Down is a wonderful material that does an excellent job of insulating. It’s such a popular insulator because it has a better warmth to weight ratio than just about any other material in its class. It allows you to stay warm without adding much weight, which is ideal for backpackers, hikers and campers. Down jackets for women and men also pack down extremely small, another feature that backpacker, hikers and campers will definitely appreciate. The only thing it doesn’t do well is get wet, but with a few precautions you can avoid that.
Down Jackets for WomenThings to look at when you're considering buying a down jacket.
- Down Quality – One of the more important things to look at when buying a down jacket is the quality of the down. Down quality varies quite a bit, from the lower end of 600+ fill down up to the higher end, of 900+ fill down. Higher quality down will provide more warmth for less weight than low quality down, a trade off that backpackers, hikers and campers in particular should pay attention to.
- Waterproofing – Another thing to look out for on down jackets is a waterproof, or at least water resistant exterior. Remember that you should never be getting down wet, and unless you want to have to pull out a rain shell every time it starts sprinkling, a waterproof or water resistant outer is a good idea on a down jacket.
Best Down Jackets for WomenSome of the very best down jackets for women on the market right now.
- Mont Bell Alpine Light Down Parka - First up, the 2011 winner of the Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award. This is a fantastic down jacket by a couple of different metrics. First, it uses the high quality 800+ fill down. One thing that it has that you don't find on many down jackets is a hood. Hoods are great for regulating body temperature, and a useful feature for backpackers and campers. It also has a DWR treatment to help keep water out. If you're looking for a down jacket to take camping or backpacking, it will be hard to do better than this.
- Patagonia Down Sweater - For something a little more suited to around the town as much as the trail, there is the Down Sweater from Patagonia. There's no hood, but the 800+ fill down will definitely help to keep you warm. Beyond that it has a water repellent finish, which helps to keep the down dry and you warm.
- Canada Goose Expedition Down Parka - If you're looking for a down jacket to keep you warm in the worst weather, you want a Canada Goose jacket. Despite the name this jacket is actually made with duck down, not goose. It's a big and thick jacket, and has things like fleece lined pockets, a water resistant finish and a fur lined hood to keep you warm when it's seriously cold out. Canada Goose jackets are not cheap, but for cold weather they're the best.