When it comes to staying warm in cold weather, down makes an ideal insulator. For backpackers, campers and hikers especially, down provides a warmth to weight ratio that makes it a very attractive option. It's the kind of garment that you can stuff in to your bag and forget about until you need it. The one big caveat with down, however, is that you should try as much as possible to not get it wet. But that said, you will not have much trouble finding a great women's down jacket.
Women's Down JacketWhat to look for when you are reviewing women's down jackets.
- Waterproof - Down jackets don't have to be waterproof, but it certainly helps if they are at least water resistant. Down tends to clump when it gets wet, and when it clumps, it stops doing a very good job of insulating you from the cold. So it's a good idea to either have a waterproof down jacket, or to have a waterproof layer that you can throw over your down jacket if you think the weather could get ugly.
- Quality of Down - There is a wide range of quality when it comes to down, which is referred to fill. A 800+ fill down jacket, for instance, is quite good, but not as good as a 900+ fill down jacket. What that number refers to is the loft of the down. The better loft the down has, the more insulation, or warmth, the down will give you, without adding any weight. Backpackers and campers in particular should be paying attention to the this number.
Best Women's Down JacketThe best of the best when it comes to women's down jackets.
- Patagonia Down Sweater - First up, a great, basic down jacket from Patagonia. It uses 800+ fill down, and the polyester exterior has a water repellent finish that helps protect the down from moisture. It's missing features backpackers might look for, like a hood, but that means that it works well as a jacket for around town too. It weighs 11 ounces, or 311 grams.
- Canada Goose Montebello Down Parka - When you really, really want to stay warm, Canada Goose is the brand name you go to. The jacket only uses 650+ fill duck down, but lots of it, to make this an extremely warm jacket. Features like a hood lined with coyote fur and a DWR finish on the exterior to keep water out will help keep you warm even in the worst conditions.
- Mont Bell EX Light Down Jacket - The EX Light is light on features, but this helps it achieve what it is really going for, which is lightweight. The jacket weighs just 4.7 ounces, or 133 grams, which is far less than the comparable Patagonia jacket above. A big part of this weight saving is that EX Light is filled with 900+ fill down, which is the good stuff. This is a women's down jacket that hikers, backpackers and campers can really appreciate.