In this blog post, I have selected the best down jackets of 2018 which I would consider buying if I were to get a new one for my next backpacking or winter adventure.

A down jacket is an essential piece of clothes when planning an overnight trip outdoors or during winter time. A down jacket keeps you much warmer compared to a fleece jacket.

Best down jackets 2018

Weight comparison table

Down jackets are designed for different activities or environments, e.g., urban or outdoor adventures like hiking, backpacking, climbing or snowshoeing.

Usually, I wear a fleece jacket as a mid-layer when I go hiking. When it get’s windy I pull on a wind jacket. If I sit around in my camp, I switch my fleece to a down jacket.

Moreover, I would rather carry a synthetic insulated jacket with me than a down jacket if I am planning to go hiking in damp or humid conditions as down may not insulate very well once it get’s wet.


Arc’teryx Ceres SV Parka (850-fill)

Arc'teryx Ceres SV Parka

Weight: 880 grams / 31 oz.

More heavy than the other jackets in our list, the Arc’teryx Ceres SV Parka is made for the deep winter where warmth is the most important factor.

The jacket comes with 850 fill down insulation, and its GORE® WINDSTOPPER® fabric protects you from cold winds. The shell of the jacket is also water repellent and windproof.

The jacket also comes with a helmet compatible insulated Cohaesive™ StormHood™ to protect you from the elements which is adjustable with gloves or mittens on.

The jacket comes with a box wall construction meaning less cold spots and more loft. The jacket also features Coreloft™ synthetic insulation in places where moisture could have an impact on down insulation.

The Ceres SV Parka offers an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, compressibility, and packability.


Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody (850-fill)

Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody

Weight: 275 grams / 9.7 oz.

We would pick the Cerium LT Hoody for moderate winter trips or for spring or autumn backcountry adventures.

The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody is a lightweight down jacket which you can wear as a mid- or an outer layer.

It comes with 850 down fill and has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio.

The Arato™ 10 nylon shell is lightweight and durable, and synthetic insulation applies on areas where moisture could build up. The Cerium LT Hoody also comes with a DWR finish.

The jacket has an articulated design which adjusts to your body movements.

There is also an insulated StormHood™, adjustable hood and hem drawcord and elasticized cuffs at wrist. Further, the jacket has a full front zip with chin guard.

The jacket has an internal zippered security pocket with a stuff sack. LT stands for lightweight in the Arc’teryx product line.


Arc’teryx Cerium SV Hoody (850-fill)

Arcteryx Cerium SV Hoody

Weight: 440 grams / 15.5 oz.

The Arc’teryx Cerium SV Hoody is part of Arc’teryx severe weather product line - most durable materials which provides most weather protection.

We would wear this jacket during the winter. For camping during spring and summer, it’s probably going to be a bit too warm as the jacket is designed as the ultimate cold weather mid-layer or a standalone solution.

A baffle structure keeps the 850 down fill lofty and the down insulated StormHood™ and glove mitten-friendly Cohaesive™ adjusters are welcoming features for winter activities as well.

Synthetic insulation is strategically used in parts of this jacket as well.


Berghaus Tephra (Stretch) Down Jacket (600-fill)

Weight: 463 grams / 16.3 oz.

The Berghaus Tephra Down Jacket is a less technical jacket but comes with a modern design. There are two versions available (stretch/non-stretch version) of this jacket. Both versions are filled with hydrophic down made by NikWax® which makes the jacket more resistant under wet conditions (up to 16 hours when wet according to the manufacurer). The jacket with the stretch fabric also comes with fleece inlets under the arms.

The outer layer of the jacket is made of Pertex to keep cold wind out.


Canada Goose Expedition Down Parka (625-fill)

Canada Goose Expedition Down Parka

Weight: 2070 grams / 73 oz.

The Canada Goose Expedition Down Parka has been designed for scientists in Antarctica.

This jacket is probably the warmest jacket in our selection, and Canada Goose rates it as TEI 5 which means that it’s suitable for temperatures of -30°C and below.

Further, the jacket has been field-tested on the coldest places on earth.

The downside of this jacket is probably its weight. With 2073 grams (73 oz.) it’s more on the heavy site on our weight scale filled with 625 fill down.

The Canada Goose ARCTIC TECH fabric Water Resistant is wind, and water resistant, durable and warm consisting of an 85% Polyester and 15% cotton mixture.

The jacket features an adjustable, non-removable hood, a fur ruff, fleece-lined chin guard, interior back pack shoulder straps, six exterior pockets, four large handwarmer pockets, two interior pockets, an adjustable waist drawcords as well as a hideaway snow skirt.


Marmot Guides Down Hoodie (700-fill)

Weight: 652 grams / 23 oz.

Marmot Guides Down Hoodie is a popular lightweight 700-fill down jacket for winter activities.

The polyester fabric has a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish. The jacket comes with a soft chin flap, zippered handwarmer, zip chest and an interior zip pocket where you can store for example your phone.

The jacket also features hook-and-loop cuffs, an elastic drawcord hem, and its design adjusts to your movements.


Marmot Quasar Hoody (900-fill)

Marmot Quasar Hoody

Weight: 372 grams / 13.5 oz

The Marmot Quasar Hoody is also an interesting jacket with its high 850-fill down covered by durable ultralight 10-denier Pertex® Quantum® fabric which makes it also somewhat water repellent.

The additional zip on the front, however, adds a little bit more weight to the jacket.

We would wear the Marmot Quasar Hoody as a mid-layer under a shell during moderate winter trips or on spring and summer adventures.

The jacket adjusts to your movements and features an elastic draw cord hem and cuss as well as an adjustable hood. You can also pack the jacket into its pocket.


Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket (800-fill)

Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket

Weight: 212 grams / 7.5 oz.

The Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket is one of the lightest hooded down jackets available.

This jacket is a great jacket for camping during spring, summer, and autumn or as a light mid-layer under your shell jacket. It can also be compressed and packs into its pocket.

The Q.Shield™ DOWN 800-fill is also resistant towards moisture, and the down will keep you longer insulated.

The jacket also features elastic cuff and adjustable toggle hem. The shell of this jacket consists of Whisperer 7D x 10D Ripstop.

If you are looking for a proper winter jacket, then we would rather pick the Rab Infinity Endurance or the Rab Positron jacket.

See the Men’s Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer See the Women’s Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer


Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Hooded Down Jacket (800-fill)

Weight: 328 grams / 11.6 oz

The Mountain Hardware Nitrous Hooded Down Jacket is a lightweight and durable jacket with 22D sensor ripstop fabric which is reinforced to prevent tearing and ripping. It also comes with Q.Shield Down which is certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) by Control Union and more resistant towards moisture than a regular down jacket.

The jacket is filled with NikWax Hydrophobic Down 800-fill and is fluorine free.

The jacket also comes with zippered handwarmer pockets, zippered left chest pocket, and two interior drop pockets.


Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoodie (800-fill)

Patagonia Men’s Down Hooded Jacket

Weight: 298 grams / 10.5 oz.

Patagonia is another popular outdoor brand and delivers a super light down jacket which comes with two zipped hands warmer pockets, one zippered chest pocket and elastic-bound cuffs and hem.

Moreover, the jacket adjusts to your movements. There is also a storm flap on the front zipper to keep the warm air inside the jacket. There is also a carabiner clip-in loop on the jacket.

The shell of the jacket is durable water repellent 0.85-oz 15-denier 100% nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum® with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish.

Further, the Fabric is certified as bluesign® approved.

Wear the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoodie as a mid layer during the winter months or on chilly evenings during spring and summer.


Rab Infinity Endurance Jacket (850-fill)

Rab Infinity Endurance Jacket

Weight: 575 grams / 20.5 oz

The Rab Infinity Endurance Jacket is a light-weight technical alpine or mountaineering jacket featuring a helmet-compatible hood and a stitch-through baffle construction.

Moreover, there is an internal security pocket elasticated cuffs and a hem drawcord.

It’s high fill power, and low weight makes this probably one of the best lightweight winter down jackets. The shell of the jacket is a combination of Pertex® Endurance and Pertex® Quantum fabrics.

The jacket contains 210 grams of 850-fill goose down.

However, if you need a warmer jacket, then the Rab Positron Jacket would probably be a better alternative which adds approximately 30% more warmth.

See the Men’s Rab Infinity Endurance See the Women’s Rab Infinity Endurance


Rab Positron Jacket (800-fill)

Rab Positron Jacket

Weight: 720 grams / 25.4 oz.

Rab is a specialist in down clothing and down sleeping bags, and this is also evident with the Zero G jacket - a 1000-fill down jacket with ultralight Pertex® 7d Quantum fabric.

This down jacket is one of the lightest 1000-fill goose down jackets on the market filled with 130 grams (4.5 oz.) goose down and is designed for mountaineers and climbers.

The jacket features a stitch through midi channel construction, two zip handwarmer pockets, semi-elasticated hem and elasticated cuffs.

Further, the jacket is also RDS Certified (Responsible Down Standard).


Rab Zero G Jacket (1000-fill)

Weight: 310 grams / 11 oz.

Rab is a specialist in down clothing and down sleeping bags and this is also evident with the Zero G jacket - a 1000-fill down jacket with ultralight Pertex® 7d Quantum fabric.

This is one of the lightest 1000-fill goose down jackets on the market filled with 130 grams (4.5 oz.) goose down and has been designed for mountaineers and climbers. The jacket features a stitch through midi channel construction, 2 zip handwarmer pockets, semi-elasticated hem and elasticated cuffs.

Further, the jacket is also RDS Certified (Responsible Down Standard).


When to wear?

Down jackets are best worn when it’s not that humid. I have down jackets for different seasons. A thin down jacket for chilly 3-season trips when I go backpacking and another thicker down jacket when I go for example on a winter trip to Lapland.


What is fill power?

Fill power indicates the fluffiness of down. The more fluffy the down the less down I need compared to less fluffy down. Jackets with high fill power are usually more expensive than down jackets with less fill power.


How to wash?

I wash my down jacket by hand. However, you can also gently wash your down jacket in a washing machine. You can also use a special washing liquid for down.


How to fluff?

A big tumbler can be used to dry the down jacket. Also, add a few tennis balls to get the down fluffy.


How to pack and store it?

I have one dedicated dry bag where I stuff in my down jacket and my sleeping bag.

Down products need much less space than synthetic products, and the best way to get as much space as possible is to compress down in a compression bag.


Down feathers are coming out

Sometimes down feathers are coming out through the fabric. In this case, try to pull them back into the down jacket. Don’t pull them out.

You may also try to fluff the down in your jacket, so they won’t be able to fit through small holes in the fabric anymore.


What is water resistant down?

Compared to normal down, water resistant down is treated with a water resistant coating. The down feathers will be a bit more resilient towards moisture.

However, if you are planning to travel to a place where you expect a lot of moisture, then you should probably consider a jacket with synthetic insulation.


Are down jackets good for rain?

Down jackets usually come with a water resistant fabric.

However, they are not waterproof. If you expect to have lots of rain, then you should probably cover your down jacket with a rain jacket or switch from a down jacket to a fleece jacket or synthetic insulated jacket.

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