DWR coatings are chemical applications designed to repel water before it has a chance to be absorbed by the face fabric and, subsequently, the down inside. Some jackets have sleeves that are too short, causing them to ride up above our wrists when our arms are outstretched. Levi's Men's Slim Fit Jean.
We try to avoid jackets that are overly baggy in the torso, as we find them to be annoying when we are wearing a pack or trying to look down at our feet when skiing or climbing. There's also the fact that they have more dead space that needs to be warmed up using your body heat. We are also very particular about the length of the sleeves, as well as the shape of the jacket through the shoulders and upper back and chest.
Simply put, we want our jacket to be ready for any activity, and no matter what we are doing — ice climbing, skiing, scrambling — we are likely to be moving our arms about and sometimes swinging them over our head.
Some jackets have sleeves that are too short, causing them to ride up above our wrists when our arms are outstretched. Likewise, we found some the jackets to have constrictive fits around the shoulders, upper back, and chest that impede our freedom of movement, and affect the overall fit. Other areas that we paid attention to the fit were the collar, the hood, and the length of the hemline at our waist.
In particular, we loved how the sleeves were plenty long and the cut of the shoulders spacious enough for us to perform any conceivable movement without impingement. While it was big enough to layer beneath, the cut was also sleek enough not to impede our motion. For us, it fits very close to the body with virtually no dead space. We felt this fit perfectly complemented its lightweight design, as we most often wore it as a stand-alone jacket in cool weather, or as a close to the body warmth layer in frigid weather.
The Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody was among a small handful of other jackets that also fit nicely , offering versatility and a wide range of movement. Regardless of whether you are hiking, alpine climbing, or skiing, when you are working hard you will likely get too hot to wear a down jacket.
Except when the weather is frigid, or we are doing a lot of hanging out, we typically only wear our down jacket during breaks in the activity, and then take it off and stuff it in the top of the pack again before we get moving.
Since a down jacket typically spends so much time in the pack, it is important to consider how easy it is to compress and how small it is once fully packed up. It is worth noting that down is superior to synthetic insulation when considering compressibility.
Every time you stuff a synthetic jacket away, the insulation breaks down and loses its heat retention capacity. Down can handle many more compressions and expansions than synthetic insulation, and is also smaller when compressed and is lighter weight than synthetic materials. The down used in the construction of the jackets reviewed is high quality and resisted degradation throughout testing. Consequently, the stratifying characteristic for this metric tended to be how small they were when compressed.
The jackets with few features, lightweight fabric, and high fill-power down compressed the most, while the jackets with heavy and bulky face fabrics or low fill-power down tended to compress the least. Some jackets easily fit into one of their own pockets and could be zipped up with an attached clip-in loop. Others included a dedicated lightweight stuff sack that lives in the breast pocket.
Unfortunately, some of the jackets in this review did not have a specialized method of compression, and so to get them as small as possible, we rolled them up inside their hood. Not surprisingly, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded was the highest scorer when considering compressibility. It is the thinnest and lightest weight of the jackets we tested, and its high fill-power down means that it easily stuffs into its pocket in a tiny little package that can be clipped and taken anywhere.
Despite offering the most warmth of any jacket we tested, the Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody also stuffs down extremely small, a testament to the fill-power down used inside. The only downside was that it uses a dedicated stuff sack rather than stuffing into its pocket, which adds a tiny bit of weight and bulk, not to mention the possibility of losing the stuff sack. A handful of other jackets, including the REI Co-op Magma , also stuff down pretty small in their own pockets. With so many companies producing high-quality clothing, it often comes down to the little things that make all the difference when deciding on a jacket.
This means a zipper that out-performs another, pockets a few inches higher, or a hem a few inches lower might make or break your choice. We've tested plenty of jackets that got away with elastic instead of a drawcord in the hood with varying results. However, only one attempted to do away with the drawcord at the waist, and we did not like this design.
There are a few things that you can do without, but some features are essential. When testing for features, we first set out to identify each of the features present on a jacket, and then tested them intensively while wearing the jacket out in the field.
The most important thing to consider was whether the features present worked well. We would way rather have a simple model with bomber performance, than a jacket full of bells and whistles that don't work. If a jacket's particular features are of interest to you, be sure to read the individual reviews where we give a full breakdown of what features each jacket has, and how well they worked.
The top scorers were two jackets whose features worked exceptionally well. The Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody has dual internal stash pockets, three drawcords for adjusting the hood precisely, and fleece-lined hand pockets, all of which endeared it to our hearts. The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, on the other hand, had fewer features that worked just as well. Our favorites were the hem drawcords that lived inside the hand pockets so they wouldn't dangle below our waist, a soft fleece-lined chin guard on the inside of the collar, and a perfectly fitting hood that can be tightened with a single drawcord.
Although it was a low overall scorer, we thought the dual interior stash pockets and the hem drawcord buckles recessed into the fabric were a nice touch for the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded jacket. There are so many insulated jackets available on the market today that choosing the right one can be quite a challenge. The first step is being sure that you would prefer down instead of synthetic insulation.
Next, determine what characteristics matter the most to you, and then use this review to help narrow down your search. Our expert reviewers have spent countless days in the mountains wearing and testing these jackets so that they can give you the very best advice.
We hope that you find it helpful, and no matter where you live or what you do, you find a jacket to keep you warm this winter! The Best Down Jackets for Men of Displaying 1 - 5 of Updated April Getting ready for summer backpacking trips and need a warm layer for cold nights under the stars? We've revamped our review to bring you the top 10 jackets on the market today. We also have two budget recommendations below, and a Top Pick for Wet Weather, because yes, you can wear some down jackets in a drizzle and still stay warm and dry.
See all prices 4 found. The warmest in our review. See all prices 3 found. Combination of Pertex shell with DWR coating and Nikwax treated down leads to optimal water resistance. The Ghost Whisperer moves as you move and was an ideal choice for chilly evening hikes in the fall, as we took here with Chip the dog to the backside of Smith Rock State Park, OR.
The North Face Morph Hoodie is a warm down jacket that scored roughly average in our comparative review. Here contemplating testing its water resistance in a cave behind the Cascade Falls. With its very high quality fill power down, the Cerium LT Hoody had unrivaled amounts of loft and was also the warmest jacket in this review.
It uses sewn-through baffles to keep the jacket light. Responsibly Sourced Down In the past few years, most companies have begun using responsibly sourced down. Since down is an animal product — duck and goose feathers — it is important that it is harvested for use in your jacket in a way that does not unduly torture the animal. Responsibly sourced down described using different terms by different companies means that the down comes as a by-product of the food industry and that the animals were not live-plucked or force-fed, two cruel and unnecessary forms of animal torture.
We have described in each review, as well as in the specs table, whether a jacket contains responsibly sourced down, and most do.
While we did not specifically grade or punish for this attribute, we encourage you to hold companies that you buy your outdoor equipment from accountable and consider this aspect of jacket construction before making a purchase. While it wasn't one of the warmest jackets we tested, for how insanely thin and light it is, the Ghost Whisperer is surprisingly warm! We loved it as an active under layer or as a stand alone when it wasn't too cold out.
We didn't find the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded jacket to be one of the very warmest in our side-by-side testing. However, when using it as a stand alone warmth layer on this fall hike in the alpine, it was plenty warm enough to keep us comfortable. A sudden rainstorm during an October climbing trip to Smith Rock proved to be a great chance to test the Down Sweater Hoody against the elements. The down stayed dry and we stayed plenty warm while waiting out the rain.
Testing the water proofness of the Columbia Outdry Ex Gold in a very wet early season snow storm. It certainly keeps the water out and the down inside dry, as claimed. Here you can see the combination of the Pertex Quantum Microlight fabric and the DWR coating working to prevent water from absorbing into the fabric and the down underneath. A comparison look at the fit and styles of eight of the lightweight down jackets of the other two were tested at a different time and place.
From L to R: The Down Sweater Hoody fits nearly perfectly. It is not too baggy, but also has enough room underneath to layer if need be. You can see how high the collar comes up to cover half the face, and also how the sleeves are perhaps just an inch or so short. Eight of the ten jackets in this year's review, compressed as small as possible for comparison the other two were tested at a different location and time. Most compressible on the right, least on the left. L to R top: The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is a super light down jacket that is great for pleasant days like this one below the Three Sisters volcanoes in Oregon, or as a base warmth layer on much colder days.
Shown here on the Morph Hoodie is the hem pull cord that lives inside the front handwarmer pockets, and has a recessed release buckle that lives inside the fabric, and releases by being pinched, as our other hand is doing. This was the single most optimal combination of hem draw cord location and buckles on a jacket that we tested. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping.
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