Down coats, also commonly called “puffer coats,” accomplish the dual role of making one heck of a fashion statement while providing immense warmth. They don’t even have to be big and bulky to do it anymore, either. So, if you’re in the market for a new kind of heat, then here are a few down coat options that we recommend.
Why should you buy a down coat?
At the risk of restating the obvious, consider this: does that worn and oversized cotton hoodie tossed across your desk chair really keep you warm anymore, or is it just less of a fight to put on than a burly coat when you’re headed out the door? That’s where the down coat is different because even the simplest option combines the heat of a big coat while offering you the lightweight frame and easy use of an everyday sweater.
What should you look for in a down jacket?
- Insulation: At its base level, a down coat is wholly dependent on the interior fillings its uses to trap in warmth. Synthetic materials like polyester are among the less expensive fillings you’ll find. However, let your eyes wander a few price brackets up, and you’ll find premium down and down alternative filling methods that reduce the amount of material they’re using in favor of air pockets that work in relation to a user’s own body heat.
- Retention: Maintaining that heat is an equally important factor. The ideal jacket will utilize heat-locking methods, such as elasticity around the cuffs and waist (aka potential exits for warmth). Similarly, an exit of warmth is an entry for the cold, so consider a coat that knows how to keep the cold away just as well.
- Resistance: A jacket constructed with outer nylon material should be your go-to because rain, wind, and leftover moisture tend to slip off its slick surface. This effect is doubled when designers create their coats with a DWR finish to ensure no cool sensation makes it even an inch deep into your attire.
What is the difference between a coat with natural and synthetic filling?
The prototypical down coat we’ve come to know has traditionally been filled with all-natural insulation comprised of down from duck or geese, and sometimes it’s a mixture of the two. This is where the coat derives its namesake, from the down filling. However, there are still plenty of options that feature an alternative means of warmth while being eco-conscious. These options are filled with synthetic materials that aren’t the result of animal byproducts, like polyester-based insulation. And when it comes to picking one over the other, the winner isn’t so clear-cut. Sure, natural down coats feature a better warming power and last for a longer period of use, but synthetic down coats can actually hold up in the rain and are often significantly less expensive.
Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Jacket
This down jacket blends solid heat retention properties with a casually slim appearance.
Pros: Constructed from 100% nylon and responsibly sourced 650-fill down insulation, this coat is ultra-light, easily packable, and really warm. It locks in heat through its elastic cuffs and hem and its zip-side hand pockets. Its high-rise neck collar provides a great way to cover as much of the body as possible. Additional perks include its StormRepel water-resistant finish that prevents moisture from soaking into the fabric, ensuring warmth in temperatures as cold as -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cons: Because this jacket lacks an inner lining, you may feel compelled to layer underneath for total protection from the cold. While it is machine washable, there are a handful of restrictions to adhere to that can complicate the process (wash separately, use mild detergent, tumble dry on low). In contrast to most down coats on the market, this option features only four colors.
Bottom Line: If you’re seeking a durable down coat that still knows how to maintain a slim frame, this Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Jacket features several heat retention methods and a dependable surface that keeps moisture at bay.
CAMEL CROWN Packable Down Jacket
This down coat employs just enough warming measures, from a high degree of down fluff to adjustable features throughout its construction.
Pros: Featuring a high degree of down in a cost-efficient frame, this coat employs a respectable number of warming features. Its 100% nylon shell is stuffed with 90% down fill, providing heat while adding in a few extra materials to grant extra rigidity and keep the price down. A subtle but welcome design detail is the inclusion of a padded chin guard built into the collar, so you don’t nick your skin whenever zipping the coat all the way to the neck. Its adjustable hem and elastic cuffs provide ample confinement of heat. This jacket also features a 100% waterproof surface, so you’re ensured dependable protection no matter what the day throws your way.
Cons: Its greatest asset could also be to its detriment, as this puffer’s extra-thin construction may rule it out from being used on especially cold days. While it may be inferred with similar options to layer on such cold days, only this product stresses to do so. Some users have noted concerns with the jacket’s waterproof shield, calling it dependable in misty or drizzly situations but not up to par when the rain starts to really fall down.
Bottom Line: Comfortably residing on the low end of what you can expect to pay for a good coat, this CAMEL CROWN Packable Down Jacket provides the right amount of comfort without breaking the bank along the way.
Marmot Stockholm Down Puffer Jacket
This down jacket features a market-high 700 fill level, moisture prevention, and a handful of classic color options.
Pros: If you’re looking for the pinnacle of jacket insulation, then you’ve just met your match. This down coat features a 700 fill power to enhance your body heat in frigid temperatures and wet environments. It comes in a standard fit with a durable VISLON zipper running down the center and two secure-zip hand pockets that are well insulated. Among its other warming design properties are a zip-off hood, microfleece internal cuffs, and two internal pockets.
Cons: Admittedly, this is one of the priciest down coats on the market, costing more than triple the price of other options. With the exception of its two darker-toned color options, this jacket’s red, grey, and blue selections can show stains more easily given their lighter shades. Some users have also noted that feathers tend to force their way through the surface of this jacket, minimizing the fill.
Bottom Line: With its glossy finish and supreme fill level, this Marmot Stockholm Down Puffer Jacket is a top-of-the-line choice that’s designed with the classic puffer coat look.
Tommy Hilfiger Packable Puffer Jacket
This down coat features an animal-friendly synthetic alternative to traditional down-filled coats.
Pros: Dependable, portable, and stylish, this jacket is fashioned in one of the more aesthetically pleasing appearances. Its outer shell is constructed from 100% nylon material, while within the confines of its nylon is Ultra Loft Faux Down insulation, a synthetic and considerate alternative to duck and goose down. This puffer is so light it can easily be compacted into the included storage bag. It’s also available in 30 different color options.
Cons: Though environmentally friendly, this coat’s dependence on synthetic filling over authentic down can limit the amount of heat you’d normally retain by a fair margin. Like a similar option on this list, this coat doesn’t feature an inner lining, and that can force you to layer underneath it on especially cold days.
Bottom Line: If you’re eco-conscious about your purchases and appreciate a fashion-forward approach to traditional cold-weather wear, this Tommy Hilfiger Packable Puffer Jacket offers a slim and totally portable piece of attire.
Columbia Powder Lite Jacket
This down coat comes to you from a beloved outdoor name and incorporates a unique form of heat retention.
Pros: From a trusted brand name with decades’ worth of expertise in protecting you from the cold, this down coat is another lightweight option that utilizes an exciting approach for maintaining warmth. Built into its polyester construction is Omni-Heat technology, a patented form of heat retention that places a metallic dot pattern throughout the interior lining. The polyester remains breathable so that moisture can be easily dispelled from inside the coat, and 36 color options allow for variety among your selection.
Cons: Its Omni-Heat reflective lining and insulation is another alternative form of warmth, as it’s entirely synthetic and doesn’t feature one real duck or goose feather. This type of construction can lack a certain degree of warmth, and even comfort, for some users. Because this down coat is designed entirely from polyester material, that means it’s more likely to take on rips, stains, and odors.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a fashionable coat that achieves dependable warmth without burning too deep of a hole in your wallet, then this Columbia Powder Lite Jacket, in all of its colors, is a must-have.
From the fluffy feather-filled choice to the option that goes an extra few miles to bring you mindful warmth and every iteration in between, the down jacket has remained a necessity for grey days because it’s dedicated to keeping every inch of your upper body toasty and free of goosebumps.