Whether you’re heading into snowy mountains or simply taking a winter walk, keeping your body temperature up is crucial during the chilly season. The best down jackets for men are more than just stylish alternatives to a woolly jumper; goose down jackets are extremely warm, lightweight, and incredibly compact. Purchasing a good quality and lightweight down jacket may be the wisest investment you make this winter.
Like most outdoor gear, there’s more than one best down jacket for men on the market. Some are ultra-lightweight and compact, others are fully waterproof and provide greater insulation.
The following list contains some of the best down jackets for men in 2023 and, to help you select the right one for you, you’ll find our expert advice for things to look for in a down jacket at the end of the article.
- FAQ’s when choosing a new down jacket
- Best down jacket for everyday use
- Best down jacket for extreme cold
- Best budget down jacket
- Best ultra-light down jacket
- Best down jacket for backpacking
- Best waterproof down jacket
- Best down jacket for active adventures
- Synthetic insulated jacket
- What to look when choosing a down jacket
Summary of the best down jackets for men
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FAQ’s when choosing a new down jacket
Best down jacket for everyday use
Eco-conscious: Goose down fill is Global TDS certified and the jacket’s fabrics are made with recycled polyester.
Fill power: 800
Fill weight: 85g / 3oz
The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody is a practical all-rounder. With 800 fill power goose down insulation and quilted construction the jacket feels very solid. Weighing in just above 15 oz it’s not the lightest down jacket on the market but it certainly won’t weigh you down on a hiking or backpacking trip.
The outer shell doesn’t disappoint either. It’s made from durable and recycled ripstop nylon which is both water-resistant and windproof. The interior storm flap keeps the worst of the weather out while the elasticated cuffs and adjustable hood help to maintain heat.
Other features we like are the interior zippered pocket, which functions as a stuff sack, and the elasticated hem which can be adjusted from inside the handwarmer pockets. Overall this is our favourite down sweater for everyday use. The main downside is that it comes with a fairly hefty price tag.
- Durable fabrics
- Weather resistant
- Useful features
- Suitable for use in spring/autumn
- High price tag
- Heavier than an ultralight jacket
Best down jacket for extreme cold
Eco-conscious: Made with ethically and sustainably sourced European goose down.
Fill power: 800
Fill weight: 227g / 8oz
Ideal for mountaineering but stylish enough for city use too, the Rab Neutrino Pro jacket is one of the warmest down jackets on our list. It’s made with approximately 8 oz of 800 fill-power goose down which keeps its shape thanks to the through stitch construction. Despite its high-quality insulation, the Rab Neutrino Pro Jacket is competitively priced against down jackets with lower insulation levels. The jacket has a tough Pertex Quantum outer shell and lining. This cutting-edge material is excellent for retaining warmth; it’s highly windproof and resistant to rain, and snow.
This model is also fitted with a 2-way front zipper which gives you easy access to the interior pockets or provides ventilation whilst hiking and climbing. It additionally features an adjustable and helmet compatible hood with wired peak.
For more information read our full review of the similar Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket.
- Very warm
- Quality fabrics
- Competitively priced
- Useful features for mountaineering/climbing
- Doesn’t pack down as small as other super warm jackets
Best budget down jacket
Eco-conscious: Nylon outer is bluesign approved and down fill is RDS certified.
Fill power: 650
Fill weight: 85g / 3oz
If you’re searching for an every-day down jacket which doesn’t blow your budget take a look at the 650 Down Jacket from REI Co-op. It may not be the toughest jacket out there but with a durable water repellent outer shell and a ripstop polyester lining, it does perform well for everyday use and light outdoor activities.
One of the most impressive features of this Rei Co-op Down Jacket is its budget-friendly price tag. Admittedly, this model lacks some useful features such as a hood and adjustable hem. At just under $100, however, it’s one of the best affordable down jackets on the market.
- Sustainably sourced materials
- Excellent value
- Can function as a mid or outer layer
- Not as many useful features
- Limited durability
- Heavy compared to down jackets with greater fill-power
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Best ultra-light down jacket
Eco-conscious: fill is fluorine free and RDS certified
Fill power: 800
Fill weight: 75g / 2.6oz
For maximum warmth and minimum weight, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket is our top choice. The Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is treated so that it doesn’t absorb moisture, while the quilted pattern and elasticated cuffs trap extra heat.
What’s more, weighing in at only 8 oz it’s the best down jacket for fast and light winter adventures; you’ll hardly feel the weight of this jacket on your shoulders (or in your pack when you’re not wearing it!). You don’t miss out on useful features either, the hem adjusts with a single interior toggle for a trim fit and the entire jacket packs away into a zippered pocket.
As with most ultralight down jackets, the Ghost Whisperer’s nylon outer shell is not as hard-wearing as heavier materials and won’t stand up well to scrapes and scratches.
- Excellent insulation
- Slim and adjustable fit
- Super lightweight
- Lacks durability
Best down jacket for backpacking
Ethics Filler with repsonsibly sourced down and Dark Peak donate a jacket to the homeless for evey jacket they sell
Fill power: 850
Fill weight: 140g / 4.9oz
Another superb all-rounder down jacket is the Dark Peak NESSH Men’s Lightweight Down Jacket. As relative newcomers to the down jacket market, Dark Peak are making seriously positive marks on the lives of their jacket owners. Firstly, the Nessh is awesome! It offers just about everything you could ask for in a high quality down jacket. Warmth, low weight, packability and functionality. But it’s also super stylish, making is as suitable for everyday wear as it is for more extreme conditions and uses. It competes fiercely with the Rab Microlight Summit in almost every regard and comes in lighter, a bit cheaper and a little warmer, too. Where the Summit has the upper hand is in its tough outer shell fabric and construction.
Aside from that however, the Nessh offers exceptional value for money, has pockets galore, has really comfortable and functional thumb loops / wrist gaiters, and is up there with our favourite down jackets in 2023.
But there’s more, and this is the real clincher! For every jacket Dark Peak sells, they donate a jacket to the homeless. Yes, you read that right. Read more about what and why they give.
Full review of the Dark Peak NESSH Men’s Lightweight Down Jacket coming soon.
- Versatile usage
- Lots of features and pockets
- Outer fabric is not as robust as other options
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Eco-conscious: made with responsibly sourced goose down and fluorocarbon-free materials
Fill power: 750
Fill weight: 143g / 5oz
The Rab Micro Summit is a wind and water-resistant down jacket which can function as either a mid-layer or a standalone outer. It’s longer than average back makes it comfortable to wear with a backpack or harness and its fully adjustable hood can fit snugly around your head or stretch to fit a helmet.
This jacket also comes with a ton of useful features including a two-way zipper and neck baffle, elasticated cuffs and an internal chest pocket. The fit is slim but certainly not restrictive. In fact, the pre-filled down baffles allow for plenty of movement, making the jacket very comfortable.
The Rab Microlight is certainly not the most affordable down jacket on the market but, thanks to its functional design and its practical balance of weight and warmth, we think it’s the best down jacket for backpacking and adventure sport.
For more information read our full review of the Rab Microlight Summit.
- Versatile usage
- Useful features
- Quality materials
- As a standalone jacket it’s not warm enough for winter camping
Best waterproof down jacket
Eco-conscious: made with RDS certified goose down
Fill power: 700
The Titanium Outdry Ex Gold from Columbia is a hooded down jacket which lives up to its waterproof claims. This Columbia down jacket has a water-tight and breathable membrane which is fully waterproof. Its seams are taped on the outside to prevent moisture seeping through while the central zipper and pockets are fitted with waterproof seals. Plus, unlike many competitors, this jacket doesn’t lose its effectiveness over time.
In terms of warmth, this waterproof down jacket isn’t designed for sub-zero temperatures. However, it is still comfortable on winter hikes and wet days. The horizontal down filled baffles, coupled with adjustable hem, cuffs, and hood, trap heat and prevent cold from entering.
Our main complaint is with the fit of this waterproof insulated jacket. It’s far from a trim fit and, while it does leave space for under-layering, many users find it rather bulky.
- Fully waterproof
- Lifetime warranty
- Not suitable for extreme cold
- Boxy fit
Best down jacket for active adventures
Fill power: 750
Fill weight: 101g / 3.5oz
If you’re after a down jacket that will keep you warm during active adventures right through the winter then look no further than the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket. Though not as warm as the Rab Microlight, and a little heavier too, it’s the tough and flexible Dynamic-Stretch Knit that earns the StretchDown it’s spot on our list of the best down jackets for men. This unique outer fabric provides excellent mobility through the chest and shoulder for ski touring, scrambling and climbing in cold conditions. And you’ll struggle to find a jacket whose exterior rivals the durability provided by StretchDown.
What we also love about about this versatile jacket is it’s style. The minimal branding is a huge plus for us (just a tiny discreet logo on the chest pocket), and the fit and fabric put it right at home when worn as an everyday jacket.
For more information read our full review of the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket.
- Excellent mobility
- Super durable outer fabric
- Looks super stylish
- Heavy for it’s warmth
- Not very packable compared with similar jackets
Synthetic insulated jacket
Fill power: 500-550g (equivalent)
Thrudark is a relatively new outdoor apparel brand that many will not have heard of in an outdoor context. But with creators whose backgrounds are steeped in military service (special forces, no less!), we think Thrudark’s incredibly high performing products are up there with the best of what the established mainstream brands have to offer.
One such example is the Thrudark Engage Jacket which earns its place in this article as a super warm synthetic option amongst the indisputable high performance of its down-filled counterparts.
Yes, it doesn’t compete on the weight to warmth ratio of the likes of the Rab Neutron, but it gives it a good run for its money. Boasting excellent water resistance and durability, the Engage is very well suited to changeable conditions when warmth and protection from the elements are needed in equal measure. It offers better insulation when wet than down options and the Primaloft Gold Active and synthetic insulation is the equivalent of 500-550 down fill.
Stand out features include an impressive (and super cosy) hood that is insulated, peaked and adjustable. There are also internal mesh stuff pockets as well as a zippered internal chest pocket. Additionally, the cuffs have soft elastic panels which do a superb job as keeping the draft out and sit snugly over the wrists.
This is a pricey jacket, especially as it’s not down-filled. But it’s decently packable and offers durability and weather protection that many of the down options lack.
For more information read our full review of the Thrudark Engage Jacket.
- Excellent insulated hood
- Very good water resistance
- Highly durable
- Stays warm when wet
- Good pocket options
- Decently packable, for synthetic
- On the heavy side
- Slim cut waist isn’t ideal for everyone
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What to look when choosing a down jacket
Type of down jacket
Ultralight down jacket: ideal if you’re looking for a jacket to see you through two to three seasons. Ultralight down jackets are generally suitable for temperatures between 2 and 15 degrees Celsius making them a wise choice for backpacking between seasons. They are also a superb option for fast and light winter adventures in the alpine environment (touring, hiking, alpine climbing etc), and make excellent additions to layering systems. As the fill is less dense than warmer options, these jackets are also the most packable and you’ll hardly notice one inside your backpack.
Down sweater: these are generally the most versatile type of down jacket. They weigh more than ultralight down jackets but in exchange, they provide a good balance of durability, warmth, and comfort. While down sweaters don’t usually have many technical features, for outdoor activities in temperatures above freezing they are a practical and budget-friendly option.
Mid to heavy down jacket: designed for extremely cold temperatures and winter wear. If you’re heading into the mountains or living in sub-zero temperatures then you’ll certainly appreciate the extra insulation the denser fill provides. Of course, the trade-off is that mid/heavy down jackets do weigh a bit more and take up more space in your pack.
Fill power is a measure of how lofty the down feathers are. The more lofty the feathers are, the more air becomes trapped in tiny pockets between the feathers. And the more air pockets there are, the higher the fill power.
So, fill power is a measure of the quality of the down.
900 fill down jackets are the highest fill down jackets commercially available. Down jackets with anything below a fill power of 550 are not really worth considering.
The warmth of a down garment doesn’t just depend upon it having a high fill power, however. The weight of the down is just as important, if not more so.
The fill weight is a measure of how much down the jacket is filled with.
For more information on this, read our article on down vs synthetic.
Outer shell fabric
The best down jackets for men will have weather resistant outer shells which can withstand light rain at the very least. These are most commonly made from a type of nylon or polyester with a denier rating which indicates the thread’s thickness. The most durable down jackets will have a higher denier rating, typically 20D to 30D or above. Meanwhile, ultralight jackets may have a lower, 10D to 20D rating. If you want your new down jacket to last through many years of outdoors use then we recommend choosing one with a higher denier rating.
When it comes to the fit this largely comes down to personal preference. Your down jacket should feel comfortable whilst doing physical activities but also practical for sitting around the campfire. That might mean a looser or tighter fit depending on your preference. Unfortunately, size and fit are rarely the same across all brands so you should check the measurements and ideally try the jacket to be sure that it fits correctly.
You should also consider the temperature limits of your down jacket. If the limit is above zero them you might consider a looser fit to allow for layering. To prevent the loss of heat you can also look out for adjustable elastic in the hood, cuffs, and waist.
The weight of a down jacket is mostly dependent on the fill density, but the outer shell is also a contributor. As winter jackets go, all down jackets and down sweaters are lightweight and for most outdoors lovers. Therefore, weight difference won’t be the most important factor. If, however, you’re someone who rips out pages of your guide book to save weight on a thru-hike, then an ultralight down jacket will be best.
What makes down jackets so useful for outdoor adventures is that they pack away to such a compact size. Many will pack into their own pocket while heavier down jackets often come with a stuff sack. Jackets with thinner outer shells tend to pack down smaller but even jackets with a high fill rating will pack into a stuff sack and bounce back into shape. They conveniently double up as camping pillows, too!
Although last on this list, sustainable outdoors gear which uses recyclable and/or ethically sourced materials is something we always look for. Jacket shells and linings may be made from recycled polyester or bluesign approved materials. You can check that the down jacket uses traceable down which is certified by Global TDS, RDS, or another recognised organisation.