that high of a number is a rarity and 800-fill is considered premium.
Fill power gets the most press, but fill weight is equally (if not more) important in determining a down jacket’s warmth. Fill weight is the actual amount of down stuffed into a jacket, measured in ounces. For example, if Jacket A has 6 ounces of 800-fill down and Jacket B has 3 ounces of 800-fill down, you can expect that Jacket A will be significantly warmer (we estimate that it would increase comfort levels in low-output activities by approximately 10 to 20˚F). Lower-fill-power down offers less warmth per ounce, so in order to make an apples-to-apples comparison between jackets, it’s important that they have identical (or similar) fill powers.
We find it interesting that fill weight is much less publicized than fill power, which leads to a lot of confusion for shoppers who associate higher fill power as always meaning more warmth. As a result, we sometimes have to call the manufacturers to track down fill weight as it’s not always listed (for more information, see our article Down Fill and Insulation Explained). On our list above, we’ve noted both the fill power and weight whenever possible so that you can make an accurate and informed choice when shopping around.
Our Estimated Temperature Scale
It’s tough to pinpoint an exact temperature range in which you will feel comfortable wearing a down jacket (there’s a reason no one has attempted to create a standardized rating system). Factors like fit, layering, your level of exertion and circulation, and wind all play a role. But generally, we think of ultralight and lightweight jackets (including down sweaters)—which usually have between 2 and 4 ounces of down—as providing solid warmth in conditions ranging from around 35 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A cozy baselayer can buy you an extra 5 to 15 degrees depending on its thickness and quality. These types of jackets are very popular for 3-season alpine use and in most U.S. cities for all but the coldest of winter days.
When the mercury drops below freezing, we recommend stepping up to a midweight or heavyweight down jacket. The fill weight of these jackets should be 4 ounces at minimum and often is in the range of 5 to 6 ounces or more. For example, the heavyweight Rab Neutrino Pro and Outdoor Research Coze Down Parka are packed with 7 and 8.3 ounces of down respectively. For bitter cold and climbing higher peaks, an even heavier performance down parka (such as Patagonia’s AlpLoft Down Parka and the Arc’teryx Alpha Lightweight) may be in order.
For uses like backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, ski touring—or whenever you have to lug around your own gear—the total weight of your down jacket should play a significant role in your buying decision. Jackets like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 (7.8 oz.) and Rab Mythic Alpine Light (8 oz.) weigh very little for the warmth they provide and compress down extremely small in your pack. However, they also cost considerably more than your typical and more casual down sweater. On the other hand, if you need a layer for around-town and occasional outdoor uses like downhill skiing, you'll be completely fine with a somewhat heavier and more affordable build like the 1-pound 5.2-ounce Outdoor Research Coldfront. Finally, winter-ready jackets will obviously be the heaviest options, including the 1-pound-10-ounce REI Co-op Stormhenge Down Hybrid.
“Ultralight” is a buzzword of sorts that you will inevitably run into when shopping for a down jacket, and it’s worth noting there aren’t hard-and-fast rules as to what qualifies. We keep a close eye on the ratio of fill weight to total weight to see what lengths the manufacturer went to trim weight (the shell denier is a good hint too, and more on that below). At the extreme end of the spectrum is Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer UL (see our in-depth review here), which packs 1.9 ounces of down inside a superlight 6.2-ounce package. When gear companies really prioritize cutting weight, you’ll see changes to zippers, a trim fit, and a lack of pockets. Some even opt for a pullover style to cut out half of the zipper. No matter what the manufacturer names a jacket, keep a close eye on fill weight and total weight to make your own determination.
Down enthusiasts love its compressibility and for good reason. An ultralight jacket like the Arc'teryx Cerium Hoody can be stuffed into its own pocket and end up much smaller than a Nalgene bottle. The tiny packed size means you have little reason to leave it behind and can fit it easily into either a daypack or overnight backpacking pack.
Keep in mind that the higher the fill power, the more easily your jacket will compress. This is noticeable when you get into premium levels of down (800-fill and above), which pack down to seemingly impossible sizes yet bounce back after only a few minutes out of the bag (as long as you don’t store it compressed too long). Fabric thickness also plays an important role, and thinner-denier fabrics logically pack down smaller. Along with warmth for the weight, compressibility is an area where down dominates the vast majority of synthetic-insulated jackets.
As the casing that holds the all-important down, a jacket’s shell fabric is a crucial component to consider. The thickness of a jacket’s outer fabric is listed in denier (D), which is a measurement of the weight of a thread. The lower the denier, the thinner the fabric. Thin shells are less durable and more susceptible to tears or punctures, but they’re also lighter-weight. That said, almost all of the jackets on this list are made with reasonably lightweight shell fabrics. The thinnest is the Arc'teryx Cerium Hoody, which has a fragile 15-denier shell, and the thickest (at least among those that report this spec) is the Outdoor Research Coze Down Parka, which has a robust 70- by 90-denier shell. 10 denier is fairly standard for ultralight pieces, and a more substantial 20 denier is what you’ll find most often in an average down sweater. Don’t underestimate the impact of denier: even the difference from 10 to 20 denier can play a significant role in the total weight and potential lifespan of your jacket.
Other than denier, there are a few other factors that impact the overall durability of your jacket’s shell. First, a fabric with stretch (like Mountain Hardwear’s Stretchdown) will have a lot more give to it, meaning it will stretch under pressure rather than rip. Very few down jackets are made with stretchy shell fabrics, but we like the brands' innovations here. The material used is another consideration. For example, we find the difference between the Rab Neutrino Pro’s Pertex Quantum Pro and the Patagonia Fitz Roy’s Pertex Quantum (both 20D) to be palpable (the former is much more durable). Finally, some jackets will use higher-denier fabrics in high-use areas such as the sleeves and shoulders, which can make a huge difference. To summarize: if durability is one of your top priorities, you’ll want to dig a little deeper than the initial denier spec.
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 synthetic jackets, which continue to insulate when wet. However, gear manufacturers have found a way to treat down to make it more water-resistant. They do this by adding a polymer to the down before filling the jacket, and the result is that it resists water better and you don’t have to worry as much about light precipitation. Even though hydrophobic down still doesn’t match the wet-weather performance of synthetics, it can be an extra line of defense. If you’re headed out in a wet area like the Pacific Northwest or New Zealand, a jacket with hydrophobic down like the Rab Microlight Alpine (along with a waterproof shell) is a smart choice.
Another way that gear manufacturers fight moisture is a DWR (durable water repellant) treatment on the outside on the jacket. This coating causes water to bead up and roll off the shell fabric rather than soaking through. But while a DWR finish provides a nice line of defense for short bouts of light rain, it's easily overwhelmed in sustained moisture. For full protection against wet weather, there are a few down jackets that feature a waterproof membrane, such as the REI Co-op Stormhenge Down Hybrid. However, keep in mind that these designs lack the cozy, sleeping-bag-like feel of a standard down puffy, and the added tech results in considerably more weight and bulk.
Fit is jacket-specific, but there are two main considerations here. First, casual jackets and down sweaters generally have a more casual fit than ultralight or performance jackets, including boxier torsos, arms, and hoods (when available). Second, fit varies significantly by brand. From our experience, Arc’teryx jackets like the Cerium Hoody fit the slimmest of all and are a good match for athletic folks who demand mobility from their jackets (this can also be good for layering under a shell). Norrøna and Rab also err on the trimmer side, while brands like Patagonia, Outdoor Research, and Mountain Hardwear often have more accommodating shapes that balance everyday comfort with performance. And finally, we’ve found that REI Co-op and Cotopaxi fall on the roomier end of the spectrum, and we occasionally need to size down (including with the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket).
You’ll also want to take length into account with your down jacket purchase. Simply put, a longer cut equates to more coverage and warmth, although it does have some impact on mobility. On the shorter end of the spectrum, many down sweaters and other lightweight pieces end right around the waist or hips. This is great for movement, but your legs remain uninsulated. A number of down parkas like the Marmot Montreal offer thigh-length coverage, which offers a nice boost in warmth compared to the down sweater counterparts. And models like the Patagonia Down With It Parka go all the way to the knees, which is excellent for staying cozy but can make it difficult to sit down or cover long distances walking.
Most down jackets on this list are offered in hooded and non-hooded versions. The non-hooded version is slightly cheaper and weighs less, but you don’t get the advantage of the extra warmth, coverage, or comfort. For casual use or as a midlayer for skiing, many go without the hood and carry a separate beanie instead. For uses like backpacking and climbing, the opposite is the case: most pay extra for a hood and don’t regret it. In our picks above, we listed down sweaters in the non-hooded versions and ultralight and heavyweight down jackets in hooded form, which are how most people purchase them. But in the end, it all comes down to intended use and how you plan to layer for your preferred activities. For a deeper dive into the topic, see our article: Does Your Down Jacket Need a Hood?
Our impact on the environment has never been of greater concern, and it’s nice to see gear companies step it up with more sustainable practices. One measure we’re seeing more and more of is the use of responsibly sourced down (look for an RDS certification or, in the case of Patagonia, Advanced Global Traceable Down). In short, this translates to greater transparency in where the down comes from and ensures the birds were treated humanely and not subjected to unnecessary harm, such as force-feeding or live-plucking. In addition, the use of recycled fabrics has grown substantially in the past few years, with companies like Patagonia, REI Co-op, and Mountain Hardwear prioritizing these materials.
A final trend to touch on is the use of PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) finishes. We detail the benefits of DWR above, but pertaining to sustainability, traditional DWRs utilize perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which is a chemical that’s been linked to a range of environmental and health issues. The good news is that some brands have started making the shift to PFC-free DWR, but it's mostly been limited to the rain jacket and hardshell markets (Marmot and Mountain Hardwear are leaders here). That said, given the current landscape, we fully expect this to be incorporated into the down jacket world in the next few years.
There is a lot to be said for synthetic insulated jackets, which insulate better than down when wet, are more breathable, and generally cost considerably less. For insulation that we wear during activity (such as while climbing or backcountry skiing), we’ll reach for synthetic over down nine times out of 10. However, when it comes to particularly cold weather or weight- and space-conscious pursuits (when you’re carrying your jacket in your pack), down has no replacement (at least for now).
We’ve tested a number of synthetic jackets like the Arc’teryx Atom LT and Patagonia Micro Puff, both of which are very comfortable and reasonably light. However, the warmth-to-weight and packability just aren’t the same as down options, and there’s simply no substitute for the comfort that lofty plumage brings. Optimally, you would have both, but if you’re only in the market for a single jacket, there’s simply no better insulator than down. For a more detailed explanation of this topic, see our article on down vs. synthetic insulation.
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