Best Down Jacket For Hiking – Expert Review

Updated: February 12, 2024

Only a few years ago, I wouldn't have recommended this type of jacket for hiking in various wet and cold weather conditions. This is because they were previously known for being very warm in extreme weather, often came as wind-proof, but were lacking on the side of wet weather protection. 

Thankfully, the technology of coating, finishing and mixing down with synthetic fillers in patches where it really matters has come really far since then. So, there is now a way to stay dryer and warmer in all sorts of cold weather.

Below are my favourite down jackets for hiking. 

Best Down Jackets For Hiking (Top Picks)

Best Overall

Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody (Synthetic but amazing!)

Arc teryx-Atom

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Best Lightweight

Patagonia Down Sweater

patagonia down sweater

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Best Value

North Face Aconcagua Jacket

the north face aconcagua 2

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Top Hiking Down Jackets (Detailed Reviews)

We reviewed over 13 down jackets for this article. Below are the best down jackets for hiking that made our short list.

  1. Arc'teryx Atom - Best Overall
  2. Patagonia Down Sweater - Best Lightweight
  3. Black Diamond Access Hoody
  4. North Face Aconcagua Down Jacket - Best Value

Read our complete buyers guide for hiking down jackets.

Best Overall Down Jackets

1. Arc'teryx Atom

Arc teryx-Atom

4.5/5 Overall Rating
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Unsurprisingly, Arc'teryx Atom (see Men's and Women's) came up with one of the best down jackets available for hiking. The 60g Coreloft Compact synthetic fibers offers incredible warmth for this lightweight hoody. It is designed for ease of movement and it looks great too.

Overall, the Arc'teryx Atom 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 the 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. 

Main Features
  • Very well insulated
  • Light and breathable
  • Draft-resistant
  • Ease of movement
What we like
  • The adjustable hood drawcords provide protection without interfering with your field of vision
What we dislike
  • Requires more layers to avoid feeling sticky while sweating
Key Takeaway

The Arc'teryx Atom 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.

2. Patagonia Down Sweater

patagonia down sweater

4.5/5 Overall Rating
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This is most adventurers go-to down sweater. With 800-fill down power and durable water repellent on a ripstop shell, Patagonia Down Sweater (see Men's and Women's) 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:

  • 800-fill-power traceable down with quilted construction
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) finish on ripstop shell and lining (100% recycled); wind-resistant
  • Interior chest pocket with zippered stuff sack; 2 exterior zippered pockets
  • Elastic nylon-bound cuffs to prevent drafts and seal in warmth
Main Features
  • Well-insulated
  • Durable and with good water resistance
  • Draft-resistant
What we like
  • Made from recycled ripstop polyester
What we dislike
  • No hood (but there is a variation with a hood)
Key Takeaway

Perfect for winter hikers. Even if your hike turns out to be more ‘hands on’, the Patagonia Down Sweater will work out great since it is tear and abrasion-resistant.

3. Black Diamond Access Down Hoody

Black Diamond Mens Access Down Long Sleeve Jacket/Hoody for Cold Weather Sports, Dark Crimson, Medium

4/5 Overall Rating
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The Black Diamond Accesss Hoody is perfect for dry and wet conditions, with its 700-fill, RDS-certified Allied HyperDRY goose down.

Access is a midweight jacket. However, the helmet-compatible hood, along with the down blend, makes it a great buy.

At a glance:

  • Durable and very warm, nylon outer layer; 700-fill insulation ensures warmth in wet weather
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) for light moisture; dries easily
  • 2 external zipped hand pockets; 1 zipped chest pocket
  • Drawcord hem to seal in heat and prevent drafts; gusseted underarms for unrestricted overhead movement
Main Features
  • Very warm and durable
  • Easy to dry
  • Good insulation
What we like
  • Zipped pockets are safe for electronics
What we dislike
  • Not lightweight
Key Takeaway

Black Diamond Access Hoody offers great insulation, even in wet conditions. It's ideal for lots of outdoor activities, including skiing.

4. North Face Aconcagua

the north face aconcagua 2

4/5 Overall Rating
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The North Face Aconcagua Insulated Jacket (see Mens and Womens) is lightweight, offers great warmth with a combo of down and synthetic fill and is low cost.

The recessed hem and buckles onNorth Face Aconcagua 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:

  • combines natural and recycled synthetic insulation to keep up body heat in most conditions
  • Windproof: WindWall protection; coated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish
  • Lightweight and very warm
  • Hem drawcords and buckles to seal in heat and prevent drafts
  • 550 fill goose down and 200 grams of Heatseeker Eco 70%-recycled polyester insulation for warmth and dryness in wet weather
  • Secure-zip chest and hand pockets
  • Reverse-coil center front zip
Main Features
  • Good insulation and warmth
  • Lightweight
  • Draft-resistant
What we like
  • Gloves are easily accommodated with the recessed sleeve cuffs
What we dislike
  • Rough fit
Key Takeaway

North Face Aconcagua Jacket 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).

Down Jacket - Buyer's Guide (Key Features)

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.

Warmth and Seasons

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.

Water Resistance

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.

Hiking Comfort

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

  • Inner pockets
  • Cufflings
  • Neck and arm protection
  • Wind-resistance
  • Hood design

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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