The Best Down Jackets for Women of 2024 | GearJunkie

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We found the best women's down jackets for every budget and activity. Whether you're looking for a versatile hoodie, a high-end technical outer layer, or a wallet-friendly puffy, we have you covered.

Down jackets are a winter staple but are functional year-round in certain climates. They provide top-level warmth while packing down fairly small. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to choose.

Our group of testers donned dozens of down jackets in the elements at work and exploring the outdoors. We tested these outer layers while ice climbing, backcountry skiing and splitboarding, snowmobiling, running errands around town, shoveling snow, camping, rock climbing, hunting, and more. While there isn’t a perfect jacket for every single activity, we’ve found a variety of the best down jackets for women to keep you warm all season.

Though we mostly focus on jackets with natural down fill in this guide, there are also some synthetic fill options that are very warm and packable. To understand how these two types of insulation differ, as well as other details about down jacket construction, check out our buyer’s guide, FAQ, and comparison chart lower in the article.

This collection of layers features functional hip-length puffy jackets. If you’re interested in lengthier jackets and parkas for everyday use, read our women’s winter jackets buyer’s guide. Otherwise, keep scrolling through our top picks of women’s down jackets for 2024.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Best Women’s Down Jacket guide on January 25, 2024, to include the new and awarded Jones Women’s Re-Up Down Recycled Hoodie and the Rab Women’s Mythic Alpine Down Jacket.

Who knew that a 100% recycled down jacket would be so comfortable and tenacious? Welcome the Jones Women’s Re-Up Down Recycled Hoodie ($330) to the party. We’ve been throwing this piece over and under our shell on backcountry tours, snowmobile rides, and resort laps: It doesn’t get much better.

The Re-Up sets a new industry benchmark with a first-ever combo of a 100% recycled exterior fabric — a 20-denier nylon — and 100% recycled down stuff inside: a cozy 750 fill. There’s more. The jacket is garnished with recycled zippers and recycled polyester pull cords, too, which run smooth, don’t get jammed, and are just as durable in our experience.

Whether we’re wearing this layer for jaunts or jibs, we love the high mark of five pockets, which exceeds the storage capacity in most other down jackets of this caliber. There are two zippered hand pockets, a streamlined exterior chest pocket, and two wide dump pockets that are great for warming skins on cold days.

Size up if you prefer a super oversized down jacket over your shell, but we’ve also been zipping our regular size over our shell (which pokes out a bit at the lower hem) and there’s ample stretch. We’ve never felt hugged too tight, and the articulated frame looks good.

While we like the shape of the insulated hood and appreciate the sliding elastic toggle for tightening up around the dome, we do wish there was a buttery fleece liner on the inside of the chin guard. The material isn’t rough but it’s more comfortable to have a textile that absorbs moisture and offers warmth.

We’ve worn this down jacket in snowstorms and while the material starts to look damp, the water resistance performs and the heat still radiated. That said, be aware that this isn’t a waterproof option, so if it’s really dumping — throw it on under your shell. Launched in 2022-23, the 2023-24 iteration has a notable hike of baffling for more warmth.

Overall, the Jones Women’s Re-Up Down Recycled Hoodie is functional, eye-catching, and steadfast against a beating while forging sustainability and still being tagged at an average price, making it our top pick for 2024.

The Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 ($249) is versatile, warm, lightweight, waterproof, durable, and so much more. This jacket is quality, featuring 800-fill goose down, a “super” DWR, stretch panels, and it’s tested to a temp rating down to -5 degrees F.

In testing, we definitely found it warm. And there’s room to comfortably fit a baselayer and light midlayer beneath.

Eddie Bauer markets it as its premium ultralight jacket, and we agree. The fill power is premium, and so is the quality of the fabric and design. The exterior fabric is a strong 20-denier ripstop polyester that’s windproof and 50% recycled.

We do want to note this jacket is ultralight, and in order to shave weight, Eddie Bauer gave it an active fit. Depending on your frame, the shape of this jacket may be narrow in the hips, so consider sizing up. Fortunately, there are ample size options in petite, regular, tall, and plus options. You can even opt for the variation with a hood.

What our staff testers and online reviewers from Alaska to Wisconsin liked most about the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 jacket is that it’s warm, lightweight, and versatile — for everything from skiing to daily wear to travel.

It kept us warm in fall, winter, and spring (and stood up well to that wear). A chilly 40-degree fall morning, a 10-degree ski day, or even a dash through a blizzard — the MicroTherm can handle all sorts of cold.

The last feature that swayed the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 jacket toward the top of our list? The array of clean, elegant color choices. This jacket rocks.

We focus on the full recipe, but the Rab Women’s Mythic Alpine Down Jacket ($390) is frankly one of the most stunning down layers we’ve tested. It’s gorgeous, articulated, easy to move in, and practical while delivering massive standards.

The Mythic series offers a queen of warmth-to-weight ratios. Inside the Alpine, there’s a whopping 900-fill goose down, the highest in our guide and the highest available on the market. That fill is certified RDS and treated with a Nikwax fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic finish, which absorbs 40% less moisture than untreated down — and the resilience during a snowstorm is noticeable. We didn’t see damp patches appear on the surface, which was likewise treated with a fluorocarbon-free DWR coat.

We love the baffling design, especially on the puffy hood and around the torso, where the stitch-through baffles are tailored sizes (they aren’t cookie-cutter) to better balance the warmth and loft. While skiing inbounds during a blizzard, we found the hood works fine over a helmet. We also dig the super streamlined reinforcement in the bill to help catch moisture and prevent a sloppy cap.

Among our favorite details, the inside of the collar is generously coated with wide fleece on both sides. Our face says namaste. On the exterior, the 10-denier fabric is strong, light, soft, and 100% recycled — as is the interior lining. The face is treated with a fluorocarbon-free DWR to help keep moisture at bay, which we found delivers. Though a small detail, the cuff elastication is lean, malleable, and easy to enter to exit, making quick pull-ons that much smoother.

The Rab Women’s Mythic Alpine Down Jacket does a solid number to block wind and retain warmth — and is stamped at a median price point while looking really good. This design proves you can pay attention to small details while building out a jacket for bigger missions.

With a contoured silhouette that reaches the hips and snugs up beneath the chin, this 800-fill Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody ($329) is an excellent everyday jacket and, for several winters in a row, remains toward the top of our list as an all-around comfortable layer. Especially if you don’t need a longer parka or the highest degree of oven action. The design withstands wind, resists moisture, and is lightweight for its level of warmth.

Plus, Patagonia keeps improving the environmental standards for this product year after year. For all of those reasons, it tops our list of favorites as a cold-weather ally.

The 100% recycled ripstop 20-denier polyester shell and liner is made from fishing nets to reduce ocean plastic pollution. Patagonia supports manufacturers through essential services provided via the Mamata organization. And the insulation is ethically sourced Advanced Global Traceable Down, to name a few of those eco-star traits.

Throughout several winter seasons, we’ve used this jacket on chilly cruiser rides around town and walks on crisp bluebird days during 5-degree lows. We’ve worn it in blizzard conditions in Colorado’s Front Range, Elk, and Sangre de Cristo mountains. We stayed dry throughout thanks to the shell’s PFC-free DWR finish, which blocks precipitation.

Heavier amounts of water noticeably dampen the exterior, though it rebounds and maintains warmth. This jacket easily withstood bitter gusts, and the simple elastic cuffs are comfortable and help stomp out wind.

When fully zippered, the reinforced neck rise doesn’t slouch, which protects the lower half of the face. But the hood shape is a little too snug to comfortably wear over a helmet.

For any cold day or night, this is an excellent everyday down jacket with great style and protection for the winter season. It’s awesome to pull on after cardio activity, like a winter run.

The reason the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody tops our list as one of the best down jacket for ladies? It’s durable over time, and we found it just slightly warmer than our runner-up choice. Plus, the size run spans from XXS to XXL.

This is the most flexible down jacket we’ve ever worn, which makes it super comfortable for everyday outdoor tasks and recreation. The Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody ($300) is the first-ever jacket with stitch-free baffle construction and is made from a single fabric, eliminating the need for glue and stitching.

It’s one continuous channel of down wrapped into a woven construction that’s super stretchy — amazing. When we leaned over our bike’s handlebars, there was no seam restriction on our upper back, arms, or shoulders. Our ability to fully reach feels like we’re not wearing a jacket at all.

The jacket performed well on commuter rides, nippy walks, and snowy hikes in a range of temperatures from 10 to 35 degrees plus windchill at 10,000 feet.

The 700-fill jacket is lightweight and packs down to the size of a small travel pillow. Most impressively, water droplets roll off the surface with no signs of absorption or loss of loft.

Its hood is stretchy and spacious enough for a climbing helmet. However, when fully zippered, the hood’s elastic slightly pulls back the front collar, so the lower face is exposed from time to time. Still, given the warmth and stretch, the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody would be our first pick for cold climbing-based endeavors.

If you need a workhorse layer for winter conditions and a layer that blocks all the wild weather from snow to wind to rain, invest in the Rab Valiance ($415). The 700-fill down insulation is hydrophobic, meaning it’s treated to withstand moist, wet, and damp conditions, retain its loft, and dry fast.

While down fill can’t be waterproof (its feathers — it won’t ever replace a full-on rain jacket) this is as waterproof as a down jacket can get while being stuffed with natural fill versus synthetic.

Even more key, the hydrophobic treatment is free of toxic fluorocarbons. The interior liner and exterior face are made of 100% recycled material. And this year, the jacket is upgraded with 100% recycled down.

Plus, Rab is a Fair Wear partner to raise and protect labor standards for factory workers. The company is also climate-neutral certified. We dig.

We most liked this layer when we had to work on the trailer, truck, and snowmobile in freezing conditions. We could count on the face fabric to not tear while also staying super cozy while being intermittently stagnant. The exterior fabric is a 30-denier Pertex Shield, which is waterproof and breathable.

The fixed hood also has a rigid brim for blocking the elements. The collar is tall in the front, which we appreciate. Also, the cuffs have wide Velcro straps for adjustability.

The Rab Valiance is a great choice for women who will be outside in cold, rugged, and wetter- or rougher-than-average winter conditions.

For another warm natural fill that’s not down, consider the windproof and highly scuff-resistant Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket ($400), which utilizes wool as insulation. After testing out this eco-friendly design, we can say it’s super durable and functional. The jacket has unique design features and kept us cozy and protected in winter conditions.

The wool fill is sustainably sourced from black sheep of the Swiss Alps. Sheep in Switzerland produce wool with outstanding thermal properties and excellent climate control due to their regional origin. The jacket uses various weights of wool for tailored warmth: The front and upper sleeve area is a bit warmer compared to the lighter fill in the hood and lower sleeves.

Merino inserts are in the chin, collar, and back area to help block wind. Thanks to the wool, the jacket is fairly breathable for its level of warmth.

Streamlined and comfortable, the wrist gaiters are not too tight and don’t have thumbholes, which is fine. The cuffs are adjustable with a wide Velcro strap.

Spacious for all kinds of items and compatible with backpacks, the hand pockets are 10 x 6 inches wide. That Pertex Quantum face fabric is robust.

We also love the soft, breathable fabric that lines the inner collar, which generously reaches 6 inches in height. For a down alternative that’s natural, the Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket is a prime choice.

If you need an extremely tenacious, dependable down jacket for hiking through the woods and remote wilderness, the KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket ($319) is the one for the job.

The down insulation is unbelievably lightweight at only 216 g but also carries the most warmth on our list with more than 850 fill power. The fill and face fabric is treated for moisture resistance while walking through vegetation covered in dew, beneath a light rain, or standing still in the snowfall.

Hunters need to be totally silent out there. So KUIU selected a Toray fabric that’s quiet thanks to a heat treatment process that keeps the feathers inside while eliminating a traditional interior liner, which is noisy.

Also, a one-of-a-kind baffle structure helps the down stay put, keeping the jacket’s warmth consistent throughout. Overall the KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket is a fantastic option for hunters, hikers, and outdoors people alike. We really appreciated the purposeful design elements and the longevity of this jacket. 

This light, packable, 850-fill, lofty down jacket is exemplary for belaying, rock climbing, and hiking in the fall and spring as well as alpine climbing in the summer. We also love it for backcountry skiing and splitboarding. The Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody ($400) is one of the best down jackets for mobility.

When we used this jacket for backcountry ice climbing in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains in 10-degree temperatures, our routes included multipitch and mixed (rock and ice), vertical and overhanging frozen faces, and chimney moves.

The jacket proved extremely protective, warm, and tenacious while facing the grind. It even kept us warm while we belayed and we didn’t overheat on the climb. It’s super lightweight for the level of insulation.

Its insulated hood kept us warm even with wind, which we didn’t feel through the fabric. We also really liked the elastic cuffs on the sleeves — we can easily tuck our hands to warm them.

But we wouldn’t recommend this jacket for wet winter conditions, as heavy snowfall dampened the outer layer. It might be breathable, but with high-end 850 fill, it’s very warm so it’s not a layer for cooling off. And there are no interior pockets.

This Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody gets top marks for range of motion, and for the supple yet durable exterior fabric. This down jacket would be perfect for that active climber, skier, or biker looking for zero restriction and insulation while they are adventuring.

The REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket ($129) is for anyone in search of a comfortable and straightforward down jacket that won’t break the bank. It packs down easily into its own pocket and quickly regains its shape after unpacking.

The DWR coating protects from light moisture. It even withstood an accidental spill — the coffee just sat on top and rolled off with a quick shake — no stain, no absorption. The jacket never got soggy, and the wind never bit us. The zipper’s storm flap actually works.

We appreciate the tall collar for style and protection against a cold breeze. But we sometimes wish a hood was attached, too.

One con is the feathers did leak more than expected. But as a DWR-treated jacket with a 650-fill at just over $100, it’s easily one of our budget-friendly picks.

The REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket is great for someone looking to purchase a jacket for a short trip to the mountains or as a gift for that friend needing a warmer coat. The accessible pricing of this high-quality down jacket really stood out to us.

We love that Outdoor Research makes a burly, wind-blocking down jacket in a huge size run from XS to XXXL. With 700-fill insulation, a slightly longer silhouette, and an overall roomy design for layering, it’s a great choice for many body types. And just over $200, the Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie ($279) isn’t a bad price, either.

One of the coolest (er, warmest) features of the design is the addition of synthetic fill in the tops of the shoulders and around the wrist cuffs, where the majority of moisture is expected to hit in a snowstorm.

Plus, the eco-friendly insulation is nearly all recycled. The exterior fabric and liner also has 30-denier toughness. We absolutely love the softly lined hand pockets, which feature brushed tricot fabric. The hood is a bit spacious, but it works.

For the sizing options and cozy features, the Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie is one of the best women’s down jackets for the price. Note: Be sure to size down if you prefer a more athletic fit.

Designed with bright colors and a looser silhouette, we can’t help but mention the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket ($295) in our guide for the best down jackets for women. Ideal for more casual use like hiking, camping, or those hot chocolate-fueled strolls around town, this down jacket is both warm and thoughtfully designed. 

Our tester wore this jacket on several early morning dog walks in 20-degree weather and while car camping on a crisp night in Sedona, Ariz. She loved that the jacket allowed her plenty of mobility and breathability without getting too hot or cold. The array of festive colors is a major plus, too (it paired perfectly with her pink sunglasses).  

The durability of the Fuego is certainly worth noting. Made with 20-denier ripstop nylon with DWR treatment, this down coat keeps its feathers locked in and repels water, snow, and sleet.

Our one complaint? The interior pocket on the hips might be unpleasant for stashing items like your phone, keys, or wallet because it is adjacent to the zippered hand pocket. However, the jacket easily compresses into the convenient stuff pocket located on the interior making it ideal for travel. 

If you are looking for a stylish down jacket that allows a generous amount of room for layering, or you are traveling abroad to a milder winter climate, consider the colorful and spunky Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket. The versatility makes this design one of our favorites for an everyday down jacket.

The Marmot Women’s Highlander Jacket ($225) is a great slimmer-fitting contender for everyday warmth without shattering the wallet. While it’s not built to combat heavy moisture, this jacket is a great layer to pair beneath a waterproof rain or ski shell.

From adventuring in the mountains of Alaska, winter surfing in the Pacific Northwest, and trekking the Camino de Santiago, we found this layer to be packable and dependable in the cold and wind.

Once you drop down to super low temperatures and windchill, consider a beefier jacket or layering wool or fleece beneath. Due to the athletic design of the Highlander, consider sizing up if you’d like to pull on bulkier midlayers.

The Marmot Women’s Highlander Jacket is an ideal down jacket for those looking for something to use in drier, milder winter climates for everyday use with the occasional excursion out in the elements.

Designed for full warmth with a nod to The North Face’s retro style, this goose-down jacket is one of our favorites in the height of winter. The North Face 1996 Nuptse Down Jacket ($330) has 700-fill down, a DWR finish for protection in wet weather, and a cinch at the hem to keep heat in. Wide baffles, oversized logos, and a more relaxed fit complete this vintage style.

We loved a lot of things about this down puffy, namely, its warmth, packability, and adjustable cuffs with a wide Velcro closure. Most jackets we tested simply had stretch cuffs. This jacket’s adjustability is great for creating a seal around your winter gloves or mittens.

A nylon taffeta lining is paired with the ripstop nylon exterior, which is durable and soft. The stowable hood also packs into the high-reaching insulated collar. And the entire Nuptse compresses down to zip into its own pocket.

If you are looking for a down jacket that doesn’t sacrifice style for warmth (or vice versa), then The North Face 1996 Nuptse Down Jacket may just be your cup of tea. Extra cushy and functional, we were quite impressed with how warm and simultaneously cool we felt in this one.

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Weight, Fill, Waterproof, Best Use.

Our GearJunkie team has tested and reviewed dozens of women’s down jackets in a range of cold-weather conditions across the country. For this guide, we examined the fine details of each down jacket, including comfort, functionality, protection from the elements, ease of use, and style. We also strongly considered the most popular, highly acclaimed, well-made, and size-inclusive women’s down jackets across price points.

Throughout the West and Rocky Mountains, we’ve cruised on our bikes, walked in blizzards, sat on park benches, cheered on cross-country ski races, and shoveled our rigs out of powder piles. We have used these down jackets for farming, hunting, camping, backcountry exploration, mountaineering, ice climbing, and rock climbing. Our primary tests have been in Colorado’s Gunnison Valley — one of the coldest, snowiest destinations in the United States.

Leading the testing for the ladies’ down jacket guide are GearJunkie Senior Editor Morgan Tilton and contributor Meghan LaHatte. Tilton has been skiing and snowboarding for more than three decades. Beyond living in a winter wonderland for more than half the year, she backcountry tours, laps the resort, drives a backcountry snowmobile, hits the Nordic trails, and does skimo races. While living in the frigid ski town of Crested Butte, Tilton has put these down jackets through the ultimate test while skiing, shoveling, backpacking, and other activities. 

Meghan LaHatte has resided on the Western Slope of Colorado for the past five years. With this has come long and grueling winters, so she knows the importance of a powerful down jacket. LaHatte’s tests of these jackets included chilly walks with her dog, camping in the desert, and transitioning into her ski boots at the resort.

While a single jacket likely won’t meet all of a person’s needs, this comprehensive list provides options with unique specialties and versatility. We’re confident these are the best women’s down jackets of the year.

When deciding the best down jacket to suit your needs, consider the climate, construction, fill type, and power. Also, think about the application and when you’ll be wearing the jacket.

Down insulation is made from goose or duck plumage, a natural undercoat beneath feathers. This traditional jacket fill is known for being lightweight and compressible while maintaining warmth due to intricate clusters that capture air and body heat.

In frigid conditions, an insulated down jacket is perfect for wearing after a gym workout, before you step into a frigid car, and for running errands. Some down jackets are more water- and wind-resistant than others based on how the surface fabric or fill has been chemically treated. Down fill that’s chemically treated for water resistance is called hydrophobic down, so the down absorbs less water and dries faster.

Among the options, technical down jackets are typically lightweight and constructed with super durable materials, so they’re more tenacious against the surrounding terrain and dynamic activity, as well as packable. The price tag can often be higher than other casual down jackets.

A dependable and easy-to-pack down jacket (or a synthetic fill jacket) is pretty much a requisite for camping in high alpine or desert climates, backcountry trips like backpacking, alpine or rock or ice climbing, and backcountry splitboarding or skiing.

Beefier down jackets feature a higher down fill, so they’re warmer, which is excellent for winter camping, emergencies, or arctic conditions.

If you’re looking for a down jacket with more bulk, length, and warmth, check out our women’s winter jackets buyer’s guide. That list includes parka-style coats and silhouettes that are oriented for more casual winter days.

You may be wondering if you even need a down jacket. Down is incredibly insulating and warm. It’s also very light. The downsides of down are a loss of insulation when wet and an inability to dry fast. In the long run, it also requires special cleaning.

Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is made from polyester fibers and is designed to imitate down clusters and properties with a few key differences. If you compare two equal-weight jackets, down is warmer than this alternative. But synthetic insulation retains warmth even when wet. It’s also easier to wash and usually comes at a lower price point.

Some down jacket designs have a hybrid fill — they integrate synthetic fill into areas where moisture tends to collect like over the shoulders and around the wrist cuffs. That includes the Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie and the Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody. And in a very unique approach, the Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket uses sustainably sourced wool for insulation instead of down.

Within synthetic jackets, active insulation is another progressive subcategory to know. These technical garments are designed to dump extra heat and dry fast, so you don’t have to remove the jacket during vigorous activity. But these layers also need to be durable, warm, and wind-resistant. They ultimately won’t be as warm as a straightforward down jacket. It’s a tricky balance.

Down fill power measures the loft and quality of the down. To calculate fill, a one-ounce sample of down is compressed in a cylinder. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the higher the quality and warmer the jacket — though the fill power isn’t the only variable affecting a jacket’s warmth.

But the higher the fill quality, the less down is needed to create the same warmth. This is because it’s able to trap more air and warmth within the jacket. Higher fill power — around 800 to 900 — is more compressible, loftier, more lightweight, and pricier.

Fill power ratings range from 400 to 900 and even greater. Most of the jackets on this list are in the 800-fill range, with a few clocking in above or below. Generally, the quality increases with the fill number:

The other thing to consider when selecting the best down jacket for you is fill weight.

A down jacket’s fill power is the down’s quality and amount of loft. You’ll see jackets labeled as 600-fill or 800-fill, for instance. The fill weight, which is measured in ounces, reflects the density or amount of that down stuffed inside the jacket. (Note: fill weight differs from the jacket’s overall weight.)

So when two 700-fill jackets have different weights, we know the heavier one is warmer.

On the other hand, if two down jackets weigh the same with different fill power (such as two 15-ounce jackets with 650 fill and 800 fill), the higher fill jacket is going to be less bulky, lighter, and more compressible.

It’s also trickier to compare jackets with differing fill power. But in general, the lower the fill power, the less loft and warmth are provided.

Down does not perform well when wet. And this is one of the places synthetic jackets tend to win out. To catch up, there has been a growing use of hydrophobic down, which has evolved over the past decade.

Essentially, the down feathers are coated in a water-resistant polymer. It still doesn’t match the water resistance of synthetics. But for light precipitation, hydrophobic down can’t be beat.

The face fabric of some down jackets is treated with DWR to help block light moisture, too, which can be eco-friendly formulas or chemicals that are toxic to the environment. Jackets can also have sealed seams to block moisture.

Many down jackets are not waterproof, but some offer a degree of water resistance, which works fine in dryer winter climates — where the snow water equivalent (read: the amount of liquid water in the snow) is lower. If serious rain is in the forecast, though, it’s best to pair these jackets with a solid raincoat.

There are four general snow climates: coastal, transitional, intermountain, and continental. Generally, the closer you are to the coast, the more precipitation you’ll experience and the water content will be higher in the snow — it’ll be wetter and heavier!

In contrast, the snow in continental climates is dryer, lighter, and accumulates less compared to the coast. That includes most of the Rocky Mountains, such as in Colorado. Intermountain regions and ranges show characteristics of both and transitional areas are similar to the coast but with less rain and snow.

Examples according to the Utah Avalanche Center:

Aside from the insulation type and other construction elements, it is important to consider the material types of a down jacket. Many outdoor companies implement different fabric types for the interior and exterior fabrics. These materials tend to have varying degrees of softness, stiffness, noise levels, and coatings. We’ll dive into some specifics below.

The interior liner of a down jacket serves many purposes: providing extra comfort, insulation, and moisture management. Some common materials used in these interior elements are nylon, polyester, and other down-proof fabrics.

Interior fabrics are consistently less robust than those used for the exterior. They are much softer and more malleable. Because they are exposed to fewer elements and abrasion, they can afford to be silky smooth and thinner. If your down jacket’s liner was composed of stiffer materials it certainly would be less comfortable. 

Exterior fabrics make up the outer face of a down jacket. The layer serves one of the most important purposes when it comes to construction: It protects the insulation and user from elements like rain, snow, wind, and sleet. You’ll notice that exterior fabrics typically have different feels, looks, stitching, and sound. 

Much like interior fabrics, a down jacket’s shell materials are typically made from nylon and polyester. However, they are often treated with finishes like DWR (durable water repellent) or other coatings to make them hydrophobic- and stain-resistant. 

If you find that your down jacket’s shell sounds crunchy, the noise may be due to a couple of factors. The shell material could be made with a stiffer nylon fabric and when given added treatments, it can be a bit noisy or scratchy. Typically down jackets made with premium materials are less noisy due to their finer construction, softer hand feel, and flexibility. An example of this quiet design can be found in the KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket. 

Overall, materials can make or break a down jacket, but you can trust all of the jackets we’ve listed here are well-constructed, durable, and built to last.

An ergonomic collar and hood are significant features for protecting your face, head, ears, neck, and hair against sun, snow, sleet, hail, wind, or rain. Pulling up a hood can help the body retain heat in chilly conditions while shielding you from the elements.

Jacket collars vary in height and ideally have an interior chin guard that feels comfortable against the face, a key component on a windy day. Hoods on down jackets are typically insulated and fixed rather than removable or non-insulated, which you’ll see on lifestyle parka designs. Certain designs have an elastic cinch in the back to snug up the overall fit or one along the hood’s hem.

Occasional hood designs are non-insulated or feature a rigid brim to help keep moisture away from the face. The North Face Nuptse Down Jacket has both, as well as a unique packable (non-removable) hood — it rolls down and stuffs into the collar.

On most women’s down jackets, the sleeve cuffs have a streamlined elastic wrist cuff that stretches when you slide your hands through, meaning it’s easier to pull the jacket on before you put on your gloves. A handful have a wide Velcro strap to tighten down the closure once you pull the jacket on.

The cut of cuffs is typically straight across at the wrist, so the arm length is functional and not cumbersome.

Very few down jackets feature wrist gaiters with thumbholes for extra hand warmth, but the Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket does.

Most jackets include two exterior hand pockets with zip closures. Often, there is at least one interior chest pocket with a zip closure, which can be great for chambering a credit card, ID, or key. It’s always a plus when these interior pockets are made with buttery soft materials, so that your hands stay comfortable while tucked inside. The Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie has some ultrasoft polyester-lined pockets that kept our hands cozy while facing the cold. 

Some down jackets even have an interior self-stow pocket for easy packing and compressibility. Simply flip the pocket or pouch inside out, and then roll or press the jacket into the pocket. Typically there will be a closure — a zipper, button, or drawstring — that you can use to secure your coat inside of itself. This feature especially stood out in the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 Down Jacket.

Women’s down jackets are generally either trim with a streamlined fit or they can be roomier, puffier, and boxier with a more relaxed silhouette. Many materials offer a bit of flexibility or a ton of stretch for a wide range of movement. Not many down jackets look like a marshmallow these days — even the thickest jackets have articulation and style.

Both options can be comfortable. A roomier jacket is better if you plan to wear a bunch of layers beneath your jacket. You can still add layers beneath a fitted style but you might want to consider sizing up, because often the arm, shoulder, or chest areas can get too snug with a midlayer or two beneath.

Size-wise, each manufacturer has its own size charts. Be sure to take your personal measurements and match them up with the size charts, which can differ across brands.

Some companies provide more size inclusivity with broader offerings. That includes Outdoor Research with a size run of XS to XXXL. The North Face has sizes XS to XXL, and Eddie Bauer offers a size range of XS to XXL including regular, petite, tall, and plus options. Everyone’s body is unique, so check the exchange and return policy before you buy.

A down jacket’s weight and compressibility can be an important variable for cargo space and airline travel as well as storage and closet space. Otherwise, a jacket used for everyday errands and social events will generally weigh more than a lightweight technical down jacket made for athletic pursuits. Having a lightweight design for an everyday jacket is typically less of a priority because the comfort, ergonomics, and high warmth factors are the most important.

The longer a jacket is, the more it will weigh and the more space it will take up. The heavier a jacket is, the warmer it will be (read more about fill weight above). If you don’t need a warm winter jacket built for arctic conditions and need one for milder winter temperatures that hover above or around freezing, then the jacket will most likely weigh less.

The lightest down jackets range from the 850+ KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket at a mere 216 g and the 290 g Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody to the 590 g Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie and Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket, which is 682 g. The majority of our favorite down jackets sit around 300 to 400 g.

Ultimately, don’t compromise a jacket’s safety or comfort features and adequate warmth to drop grams.

Like a sleeping bag, some down jackets conveniently come with a stuff sack to assist with compressibility and packing. This will help protect and secure your down jacket in your carry-on, backpack, or duffel. The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody includes an interior stuff sack with a latch to attach a carabiner or your keys. 

While it can be super convenient to put your down jacket in a stuff sack, we wouldn’t recommend it for long-term storage. This can cause damage to the down and lessen its lifetime of loftiness and insulation abilities. 

When thinking about compressibility, it’s important to recognize that weight and compressibility typically do not correlate. An insulated jacket’s ability to compress is usually dependent on its insulation and material types. Even if a natural down jacket is heavier than a synthetic, it will still probably compress a bit better because of the natural loftiness down provides. A higher fill power will always compress better than one of a lower.

The temperature rating of a down jacket refers to the range of temperatures that the down jacket is designed to perform in. In other words, keep the wearer warm. It’s important to note that there is no universal measuring tool for temperature ratings. Many companies utilize various sliding scales, tools, and labels to help consumers understand the performance range.  

Some manufacturers use a specific number or degree to describe their down jacket’s temperature rating. For example, the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 has a digitized temperature rating of -5°F. Meaning, the jacket can be comfortably worn in temperatures as low as -5 when doing moderate activities. However, specific degree temperature ratings should be treated more as a guideline than a hard and fast rule – everyone tends to have various personal preferences and regulate their body temperatures differently. Wind chill is also a factor, as is sweat.

Other companies have specific conditions listed or sliding scales to reflect their temperature ratings. An example of this is the Nuptse Down Jacket from The North Face. On their “warm” sliding scale of 1 to 3, that design is considered a 3, meaning it’s the warmest offering from the brand. 

Temperature ratings can also be a good guideline for how you should layer with your down jacket. Jackets with higher temperature ratings can function well with lighter layers underneath, meaning less bulk. However, they may be toastier on warmer fall and spring days. Alternatively, jackets with lower temperature ratings might require a thicker base layer or more midlayers on chillier days, but should be comfortable when the temps are milder. 

If you’re looking for a down jacket with a specific temperature rating, it’s best to consult the manufacturer’s specifications and consider factors beyond just the temperature rating, such as the jacket’s fill power, insulation amount, and overall design too. 

If you live in a windy climate or are planning on traveling to a gusty place like Chicago, it’s important to purchase a down jacket that has windproofness or wind resistance. 

Windproofness is achieved through a down jacket’s exterior materials and coatings. Tightly woven nylon and polyester shells create a barrier that protects the user from wind. Denser fabrics and windproof coatings are ideal if you’ll be higher up in the alpine or in the midwest where the wind can be highly unpredictable. 

One of the best-insulated jackets for wind resistance in this guide is the Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody, thanks to its special nylon shell. Our testers wore it in some cold slams without feeling any wind penetrate its surface. 

Down jackets are built to be toasty warm, so breathability seems like an oxymoron. It can be hard to find one that’s breathable without sacrificing the insulation. With modern textiles and designs, brands are creating hybrid puffers that are a tad more breathable and suitable for more active use.

Breathable down jackets are ones that utilize mesh zones near the waist, armpits, and back. These sections of fabric allow air to travel to those parts of the body that typically generate the most heat and moisture. The Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 Down Jacket has these vents in the armpits, making it a breathable option.

Another way that designers can add a bit of breathability to a down jacket is with two-way zippers. This also allows for a more customizable fit, because you can keep either your upper or lower torso insulated. This application is highly useful for climbers belaying at the crag or needing to cool off at the summit of an alpine climb. We loved the two-way zippers on the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody that could be adjusted for maximum airflow.

The length of women’s down jackets typically reaches the hips but can reach a bit further, below the hips, which affects the overall warmth and protection from the elements.

Our testers felt that the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket came to just the right length at the hips without limiting any sort of movement or sacrificing warmth. 

Down jackets typically use a single one-way zipper in the front and zippered exterior hand pockets. To help snug up the fit, the best hip-length down jackets for women usually have a streamlined drawstring cord that can be easily tightened and loosened, which can help prevent gusts or snowflakes from scurrying up into the jacket.

The Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket is among the few down jackets with a two-way front zipper, which helps with harness compatibility.

Beyond responsibly sourced down, like the ethically sourced Advanced Global Traceable Down in the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, down jackets have an opportunity to include a bunch of eco-friendly design traits.

Some jackets are created with PFC-free DWR treatments for the exterior or down. That includes the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody, which employs a fluorine-free water resistance treatment on down fill. The Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket likewise features a Nikwax fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic finish on its down fill.

Other designs are made with recycled materials from recycled down to recycled polyester or implement recycled down or a recycled interior fabric liner. The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody has 100% recycled ripstop polyester shell and liner. The Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 implements a 20-denier ripstop polyester that’s windproof and 50% recycled. The REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket uses a recycled nylon taffeta shell fabric. In its hybrid design, the Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie even uses 85% recycled polyester insulation in tops of shoulders and wrist cuffs.

Some jackets also guarantee Fair Trade sewing, Bluesign, climate neutral, or OEKO-TEX Certified fabrics.

Outdoor industry brands have made an effort to source down ethically without animal cruelty and create transparency in the global supply chain. Various certifications exist, but the most common are the Responsible Down Standard and Global Traceable Down Standard. Without meeting such standards, animal abuse can become part of the supply chain. Synthetic choices can set some folks at ease.

However, new programs can help you understand where your jacket’s down is sourced from. The ALLIED Feather & Down TrackMyDown program allows users to trace their down products back to the origin of the fill. 

Winner of a 2019 ISPO Gold Award, the TrackMyDown program provides detailed information on the source of your jacket’s down feathers, including the country of origin, the supplier, and the farms where the birds were raised. Customers can also view information on the quality of their down, including the fill power and the cleanliness of the material. Simply type in your lot number (found on your down jacket’s hang tag) and press enter. 

While there are some incredible sustainable, eco-conscious down jackets in this guide, we can’t help but commend the efforts of Patagonia with their Global Traceable Down Standard and Recycled Down program that reuses bedding, pillows, and other feather-based products found in landfills. The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody utilizes recycled materials and 100% virgin goose down that meets the Global Down Standard. 

Should you choose to go with an insulated jacket made with non-traditional natural materials, we recommend the Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket, which has a wool-based fill.

As we’ve mentioned, synthetic fill can sometimes be a safer choice for users who are out in wet weather. If it’s cold and dry, down is optimal despite a higher cost. We include both synthetic fill and down fill options in this guide.

If you want to make the most of your down jacket’s powerful insulating properties, it’s good to dial in a layering system. The best down jackets should be roomy enough that you can properly layer beneath to keep you warm and comfortable on bone-chilling days. 

Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep your skin dry and warm. Choose a fabric like merino wool or fleece that fits snugly to your body. This layer should be close-fitting but not so tight that it restricts any movement. The more breathable the layer, the better. Avoid any cotton materials, which do not dry well once wet. Your down jacket should be doing the bulk of the warming work, so make sure you don’t overdo it. 

Your down jacket can be treated as an insulating layer or your shell layer, depending on the climate and the design. If you’ll be heading into any sort of moisture like rain, snow, or sleet then you’ll probably want to add a waterproof shell. If you don’t need a shell, your down jacket should do the trick to keep you warm and dry.

If you want extra warmth, you can always add an insulating puffy vest or midlayer sweater over your base layer and beneath the down jacket. 

Remember, the key to layering is to find a balance between warmth and mobility. Too many layers can restrict your movement and make you feel stiff, while too few layers can leave you feeling chilly. By layering to your needs, you can stay warm and comfortable in your down jacket no matter what the winter weather brings.

Our most economic pick in this guide is the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket ($129).

At full price, the most expensive down jackets on our list are among the warmest and offer the most coverage against the elements. Those typically sit in the $300 range like the KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket ($319), The North Face Nuptse Down Jacket ($330), and the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody ($329).

Reaching an even higher price are the Rab Valiance Jacket ($395), the wool-filled Ortovox Swisswool Zinal Jacket ($400), and the Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody ($400).

A huge variety of warm down jackets exist between those two price marks. Most of our favorite down jackets are in the $200-300 range: Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Hoodie ($279), Marmot Women’s Highlander Jacket ($225), and the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket ($295). Also the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody ($300), and our favorite budget pick, the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 ($249).

As fill power and fill weight increase, the warmth increases, and you’ll see the price of a jacket go up. That’s one reason why super lightweight, durable, technical cold-weather jackets are pricy. Jackets that are more expensive also feature more technical design features, materials that are more robust against a range of weather conditions and materials, as well as high-end sustainable materials.

After you learn the different types of winter jackets, you might need to get one of each! This guide focuses on warm, functional, well-made choices for being outside during everyday commutes, errands, and casual activity. They’ll protect you on your bike ride to the post office, walking the dogs, or going to and from the Nordic center or gym.

Here’s how winter jackets as a whole are each a bit different:

The best down jacket to buy is based on how technical you want your down jacket to be and how warm or water-resistant you need it to be. Take a close look at the product details for each down jacket in our guide to see if it’s a good fit for your intended use.

In general and for everyday casual use in cold conditions, one of the best women’s down jackets that reigned supreme in our testing was the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, but we also included a runner-up (the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 Down Jacket). But a single jacket isn’t going to perfectly fit and please everyone. You simply can’t go wrong with either of these for everyday use and travel.

Generally, a down puffy is a perfect layer to add to your backpacking pack, whether it’s for day hiking or backpacking — unless you expect a ton of moisture then consider a synthetic option.

If you’re buying a puffy specifically for backpacking, you’ll also want to make sure it works with your other layers, is comfortable to wear with a pack, and can pack down small.

Down jackets are designed to be insulating and warm. However, you should still leave a little room for layering. That being said, you don’t want a jacket to be too big. If so, the airspace between your body, the inside of the jacket, and the insulation is wasted space and you’ll lose heat.

If a jacket is too small, you won’t have as good of a range of motion — essential, especially when engaging in high-output activities in the cold — or be able to layer much beneath.

We recommend checking each brand’s sizing guide (which is unique to each and very single brand) to ensure that you get the best-fitting jacket possible.

The highest fill power, 900, is also going to be the warmest. The majority of down jackets we tested (and a good reflection of what’s on the market) were 650-fill to 800-fill.

Our down jackets range in price from $129, the 650-fill REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket, to the 700-fill Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket ($415). For a dependable, long-lasting, and comfortable jacket that blocks the elements and keeps us safe, that price range isn’t too bad even at the high end.

Fill power ratings range from 400 to 900 and even greater. Most of the jackets on this list are in the 650- to 800-fill range, with a few clocking in above or below. Generally, the quality increases with the fill number:

The 900-fill down is probably overkill, unless you’re traveling to arctic or high alpine environments in winter.

The higher the fill power, the higher the price will be. You’ll want to weigh price but also usage. Do you frequent cold places and need a quality jacket? Do you run cold? Then consider investing in a higher-fill down option, like 700-fill Rab Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket or 800-fill Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody.

Also consider that not all down jackets are the same level of windproofness or water resistance, which can influence your overall warmth depending on the conditions where you’ll be. Some jackets are also loftier than others and better for stationary activities like standing at the sled hill versus dynamic heat-producing activities like alpine climbing.

That said, if you’re deciding between two jackets and one is much higher in price, always check the fill power. Most well-made down jackets we own are between 650- and 700-down fill. As we mentioned, the amount of fill power you need depends on where you’ll be adventuring — how cold it will be — and whether or not the activity is sedentary. But it doesn’t hurt to have an 800-fill for your coldest adventures.

Yes! Down jackets are a great insulating piece to wear under your ski shell while you’re shredding the mountain. 

For skiing and snowboarding, we recommend wearing a lighter-weight down jacket with a mid-level down fill (think a 600-700 down fill). This way you don’t get too cold, and can easily stow it away in your pack if temps warm up. 

We recommend the Marmot Women’s Highlander Jacket to pair under your ski or snowboard shell due to its lightweight materials and athletic fit.

To guarantee the longevity and quality of your down jacket, it’s important to know how to properly store it when it’s not in use. Whether you’re heading somewhere tropical for a few weeks, packing up your winter garb, or getting ready for a big move, here are some tips on how to store your down jacket properly. 

When storing your down jacket, we recommend placing it in an uncompressed breathable storage bag or hanging it on a wide hanger in a dry, well-ventilated room. Make sure you don’t compress your down jacket for long periods of time as this can cause it to lose its loftiness and insulation properties. To even further improve your jacket’s lifespan, try fluffing out the jacket by giving it a few shakes periodically.

We get it, it happens. You’re out on a hike in the winter and snag your sleeve on a branch or maybe your cat thought your brand new down jacket was a scratching post. Don’t fret, because down jackets are easy to repair if the rip isn’t too large. 

Simply head to your local gear store and grab a down jacket repair kit. Typically these kits include a special jacket tape that goes right over the hole, or a patch and small bottle of clear fabric glue. Make sure you clean the area of the coat of any dirt, oils or debris that could prevent the adhesive from working to its best potential. 

If the rip is out of your repair limits, check the manufacturer’s warranty policy. Many companies like Patagonia and Cotopaxi will assess the damage of your jacket and fix or replace it for little to no extra cost.

We found the best down jackets of 2023. From ultralight backpacking jackets to budget-friendly everyday puffy jackets, we’ve got you covered.

We tested the best winter boots for women of 2024, from winter hiking boots to extra-warm snow boots. Our top picks include Sorel, Timberland, and more!

Based among the awe-inspiring peaks of Crested Butte, Colorado, Morgan Tilton is a Senior Editor for GearJunkie honing the SnowSports Buyer’s Guides alongside warmer coverage. More broadly, she’s an adventure journalist specializing in outdoor industry news and adventure travel stories, which she’s produced for more than a decade and more than 80 publications to date. A recipient of 14 North American Travel Journalists Association awards, when she’s not recovering from high alpine or jungle expeditions she’s usually trail running, mountain biking, or splitboarding in Southwest Colorado, where she grew up and lives today. From resort to backcountry and human-powered to motorized travel, she loves sliding across snow.

Meghan LaHatte is a contributor for GearJunkie and a graphic designer for the Aspen Daily News. A recent college graduate, she is excited to dive into work with the outdoor industry, journalism, and her role as a gear tester. She’s sharpened her skills as the head marketing photographer for Momentum Ski Camps, as a climbing instructor for Western Colorado University, and as a sales representative for Redline Gallery in Crested Butte, CO. Based in Western Colorado, Meghan is a passionate rock climber, roller skater, skier, artist and coffee connoisseur — all of which she does alongside her rescue dog, Opa.

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