A hood is a very useful feature to have on a down jacket. A down jacket with hood will keep you quite a bit warmer than one without a hood, for the simple reason that you lose a lot of body heat from your head. When you cover that area up, then, you retain all of that body heat. But the other thing that hoods get used for, protecting your head from rain, you should definitely not be using a hooded down jacket for, because you should do whatever you can to keep your down jacket from getting wet. Wet down doesn’t insulate very well.
Down Jacket with HoodWhat to look for when you want a down jacket with hood.
- Water Resistant – First and foremost, you should make sure that any down jacket with a hood you get is water resistant. If you ever end up using that hood to fend off any rain, you will need to prevent the down inside from getting wet, and a water resistant shell is the best way to do that.
- Down Quality – The other big variable when it comes to down jackets, with or without hoods, is the quality of the down. If you’re a backpacker, hiker or anyone else who might be carrying your down jacket in a backpack, you should know that higher quality down will both weigh less and compress down better than the low quality stuff.
Best Down Jacket with HoodSome of the very best down jackets with hoods, for men and women.
- Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody Jacket (Women's) - If you want something lightweight and thin that you can stay active in when the temperature dips just a little, the Ultralight Down Hoody is perfect. It uses 800 fill down, plus a water resistant exterior that will help keep the down dry. The hood will keep your head warm, and there are a couple of zippered hand pockets for your hands. It's lightweight and close fitting with a low profile, but then it's designed to be ultralight.
- Mont Bell Alpine Light Down Parka (Women's) - This parka from Mont Bell does a good job of being warm and still functional for all kinds of technical pursuits. It's quite a bit thicker than the Patagonia option above, which will keep you warm down to much lower temperatures. It won the 2011 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, so you know it's a very good option for staying warm. Besides a hood it has a couple of hand warmer pockets, plus a few thoughtful features like a fleece lined collar that will help to keep you warm. The jacket uses 800+ fill down and a water resistant treatment on the exterior.
- Canada Goose Expedition Down Parka (Women's) - The Expedition Down Parka is the hooded down jacket that you want for those truly cold days. It's a been a favorite with the staff at the McMurdo research facility in Antarctica for the last 20 years, to give you an idea of just how warm you can expect to stay inside it. It uses quality 625+ fill duck down, not goose down, and a whole lot of it. There's also a few nice features like a fur lined hood and a couple of fleece lined pockets that will further help to keep you toasty warm inside. So a down jacket with hood for when you really need to stay warm.