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When in doubt, trust a packable down jacket to keep you warm and provide seamless mobility. Yes, we highly recommend having multiple winter jackets in rotation as alternatives. However, the best packable down jackets won't drop the ball when you need them the most.
In order to select the right ones, we tested dozens of packable down jackets during morning commutes, casual outings and high-intensity activities. In our decision-making, we considered all the necessary elements such as the fill power, type of insulation, and packability. What's also brilliant: a vast majority of them can be stowed away in an accompanying bag, stuff sack or its own pocket.
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In addition, the best packable down jackets have an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, last long with the proper care, and wick away body moisture and precipitation. Most can be worn as an outer layer in drier, milder weather or as an insulating mid-layer when the weather turns south. Whatever your budget, look, or adventure style, these are our top picks for the best packable down jackets to shop in 2023.
Ghost Whisperer 2 Hooded Down Jacket
Mountain Hardwear’s latest Ghost Whisperer 2 takes everything we love about their stellar hooded down jacket and upgrades it in every way. The second-generation model is among the lightest on this list at less than nine ounces, making it ultra-packable for even the most weight-conscious hiker.
Beyond that, it accommodates an excellent range of motion, so it’s comfortable and versatile enough for all-day wear. The best part is that it offers an incredible warmth-to-weight ratio, making it an ideal choice for shoulder season and even early winter wear. Our only minor quibble is the lack of basic features like functional pockets—which can be quite inconvenient for your everyday traveler.
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ThermoBall™ Eco Jacket 2.0
One thing's for certain, two things for sure: North Face makes some of the best winter jackets that we've ever worn. To no surprise, the slim-fit Men’s ThermoBall™ Eco Jacket 2.0 fits the same bill.
We put it to the test during morning commutes and dog walks, and it held up perfectly. A large part of that is due to its advanced insulation for lightweight warmth, durability and packability. The brand use 100% recycled fabrics and fill—after all, gear should be tougher on the cold—and easier on the planet.
HyBridge® Lite Tech Hoody
A list of packable down jackets wouldn't be complete without Canada Goose. Their Hybridge Lite Tech Hoody is probably one of the nicest and warmest pieces of outwear that exists. From its warmth-to-weight ratio and breathability down to its street smart good looks, we understand why the price sits so high.
Also, this jacket has been updated with a narrower quilting pattern at flex points that enhances the fit and improves the range of motion. Whether you're on an arctic exploration or embarking on an urban adventure, the thoughtful construction of this jacket makes it suitable for a range of uses.
Packable Lightweight Water-Resistant Puffer Jacket
Is there anything Amazon doesn’t make these days? The aptly named Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Puffer Jacket is everything its name implies. At 11 ounces, it’s surprisingly lightweight and compressible, making it perfectly packable for just about any outdoor adventure.
The water-resistance is mediocre, so this one is built more for dry weather. The inner liner is soft and comfortable, however, the outer shell is thin and feels distinctly like a budget jacket. We also found it difficult to fit into the included stuff sack. Still, despite its shortcomings, it’s hard to complain with a price tag of around $40. If you’re looking for a comfortable, no-frills, budget down jacket alternative, this is your man.
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Helium Down Hoodie
Outdoor Research has been crafting some of the best technical apparel for years. Take the Helium Down Hoodie, for example. This jacket is equipped to resists wind, water and abrasion. At 15 ounces with 800-fill down and hybrid mapped construction, it’s heavier than most on this list. But that extra weight equals better durability and weather resistance.
The shoulders and hood use a waterproof barrier, by way of Pertex Quantum Shield 30-denier ripstop. It can stand alone when temperatures don't dip too low, but you may need to layer for chiller days. Either way, this caliber of a jacket needs to be in your outerwear rotation.
For hardcore outdoor adventuring and high-intensity activities where every ounce counts, we love the Cerium Hoody from Arc’teryx. It’s an incredibly packable design that fits neatly into just about any pocket. Despite its featherweight construction, the 850-fill down makes this a surprisingly warm choice that works well as a mid- or even outer-layer in all but the coldest weather.
Shaving serious weight typically means trading off some durability, and this jacket is no different—meaning it’s not the most durable or the most water-resistant. It’s also one of the priciest on this list at $400. But, if it’s within your budget, you’d be hard-pressed to find a premium packable down jacket that better balances comfort, weight, and warmth.
Fuego Hooded Down Jacket
Cotopaxi creates sustainably made outdoor gear designed to inspire adventure. Packed with 800-fill-power goose down, the Fuego will ensure core warmth in the midst of autumn winds and damp conditions. Plus, this piece can squeeze into one of the two interior stash pockets for compact transport.
Our editors have taken it out for a casual spin and give two thumbs up for its ability to move easily over layers underneath. They also gave credit for its unbeatable style and shell construction, which adds a little extra protection against feather loss and daily use. Just be careful not to scuff up the vibrant stripes on the exterior.
Nano Puff Jacket
The Nano Puff Jacket from Patagonia traps body heat, blocks wind and lets you move freely. At just under 12 ounces and packed with recycled materials, it strikes a good balance of weight and warmth.
We love that it’s beefy enough to wear as an insulating mid-layer for snow sports and travel. If you're looking for a “crossover” design that makes it friendly for both street and trail wear, this is a winner. It sits at a solid value given the brand name, reliability, and list of essential features.
Delta Ridge Down Jacket
Columbia is known for leveraging its patented thermal-reflective technology, which keeps the warmth inside and the water out. The same is true for this super light garment that's combines 650 down fill and stitch-free baffling to block out drafts. From a chin guard and water-resistant fabric to binding at the hem, collar, and cuff—it's flexible at all the right points. No matter what fall or winter has in store, you're protected and your loft stays in place. This packable down jacket is a great top layering piece and arrives in many accommodating colors and sizes.
Men's CirrusLite Down Jacket
Life is always better outdoors with Eddie Bauer. Speaking of, this packable down jacket is a consummate traveler, no matter your destination. The shell and lining comes from recycled materials, making it a solid choice for the environment as well as for all your cold-weather adventures. The water-repellent finish (StormRepel DWR treatment) ensures moisture to bead and roll off rather than absorbing into the fabric. Along with 650-down insulation, it has a higher neckline to retain the heat.
Roark makes garments those who are adventure-ready. The Chopper Jacket is down for the challenge and offers an elevated approach to the classic chore coat. Made from a nylon micro ripstop and insulated with recycled Primaloft™, it boasts top-shelf durability and never-ending warmth. We managed to bear the cold while biking and sitting by a campfire. Not to mention, the packable wonder can worm its way into its own pouch for ease of transit.
Ultra-Light Down Packable Jacket
32 Degrees is giving you an early Black Friday deal for their ultra-light packable down jacket. We can guarantee the price isn't reflective of its quality. Ideal for rugged, high-activity outdoor activities, this piece can equally perform as both a standalone piece or as a mid-layer. For all day comfort as you're on the go, the jacket features a water repellent finish and ample stretch. Plus, the lining is filled with down to deliver high loft warmth and superb compressibility.
Packable Down Puffer Jacket
Tommy Hilfiger’s Packable Down Puffer Jacket is the most fashion-forward of our down jacket picks. It’s available in more than two dozen colors (more than any on this list) and features a classic, street-friendly design that works well for everyday wear. For outdoor adventuring, it’s not the most technical outer layer. It’s slightly heavier than most on this list, doesn’t compress very well, and the faux down isn’t quite as warm as true down fill. Still, at around $60, it’s an affordable option for city slickers who occasionally venture into the country and are looking to buy just one coat that mostly does it all.
PrimaLoft Packaway Hooded Jacket
L.L. Bean created this packable down jacket to take on the rigors of winter by fusing together PrimaLoft Gold insulation and NASA-developed technology. As a step toward better sustainability, the shell and lining is produced by 100% recycled ripstop polyester. Other features that contribute to its value include an attached insulated hood, drawcord hem and pockets to keep the elements out and your essentials safe. Another reason you're in good hands is because it's wind- and water-resistant. Safe to say, this piece is everything it's cracked up to be.
Eos Down Jacket
This lesser-known Seattle brand is much-beloved among the hardcore outdoor community for its premium, handmade apparel. The Eos Down Jacket’s latest reboot updated our previous favorite and still ranks among the best packable down jackets on the market. It’s lightweight at less than 11 ounces, yet incredibly warm with four ounces of premium 900-fill down—all of which makes it incredibly packable and perfect for the most hardcore technical adventures (think everything from late fall hikes to serious, lightweight alpining). It is the most expensive packable down jacket on this list. But, if keeping warm is just as important to you as going light, in our opinion, there is no second option.
What to Look for in a Packable Down Jacket
Like any serious outwear, there is no “best packable down jacket.” There is only “a best packable down jacket for you.” With a long list of features, specs, options, and models available, finding the right one can be a challenge. Here’s the low-down on what we think are the most important things to consider when shopping for the best packable puffer:
Fit: Not just size (e.g., Small, Medium, Large, etc.), but fit. How does a particular jacket fit you? Even if you’re shopping online, consider trying on any down jackets you’re shopping in person. Most jackets are cut with different uses in mind. Casual/everyday jackets might be more relaxed for more versatile wear from the streets to the trail, while technical jackets are typically more tailored to minimize bulk and accommodate specific types of movement.
Fill Power: Comparing the amount of down or synthetic fill can be a bit like comparing apples to oranges, especially between manufacturers. Still, it’s often the best measure of how warm a particular jacket will be. In general, the higher the number, the warmer the jacket. Every jacket in our roundup features a minimum of 750-fill power.
Packability: Genuine and synthetic down are very compressible by design. The more compressible your jacket, the easier it is to transport. Some pack down small enough and easy enough to toss in a backpack and practically forget about it until you need it. The best models pack into their own pocket or hood, while others can be stashed in an included stuff sack.
Storage: Some jackets focus on streamlined design over storage. Consider whether the jackets you’re shopping offer enough storage for your needs. Are there hand pockets? Are they zippered or unzippered? Are their interior pockets for your smartphone? Are they large enough to accommodate your essentials?
How We Selected
We researched, tested, and compared dozens of the best lightweight down jackets available this year. From budget-friendly brands like Amazon Essentials to midrange options to premium alternatives from the likes of Arc’teryx and Mountain Hardwear, we paid close attention to every facet, including fit, durability, technical features, warmth, packability, and, of course, price. The list above represents our honest, field-tested picks of the best packable down jackets of 2023.
Why Trust Men's Health
At Men's Health, we take great pride in providing our readers with reliable and trustworthy product recommendations. We believe that our readers deserve the best, which is why we always make sure to conduct thorough research and testing before making any recommendations. Our editors and writers are experts in their own right, using their informed opinions to select products and ensuring that our content is of the highest quality.
They have been testing packable down jackets in a number of environments such as morning commutes, casual outings, dog walks, and high-intensity activities such as biking, hiking, kayaking and running. We also took a look at our Outdoor Awards which enlists the best adventure gear with the latest tech advances.
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