Best Packable Down Jackets for Traveling Reviewed
Packable down jackets provide you with enough insulation to keep you warm without overheating and are incredibly portable, so you can pack them up and take them with you wherever you go—and they are perfect for all you backpackers out there.
So, if you need a lightweight packable jacket that is durable, compressible, and stylish, you will love our top 10 best packable down jackets we have chosen to feature on our list below. Check them out and find the perfect jacket below.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Hydrophobic down performs well in wet conditions
Packs into its own pocket
Third party Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification
Large zippered pockets
Great warmth-to-weight ratio
10 Packable Down Jackets Reviewed
1. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Hydrophobic down performs well in wet conditions
Packs into its own pocket
Third party Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification
Large zippered pockets
Great warmth-to-weight ratio
If you are looking for a lightweight option with all the warmth and features of the regular jacket, look no further than the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer. Weighing in at just 7.8 ounces, this jacket features hydrophobic down and a very tight but lightweight nylon weave to maintain its warmth through wet conditions. The price is a bit high, but you cannot do much better for good weight-to-warmth and certified responsible down.Read more
To maintain a lightweight, this jacket uses a tight weave of very light 7D x 10D nylon ripstop for the outer shell. Despite the thin feel, users find this jacket performs and blocks wind and light moisture just as well as some mid-weight options and much better than its fellow lightweights.
This Mountain Hardwear jacket falls in the more expensive price bracket of 300-400 dollars. While it is more expensive, it does offer excellent performance and surprisingly good durability for its lightweight.
Despite its lightweight, this jacket manages to include zippered pockets, an insulated hood and an adjustable cord at the hem. The fit is described as form-fitting. It runs a bit tighter across the chest and shoulders with some more room through the torso.
Mountain Hardwear uses patented Q-shield technology to infuse down with water-repelling properties. This hydrophobic down does not get weighed down as easily when exposed to moisture and will retain its heat better than regular down.
This Mountain Hardwear jacket weighs in at just 7.8 ounces according to their website. Users report the outer shell does feel very delicate but seems to be more durable than one would think. The ultralight zipper does reduce weight but a few users find it a bit too flimsy at times. Ultimately, the jacket packs down very small into its own pocket and adds minimal weight to your pack.
2. Patagonia Down
Great warmth-to-weight ratio
100% Global traceable down standard (cruelty-free)
Durable 20Dx30D polyester ripstop shell
Soft lining around face
Slightly larger when compressed compared to the other best packable down jackets
The Patagonia Down Sweater is a versatile piece that functions as an excellent mid-layer for snow sports and also provides enough wind and water resistance for around town wear or to have on hand for weekend hikes. It tops our best packable down jackets list for its impeccable design and high quality, responsibly sourced materials.Read more
This sweater has a fill power of 800; users find it provides reliable warmth as a mid-layer in very cold temperatures. In moderately cold weather, the DWR (durable water-resistant) coating and combination of 20D and 30D polyester ripstop do an adequate job of blocking the wind when worn as a regular jacket.
Patagonia leads the field in sustainability and responsible material sourcing with 100% traceable down in this sweater. This means the company has gone through extra lengths to ensure the geese are never force-fed or live-plucked. The shell reflects efforts for sustainability as well with 100% recycled polyester ripstop.
The down sweater is neither loose nor snug. There is a bit more space through the torso and sleeves than more fitted jackets. However, users find the jacket maintains a good range of motion when layered over another sweater but it does not feel too baggy when worn with a thin base layer.
This down sweater relies on heavier zippers that have a wicking storm flap through the body and comforting fleece lining areas around the face. Two zippered pockets are insulated to warm hands and the internal zippered pocket doubles as a stuff sack. Elastic cuffs and a pull-cord hem that can be pulled from the pocket helps to cinch this jacket down and keep cold air and snow out.
According to Patagonia’s website, this jacket weighs in around 12.2 ounces for women and 13.1 ounces for men. The heavy zippers and thicker fabric add a bit of weight to this down sweater but it remains mid-range for weight when compared to similar models. However, it does come in an ultralight version as well, weighing 8.2 ounces for women and 9.5 ounces for men.
This jacket stuffs into an interior chest pocket. The price will range between 200 and 300 dollars on this high-quality jacket. It is a great value for the weight-to-warmth ratio and you can feel good about supporting Patagonia’s responsible practices when compared to the other best packable down jackets.
3. Black Diamond Cold Forge
Adjustable hood that is compatible with helmets
The Black Diamond Cold Forge packable insulated down jacket is one of the highest-rated options of the season this winter. It comes highly rated and reviewed by countless users and is incredibly durable, lightweight, and will definitely keep you nice and toasty while you are out this winter.Read more
This jacket features PrimaLoft Gold insulation that is RDS certified for optimal warmth during the winter. It also features 20D ripstop material for optimal durability—so you can count on this jacket being around for the long haul and through countless winters.
The Black Diamond brand is known for their high-quality products that are built to last. Countless users love the brand’s products, and this packable down jacket is no exception.
As far as style goes, this jacket is available in lots of colors to choose from. There are options for both men and women and fits loosely enough that you can definitely layer up with this jacket. It also has pockets so you can store your gloves or additional gear.
When it comes to weather resistance, this jacket features a DWR finish that makes it water-resistant and able to take on the wind and the cold when you get stuck. It also has a hood that is helmet-compatible, so you can adjust it to fit with or without a helmet for more protection.
Weighing in at 575 grams, this jacket is incredibly lightweight and easy to take with you wherever you go. So, for those of you hitting the slopes, you will love this one!
4. North Face Transit II
Available in lots of colors to choose from
If you love North Face, then you will definitely love this jacket. It is comfortable, durable, lightweight, and will keep you nice and warm—even when it is freezing out.Read more
As far as insulation goes, this jacket features down insulation that will keep you warm. The jacket also features nylon materials that ensure it is durable and comfortable.
The North Face brand is known for their cold-weather gear and over the years they have gained quite the reputation. Founded by two hikers in the 60’s , this brand has truly come a long way and you can definitely count on their jackets to keep you warm—especially this one.
Available in lots of colors to choose from, you ladies will definitely look stylish in this packable down jacket—so make sure to check it out. The best part about this one is you can layer up as much as you need to.
Although this jacket is not completely waterproof, it is water-resistant—so you can take it out in the snow or even light rain.
Because it is lightweight, this jacket is really easy to take with you wherever you go. It is easily packable and perfect for your outdoor enthusiasts out there.
5. Marmot Tulles
The Marmot Tulles jacket is my personal favorite and it definitely gets the job done. Not only will this jacket keep you warm throughout the night, but it is also lightweight, durable, and easy to pack with you wherever you go!Read more
This Marmot jacket features 600-fill down defender down insulation to ensure you stay nice and warm when it is really cold out. It is also made of polyester material, which makes it comfortable, durable, and weather-resistant.
The Marmot brand is a USA brand that is well-known for its outdoor gear and many outdoor enthusiasts have come to rely on this brand for their winter gear.
When it comes to style, this jacket is not available in a lot of colors and is pretty minimalistic, but it still looks great. It features an athletic fit so it will look great—and you can layer it up if you want to. This jacket also has pockets and features the logo on the chest area.
Although this jacket is not completely waterproof, you will find this jacket is quite water-resistant. It has a polyester lining which makes it extra water-resistant and breathable. This jacket also has a hood that you can cover your head with and a collar that provides you with added protection. The storm flat and zipper will keep you well protect and the cuffs on the sleeves won’t let anything in.
Not only is this packable down jacket really lightweight, but it is also really portable and packable—so you can have it with you wherever you go—whether it is for a mountain vacation or for running errands while it is cold outside.
6. Arc'teryx Cerium LT
Down composite mapping improves durability without sacrificing warmth
Insulated zippered pockets
20x10 denier ripstop nylon
Responsibly sourced down
Users note feather shedding
Not 100% down
Shorter through the torso
This jacket from Arc'teryx tops most lists of the best packable down jackets. The unique and careful combination of materials finds an excellent balance between functionality and packability. The strategic use of synthetic down in some areas improves durability without sacrificing anything in weight or warmth, which is a great option as the best packable down jacket women's wear too.Read more
Down composite mapping strategically places real down around the core and hood with synthetic Coreloft material around the shoulders, underarms, collar, and cuffs. The use of synthetic Coreloft filling in areas most prone to getting wet reduces the chances of moisture penetrating the down and compressing it.
Reviewers do not report much difference in warmth between this jacket and those of full-down. It provides good warmth as a mid-layer for outdoor sports or as an around-town jacket.
The Arc'teryx name carries with it a reputation for high-quality design, reliable performance and clean lines, and, with that, a higher price tag. The strategic use of synthetic Coreloft extends the life of this jacket so it should last a few more seasons than a budget brand. A few reviewers note some feather shedding but most find it to be on par with other quality down jackets.
The Cerium LT hoody runs small and has a fitted silhouette that fits easily under shells and backpacks. It is a bit shorter through the torso than others on this list. This jacket features a hood and insulated handwarmer pockets.
The shell is made of a combination of 20D and 10D ripstop nylon fabrics to find the proper balance of heavy durability and lightweight portability.
At 10.8 ounces, it is not the lightest weight option for down jackets. However, it still cannot be considered heavy, especially when taking into account the warmth and insulation it provides with only 10.8 ounces of material. It comes with a 0.21-ounce stuff sack that can be tied inside the pocket of the jacket.
7. Rab Microlight
Uses hydrophobic nylon
Heavier in comparison
This down jacket by Rab is a warm, comfortable, and easily packable jacket to choose from the best packable down jackets options. The brand is a little lesser known, but that does not take away from its quality, durability, and effectiveness.Read more
This jacket uses Nylon Ripstop fabric on the inner part and Pertex microlight on the outer part of the jacket. It has 750 FP goose down and is designed to protect you from the wind and the cold.
At around $200, this jacket is pricey but worth it if you are looking for a durable, waterproof, comfortable, and packable option from the best packable down jackets list.
This jacket fits well and the sizes run true to size.
This jacket is one of the most durable selections from the best packable down jackets list. It utilizes Hydrophobic down, so you don't need to worry if it gets wet. This one will keep you warm and wick away moisture at the same time.
The Rab Microlight is one of the heavier jackets on this list, weighing in at 15.4 ounces. While it may not be your top choice for a long backpacking trip, users still find it to be lightweight and convenient for packing into the included stuff sack.
8. Outdoor Research Transcendent
More durable shell
3 storage pockets
Stuffs into pocket
Not the best stand alone jacket
Affordable quality design with a more durable lining and ample storage space. It remains very lightweight and packs down well considering it features a thicker shell and lining, 3 zippered pockets and a fully adjustable hood. TRead more
Some reviewers describe this jacket as more of a heavy sweater. With 650 fill power, it provides less warmth than some of the more expensive jackets. However, thicker 20D polyester shell and 44D nylon lining provide more substantial protection from the wind than flimsy alternatives. Down is certified according to the RDS.
If you are seeking a quality mid-layer to add to your outdoor wardrobe, the value of this sweater is unbeatable. It can frequently be found for less than 200 dollars and the more durable shell prevents snags and shedding so you can enjoy your down layer longer.
This jacket has a slim fit that is roomy enough to accommodate a sweater and streamlined enough to fit under another jacket making it an ideal mid-layer.
his jacket is not super warm on its own and does not offer much in the way of water resistance but is an excellent piece for layering when compared to the other best packable down jackets.
With the hood, a men's large weighs in around 15.4 ounces. It packs into one of the two zippered handwarmer pockets to a fairly small size. Most users are impressed by the packability and do not seem to notice the extra few ounces.
9. Arc’teryx Proton LT
Has a hood
If you want a durable, breathable, and ultra-warm down packable jacket that will keep you protected from the water and wind that comes with the winter weather. It is also incredibly versatile and perfect for all of your favorite winter activities!Read more
This jacket features insulation that is incredibly breathable and effective at keeping you nice and warm. It is perfect as a mid-layer as well, so you can layer over or under it for optimal warmth. The jacket itself is also abrasion-resistant and ultra-durable.
This brand is known for their high-quality outdoor gear and many users have come to solely rely on the brand to keep them warm, protected, and comfortable while you are in the great outdoors.
As far as style goes, this jacket is available in several colors to choose from and features an athletic fit that looks sleek and stylish—so you can layer up if you want to.
The best part about this jacket is that it features a durable water repellant finish that keeps water away and repels moisture to ensure your jacket is completely waterproof.
As far as portability goes, this jacket is extremely lightweight and built to be easily packable and portable, so you can take it with you wherever you go.
10. Mountain Hardwear Stretch Down
Unique stretch design
Water resistant shell
Made in the USA
Insulation maintains loft when wet
Doesn't pack down as small as other options
This option from the best packable down jackets list has a unique design with individually insulated chambers that keep the user really warm and cozy. It stretches with your movement so it's great for runners and other athletes. The 750 fill down keeps its insulation when it's wet although the outer material does offer some water resistance.Read more
The chambers are filled with 750 down. It's one of the warmest jackets we tested.
Mountain Hardwear is a great company and has been making quality outdoor products since 1993. They're known for their tough and durable apparel.
Users felt like this looked good when wearing it around town. Some people were disappointed that it didn't have more of a technical fit.
The shell material offers the user pretty good protection against moisture. If the insulation does get wet the 750 down still keeps its loft to help you stay warm.
This one doesn't pack down as small as some other options on the best packable down jackets list, but it can definitely be packed into some pretty tight places.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Down is one of the best, if not the best insulators known. Even scientists working in labs haven't been able to create anything that works better at such a lightweight than this natural wonder.
The materials used in the best packable down jackets play directly to the level of comfort you get when you wear it. To quantify the quality of down, manufacturers use fill power as their measurement. Fill power reflects the amount of loft the down has. Down with higher fill powers have more loft, or cover more area, than lower fill powers.
Therefore, with high quality down, you get more fill (and warmth) with a lower amount of down, bringing down the weight of your jacket. Premium down (800 fill power and higher) is typically reserved for high-performance jackets where keeping weight down is important. Since the products on this list focus on packability over maximum warmth most of the products on this list are in the 650-750 fill power range.
At the end of the day, you need to make sure to get a jacket that offers the right insulation for you. All of the jackets on our list are incredibly warm and designed to keep you cool and dry--so you never overheat and start sweating. So, make sure to keep your needs and preferences at the forefront of your decision-making process to ensure you get something that works for you.
With something as important as staying warm we think it's important to stick with the well-known, highest-quality companies that are making the best packable down jackets.
Using products made in some way from animals require careful consideration for the brand's requirements to ensure humane treatment is maintained. Unfortunately, like many animal byproducts, the collection of down from birds can be an ugly and inhumane process. Some practices include live-plucking birds for down and force-feeding to produce products like foie gras.
That is why many companies selling the best packable down jackets like Eddie Bauer, Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, and Outdoor Research choose to acquire third-party certifications for their own. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an independent and voluntary global standard that follows the down from the farm to the product to ensure birds are treated humanely.
This means they are never live-plucked or force-fed. Rab also certifies their down through the independent European Down and Feather Association Codex which ensures geese are never live-plucked. Patagonia created its own Traceable Down Standard, which is said to be the highest in the industry. And others, like Marmot and Arc’teryx, make efforts to source their down responsibly but do not acquire the third-party certification.
There's nothing wrong with staying warm and looking good at the same time.
As with all items of clothing, style preference will come into play as you choose your own packable down jacket. The shell and lining for the packable down jacket are typically made from ripstop polyester or nylon. Finding the proper shell weight and construction poses a challenge to companies as the shell needs to be durable but also lightweight.
Thread weight can be measured by its denier with lower deniers reflecting lower weights. These low-denier threads will create lighter jackets but will also be less durable. This ensures that you get a jacket that fits your needs--and that it fits your style, so you look and feel great even during the coldest days.
As you can see from all of the jackets on our list, they are available in lots of colors to choose from--although some of them do have a minimal number when compared to other options. Others feature a tighter fit while other jackets have a looser fit so you can easily layer them up with other gear.
Light rain or snow that melts and turns to water on your jacket shouldn't slow you down.
Moisture is the biggest threat to your own apparel as well as to your own comfort levels. Once moisture penetrates to the down it can begin to clump and will lose some of the lofts that keep you insulated. Most companies work to repel water from the outside with Durable Water Resistant coatings while others add another layer of protection by treating the down itself to prevent it from absorbing water.
Even the jackets with the best water protection are not waterproof. So, if there is a good chance of getting wet you will want to layer items under a waterproof shell to preserve the longevity of your down. If the jacket on our list is not waterproof, however, all of the jackets are water-resistant, so you stay nice and dry.
If you definitely want something that is waterproof just make sure to get a jacket that has a DWR finish, which ensures the waterproofing of the jacket--this is great for those of you who like to hit the slopes, rainy weather, or just like to spend a lot of time outdoors, you will definitely need something that will keep you nice and dry!
Having a lightweight down jacket with you on winter adventures can literally be a lifesaver so we chose ones that are easy to bring along with you anywhere.
Whether you climb mountains or just do some hiking or skiing on weekends, packability is a convenient feature for any down jacket. For people planning long treks, every ounce will count and you may want to consider jackets that are more compressible (higher fill power) and lighter weight (lower denier and zipper weights.
The weekend warrior may opt for a slightly heavier option for improved durability and abrasion resistance. Styles that pack down into a pocket are generally preferable to stuff sacks as you cannot lose the pocket! This makes your life easier by ensuring you can take it with you wherever you go easily, no matter where you are going.
At the end of the day, you need to get something that works for you. While all of the jackets on our list of reviews are designed to be portable and easy to take with you wherever you go, some of them are much more packable than others, so if you are a backpacker you are gonna want to check those out.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Whether you're wary of the ethical nature of down products or you have an allergic reaction to the real thing, there's nothing wrong with using a product that contains a down alternative.
Synthetic down material is excellent for providing similar benefits to the authentic material, is cheaper, can prevent allergic reactions, and is free of any ethical concerns.
Although down jackets are often water-resistant, they still require occasional machine washing. Failing to perform regular maintenance on your jacket in this way can cause its water-protective coating to degrade and eventually ruin it.
There should be specific washing instructions on the tag. Be sure to follow them carefully!
Other Factors to Consider
Many down jackets take a minimalist approach when it comes to pockets, hoods, drawstring cords and zippers to save on weight. The importance of these features will vary based on what you are using the jacket for, so, consider what is worth the extra weight--it really just depends on your needs and preferences.
These additional features and elements of design can make a big difference to many individuals and can be a deciding factor in what jacket someone ultimately chooses.
Packable down jackets are great items to have in any active wardrobe due to their versatility. Many people love wearing them around town in the fall or on quick errands in colder weather. They are also very useful as mid-layers while skiing or hiking on the weekends. It is ideal when you can find a jacket that works well in all situations and this typically comes down to fit.
As a standalone jacket, you want something that has a flattering fit and not too much loft. However, it also needs to be able to accommodate a sweater or baselayer and remain streamlined enough to fit under a waterproof shell when using it for winter sports.
Down jackets can be quite expensive but really are a worthwhile investment for any active person. Unfortunately, to maintain a lightweight, many shells are made with thinner materials that do not resist abrasions as well as you would hope. We looked for jackets that provide a good value and will hold up reasonably well when cared for appropriately.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What should I do if my down jacket gets wet?
Dry it! Contrary to common belief, down will not be ruined when it gets wet. It will, however, lose its insulation abilities when it is soaked and clumped together. The best packable down jackets can be washed and dried on very low heat. So, if your jacket is wet, carefully follow manufacturer instructions to dry it.
A good tip is to put a tennis ball in with the jacket while it's in the dryer. Although it will make a racket (because it's a tennis ball. Get it?) this will help to spread the down back throughout the jacket so you don't wind up with big clumps in some places and no insulation in others.
q: How do I find the perfect down jacket for me?
What is the perfect down jacket for one person might be different for another? When picking the best packable down jackets, make sure to look at features like fill rating, water resistance, fit, shell material, etc. What environment will you be using it in? What level of comfort do you want? These are all personal preferences, so make sure to find the perfect best packable down jackets, for just you.
q: What does "technical fit" mean?
A technical fit means that the best packable down jackets were designed with sporting activities like skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, and other winter activities in mind. The best packable down jackets with a technical fit typically have features such as drawstrings at the hem to keep out the cold while providing custom comfort, secure but not overly tight wrist.
Again, to keep out the cold, and a hood with a drawstring around the face and neck as well. All of these things help you to bundle up tight and not let any cold out.
q: What does the fill power rating number mean?
Down is often considered the best insulator is known to man (and woman!) because when its bundled together there are thousands of strands from the feathers that trap and hold the air which creates tremendous insulation. The fill power number calculates the number of cubic inches an ounce of down creates when it's fully expanded.
For example, a fill power rating of 700 means that an ounce of down from that best packable down jackets will measure 700 cubic inches when it's fully expanded. Basically, the higher the number the better insulating the jacket is.
q: What is down exactly and where does it come from?
Down is sourced from bird plumage. It's the small, soft feathers from the underbelly of ducks or geese that lies below the larger tougher feathers. The best packable down jackets on our list feature high quality down that will ensure you stay nice and warm--no matter how cold it is.
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