Best Down Jacket For Hiking | Expert Reviews by Mountain IQ

Best Down Jacket For Hiking – Expert Reviews (With Comparison Table)

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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.

Best Down Jacket
(Mountain IQ #1 Choice)

Arc’teryx Cerium LT 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.

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Top 5 Down Jackets For Hiking - Comparison Table

Down Jacket

Rating

Weight

Down Fill / Fabric

Warmth / Water Resistance

Price

10.8 oz (0.3 kg)

850-fill-power down; 20x10D ripstop shell and lining

Great combination of warmth and weather-resistance

#2

Patagonia Down Sweater

(Super Lightweight)

13.1 oz (0.37 kg)

800-fill-power traceable down; ripstop shell and lining (100% recycled)

Might loose insulation resistance during rain

20.3 oz (0.5 kg)

Down blend (70% down, 30% polyester); ripstop shell and lining

 Good weather-resistance

26 oz (0.7 kg)

700-fill down; Drilite shell

Suitable for moderate / high altitude

13.9 oz (0.39 kg)

800-fill-down

Good for body, OK for neck

1. Best Overall Down Jacket 

Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody

5/5 Overall Rating
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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. 

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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

Arc’teryx Cerium LT 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.

2. Super Lightweight Down Jacket - Perfect for Hiking

Patagonia Down Sweater

4/5 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 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

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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. Editor's Choice Down Jacket

Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody

4/5 Overall Rating
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The Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody is perfect for dry and wet conditions, with its PrimaLoft Gold Down Blend (70% down, 30% polyester). 

Cold Forge is heavier than other down jackets. However, the helmet-compatible hood, along with the down blend, makes it a great buy.

At a glance

  • Durable and very warm; a blend of down and synthetic insulation ensures warmth in wet weather
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) for light moisture; dries easily
  • 2 external hand pockets; 2 internal pockets
  • Drawcord hem to seal in heat and prevent drafts; gusseted underarms for unrestricted overhead movement

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Main Features
  • Very warm and durable
  • Easy to dry
  • Good insulation
What we like
  • The hood is helmet compatible
What we dislike
  • Poor cuff design and a bit heavy
Key Takeaway

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

4. Best Value Down Jacket

Mountain Equipment Lightline

3.5/5 Overall Rating
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The Mountain Equipment Lightline offers excellent insulation for added warmth in freezing conditions. 

The jacket 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

  • 700-fill power down; windproof and water-resistant with the DRILITE(R) Loft shell
  • Adjustable zip-off hood; 2 zipped outer pockets; 1 inner zipped pocket
  • Adjustable cuffs and drawcord hem to seal in heat

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Main Features
  • Wind-proof
  • Good water resistance
  • Two outer zipped pockets
What we like
  • So warm that it workes at high altitudes 
What we dislike
  • On a heavier side
Key Takeaway

With the incredible warmth, wind and water-resistant shell, the Mountain Equipment Lightline is great for winter hiking.

5. Good Overall Down Jacket

The North Face Morph Hoodie

4/5 Overall Rating
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The North Face Morph Hoodie is lightweight, offers great warmth with 800-fill down and is low cost.

The recessed hem and buckles on The North Face Men's Morph Down Jacket 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

  • 800-fill-down; sewn through baffles
  • Lightweight and very warm
  • Hem drawcords and buckles to seal in heat and prevent drafts

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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

The North Face Men's Morph Down 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. 

Weight

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.

Downfill

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.

Fabric

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

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