Best Down Coats Reviewed and Rated for Quality
If you are looking for something that will keep you warm while hiking in the mountains, dry while skiing down a snowy hill, and stylish while hanging out with some friends during those cold winter months, there is only one choice for you. Down coats are great because they are lightweight and allow you a wider range of movement than most other winter jackets. This is why they are the number one choice for outdoor activities such as ice fishing, snowboarding, and mountaineering. They are also versatile and stylish enough that they can be worn during your normal everyday activities.
- Adopted Polyester Materiel
- Detachable Faux Fur
- Water-Resistant Fabric
Famous outdoorsman and inventor, Eddie Bauer patented the first puffer jacket after he nearly froze to death during a fishing trip in the 1930’s. Word of its ability to keep the body warm quickly spread and made this outerwear a popular choice for outdoor enthusiast and athletes around the world. Soon it crossed over to the fashion world and is now a common sight in every clothing and sporting apparel store.
When it’s cold outside, it is extremely important that you do everything possible to keep warm. Cold weather can lower your immune system by decreasing the amount of blood that reaches the extremities, in effect lowering the number of white blood cells that fight diseases. It can also cause asthma attacks, migraines, and low libido. Choosing the right winter jacket will not only prevent all these issues, but it also gives you the freedom to enjoy the outdoors no matter how cold it is. We’ve reviewed and rated some of the most popular outdoor apparel on the market today to help you find something that will not only keep you warm but looks good while doing so!
10 Best Down Coats
The hem of this comfortable jacket features a unique crumple design that adds extra baffles for better warmth. The style and length also flatters every body type, making it an ideal choice for women of all shapes and sizes.
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 is made from recycled polyester, which also has 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.
Has a 90/10 contour feather ratio
Side zipper expands the jacket
Made with adopted polyester
Comes in five different colors
Some complaints about the stitching
The sizes run small
One of the biggest complaints you’ll read about when it comes to purchasing clothes on line is that the sizes are off. In order to make sure that you get the size that fits you best, Valuker designed their products according to American body shapes.
These jackets are insulated with 90% high-quality, contour feather from a duck. Contour feathers are the small, lightweight, fluffy, and very warm feathers found on the bird’s belly and underneath its regular wings. A higher percentage will make the coat warmer.
Cost and Value
The cost depends on the size but is still comparably low. The outer shell is made from a windproof and splash-proof material that is soft to the touch and designed to keep you warm. It features convenient pockets and a wide range of sizes.
Hoodie has stylish faux fur that can be removed
Made from windproof material
Has 90% contour feathers
Made to fit American body shapes
Some felt the hood was too big
Thin design may not be comfortable for all body types
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.
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 well-respected brand is known for their 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.
Easy to wash and maintain
Features two side zipper pockets
Shell and lining is made of 100% polyester
Filler is made of water-proof synthetic fibers
Not as warm as natural fibers
Sizes run big
4. Hawk and Co.
If you are someone who travels a lot, then you need clothing that that can easily fit in a suitcase. This item is filled with soft and fluffy contour feathers that not only keep you warm, but can be compacted to fit in the tightest spaces.
Standing Collar Design
Although Hawk and Co. makes sure their outdoor apparel is versatile, they also want it to be stylish enough for every day wear as well. The standing collar design not only looks great, but it also protects your neck from the wind and cold.
Cost and Value
Depending on the size, you can get a really good deal on these items. The brand has a good reputation in the outdoor apparel industry and you can choose from fifteen different colors. This is a great pick for the fall and spring weather.
The outer layer is made from 100% nylon
Comes with a free, detachable carry bag
Can be washed in washing machine
Comes at a very affordable price
Some complaints about a chemical smell
Too thin for very cold weather
5. Tommy Hilfiger
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
Although most puffer jacket brands provide several colors to choose from, Tommy Hilfiger offers 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 costing 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 nylon packable bag that attaches to the jacket so you never have to worry about losing it.
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
Complaints about feathers coming out
Color may not match the picture
With the days being shorter during the winter months, night safety features are great to have and can save your life. This has reflective Scotchlite on the front, back and cuff so vehicles can see you during the nighttime.
Cotton is a much softer material than polyester, but it doesn’t provide the same durability, moisture protection, and wind protection as the latter. This jacket is made from a blend of 83% polyester and 17% cotton, giving you the best of both worlds.
Cost and Value
This item is filled with 80% soft duck contour feather that helped this item receive a temperature rating of ‘Warmest’. The outer shell is water repellant and the front closure includes a zipper and snaps for extra insulation.
Can be adjusted for a better fit
The polyester/cotton blend material is softer and breathes better.
Has a double closure front
Comes with a removable faux fur hood
May be too puffy for some
Complaints about customer service
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.
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 good in every day settings and the functionality that makes it suitable for outdoor activities as well. It also comes with its carrying pouch for traveling.
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
Not suitable for very cold weather
Feathers may leak out
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.
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
A few customers had problems with the zipper
Some found it to be too bulky
9. Columbia Long
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 a 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.
Has a high fill-power rating
Inner lining features heat reflective technology
Outer material is made from 100% nylon
Body-flattering quilting design
Some found it bulky
Too much Velcro, which sometimes gets stuck to the front zipper
10. Spyder Pelmo
The ability to repel water is an important feature for a winter jacket, especially one filled with contour feathers that clump in moisture. Spyder’s unique water repellant formula causes billions of micropores to develop and prevent water droplets from penetrating, yet, large enough to allow moisture from inside the jacket escape.
Protecting your torso and arms from the cold is important, but it’s just as important that all openings are protected and designed to prevent wind and rain from seeping in. The collar features a liner made from microfiber and the cuffs have built-in elastic for extra protection.
Cost and Value
Spyder is one of the most well-known brands when it comes to functional and versatile outdoors wear. The Pelmo jacket allows easy movement so you can enjoy your favorite activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountaineering.
Provides excellent protection against wind and water
Custom trims provide more protection
Has a 550 fill power rating
Features a fashionable design
Size may run short
Designed to fit tight
Thanks to the progress made in chemical treatments, today’s puffer jackets are more impervious to outdoor elements such as rain, wind, and snow than ever before. Whether you are looking for something stylish for everyday wear, or something more rugged to protect you during your winter outdoor activities, this outdoor apparel can do it all. Because of its versatility, it’s easier than ever to find something that goes with your unique style. Take a look at list above and find something that meets your needs now because as a famous fictitious king once said, “winter is coming!”
Criteria Used for Evaluating the Best Down Coats
Types of Insulation
Modern puffer jackets feature three one 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 water repellant. This gives you the benefits of both, synthetic fiber and natural fibers.
The fill-power rating will tell you how well your puffer jacket can insulate. Usually calculated in laboratory conditions, the fill power is measured in cubic inches for every ounce. Jackets with higher the ratings, normally have better the insulation. Here is an easy guide to follow: fill-power of 400-450 is medium, 500-550 is good, 600-750 is very good, and 800-900 is excellent.
Down to Feather Ratio
This ratio represents the percentage of contour feathers to 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 quality and higher price.
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.
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.
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 light weight and durability. There are certain features that makes one jacket stand out over the others, the questions is, 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 packets 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.
The style in which you jacket closes in the front can affect the amount of air that comes in and how much warmth escapes. The three main types of closure are zipper, buttons, and snap buttons. The best jackets usually have both, a zipper and a button closure for extra protection.
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 jacket for 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, 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?
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 is 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 retainbody heat.
- Side pockets – Although gloves can do a great job at keeping your hands war, 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.