Most people that do any research on down quickly hear about the fact that it’s a rather poor insulator when it gets wet. When it’s dry it has one of the best warmth to weight ratios around, but when down gets wet it clumps, which makes it all but useless for keeping you warm. So a waterproof down jacket is a great idea. Most down jackets are water repellent, rather than waterproof, meaning that they will survive a few showers without getting wet, but not a real down pour.
Waterproof Down JacketFeatures to look for when buying a new waterproof down jacket.
- Fill Quality – Down varies quite a bit in quality, based on the fill number. 700 fill down, for instance, provides less loft, and therefore less warmth, than the same amount of 900 fill down does. So whatever kind of down jacket you’re buying, you want to pay attention to the fill number, especially if weight is important to you.
- Waterproof or Water Repellent – There are a lot of water repellent down jackets out there, but not as many waterproof down jackets. Part of the reason for this is that down needs to breath, because the warmth it provides comes from loft, and if the exterior of the down is airtight, the loft of the garment is compromised, in much the same way vacuum packing something shrinks it.
Best Waterproof Down JacketSome of the very best waterproof down jackets, for both men and women.
Men's Waterproof Down Jacket
- Mont Bell Ex Light Down Jacket - If you're happy with water resistant, and you're buying with camping, hiking or backpacking mind then the Ex Light jacket from Mont Bell is a fantastic choice. It uses very high quality 900+ fill down, which means it will pack down very small, perfect for stuffing in to a backpack. It also means this jacket is extremely lightweight, and at 5.7 ounces, or 161 grams, you wont find many lighter.
- The North Face McMurdo Down Parka - If you need a down jacket that really is waterproof, then the McMurdo from North Face is a good choice. The down is lower quality 550+ fill, but there's plenty of it, and features like a fur lined hood and plenty of pocket room help to make up for it. A solid down jacket if what you need is waterproof.
Women's Waterproof Down Jacket
- Mont Bell Ex Light Down Jacket - The same jacket as the Mont Bell in the men's section above, but with a more feminine cut. It uses 900+ fill down, which is very high quality, but is only water resistant, not waterproof. But the high quality down and low profile means that this jackets packs down very small, which is ideal for campers, hikers and backpackers. It also weighs just 4.7 ounces, or 133 grams, which is also ideal for campers, hikers and backpackers.
- The North Face Greenland Down Jacket - If water resistant isn't going to cut it and you need waterproof, the Greenland is a good choice from North Face. The down is only 550+ fill, so this jacket is never going to be thought of as lightweight or compact, but it does have a good hood with a fur liner, and a couple of pockets for your hands, both features which the Ex Light from Mont Bell lacks.