Most people probably don’t care too much about the weight of their down jacket, they just want to be warm. But for campers, backpackers, hikers and anyone else who has to carry their own gear over a long distance, weight can matter quite a bit. Why carry a heavy down jacket, after all, when you could be carrying an ultralight down jacket instead? The lighter a down jacket is, generally, the better it will compress as well, and the better it will fit in to an already crowded backpack.
Ultralight Down JacketWhat to look for when buying an ultralight down jacket.
- Fill Quality – All other things being equal, the down jacket with the higher quality down will weigh less. So a 900+ fill down jacket will weigh less than a 700+ fill down jacket. If you want an ultralight down jacket, then, get one with as high a filly quality as possible.
- Hood – A hood can be a useful feature to have on a jacket, but part of the reason for a hood is to protect from the rain, and you definitely don’t want to be getting a down jacket wet, so you probably wont be using the hood for when it rains. So getting a down jacket without a hood wont impact performance too much, and it also saves weight.
Best Ultralight Down JacketSome of the very best ultralight down jackets for men and women.
Men's Ultralight Down Jacket
- Mont Bell Ex Light - If you really, truly want ultralight then there are few choices better than the Ex Light from Mont Bell. It has no pockets, no hood and nothing much else to speak of, in terms of features. But it uses 900+ fill down, which the is the high quality stuff that weighs very little and compresses down very well. It also, crucially, has a DWR treated exterior, to keep the down dry. It weighs a grand total of just 5.7 ounces, or 161 grams.
- Patagonia Ultralight - If you want an ultralight down jacket, but you want a few pockets to put your hands in too, Patagonia's Ultralight jacket is ideal. Besides hand pockets it also has a zippered chest pocket and a hood, so plenty of options for keeping those extremities warm. It uses 800+ fill down, which is still high quality, has a water repellent shell, and weighs in at 9 ounces, or 255 grams.
Women's Ultralight Down Jacket
- Mont Bell Ex Light - The best of the best when it comes to ultralight down jackets is the Ex Light from Mont Bell. It uses 900+ fill down, which is lighter and compresses down better than everything but 950+ fill down, which is extremely rare stuff. It also has a water resistant shell, to keep the down dry, but lacks even essentials like pockets for your hands. A truly ultralight, minimalist down jacket. It weighs 4.7 ounces, which is 133 grams.
- Patagonia Ultralight - The Ultralight from Patagonia strikes a good balance between ultralight and feature rich. It has the essentials, like zippered hand pockets and a water resistant exterior, as well as a few extras like a zippered chest pocket and a hood, both of which are things many people will want and appreciate. It uses 800+ fill, which is a great quality, and weighs in at 9 ounces, or 255 grams.