Just like any kind of jackets, there are all different kinds of shapes and sizes to choose from. But if you’re a backpacker, hiker or something similar, you will likely want the lightest down jacket that you can get. Every little piece of gear adds weight to your backpack, after all, and it is better to be carrying a lightweight down jacket than it is to be carrying a heavy down jacket. Lighter down jackets also tend to be more compressible, another trait that backpackers, hikers and other, similar outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate.
Lightest Down JacketWhat to look for when you want the lightest down jacket possible.
- Down Quality – Everything else being equal, a 900+ fill down jacket will be lighter than a 800+ fill down jacket. The reason is that the 900+ fill down lofts better, and thus provides you with more warmth without adding weight. Not only that, the better quality down will compress down better, because there’s less of it for the same amount of warmth.
- Hood – If your goal is to have the lightest down jacket possible then you will likely want to do away with extras, like a hood. A hood could be useful, of course, but it adds weight. Even smaller features, like pockets, add weight and bulk that you might not want.
Best Lightest Down JacketsSome of the best light down jackets for your next hiking or backpacking adventure.
- Mont Bell Ex Light Down Jacket (Women's) - At just 5.7 ounces, or 161 grams for the men's, this is about as light as a down jacket gets. First, it uses 900+ fill down, which is the high quality stuff that weighs less for the same amount of warmth. It also comes without any extras, and that includes a hood and even hand warming pockets. It's a basic, stripped down down jacket designed for one thing, and that's saving as much weight as possible. So if you want the lightest down jacket possible, this is very likely it.
- Patagonia Ultraight Down Hoodie Jacket (Women's) - If you want light, but you want the features too, then this would be a better choice than the Ex Light above. It uses 800 fill down, which isn't quite as light as the 900 fill down of the Ex Light. But it also includes a hood and a couple of pockets for your hands, plus a zippered chest pocket for a few essentials. And while it's not as lightweight as the Ex Light, its weight of 9 ounces, which is 255 grams is certainly not heavy.
- GoLite Bitterroot 850 Down Jacket (Women's) - Another relatively lightweight down jacket, this one designed for slighter cooler temperatures. What you need to remember is that the less down there is inside the jacket there is, the lighter it will be, but also the colder it will be. So if you want to stay warm in cold temperatures, but also want a lightweight jacket, this might be a good choice. It uses 850 fill down, as the name would suggest, and a hood, plus a couple of pockets for your hands. It weighs 12 ounces, or 340 grams, but most of that extra weight, when you compare it to the lighter Patagonia jacket above, is extra down which goes towards keeping you warmer.