Best Men’s Down Jackets for Hiking of 2019

Jason Miller
Jason Miller
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As the seasons change and the temps start to drop at night and during the day, nothing beats a down jacket to keep you warm in the outdoors. 

Renowned for its great warmth-to-weight ratio, down is a great material for staying warm in the outdoors, but with so many different down jackets available today, it can be difficult to find the right one for your needs.

We understand how challenging it can be to find a quality lightweight down jacket, which is why we’re here to give you some beta on the best hiking down jackets for men

We’ll start off with a guide to finding the warmest down jackets and then wrap things up with some down jacket reviews. 

Let’s get to it!

Quick Answer - Editor's choice...

Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody Men's (Labyrinth, X-Small)
icon-winner

Reasons To Buy

  • Highly weather-resistant shell fabric with DWR treatment
  • StormHood for protection in foul weather
  • Stuff sack for packability
8.2/10

Best Hiking Down Jackets for Men Comparison Table

Preview
Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody Men's (Labyrinth, X-Small)
Material
100% Arato Nylon 850-Fill European White Goose Down
Weight (in oz)
8.8
SKA Rating
8.2
Price
Preview
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody - Men's Void Large
Material
100% 7D Ripstop Nylon Hydrophobic Nikwax 800-Fill Down
Weight (in oz)
7.8
SKA Rating
7.8
Price
-
Preview
The North Face Men's Summit L3 Down Hoodie Light Puffer Jacket (Turbulence Grey/TNF Black, XL)
Material
100% 10D Ripstop Nylon DWR-treated 800-Fill Responsible Down
Weight (in oz)
13.4
SKA Rating
7.4
Price
Preview
Sierra Designs Men's Whitney DriDown Hoodie, 800 Fill Winter Jacket, X-Large, Chili/Black
Material
Polyester
Weight (in oz)
18.73
SKA Rating
6.6
Price
-
Preview
Marmot Guides Down Hoody Men's Winter Puffer Jacket, Fill Power 700, Jet Black, X-Large
Material
100% Polyester Mini Ripstop DWR
Weight (in oz)
24
SKA Rating
6.4
Price

Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider Before Buying a Down Jacket

If you walked into an outdoor gear store today and walked over to the jackets section, you’d probably get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available to you.

To make things easier, we’ll run you through the most important things to look for in a puffy jacket in our buyer’s guide to the best hiking down jackets for men.

What’s the Difference Between Down and Synthetic Insulated Jackets?

First things first, let’s talk about the difference between down and synthetic insulated jackets.

To the regular person, it might be hard to tell a synthetic and down puffy jacket apart, but they’re actually quite different.

Synthetic vs Down: differences between synthetic insulated jackets and best hiking down jackets for men
Image Credit: Active Endeavours

Down jackets are made with down feathers, which are the insulating feathers found in birds.

These feathers trap heat thanks to their high “loft” capabilities, which helps keep us warm with minimal weight and bulk. 

Down compresses superbly, making it great for use in backpacking down jackets and sleeping bags.

That being said, when down gets wet, it offers zero insulating value and can actually make you colder than when you started. 

Plus, all that great insulating value of down comes at a cost, namely a high price tag.

Synthetic insulated jackets, on the other hand, are made with a type of spun nylon fiber, which is similar to down insofar as it traps heat near your body to keep you warm. 

Unlike down, though, synthetic insulation can keep you warm when wet and is generally much more affordable.

However, synthetically insulated jackets tend to be much heavier than their down counterparts because they have a lower warmth-to-weight ratio, which means you need

more synthetic insulation to get the same amount of warmth as a given quantity of down. 

Plus, synthetic insulation is usually bulkier than down, so it doesn’t compress nearly as much.

The video below describes the difference between natural goose down and synthetic insulation. The information in this video not only applies to sleeping bags, but also to all products that are insulated with down or synthetic material. 

Now that you understand the difference between down and synthetic insulation, let’s take a look at some of the most important features of a down jacket.

Most Important Features of a Down Jacket

Down Fill Power Rating

The first thing that many people notice when learning more about down jackets is something called a “fill power rating.”

Image Credit: Snow Central

Every packable down jacket that’s worth buying will list the fill rating of its down insulation.

It’s important to note that this is different from synthetic insulated jackets, which express their insulation levels in terms of grams per square meter.

What is a down fill power rating, you ask? 

Simply put, fill power is the volume, in cubic inches, that a single ounce of down occupies. 

Since there are different qualities of down available, the fill power is basically an indirect measure of how good your down is. 

Down’s insulative properties come wholly from its ability to trap heat, which requires a lot of loft. Thus, the higher the fill power of the down, or in other words, the more body heat the down can trap, the better it is. 

You’ll spend a pretty penny on higher fill power down, but you won’t regret how warm it’ll keep you.

Breathability

When you wear a down jacket for hiking, you don’t want to sweat. Not only is sweating in a backpacking down jacket uncomfortable, but your sweat can also moisten the down and reduce its insulating properties. 

When we look for the best puffy jacket, we want to make sure it’s breathable.

Often, much of this breathability comes from the thickness of the nylon shell that’s used to make the jacket. 

If this nylon shell is really thick, it will limit your jacket’s ability to breath, making you sweatier as you hike. Ew!

Weather Resistance

hiking down jacket weather resistance

Since lightweight down jackets don’t perform well when wet, it’s ideal to get a quality down jacket that’s also weather resistant. 

While waterproof down jackets do exist, often, what you’ll get is a down jacket with a shell fabric that’s treated with a DWR finish.

DWR stands for “durable water repellant,” which is a great feature to have on any puffy jacket. 

DWR treatments basically help water bead off of the nylon shell fabric of your lightweight down jacket. 

While your packable down jacket won’t be as waterproof as a rain jacket, if it has a DWR treatment and a high-quality nylon shell fabric, you’ll probably be okay in a light drizzle.

Weight

No one likes to carry around heavy gear when they’re out and about, so a lightweight down jacket is a great option. 

However, while ultralight down jackets certainly exist, you can expect to pay top dollar for such high quality down. 

Additionally, ultralight down jackets tend to be less durable than their heavier counterparts, keep that in mind when you’re shopping around.

Packability

Since compressibility is one of the best features of down insulation, you’ll want to look specifically for highly packable down jackets during your search. 

Often, the most packable down jackets will come with a small stuff sack or will have a pocket that converts into a stuff sack for easy packing. 

That’s pretty awesome.

Reviews of the Best Hiking Down Jackets for Men

Now that you know what to look for in your backpacking down jacket, let’s skip right to the reviews. 

Coming up, we’ve got reviews of the five best hiking down jackets for men. 

Here we go!

A solid option for winter hiking.

8.2/10
Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody Men's (Nocturne, Medium)

Warmth

8

Comfort

8

Breathability

9

Style

9


Weather Resistance

7

Best offer for today

$265.99

Reasons To Buy

  • Highly weather-resistant shell fabric with DWR treatment
  • 850-fill power down with added synthetic insulation for performance in wet conditions
  • StormHood for protection in foul weather
  • Zippered pockets
  • Stuff sack for packability
  • Incredibly light

Reasons To AVOID

  • Expensive

When quality trumps everything, the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody is the down jacket for you. 

Designed to be streamlined, yet highly functional, the Cerium LT Hoody is one of the warmest down jackets out there with an impressively lightweight to accompany it.

Built using premium 850-fill power down and Arc’teryx’s proprietary Arato 10 nylon shell, the Cerium LT Hoody is an ultralight down jacket with a surprising amount of durability. 

Plus, the Cerium LT features Arc’teryx’s Down Composite Mapping system, which strategically places small amounts of synthetic insulation in the most moisture-prone areas to keep you warm in poor conditions without adding any weight.

If all of that didn’t cut it, the Cerium LT has an articulated StormHood for maximum protection in a storm, as well as a selection of awesome pockets, including a zippered security pocket and stuff sack for packability. 

The Arc’teryx Cerium LT is a must-have down jacket for anyone that prioritizes quality and performance above all else in their gear.

A great winter jacket that is durable, waterproof, and lightweight.

7.8/10
icon-winner
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody - Men's Void Large

Warmth

6

Comfort

8

Breathability

8

Style

8


Weather Resistance

9

Best offer for today

$324.95

Reasons To Buy

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Nikwax DWR treatment
  • Packable down jacket fits into its own pocket

Reasons To AVOID

  • Expensive
  • Not as warm as other options
  • Too form fitting, feels uncomfortable.

Tipping the scale at an amazingly low 7.8 ounces, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hoody is an ultralight down jacket made for the outdoor adventurer. 

Built for maximum compressibility with 800-fill power down and an unbelievably thin ten denier ripstop nylon shell fabric, the Ghost Whisperer is one of the lightest puffy jackets around.

Plus, the Ghost Whisperer’s ultra-high-quality down is treated with Nikwax for a moisture-resistant performance. 

The jackets’ low profile quilt pattern traps in heat for extra warmth in cold weather, while the thin shell fabric keeps things breathable, even during high-octane activities.

That being said, while this jacket is incredibly lightweight, it does have some drawbacks. 

First and foremost, such thin fabric does pose a durability concern, so keep that in mind before you buy the Ghost Whisperer. 

Plus, since the jacket is so lightweight, it’s not going to be as warm as some heftier options. 

But, if you’re looking for an ultralight down jacket, it’s hard to beat the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hoody.

An incredibly comfortable and well made hiking jacket.

7.4/10
The North Face Men's Summit L3 Down Hoodie Light Puffer Jacket (Turbulence Grey/TNF Black, XL)

Warmth

7

Comfort

7

Breathability

7

Style

8


Weather Resistance

8

Best offer for today

$349.99

Reasons To Buy

  • Made with responsibly sourced down
  • 800-fill power down with a durable water repellent treatment
  • Lightweight
  • Packs into its own hand pocket

Reasons To AVOID

  • Expensive

Quite possibly the ultimate puffy mid-layer, the North Face Summit L3 Down Hoodie is a revolutionary lightweight down jacket that redefines what quality means in sustainable outdoor gear. 

Stuffed full of 800-fill goose down that’s certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), the Summit L3 is a responsibly sourced puffy that’s one of the warmest down jackets in our review.

The 800-fill down in the Summit L3 is also treated with a DWR coating, to help make the jacket more weather resistant in foul conditions. 

While it’s not a waterproof down jacket, the Summit L3 is made to last in the harshest of environments.

At a respectable 13.4 ounces, the Summit L3 is a quality lightweight down jacket with plenty to get you excited about. 

Backed by The North Face’s lifetime warranty, the Summit L3 is a great puffy jacket to take along on all of your adventures.

The perfect companion for mild weather.

6.6/10
Sierra Designs Men's Whitney DriDown Hoodie, 800 Fill Winter Jacket, X-Large, Chili/Black

Warmth

8

Comfort

6

Breathability

5

Style

7


Weather Resistance

7

Best offer for today

$94.64

Reasons To Buy

  • 800-fill power down rating
  • DriDown treatment for weather resistance
  • Durable polyester shell fabric
  • Stuffs into its own pocket for maximum packability
  • Great pocket options
  • Affordable

Reasons To AVOID

  • Bulky shell fabric
  • Heavier than other options
  • Not very breathable

Stylish and affordable, the Sierra Designs Whitney DriDown Hoodie is a great choice for the budget adventurer. 

Stuffed to the gills with 800 fill down, the Whitney Hoodie is made for those cold spring and fall nights and for winter hiking adventures. 

Thanks to a high collar and an overstuffed hood, the Whitney Hoodie helps keep you warm, even when the temperature drops. 

Plus, with 800 fill DriDown, the Whitney Hoodie is built to withstand rain and snow, making it a perfect companion for nearly any outdoor adventure.

The Whitney Hoodie has two zippered hand pockets for keeping your mitts toasty warm in the cold, as well as an interior kangaroo pocket for additional storage. 

If that wasn’t good enough, the Whitney Hoodie even has a zippered chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack for maximum packability.

If you’re looking for one of the warmest down jackets around that doesn’t break the bank, look no further than the Sierra Designs Whitney DriDown Hoodie. 

With 800-fill down, water-resistant forty denier polyester shell, and a whole lot of great features, there’s a lot to love with the Sierra Designs Whitney DriDown Hoodie.

A reliable hiking jacket for cold weather adventures.

6.4/10
Marmot Guides Down Hoody Men's Winter Puffer Jacket, Fill Power 700, Jet Black, X-Large

Warmth

9

Comfort

6

Breathability

5

Style

6


Weather Resistance

6

Best offer for today

$162.50

Reasons To Buy

  • Comfortable design with two-way zipper
  • Durable fabric
  • DWR-treated down

Reasons To AVOID

  • Heavy
  • Bulky shell fabric
  • Lower quality 700-fill down
  • Doesn’t pack into a pocket

If you want to stay warm at any cost, nothing beats the Marmot Guides Down Hoody. Packed full of 700-fill power down, the Guides Down Hoody is designed to accompany you around town, in the mountains, or on any other adventure you could possibly imagine.

The Guides Down Hoody is made with water-resistant Down Defender down fill to help keep you warm, even if the weather turns sour. 

Water is no problem for the Guides Down Hoody’s durable shell fabric, while specially designed Velcro cuffs and elastic drawcords help you get the perfect fit for a comfortable adventure experience.

With a two-way main zipper, the Guides Down Hoody is even good for use while climbing, sitting, or standing, keeping you comfortable, wherever life takes you. 

Plus, a plethora of zippered hand, chest, and interior pockets are great for warming up in the cold or for storing gear when you’re on the run. 

Firm, comfortable, and affordable, you’ll struggle to find a reason not to get the Marmot Guides Down Hoody.

The Verdict: What Is the Best Hiking Down Jacket for Men

At the end of the day, you’re probably only going to wear one down jacket at a time. 

If we had to choose just one of these puffy jackets to win our award as the best down jacket for men, we’d have to go with the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody.

Thanks to some super high-quality materials, including 850-fill power down and the super-strong weather-resistant Arato nylon shell, the Cerium LT is designed to keep you warm and comfortable in cold weather by trapping in body heat. 

Plus, the Cerium LT’s lightweight design is highly breathable and stylish, too. What’s not to love?

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Jason Miller

Jason Miller

Hi there, my name is Jason and I am the creator and editor of this site. My activities include hiking, skiing, mountain biking, camping, and backpacking. I'm also a keen nature photographer. I like to get outdoors and then write about it. I created this site to help people find the right gear so they enjoy their outdoor pursuits that much more.

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