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Best Down Coats Reviewed and Rated for Quality

last updated Oct 01, 2019

Unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, the last thing you're thinking about right about now is keeping warm. It's true "Summer is Coming" (just doesn't have the same ring to it) but for some industrious, bargain shoppers that means it's time to look for winter deals. And let's be honest cast yourself back to February and remember what it's like to step outside into the bone-numbing cold. Remember? What made it better? A down coat made it better that's what. So a down coat is what you need now, and even though you're not going to need one for another 5-7 months that doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepping now when prices are low.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research

icon
 Orolay
94.6/100 our score
Insulation
93
Materials
96
Overall Fit
95
Effectiveness
94
Weight
95
Orolay
Why is it better?

Has a 90/10 contour feather ratio

Side zipper expands the jacket

Made with adopted polyester

Comes in five different colors

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
 Orolay
Test Winner: Orolay
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Researched Sources
14
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
10
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Kevin Enochs
By Kevin Enochs:

We've added a new best value jacket that'll save you plenty of denero! And we've also added three new products from different manufacturers that we think you're really going to like. They range from stylish to sturdy, so take a look and so take a look through our updated list.

Sorting Options
Insulation Materials Overall Fit Effectiveness Weight Fit Style Weather Resistance Size By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Insulation
93 %
Materials
96 %
Overall Fit
95 %
Effectiveness
94 %
Weight
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
$107.09
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Insulation
94 %
Fit
95 %
Style
93 %
Weather Resistance
92 %
Size
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Insulation
91 %
Fit
92 %
Style
91 %
Weather Resistance
93 %
Size
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Insulation
91 %
Fit
90 %
Style
92 %
Weather Resistance
91 %
Size
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
$101.98
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Insulation
88 %
Fit
87 %
Style
89 %
Weather Resistance
86 %
Size
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
$79.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Insulation
88 %
Fit
87 %
Style
85 %
Weather Resistance
86 %
Size
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
$229.24
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Insulation
84 %
Fit
85 %
Style
82 %
Weather Resistance
81 %
Size
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.2
Insulation
81 %
Fit
80 %
Style
80 %
Weather Resistance
79 %
Size
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
$139.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.4
Insulation
79 %
Fit
80 %
Style
77 %
Weather Resistance
78 %
Size
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
$159.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.4
Insulation
77 %
Fit
75 %
Style
74 %
Weather Resistance
76 %
Size
75 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.19)
Amazon Link
$114.99

10 Best Down Coats

1. Orolay

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
1. Orolay
Amazon Link
Insulation
93
Materials
96
Overall Fit
95
Effectiveness
94
Weight
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$107.09
Pros:

Has a 90/10 contour feather ratio

Side zipper expands the jacket

Made with adopted polyester

Comes in five different colors

Cons:

Some complaints about the stitching

The sizes run small

At the top of our list comes from Orolay with a women’s winter jacket that has a lot of amazing features at an affordable price. They incorporate a unique crumple design to increase warmth and use recycled fibers that is windproof and protects against the water. You can choose from five different color and sizes vary from xx-small up to xx-large.

Unique Crumples
The hem of this comfortable jacket features a unique crumple design that adds extra baffles for better warmth. The style flatters every body type, making it an ideal choice for women of all shapes and sizes.

Adopted Polyester
Recycling is important for the environment, and Orolay understands how as a company they have a responsibility to lead the way. The outer shell and lining are made from recycled polyester, which also has a 60% higher density than regular material for better protection against wind and water.

Cost and Value
This outdoor wear has a 90/10 ratio of contour feathers to regular feathers for maximum loft and comes at a really good price considering the quality. It also has four zipper pockets and hood to keep your head warm.

2. Molodo Down Coat

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
2. Molodo Down Coat
Amazon Link
Insulation
94
Fit
95
Style
93
Weather Resistance
92
Size
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Full-Length Design

Slim Waist

Detachable Hood

Knit Cuffs

Water Resistant

Cons:

Feels Thin

Zipper Jams

We like the Molodo coat because it’s long and cool looking and exceedingly warm. It’s like wearing an igloo made of down, with a little room for your head. We also really like that image, but seriously this fluffy flowing coat is chock full of duck down and all of the accessories are classy and stylish so you can wear this flowing piece of downy magnificence to any occasion.

Puffy as Heck
The shell and lining are water-resistant 100 percent polyester and the filling is a nice mix of 90 percent down and 10 percent feathers. We don’t know how many letters are but in our book that full-length! The full-length coat also helps protect your lower parts from biting wind and cold no matter how the winter gods are trying to get you back in the house.

Stylish Accessories
That’s a lot of coat to zipping so it’s nice that the zipper is hefty and high quality. It also has a nice buckle closure and a detachable hood (and while we’re talking hood it’s got a nice faux fur outer ring that makes you look positively Russian). It also has a slim waist design and two zipper pockets and knit cuffs to keep that cold wind off your arms.

Cost and Value
This baby is a bit pricey but it’s a really, really nice coat so we’re giving it a thumbs up and putting it into our second slot. Wear it loud and proud and laugh in the face of that harsh north wind. This coat will keep you warm no matter was February throws your way.

3. Xposurzone

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
3. Xposurzone
Amazon Link
Insulation
91
Fit
92
Style
91
Weather Resistance
93
Size
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Made ultra-thin for easy movement

The outer shell is designed to repel rain

The nipped waist design creates a slimming effect.

It’s very compact for easy portability during traveling

Cons:

Not suitable for very cold weather

Feathers may leak out

This incredibly lightweight and ultra-thin jacket from Xposurezone features a versatile design that combines fashion and functionality. The outer material is made from 70% nylon and 30% polyester blend for maximum protection against harsh weather and is insulated with 90% contour duck feathers for extra warmth. The thin and light design also allows for easy breathability which makes it the ideal choice for outdoor sports and activities.

Versatile Style
This lightweight jacket features an ultra-thin design with breathable material perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, golfing, and climbing. Its V-neck design and unique choice of beautiful colors make this is also a great fit for just hanging out with friends as well.

Innovative Shell
Although this jacket is very thin, its shell is made with a unique blend of material that is tightly sewn together to keep the rain out while keeping you dry and warm. It’s also filled with 90% contour duck feathers for unexpected warmth.

Cost and Value
As the lowest costing item on the list, you get a great bargain. It has a nice style that looks like everyday settings and the functionality that makes it suitable for outdoor activities as well. It also comes with its carrying pouch for traveling.

4. Calvin Klein Quilted

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
4. Calvin Klein Quilted
Amazon Link
Insulation
91
Fit
90
Style
92
Weather Resistance
91
Size
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$101.98
Pros:

Warm and easy to wear

Machine washable

Chevron-quilted

Side-entry hand pockets

Packs into a drawstring pouch

Cons:

Super lightweight can snag or tear if too rough

This stylish jacket from Calvin Klein does more than effortlessly look nice, it keeps you warm and covered too. It's one of those jackets that is the best of both worlds, and you won't mind having to wear it for months on end. The quilted design lends a nice look. The long length keeps you covered, and the down feather filling is what is insulated. Keep in mind that this jacket is lightweight, so it's not designed for harsh winters, but instead, it is the perfect transitional jacket for fall and spring.

Lightweight and packable
This Calvin Klein down coat is made from super lightweight materials, which makes it easy to wear. Even though it is light, it still keeps you really warm. Also, because it is so lightweight, the jacket does not take up a ton of space and easily packs into a bag.

Long length
This jacket is long enough to wear over your clothes and still keep the wind, rain, and snow away from your upper body and legs (depending on how tall you are). Either way, it is still a stylish long jacket.

Cost and Value
Depending on the size, you can get a really good deal on this jacket. The brand has a good reputation in the apparel industry and you can choose from many different colors. This is a great pick for the fall and spring weather.

5. Tommy Hilfiger

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
5. Tommy Hilfiger
Amazon Link
Insulation
88
Fit
87
Style
89
Weather Resistance
86
Size
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$79.99
Pros:

Has a channel-quilted design for extra warmth

Comes in a wide variety of different colors and designs

Convenient side pockets are great for protecting your hands

Features a stylish standing collar design for extra protection

Cons:

Complaints about feathers coming out

Color may not match the picture

Tommy Hilfiger has long been a leader in the fashion industry and their puffer jacket for men combines their sense of style with practical functionality. It has a channel-quilted construction that helps insulate and maintain your body’s temperature and two side pockets for your hands. The standing collar design gives it an urban look while preventing the wind from going over your back.

Channel-Quilted
In order to get the most warmth out of the jacket, it was constructed with a channel-quilted technique that increases the loft for a bulkier look. The increased loft means that there are more air pockets and better

Style Variety
Although most puffer jacket brands provide several colors to choose from, Tommy twenty-eight different colors and designs, including grey camouflage, gold, and royal blue, allowing you to find something that matches your unique style.

Cost and Value
This is one of the lowest cost items on the list, but if you just need something light and versatile during cooler weather, this is a perfect choice. It also comes with a nylon packable bag that attaches to the jacket so you never have to worry about losing it.

6. Spyder

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
6. Spyder
Amazon Link
Insulation
88
Fit
87
Style
85
Weather Resistance
86
Size
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$229.24
Pros:

Water repellent

Tough material

Sleek look

Cons:

Might run small

Pricey

Not only does this jacket look slick, but it also keeps you warm too. You won't mind having to wear a jacket with this one from Spyder. Wear it on the weekends or too and from the office and feel like you're looking good. Spyder is all about apparel that integrates high-technology fabric and offers a sport-inspired look that functions well with sport-like movement. This is a great transitional weather jacket. You will enjoy it more in the spring and fall.

Elasticzed cuffs
The cuffs on this jacket feature elastic that makes them stay in place. You won't have to worry about wind or precipitation getting into your sleeves with these cuffs.

Water repellent
The material that this Spyder jacket is made from features a water-repellent coating. This is perfect for those cool but rainy days. You will stay warm and dryer but not bogged down by a heavy coat because of how lightweight this one is.

Cost and Value
The best part of this jacket. It’s cheap, and we really like that in these days of tightened belts and hunkering down. It looks way more expensive than it is and we might like that even more.

7. Columbia

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
7. Columbia
Amazon Link
Insulation
84
Fit
85
Style
82
Weather Resistance
81
Size
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Easy to wash and maintain

Features two side zipper pockets

Shell and lining is made of 100% polyester

The filler is made of water-proof synthetic fibers

Cons:

Not as warm as natural fibers

Sizes run big

Columbia Sportswear Company has been manufacturing top-notch outdoors gear for over 70 years and is worn by professional athletes around the world. Their puffer jacket is made with water-resistant fabric and has a sewn through design that makes it extra-lightweight. It’s easy to wash and maintain and comes in twelve different colors, including Mountain Red, Marine Blue, and Fuse green.

Water-Resistant
Most puffer jackets are resistant to wind, but few are truly water resistant. Columbia constructed the shell and lining form 100% high-quality polyester that will keep you dry during those stormy weathers.

Synthetic Lining
Looking for something that can endure the wear and tear of everyday use and is easy to care for? This item is machine washable and filled with nylon fibers designed to repel water and keep you warm.

Cost and Value
Columbia is a brand that is known for its high-quality outdoor apparel. This puffer jacket has everything you would expect from them, and more, for a price much lower than others in its class.

8. BGSD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.2
8. BGSD
Amazon Link
Insulation
81
Fit
80
Style
80
Weather Resistance
79
Size
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$139.99
Pros:

Front snap placket closure hides the zipper

Long, parka style jacket provides a lot of coverage

Made of water-resistant and windproof material

Comes with a removable hood lined with faux fur

Cons:

A few customers had problems with the zipper

Some found it to be too bulky

This elegant, yet practical winter wear from BGSD was designed in the US to fit American body types comfortably. The low cut allows great coverage of your body and has a 600 fill power rating for amazing warmth when you need it most. It can be washed in your wash machine and the 100% polyester shell protects you from the wind and rain. Extra features to keep you warm include the detachable hood and the knit inset cuff design.

Hidden Zipper Closure
BGSD’s front closure design is a combination of style and practicality. The snap placket that covers the zipper closure gives this parka a seamless design while helping protect against the wind and rain.

Knit Inset Cuffs
One of the main objectives of a winter parka is to keep you warm. Features like a removable hood and knit inset cuffs, which prevents wind from blowing up your sleeves, helps achieve this.

Cost and Value
This item costs a little more than some of the others on the list, but it offers great coverage and has a fill power rating of 600 for great warmth. The design is elegant, yet practical, making it an ideal jacket for just about any occasion.

9. Columbia Long

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.4
9. Columbia Long
Amazon Link
Insulation
79
Fit
80
Style
77
Weather Resistance
78
Size
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$159.99
Pros:

Has a high fill-power rating

The inner lining features heat reflective technology

The outer material is made from 100% nylon

Body-flattering quilting design

Cons:

Some found it bulky

Too much Velcro, which sometimes gets stuck to the front zipper

There are not a lot of winter coats that can keep you warm in seriously cold temperatures and still manage to look stylish. The outer shell is made from 100% nylon for extra durability and features a unique quilted pattern design that provides a body-flattering effect. The outer fabric is also windproof and water resistant for extra protection and the inner fabric has body-warming technology.

Thermal-Reflective Technology
Columbia stays at the forefront of the outdoor apparel industry by applying the latest technology into their clothing’s design. This includes a unique thermal-reflective design in the lining that bounces your body heat back for extra warmth.

High Fill-Power Rating
The fill-power rating refers to the number assigned to a jacket which represents how much space the contour feather takes relating to the weight of the item. A higher rating means that there are more air pockets for more warmth. At 600 fill-power, this product is considered very good.

Cost and Value
This winter jacket cost a little more than most on the list, but the prices are still pretty reasonable considering the quality. The outer material is resistant to water and is filled with high-quality goose feathers with a high fill power rating.

10. Valuker

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.4
10. Valuker
Amazon Link
Insulation
77
Fit
75
Style
74
Weather Resistance
76
Size
75
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$114.99
Pros:

90 Percent Down

Two Outer, One Inner Pocket

Detachable Fur Hood

Form-Fitting Waist

Water Proof

Wind Resistant

Cons:

Sizing Chart is a Bit Off

The zipper is Cheap Plastic

There are so many reasons to love the Valuker were not quite sure where to start. Maybe start with the 90% down lining. Or maybe the full length that reaches from the top of your head to your knees. Maybe its the way it's snug and form fitting which manages to make you look great while keeping you warms. Maybe it's all of these things, pick your favorite part of this jacket and say Meh to the coldest of days when you step outside wearing this downy piece of warm magic.

90 Percent Duck Down
The more down the more we're down with these coats. Honestly, this form-fitting jacket is 90 percent down surrounding a synthetic impermeable outer shell just in case feathers and you don't get along. But all those feathers mean you are going to be plenty warm in the coldest of weathers.

Detachable Hood
The hood itself isn't detachable but the faux fur lining comes off really easily. And to make it all better since it's not real, not only are you still a good person for not wearing fur, but it won't shed. And to make the Valuker even more enticing, the fur trim is packaged separately from the coat to make sure it doesn't get damaged in transport.

Cost and Value
Valukers lean towards the high end and that's okay for what you're getting with this coast. Three pockets, full length, a form-fitting stylish coat, tow outer, and one inner pocket and it is windproof and water repellent so you can laugh at the worst of the winter. We're big fans so consider adding this to your winter coat closet.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Insulation

Modern puffer jackets feature three of types of insulation to keep you dry and warm; contour feathers, hydrophobic, and synthetic fibers. The contour feathers, also known as down, are the fine feather found underneath the exterior feathers and chest region of geese and ducks. They have a specific structure that allows them to trap air and contain body heat. It is more expensive and harder to maintain and wash, but it is also arguably the best insulation you can get in a winter coat.

Synthetic fibers are made from a polyester construction and are spun together in order to add air pockets which insulates warmth. It is also light and compact, but not as durable or warm as natural fibers. Jackets filled with synthetic fibers are also less expensive and easier to maintain than those filled with contour feathers, making them ideal for athletes who perform extreme winter sports.

Hydrophobic contour feathers have been covered with a DWR coating normally used on the outside of a jacket as a water repellent. This gives you the benefits of both, synthetic fiber and natural fibers.

Materials

A lot of times, down coats are made to be very lightweight. They might feel fragile, but the materials used are often very durable. The reason lightweight coats are so popular, especially in transitional season weather, is because they can be balled up and packed into a bag. It’s all because of the material that allows the jacket to fold up so compact.

But even though the materials and fabric feel lightweight and like they could tear, they likely won’t if you are taking care of the jacket. However, with anything filled with feathers, they will poke through the material naturally. Speaking of the feathers:

The amount of feathers that are in a down coat is sometimes represented as a ratio. This ratio represents the percentage of contour feathers to the percentage of regular feathers in the jacket. Contour feathers are smaller and found under the regular feathers and underside of ducks and geese and play a vital role in keeping the birds insulated and warm during the cold winter months. You’ll see numbers like 70/30 or 90/10, with the first number representing the percentage of contour feathers and the second representing the percentage of regular feathers. The higher the contour feather usually means better the quality and higher price.

Overall Fit

For this section, we’re going to look at two different aspects, the material used for the lining and outer shell, and the style of construction. For the most part, these types of jackets have two main construction methods, bonded baffles, and sewn-through.

Bonded Baffles – For this type of construction technique, the outer and inner part of the fabric are fused together through chemicals, glue, heat, or a combination of the three. One of the benefits of this type of construction is that it maximizes the loft of the fill and increases warmth. Winter wear made this way tend to be thicker and also more expensive than sewn-through jackets.

Sewn-Through – This type of construction is the most prevalent since it takes less time and is much simpler. For this method, the inner lining is sewn directly into the outer shell in order to create baffles that separate the filling. Less material is used for this technique, which allows the jacket to be lighter than those with bonded baffles and less expensive. They are also less warm as well.

The material used for the lining and outer shell is very important and plays a major role in the jacket’s weight, durability, water resistance, and warmth. The two most popular choices for the outer layer are polyester and nylon due to their ability to endure harsh weather conditions better. Choose a material that will suit your lifestyle to ensure that you get the most out of your jacket. If you are very active, make sure the material is durable and has good breathability.

Effectiveness

The overall effectiveness of a down coat is if it keeps you warm, keeps you dry and keeps you comfortable. The effectiveness directly correlates to other criteria on this list, like the materials used, the insulator, and the overall fit.

Again, you might look at some of these down coats and think that they are too light to be effective in keeping you warm. You would be surprised. The down feathers are made to trap the heat and keep you warm. Think about it: birds stay warm with their feathers. It’s the same thing! How this works is that all of the feathers together (or their fluffiness, rather) creates air pockets that trap the warm heat from your body. This helps you retain heat as you wear the jacket.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to keeping warm and trapping the heat is the jacket closure. This also plays a part in keeping you warm. The style in which your jacket closes in the front can affect the amount of air that comes in and how much warmth escapes. The three main types of closures are zipper, buttons, and snap buttons. The best jackets usually have both a zipper and buttons or snaps. This style offers better protection.

As mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind the materials and overall fit of the coat, too. For materials, you want something that is also waterproof or water repellant. This will help keep you warm and dry as well. The overall fit is important, for example, say you are a tall person, you might consider a longer jacket rather than one that cuts off at the waist. A longer coat will help trap more heat around your body. Depending on your height, some of these jackets can cover as much as down to your ankles, making it an extremely effective coat against the harsh cold.

Weight

Another feature that may play a role in the type of winter apparel you choose is the weight of the item. Remember, you should purchase something that meets your needs. If you need something for hiking or skiing, then something lighter would be ideal. This allows you easier movement and more breathability. If you need something for everyday use, then you may want something thicker and heavier for extra durability.

Often, you will see lightweight down coats that keep you very warm and allow you to pack them up into something as small as a pocket at times. Others are designed to be much thicker, and therefore heavier to wear or carry. When it comes to the weight of your jacket, again, consider the activity you will be doing while wearing the jacket. A heavier one might not be ideal if you are looking to hike with it. You might not like how heavy it is in your pack, and it may not be as compressible as you would like.

That’s where the lightweight jacket comes into the picture. While it is not designed for incredibly harsh temperatures, it is something that will still keep the wearer warm. Sometimes the weight of a down jacket comes from the outer and inner shell design. For example, there are some 3-in-1 jackets out there. Each layer adds weight to the coat. But, this design also allows the wearer to remove the mid-layer from the outer shell and wear it on its own. Going this direction gives you options on how heavy your jacket is going to be and when.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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expert tips icon
The Down You Want, the Down Coat You Need

So, it's cold and you want something that's going to keep you warm... crazy warm. That's where down comes in, it's exceptionally warm but it's also light and that means you can get form and function in a nice puffy package. But keep in mind that these coats do require a bit of care so don't wash them excessively because that's going to accelerate the wear and tear on your jacket. Also, some of you out there, and I hope you know who you are are going to be allergic to goose feathers.

Other Factors to Consider

Advanced Features

Although the main function of these types of jackets is to keep you warm, it is also an ideal choice as active wear due to its lightweight and durability. There is certain features that make one jacket stand out over the others, the questions are, do you need that feature? Here are some extra features that you may find helpful:

Hood – Hoods are always a good idea of your intention is to stay warm. If you care more about style, then you may want a standing collar design. Hoods are great for windy conditions as they prevent the wind from going down your back or blowing on your head. Many jackets now offer removable hoods, giving you the best of both worlds.

Portability – Many puffer jackets can be compressed and packed into a small space, which is great if you are looking for something that is portable and can keep you warm. Some even come with their own carrying bag for extra convenience.

Pockets – These types of jackets come in a wide variety of different designs, which means that not all of them have the same amount of pockets. Some pockets are more useful than others, but that would depend on your needs. Side, hand pockets are found toward the bottom front or side of the jacket and are a convenient and effective way to keep your hands warm and store personal items. Many times they come with zippers for security and fleece lining for extra comfort and warmth. Other front pockets are great for phones and sunglasses and internal pockets are useful for storing gloves, hats, and water bottles.

Draw Cords – This is also a great feature to have if you really want to stay warm. Drawcords found in the hood, hem or collar is a great way to prevent cold air from getting into the jacket and also helps trap the warmth that escapes from your body.

Reflective Fabric - Winter days are short, which means you may be spending more time out in the darkness of night. Winter gear with reflective patterns or tape is a great way to ensure that you can be seen. It's a must-have if you like night skiing and early morning fishing trips.

3-in-1 Design – the 3-in1 designed jacket features an outer shell and a mid-layer that zip together to create a jacket that allows the wearer to wear in three different options: outer shell alone, mid-layer (or inner layer) alone or both together. This design is perfect for different activities, for when the weather fluctuates, and not only that, but it can help you save money. Instead of purchasing three different jackets, you can pay a little more for the one jacket that offers you three different options.

Waterproof – Find a down coat with waterproof fabric is important because water stops the insulating feathers from keeping you warm. Most often, the outer shell is a water-resistant component of the jacket, whereas the inner shell can often be waterproof and breathable at the same time.

Vents – Down coats down always have vents. Technically, this is something that you would normally find on a rain jacket. However, there are some kinds of down jackets that have vent features, like the 3-in-1 designed coats mentioned above. Typically, the vents are found on the inner layer in the underarm and core area. While the point of a down coat is to keep the wearer warm, depending on the activity, the wearer might feel like they are overheating even in harsh cold weather. This is where the vents come in handy because they allow your body to breath.

Adjustability

Don't knock the concept of adjustability on a down coat until you've been outside with one that doesn't keep all of that bitter cold winter wind on the outside. Sizing can solve a lot of these problems but we're going to be on the lookout for coats that allow you to go that one extra step and button, latch, or string up the coat in a way that's going to truly protect you from the worst winter has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: I have a puffer jacket with contour feathers for insulation, what is the best way to wash and dry it to prevent the feathers from clumping up?

a:

Although this type of outdoor wear will keep you warm, it does require a little attention during maintenance. First of all, you’ll want to avoid a washing machine that has an agitator, it can damage your jacket or cause the contour feathers to clump up. A front-load washing machine is best. You’ll also want to use detergent specially designed for these types of jackets for the best results. When you put the jacket in the dryer add three new tennis balls, which will bounce around and help separate the feathers. Make sure it’s all the way dry before taking out of the dryer, the moisture not only promotes clumping, but it can also lead to mold.

q: What does fill-power rating mean?

a:

It’s a system in which volume is measured in cubic inches of much 1-ounce of contour feather can fill. For example, 650-fill is equivalent to 650 cubic inches of volume. The higher the rating the more air pockets there are and the better the insulation for its weight.

q: I do a lot of winter activities, including skiing, hiking, and ice skating, which would be better for me, synthetic or feather insulation?

a:

Winter jackets that are insulated with the contour feathers of a duck or goose are lighter and more durable. However, they don’t breathe as well as synthetically filled jackets. If you are engaging in high-intensity activities you’ll heat up pretty quickly and you’ll need something that allows you to stay dry in the cold, like synthetic.

q: What Features should I look for in a down coat?

a:

Outerwear can vary in styles from fashionable and practical to functional and versatile. The type of features you would need would depend on how you plan on wearing it. But if you are just looking for something to keep you warm, there are some basic features that can help. Some of these include:

Type of fillings – Contour feathers are warmer while synthetic fibers breathe better.
Hoodies – If you live in an area that experiences a lot of wind or can reach extremely low temperatures, a hoodie is the best way to keep your head warm.
Drawstring waist – These are great for helping to capture and retain body heat.
Side pockets – Although gloves can do a great job at keeping your hands warm, a little more protection never hurt anyone.
Waterproof – If your jacket is made of feathers, it will hold moisture longer and cause you to get cold. Look for one that is water-resistant or made with feathers that have been insulated with a water-resistant coating.

q: I know I can wash my down coat but should I just dry clean it to be safe?

a:

You should if machine washing it will void the warranty. And this is something to put eyes on before you buy the jacket. This is a thing, so make sure when you buy a down jacket you're checking the cleaning instructions. Also, it might just be easier (though more expensive) to let the professionals take care of your jacket because you're likely already going to be putting a fair amount of money down on the coat. And if things go wrong you really want to be able to get it fixed without throwing the coat away. So read that fine print.

q: I've been reading a bit lately about 'ethical down.' How do I know where my down comes from?

a:

You're going to have to do some website shopping and make sure that the company you're buying from is harvesting their down ethically. You don't have to look hard for horror stories about how down is being harvested from live animals that are treated with a pretty astonishing level of cruelty, and let's be honest nobody wants to wear a down coat with a lining of guilt. So read up on how the companies you might buy from getting their down. North Face and Patagonia, for instance, have ethical down policies but keep in mind a lot of these jackets are actually manufactured in places like China where human rights are problematic enough, not to mention animal rights. So if this is truly important to you a little homework is going to be in order.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia, Down Feather, Website
  2. Outdoor Gear Lab, How to Choose the Best Down Jacket, Website