Best Down Jackets of 2018: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Best Down Jackets of 2018 Complete Reviews With Comparisons
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With winter on its way, many people are wondering whether last year’s jacket will be sufficient to keep them warm. With the ever-changing weather we are experiencing as of late, finding the best down jacket is a great idea, as it gives you the ability to stay warm even in the harshest weather conditions.

Below are five of our favorite down jackets along with their features, pros, and cons. We will provide you with an in-depth review of each of these jackets to help you choose the right one for yourself or your family.

Comparison Chart

Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket Beige S

Hawke & Co Men’s Packable Down Puffer Jacket Ii

Hawke & Co Men’s Packable Down Puffer Jacket II

SportCaster Women’s Plus Size Packable Down Jacket

Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Down Jacket

Down Jacket Reviews

1. Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket

The Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket has a unique aesthetic that falls somewhere between a traditional parka and a puffer jacket. This makes it one of the more fashionable coats on this list. What we love the most about this down jacket is that it falls mid-thigh on most women, giving you even more warmth than a higher cut jacket.

Product Highlights

The best features of the Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket include:

  • Sealed Eiderdown

Also known as white duck down, the eiderdown in this jacket is sealed into 100 different individual squares, helping to make sure that the filling does not shift with regular wear. The square pockets of down also help to make sure that every inch of your torso is covered.

  • Water-resistant and Windproof

It can be quite uncomfortable to have a jacket that’s relatively warm but doesn’t block wind or water. Luckily, the Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket is designed to be both windproof and water-resistant, making it ideal for even wet snow.

  • Zippered Sides

Another unique feature of this down jacket that you’re unlikely to see in other coats is the fact that the sides are zippered. Not only does this give you the ability to offer more breathing room and movability, but it also helps to make the coat more comfortable to wear while sitting.

  • Plenty of Pockets

Designed for the everyday woman, there are six different practical pockets located throughout the jacket so you can keep plenty of personal items on you at all times.

What's to like about the Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket

The main thing that makes the Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket such a great choice is the fact that it truly is windproof. You won’t have to worry about the fabric stretching, and it sits tightly against the body so that wind can’t even travel up the bottom of the coat.

It’s also superiorly warm compared to other down jackets on the market, which makes it perfect for outdoor excursions in the winter. The aesthetics of the Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket are also quite notable as the jacket is designed in a way that is flattering for every figure and with the zippered sides, you can essentially customize the fit of the coat.

What's not to like about the Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket

The first disadvantage to consider is that when you’re placing your order for your new jacket, you’ll have to pay close attention to the sizing chart, as they’re not true to size and could be a little too large. You will also have to be particularly careful with the zippers on the front of the coat and the pockets, as they can easily get caught in the fabric, causing it to tear.

PROS

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    Stylish design
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    Plenty of pockets for storage
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    Truly windproof

CONS

  • Poorly made zippers
  • Does not arrive true to size

2. ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket: Best Jacket for Backpacking

Although the ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket was originally designed for men, it has a unique style that is easily adaptable to women as well. This is one of the main reasons as to why we added it to this list. Designed similarly to how you would picture a traditional down jacket, there are plenty of advantages to choosing this one over others.

Product Highlights

The most notable features of the ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket include:

  • White Duck Down Filling

In order to ensure that you experience optimal warmth during the winter months, this jacket is filled with white duck down and feathers. You’ll also appreciate the phenomenal stitching that helps to keep the down in place, even after washing the jacket.

  • Packable Design

The ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket isn’t as heavy duty as other down jackets and is easily packable, which is ideal for backpackers who want to bring a lightweight and versatile jacket with them. It also comes with its very own packable pouch, so you don’t need to try to fit it in with your other gear.

  • Four Easily-Accessible Pockets

There are four different pockets, two inside of the jacket for your valuables and two pockets on the outside that are closed with the help of zippers.

  • Upgraded Lining

To help make the ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket more comfortable to wear against your skin, the lining has been improved to be skin-friendly, even for those with sensitive skin.

What's to like about the ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket: Best Jacket for Backpacking

The main thing that you’re going to love about this down jacket is how versatile it is and how it can be worn for plenty of different activities. For example, this kind of jacket is great for playing golf during cooler weathers or even for backpacking during the winter.

Aside from that, we also love how the collar stands straighter than with other down jackets and can be zippered to create a turtleneck, keeping all of the most important areas of your body warm.

What's not to like about the ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket: Best Jacket for Backpacking

As with most jackets, you will need to take the time to measure yourself to make sure you’re ordering the right size. With the ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket, men who typically wear medium shirts sometimes have to order a large or extra large in order to have enough room for layering.

It’s also important to remember that the ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket is not designed for heavy-duty winter wear, as it’s very lightweight and packable. If you’re looking for a jacket that is going to keep you warm in the harshest conditions, this is not the right one for you.

PROS

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    Easy to fold down and pack
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    Very lightweight
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    Easily blocks wind

CONS

  • Not as warm as expected
  • Runs a lot smaller than expected
  • Looks like shiny plastic

3. Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II

As another men’s jacket that is quite useful for backpacking and easy to stow away, the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II has more of a unisex appeal than most other men’s jackets. If you’re searching for a down jacket that is going to give you enough warmth to get through the early days of spring and the later days of fall, this is a great design to consider.

Product Highlights

The things you’ll appreciate the most about the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II include:

  • Machine-Washable Fabric

The majority of down jackets don’t recommend machine washing, however, as the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II is designed to have a little less down than heavier jackets, you can easily machine wash the jacket whenever it gets dirty.

  • Standing Collar

Similar to the ZSHOW Men’s Down Jacket, the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II has a standing collar that zips all the way up so you can have even more protection against cooler weather and winds.

  • Channel-Quilted

In an effort to make sure that the down filling doesn’t move or fall to one side of the jacket, it is channel-quilted to give you reasonably sized ribbons of down surrounding your body.

  • Down Filling

With the combination of nylon and down, the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II is a great option for cool weather. However, it’s not recommended to be worn in the middle of winter. As mentioned, it’s best for the end of fall or the beginning of spring because it doesn’t have as much filling as a traditional winter jacket.

What's to like about the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II

The Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II is the perfect choice for an everyday coat that you can throw on before heading out to the grocery store or doing some yard work as the weather changes. What we love the most about it is that it’s very affordable but yet still gives your body a substantial amount of protection from wind and rain.

In fact, it could even become a work jacket if you’re the type of person who spends a lot of time outdoors for your career. You’ll also appreciate how subdued the design is and how it adapts to wearers of any age or gender, making it one of the most versatile designs on this list.

What's not to like about the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II

Even though we’d love to say that the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II is warm enough to wear in winter, it simply doesn’t have enough filling to compete with the more heavy-duty designs on this list.

With that being said, it’s still useful for light outdoor tasks. However, we wouldn’t recommend relying on it as a winter jacket. You’ll also find that although the Hawke and Co Men’s Puffer Jacket II is affordable, and its construction is rather lackluster as the sewn seams will split after months of wear.

PROS

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    Lightweight and easy to wear
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    Versatile design for all ages
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    Great for fall and spring

CONS

  • Not warm enough for winter
  • Poorly designed stitching
  • Has a small amount of down filling

4. SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket

The SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket is one of the more expensive down jackets on this list and for a good reason. It has plenty of features available for you to use to your advantage.

First, it’s available in over six colors, and it is also designed for plus size women, giving you more than enough room for layering and for comfort throughout the day.

Product Highlights

The best features of the SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket include:

  • Packable

Similar to other down jackets on this list, this down jacket is so lightweight that it can be folded down and packed into a bag if you’re heading out on an outdoor excursion. We also love that it’s so lightweight that you won’t have to worry about wearing a heavy-duty coat in cold weather.

  • Water-Resistant Shell

On the exterior of the coat, there is a water-resistant shell that helps to prevent any moisture from penetrating the down or the inner lining. This makes it ideal for wearing in rain or wet snow.

  • Two Pockets

Instead of having to worry about six or more pockets in your jacket, the SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket only has two front-zippered ones, which still give you more than enough storage for your personal belongings.

  • Duck Down Fill

Just like most other down jackets, the SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket is filled with duck down, which offers superior warmth and comfort during the coldest months of the year.

What's to like about the SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket

After wearing the SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket for the first time, you’ll immediately notice how great it works in windy conditions. In fact, even in Chicago during the depth of winter, you won’t feel any wind penetrating the coat, which makes it ideal for winter hiking or camping.

The lightweight feel of the jacket is also impressive, especially as it appears to have a high cold rating without being over-encumbered in a lot of down fill. The SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket is also easy to wear while sitting or driving. This means that you won’t have to take your winter coat off, especially for plus size women, which makes it a great choice for everyday wear.

What's not to like about the SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket

The main issue that we have with this down jacket is its construction as there are a lot of areas where the stitching seems poor and will begin to fray. In terms of how the jacket is designed, it’s easy to see how it shouldn’t be as expensive as it is. Then again, it does offer a lot of warmth, which makes the jacket worth the investment.

It’s also recommended that you do not machine wash the jacket, as the down will form in clumps on the side of the coat and never go back to its original shape, which is inconvenient as it will have to be dry cleaned.

PROS

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    Comfortable and lightweight
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    Easy to layer under
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    Superior wind protection

CONS

  • Poorly stitched together
  • Cannot be machine washed

5. Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Down Jacket

As a very well-known brand in outdoor gear, the Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Down Jacket has plenty of unique features that you’re sure to appreciate after wearing it for the first time. Not only does it have an advanced type of fill, but it is also available in over 15 different colors, which is more than any other coat on this list.

Product Highlights

The best highlights of the Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Down Jacket include:

  • Water-resistant Coating

The exterior shell of this down-filled jacket is entirely water-resistant with the help of the no-sew bonded baffles. If you get caught in the rain, the water will streamline right off of the coat instead of penetrating the down.

  • No-sew Bonded Baffles

Apart from adding to the jacket’s water resistance, the no-sew bonded baffles also help to keep the down fill from migrating to different areas of the jacket. They also help to add to the streamlined aesthetic of the coat without making it too bulky for everyday activities.

  • Heat Seal Technology

Designed to keep heat inside of the coat and to keep you warm on even the coldest days, the patented Heat Seal technology is something that you won’t find in any other coat on this list.

  • Power Down Fill

With 71 grams of power down fill, you’ll have more than enough warmth to get you through cold days outdoors. It’s also such a thin fill that you can layer the jacket with other outerwear without feeling too heavy.

What's to like about the Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Down Jacket

This down jacket is constructed for active individuals, which makes it far more comfortable than many other jackets on this list, especially in terms of sitting down, hiking, camping, or even going up a ski lift.

We also love how it’s easily packable, as it can roll into the size of a paper towel roll with ease and is one of the more flattering jackets that you can get your hands on.

What's not to like about the Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Down Jacket

The most concerning thing about the Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Down Jacket is that it feels cheap, which is a strange characteristic of Columbia jackets. You’ll also find that the sizing runs smaller than with other jackets, so you will have to pay close attention to sizing charts to make sure you order the right size.

We also didn’t like how the Columbia logo was screen printed on the front of the coat versus stitched, which only adds to its cheap appearance.

PROS

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    Keeps heat locked inside
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    Great for water resistance
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    Easily layered with other coats

CONS

  • Looks cheap
  • Screen printed Columbia logo
  • Doesn’t meet style expectations

BUYER'S GUIDE

Buying a down jacket is a lot more difficult than most people realize, especially if you’re buying a coat that is supposed to last through the next few winters. Below are some of the most important things to look out for when you start shopping around.

Down vs Synthetic Insulation

One of the first things to take into consideration is whether you’re looking at a jacket that has down vs synthetic insulation. In the past, synthetic fill was avoided simply because it didn’t offer as much natural warmth as real down.

However, in today’s day and age, you can easily find synthetic insulation that mimics the strength of real down. If you are someone who suffers from allergies, opting for synthetic may be your only option, and in most cases, it’s also the far less expensive option. On the other hand, if you’re looking for the highest quality fill possible, you’re going to want to opt for regular down.

Jacket Construction

There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a brand new jacket that falls apart at the seams after wearing it for a couple of days. The construction of your coat is of the utmost importance. This is because it helps to make sure the insulation stays in the right place and that the jacket maintains its flattering shape.

If you see any negative reviews pertaining to frayed seams or poorly constructed stitches, then it’s better to find an alternative jacket to buy.

Waterproof and Breathable Down Jackets

You’ll never be able to predict the weather that you’ll come across, especially if you’re heading outside for a camping or hiking trip, which is why you’re going to want to find waterproof and breathable down jackets.

In most cases, the exterior shell of the jacket will be entirely waterproof to prevent liquids from penetrating the down. Regardless, the jacket still offers some type of venting to help your body breathe and stay dry.

Durability and Weight

In most cases, a lot of people assume that durability and weight fall within the same category, but with many down jackets, just because it’s heavy doesn’t mean that it’s more durable than other coats. Thus, you’re going to want to find a happy medium that gives you a jacket that is lightweight but still offers a high-quality construction.

This also depends on the activities that you intend on doing with the coat, as someone who takes winter hikes will need a very lightweight yet durable coat. However, if it’s a jacket just worn to get coffee, you can choose a heavier coat that will still last through years of wear.

Fit

It’s tough to find a winter jacket that has the perfect fit, especially if you’re shopping online. The first thing you’ll have to do is make sure that you’re ordering the right size and with most retailers, they will have a sizing chart available as not every coat is made the same.

In addition, you will also want to find a jacket that has photos of customers wearing it because this will give you an idea of how the jacket looks when worn. It’s also important to find a jacket that has a reasonable return policy because if it arrives and isn’t as flattering as you thought, you’ll want to make sure you can return it for another size or a different jacket entirely.

Other Features (Hood and Cuffed Waist and Wrists, Pockets, etc.)

There are plenty of other features that you’re going to want to pay special attention to when it comes to finding the perfect down jacket for your needs. First and foremost, finding a jacket with a hood is a good idea as it gives you an extra layer of protection against wind and torrential weather conditions, even if you usually wear a winter hat.

Two other important features are cuffed wrists and waists, as they give you the ability to keep even more wind from penetrating your coat. Even the highest rated windproof jackets without cuffed wrists and waists allow cold air to travel through the coat, which defeats the purpose of wearing one at all.

Finally, pockets are another important feature to have in the perfect winter jacket as you’re going to want a versatile design that you can use in any situation. For example, if you’re heading out on the ski slopes, you won’t be able to bring your purse or backpack without feeling over-encumbered, which is when pockets will become quite useful. We recommend finding a jacket that has at least two protected external pockets with zipper closures.

Best Down Jacket FAQs

How to wash down jackets?

Washing your down jacket is all dependent on the design that you choose, as some jackets are easily machine-washable and others aren’t. If you want to preserve the integrity of your new coat for as long as possible, we recommend bringing it to a dry cleaner who specializes in working with delicate materials, such as down.

What this does is help make sure that the fill doesn’t migrate to other areas of the jacket after being washed and it also ensures that the fill is thoroughly dried.

How to dry a down jacket?

Similar to knowing how to wash a down jacket, you’re going to want to leave drying in the hands of a professional as well. However, if you have no other choice but to wash your jacket at home, it’s recommended that you hang it in a cool and dry place so that the down can dry naturally. You’re not going to want to toss the coat into the dryer as this can severely damage the fill and render your jacket useless.

How to patch a down jacket?

Patching a down jacket is easier than you think and you will only need a couple of materials for the job. You’re first going to need to find repair tape that is designed specifically for down jackets, as this will act as your patch.

After that, you’re going to want to clean the problem area with rubbing alcohol and allow time for the area to dry. This will give the patch the highest level of adhesion possible, so the patch lasts longer.

Lastly, you will then want to take the repair tape and cut out a circle to cover the patch, though you’ll want to make the circle a little larger than the hole itself. By peeling off the backing of the repair tape, you can place the patch over the hole and hold it down with your fingers, making sure that the sticker fully adheres.

How to store down jackets?

As the seasons change and it becomes time to put your jacket away for the spring and summer, you’re going to want to make sure that you store your coat properly so that it is protected during the warmer months. How can you do this?

For the safest storage possible, we recommend purchasing a jacket bag that is specifically designed to zipper shut and keep your down smelling fresh and airy, even if it’s stuffed in the back of your closet. You’ll also want to make sure that you keep it stored in a cool and dry place to prevent the absorption of moisture, especially if the jacket won’t be exposed to air for months at a time.

How to repair down jacket?

Repairing a down jacket is much more difficult than patching one, which is why it’s recommended that you visit a dry cleaner to have it done. If a repair is incorrect, it could lead to more problem areas appearing throughout the jacket.

Aside from that, it can also lead to a lot of your fill falling out over a short period of time. In most cases, a professional will be able to repair your coat in a matter of minutes and for a very affordable cost.

FINAL VERDICT

It’s now time to pick the best jacket for winter wear. By, far, our favorite is the SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket. Why? It is because it offers the most versatility yet still performs perfectly on its own.

With a style that is flattering for most body types and a fill that helps to block wind and cold from affecting your body, even in the middle of winter, it’s the most superior coat on this list. We also love how you’re able to layer the jacket with other coats, which depends on your personal preference, though it’s truly not necessary.

When compared to other jackets, the cold protection of the SportCaster Women’s Down Jacket is well worth the cost of the coat, even though it might not feel like it’s made out of the highest quality materials. If you’re searching for a jacket that is guaranteed to perform, this is the right model for your needs.

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