There are a lot of really great down jackets out there on the market. Down is a superior insulation material in a few different ways, and manufacturers who make quality products recognize this, and use down to its full potential. But even so, the warmest down jacket will have a few things going for it that most other down jackets wont. Of course if you want the best, you will have to pay a premium, but then to get the best it’s usually worth paying a little more.
Warmest Down JacketWhat to look for when you're looking for the warmest down jacket.
- Quality vs Quantity – The better quality the down inside you jacket is, the warmer you will be. Down jackets designed for backpackers and hikers often has a high quality down of 800+ fill or more, which keeps you warm without adding weight. On the other hand, if you want to stay really warm and aren’t too concerned about weight, then some jackets are stuffed to the brim with lower quality down, and take a quantity over quality approach.
- Water Resistant – You can have the warmest down jacket in the world, but if you get the down wet you’re going to get cold fast, because down stops being a good insulator when it gets wet. So if you want to stay warm inside your jacket, it pays to make sure that the down stays dry.
Best Warmest Down JacketSome of the very best and warmest down jackets for men and women.
- Canada Goose Expedition Down Parka (Women's) - If you want the absolute warmest down jacket you can get your hands on, the Expedition from Canada Goose is a good choice. It's been a popular choice at the National Science Foundation at Antarctica's McMurdo Station research facility for the past 20 years, to give you an idea of just how warm this jacket is. It's packed full of 625+ fill duck down, and comes with a few features, like fleece lined pockets and a fur lined hood, that will keep your extremities warm too. It's water resistant, and a seriously warm down jacket.
- Mont Bell Alpine Light Down Parka (Women's) - If you want something warm that you can also stay active in, the Alpine Light Down Parka from Mont Bell is an excellent choice. It's stuffed with plenty of 800+ fill down, and comes with a hood, along with a couple of hand pockets for your cold hands. It has a water resistant shell, and a few thoughtful features like a microfleece lined collar and a drawcord hem that will help you stay good and warm. It also won the 2011 Backpacker magazine Editor's Choice award.
- Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoodie Jacket (Women's) - The Patagonia Ultralight is an ideal jacket for someone looking for a compromise between staying warm and saving as much weight as possible. It's not all that thick, but it does have both a hood and a couple of zippered hand pockets so that you can keep those extremities warm, plus a drawcord hem to keep warm air trapped inside. It uses 800+ fill down and a water resistant exterior to keep you and the down inside the jacket dry. So not nearly as warm as the two jackets above, but a good compromise between warmth and weight.