Looking for a down jacket for hiking to keep your warm and comfortable on your next outdoor adventure?
This guide shares tips on how to choose the Best Down Jacket to suit your needs. Whether you are looking for the Best Overall, Best Lightweight, or a Best Value Down Jacket, we have put together a few pointers and key features on some of our favourites to help you make an informed choice.
Take a look at the comparison table below for a quick overview, or scroll down to see our top five and a detailed buyers guide for more information.
Down Fill / Fabric
Warmth / Water Resistance
10.8 oz (0.3 kg)
850-fill-power down; 20x10D ripstop shell and lining
Great combination of warmth and weather-resistance
20.3 oz (0.5 kg)
Down blend (70% down, 30% polyester); ripstop shell and lining
13.1 oz (0.37 kg)
800-fill-power traceable down; ripstop shell and lining (100% recycled)
Might loose insulation resistance during rain
26 oz (0.7 kg)
700-fill down; Drilite shell
Suitable for moderate / high altitude
13.9 oz (0.39 kg)
Good for body, OK for neck
Unsurprisingly, Arc’teryx came up with one of the best down jackets available for hiking. The 850-fill power down and synthetic Coreloft insulation offers incredible warmth for this lightweight hoody. It is designed for ease of movement and it looks great too.
Overall the Arc'teryx Cerium LT jacket is very lightweight and breathable, while at the same time moisture-resistant and wind-resistant with durable water repellent (DWR) outer fabric.
The jacket is very warm and well-insulated with 850-fill-power down with additional benefit of synthetic Coreloft insulation in the areas that are most likely to become more worn out and filled with moisture to prevent unexpected raptures.
To help prevent drafts, it benefits from elastic cuffs, full front zip with chin guard and drawcords on the hem and hood, as well as an internal stuff sack.
But surprisingly for its modifications, thanks to being so light, it ensures ease of movement perfect for some altitude hiking.
Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody provides warm, insulated protection against the elements, while being lightweight. Added to that, the drawcords and elastic cuffs save you from drafts, making this a great hoody for altitude hiking.
This is most adventurers go-to down sweater. With 800-fill down power and durable water repellent on a ripstop shell, Patagonia Down Sweater is warm, water-resistant and windproof. It also compresses nicely into the interior stuff sack. This is usually the down sweater that all others are compared to.
At a glance
The Mountain Equipment Lightline offers excellent insulation for added warmth in freezing conditions. It is windproof and water-resistant, with adjustable cuffs and a drawcord hem that seals in warmth. This hoody offers excellent value for money.
At a glance
The North Face Morph Hoodie is lightweight, offers great warmth with 800-fill down and is low cost. The recessed hem and buckles ensures that you won’t end up getting snagged on anything while climbing. Unfortunately, the fit is rather poor, and you’ll need to choose a size or two up.
At a glance
The Morph hoody is great for winter climbing – as long you can find the right fit. Choose a size or two up, and make sure you fit it before you buy it (or leave the tags on until you’re sure of it).
The Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody is perfect for dry and wet conditions, with its PrimaLoft Gold Down Blend (70% down, 30% polyester). It is heavier than other down jackets. However, the helmet-compatible hood, along with the down blend, makes it a great buy.
At a glance
Offers great insulation, even in wet conditions. Ideal for climbing and skiing.
Whether you’re hiking in the winter, mountain climbing or skiing, having the right jacket is always paramount.
One of the best attributes of a down jacket is its ability to seal in warmth and prevent drafts with drawcords in the hood and hem, along with adjustable cuffs. The best down jackets are lightweight, while still being incredibly warm and comfortable.
Comfort is possibly one of the key features to look for when purchasing a down jacket. Finding the right fit, however, isn't all. Have a look at the most important features to consider before getting a down jacket for hiking and mountain adventures.
Lightweight jackets are always preferable, especially when climbing or skiing. Generally, down jackets average at 13 oz, although some can be lighter (such as the Cerium LT). The heavier jackets are usually less desirable, especially if they are going to be put in a backpack for later use. They take up too much space and can become burdensome.
Choosing the jacket with the most down fill is the best option for insulation and warmth. Although, a combination of down and synthetic insulation is also an excellent choice, especially for wetter conditions. Down becomes mush when it is wet, and you should choose a jacket which has synthetic insulation in places most likely to become affected by moisture.
It is best to look for premium materials when choosing a down jacket. The shell and lining should be durable, but lightweight. The fabric should be windproof, with a durable water resistant (DWR) coated shell and lining. The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody uses a mix of heavier fabric with ultralight, ensuring durability without extra weight.
A down jacket that allows for extra layers and keeps you warm in winter, but can also be worn on misty summer mornings, is generally the best choice. An all-weather down jacket isn’t too difficult to come by, and it tends to offer great value for money. The warmest down jackets are usually the ones with most fill power, although those with a combination of down and synthetic also offer wonderful warmth.
It is always wise to ensure that any down jacket you choose has a shell and lining coated in durable water resistant (DWR). This is important for any winter jacket, so that it can easily shed light rain and snow. Wet down turns to mush and takes a long time to dry; this would be very uncomfortable on a hike, while climbing or skiing. A proper DWR coating will prevent this and save you a lot of grief and discomfort.
Before buying a down jacket, ensure that you can move easily in it. The fit needs to be right, and it should not constrict your movements in anyway. Once you have found the right fit, ensure that it has everything you need in a jacket for winter hikes – hem drawcords, adjustable sleeve cuffs and drawcords on the hood all seal in warmth and prevent drafts.
Other features to look for: