Best Men’s Insulated Jackets for Hiking of 2019

Heading to the wilderness without proper and insulated clothing can be catastrophic. Your outing may turn out to be fruitless after experiencing the unbearable cold conditions.

 It doesn’t have to be that scary to camp outside especially in winter…

 If you buy a good synthetic insulated jacket you’ll enjoy your outdoor adventures, even in unfavorable freezing weather conditions. 

But, how do you know how to chose the best insulated jacket on the market?

Without further ado, this comprehensive guide is presenting to you the top synthetic insulated jackets that men can find worthwhile as they prepare for their outing. 

While down insulation has proven to be unmatched, there’s equally an immense value in synthetic insulation hence my decision to handpick the best 5 products for you.

 Let’s first highlight the best features you should look for when selecting these jackets.

Quick Answer - Editor's choice...

ARC'TERYX Atom LT Jacket Men's (Black, Small)

Reasons To Buy

  • Made of a mix of materials such as Spandex, taffeta, and polyester
  • Coated with DWR for water resistance
  • Side panels for better breathability
  • Coreloft insulation which is impressively warm
  • Pockets provided as the extra storage
  • Lightweight and compressible outdoor jacket for men
icon-winner
6.6/10

Men's Synthetic Insulated Jackets Comparison Table

Preview
ARC'TERYX Atom LT Jacket Men's (Black, Small)
Weight
12.7 oz
Material
Coreloft
SKA Rating
7.2
-
Preview
Columbia Men's Frost Fighter Insulated Puffer Jacket, Shark, XX
Weight
8.7oz
Material
100% polyester synthetic down
SKA Rating
6.6
-
Preview
The North Face Men's Thermoball Full Zip Jacket, TNF Black 2, MD
Weight
11.64oz
Material
PrimaLoft ThermoBall polyester
SKA Rating
6.4
Price
-
Preview
Marmot Men's Calen Insulated Puffer Jacket, Jet Black, Large
Weight
12.6 oz
Material
Primaloft
SKA Rating
6.4
Price
Preview
Caterpillar Men's Heavy Insulated Parka (Regular and Big & Tall Sizes), Graphite, Medium
Weight
9oz
Material
100% polyester insulation
SKA Rating
6.2
Price

What to Look for When Buying a Synthetic Insulated Jacket

To avoid shopping for the wrong reasons, let’s highlight the most important features you should prioritize when choosing the best insulated jacket. Among others, I’ve highlighted weather resistance, breathability, warmth, comfort, packability, durability, and style.

Weather Resistance

Weather resistance is perhaps the single most important feature that everyone is concerned about before going to the wilderness. Outdoor enthusiasts need a quality weather-resistant jacket that can deter rain and still keep them dry.

While down jackets are popular for their warmth to weight ratio, many down jackets don’t perform well in terms of weather resistance, if exposed for a long time to rain or snow. They tend to lose loft and warmth. Moreover, they dry slowly. Synthetic jackets have improved on that and we see brands such as PrimaLoft leading with weather resistance features.

A synthetic puffy jacket can offer the best resistance to weather. To make them more water-resistant, the jackets are often coated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating. But this does not make them waterproof. The coating can deter low to moderate precipitation. You will need a full rain jacket if you are camping or hiking in areas frequented by downpours.

 Warmth

The warmth of a jacket is also an important feature to look at when shopping. It’s every camper’s dream to have a lightweight warm jacket that is easy to pack and go. 

 Usually, we expect thick jackets to prove us the much-needed warmth. That is not always the case because the warmth-to-weight ratio is what is important.

 Down jackets have the best warmth-to-weight ratio compared to synthetic jackets. Nonetheless, modern technologies made it possible to have light synthetic insulated jackets that are still competitively warm.

The type of insulation in a jacket can give you a glimpse of how warm it gets. Also, how well the jacket retains its loft even after soaking in snow can tell how warm it can get.

 Breathability

Breathability often comes at a price of warmth. Highly exertion activities need breathable jackets that can expel excessive moisture. When buying you need to check the breathability feature of the jacket.

I know that buying online presents such challenges. I have therefore done in-depth research into the breathability of these jackets. Ideally, the type of fabric material gives us a glimpse of how breathable the jacket is.

 Compared with down, synthetic jackets are fairly breathable. Even if they get soaked in your perspiration, they will dry fast.

Packability

As a minimalist, I am into compressible and packable jackets. A mid-weight jacket is a must-have especially if you plan to do aerobic activities in the wilderness.

 Unfortunately, synthetic jackets do not pack as small as down counterparts. But you can still find packable synthetic garments. Oftentimes, they come with stuff sacks wherein you can pack them conveniently for storage.

You should look at the weight of the jacket when making your purchases.

Comfort

The best insulation and a proper fit amount to the comfort of a jacket. And comfort can be subjective; for instance, what is comfortable on the other may not be comfortable on you.

 Synthetic jackets have varying comfort levels. The type of insulation used plays an important role in comfort. I will highlight these features under the product reviews to follow.

Style

What exactly is a good style for the best synthetic insulated jackets? There is no fixed definition of style; it all boils down to personal preference.

But,

The overall design of the jacket tells all. From the number of pockets to the variance of colors, you have to choose wisely to suit your style.

Cost

 Is the expensive Patagonia jacket outperforms the least-expensive North Face insulated jacket? That’s not the case…

 The price of the jacket does not translate into a high-performance jacket and neither is a low price translating into a mediocre product.

The most important consideration is to assess overall features and the pick based on the costs thereafter. Many people are deceived by the prices. Buying the insulated jacket for your winter camping demands a thorough assessment of the features you need.

Synthetic Jackets vs Down jackets

 The debate about down and synthetic jackets still continues among outdoor enthusiasts. These types of jackets come with pros and cons.

A down jacket, for instance, is often made of goose feathers and they are the best with warmth-to-weight ratio. Synthetic jackets have also improved dramatically. You can get a synthetic down jacket that possesses almost the same features as the original down jacket.

The downside of down insulation is that it loses its loft and warmth if it gets warm. The biggest selling point of synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is its ability to dry fast ad retain its loft and warmth after being soaked in rain or snow.

I would personally opt for a synthetic thermal jacket for its ability to dry fast. Besides, down is more expensive.  

Review of the Top Synthetic Insulated Jackets for Men

Stay warm, comfy and agile with this lightweight insulated jacket. 

7.2/10
icon-winner
ARC'TERYX Atom LT Jacket Men's (Black, Small)

Comfort

7

Drying Time

7

Fit 

8

Durability

7

Packability

7

Best offer for today

Price not available

Reasons To Buy

  • Made of a mix of materials such as Spandex, taffeta, and polyester to improve its quality
  • Coated with DWR for water resistance
  • Side panels improve the breathability of the jacket
  • Coreloft insulation which is impressively warm and its competitiveness is close to down insulation
  • Pockets provided as the extra storage
  • Lightweight and compressible outdoor jacket for men

Reasons To AVOID

  • DWR coating fades over time
  • No hood

Arc’teryx Atom LT Jacket Men’s comes with a broad range of features designed to make outdoor adventures memorable. First, it is a synthetic puffy jacket made of 88% polyester and 12% spandex. Spandex makes for the shortfalls of polyester.

At a glance, the jacket has an impressive trim, thus suitable for those prioritizing style. Its extra warmth gives enthusiast outdoor hikers the pleasure of actively engaging in activities regardless of the conditions. 

Do not confuse its lightweight with its warmth. We have synthetic fabrics almost matching up with down insulation these days, all thanks to modern technologies making that possible.

Making this jacket pleasingly warm is Coreloft insulation especially in the torso and arms. You will survive the frigid conditions in the wilderness. Moreover, you get an impressive weather resistance to block moisture and wind. 

In case you frequent places that are known for their abundant moderate rainfalls, this jacket could be the best buy to invest in.

More on weather resistance, this jacket features the lightweight taffeta fabric, which is great in repelling water. 

It is treated with DWR to give it a long-lasting resistance to water. This coating makes this garment suitable as an outer layer to avoid moisture.

If you are concerned about sweat the jacket is breathable to get rid of your perspiration. Its side panels are breathable, thanks to Polartec Power Stretch with their patented Hardface technology.

For minimalist hikers, the jacket is compressible for ease of storage. It packs down nicely in your stuff pack so you can hit the road to your next destination.

The other worth noting features include one internal chest pocket and two hand pockets for ease of storage. Add to that the convenience of a full front zip. 

The most recommended hiking jacket when it comes to cold weather adventures.

6.6/10
Columbia Men's Frost Fighter Insulated Puffer Jacket, Shark, XX

Comfort

7

Drying Time

6

Fit 

6

Durability

7

Packability

7

Best offer for today

Price not available

Reasons To Buy

  • Top quality synthetic down made of 100% polyester
  • Fabric made of top quality materials
  • Warmest synthetic jacket
  • Has pockets for storage
  • Chin guard to prevent chaffing

Reasons To AVOID

  • Not impressively breathable
  • No hood

Columbia brand is not new in the making of synthetic jackets for outdoor adventures. This jacket is made of 100% nylon, taffeta, and 100% polyester synthetic down with an impressive fill power.

With its synthetic down insulation, you can enjoy memorable days in the wilderness. Polyester is good at providing warmth and protection against the elements.

Combine it with nylon then you have an impressive combo for outdoor camping.

To protect you from snow and moderate rainfalls, you get the advanced technology patented as Omni-shield. This tech combines with stain repellent features to give you complete protection.

Every hiker’s nightmare is soaking in rain amid a hiking journey. With this protective shell, you should enjoy your activities uninterrupted.   

The Columbia Men’s Frost Fighter Insulated Puffer Jacket features two zippered hand pockets and an abrasion-resistant chin guard as handy features.

The chin guard prevents chaffing while the pockets give you additional storage.

Although the jacket looks attractive with great features, I don’t find its breathability being the selling point.

If you are looking for a fabric with air permeability, I don’t think this could be the best jacket. For cold conditions, it’s a big resounding YES.

Caring for this garment shouldn’t be difficult as it is machine washable.

Read care instructions carefully to avoid messing up with its warranty.

Incredibly comfortable and well made hiking jacket.

6.4/10
The North Face Men's Thermoball Full Zip Jacket, TNF Black 2, MD

Comfort

6

Drying Time

7

Fit 

5

Durability

7

Packability

7

Best offer for today

$189.50

Reasons To Buy

  • Quality synthetic jacket
  • Best wind-resistant with extra warmth
  • Available in many colors
  • Full zipper closure to seal heat
  • It dries quickly if soaked in precipitation
  • Retains its comfort and loft even after getting wet
  • Made of 100% nylon, which traps heat and repels water drops

Reasons To AVOID

  • Opposite of breathability
  • Lack of hand pockets

Explore the outdoors armed with the warmest synthetic jacket on the market. This jacket is made of 100% nylon fabric material, known for its durability, air permeability, and thermal resistance.

At first sight, the The North Face Men’s Thermoball Full Zip Jacket looks thick and therefore warm. Its full zipper closure further assures you that you will enjoy the warmth. If you are heading to a colder environment, this might be the ideal jacket to prepare with.

If it rains on you, the fabric will dry fast, thanks to nylon’s ability to bead off the water. However, do not expose it to rain or snow for a long time. Even the best water-resistant jacket can succumb to water penetration if exposed for a long time.

To suit your style, this jacket comes in different colors.

Breathability-wise, nylon is not impressive. It was designed to trap heat and repel water. Breathability is not a priority. And so if you are prepared for an energy-intensive activity you might find this jacket inconvenient. Otherwise, you can have it and take it off if you sweat excessively.

The good part though…

Nylon is durable and the company offers a warranty against any defects for the original buyer. North Face is a renowned brand so I don’t doubt the quality of its products.

Impressive design and comfort in style. 

6.4/10
Marmot Men's Calen Insulated Puffer Jacket, Jet Black, Large

Comfort

6

Drying Time

6

Fit 

7

Durability

6

Packability

7

Best offer for today

$149.95

Reasons To Buy

  • Touted as the best synthetic down alternative
  • Impressive design and warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Packable and lightweight yet not compromising its warmth
  • Zippered internal and external pockets
  • Impressive Primaloft insulation
  • Breathable and weather-resistant lightweight warm jacket

Reasons To AVOID

  • Quite expensive but worth investing in
  • I wish it had a hood

Using Primaloft Black Insulation, Marmot Calen Men’s Insulated Puffer Jacket is one of the best synthetic insulated jackets worth investing in. it is feature-rich with the much-needed features to prepare for your outing.

It is made of NanoPro 100% nylon ripstop. This fabric material translates into a top-quality garment that will last you for a long time.

Among others, I bow down to Primaloft, dubbed the best down alternative, for the impressive extra warmth it gives. It makes this jacket an ideal outer shell in cold conditions and a typical mid-weight jacket you can rely on for winter exertion activities.

Outdoor enthusiasts may appreciate the patented DriClime chin guard which wicks away the moisture and prevents chafing. 

The worst experience you could face is heavily sweating while also experiencing chafing. This jacket helps avoid those inconveniences. So breathability is solved…

You also get zippered internal and external pockets for extra storage and to warm your hands in case you forget your gloves.

Usually, we expect warm jackets to look bulky. It’s different with this jacket. It is a thermal jacket

with one of the best insulations: Primaloft. 

A packable, durable, versatile and lightweight jacket – that’s how one can describe it in a nutshell.

For a secure fit and comfort, you get elastic cuffs and a drawcord hem. Just make sure you are buying the right size to avoid the disappointments of returns. 

And I haven’t seen any info about the warranty plan.

A solid option for winter hiking.

6.2/10
Caterpillar Men's Heavy Insulated Parka (Regular and Big & Tall Sizes), Graphite, Medium

Comfort

7

Drying Time

6

Fit 

5

Durability

6

Packability

7

Best offer for today

$92.95

Reasons To Buy

  • Thick and warm jackets with great features
  • Made of 100% polyester
  • Adjustable drawcord and adjustable cuffs with snap tables
  • Zip-off hood lined with microfleece
  • Strong two-way full front zip to seal the warmth
  • Weather resistant

Reasons To AVOID

  • Not fairly breathable
  • Too bulky for minimalists

Caterpillar Men’s Heavy Insulated Parka is also one of the best men’s insulated jackets. It looks so bulky at a glance and you will be convinced it is an ideal garment for frigid weather conditions.

From footwear to jacket, Caterpillar takes outdoor weather seriously. It’s one of the brands I would recommend outdoor enthusiasts to.

It is made of 100% polyester, which is a top-quality fabric material to last long.

Its hood is lined with microfleece to make it a thermal jacket ideal for those sleeping outside.

Meanwhile, the drawcord is adjustable to give you more warmth and a perfect fit. It is such a comfortable jacket to rely on. You also get a two-way full front zip to seal the heat.

Also, the clothing comes with double storm flaps with snap closure to give you the ultimate warmth and protection.

Moreover, you get adjustable cuffs with snap taps and hidden storm cuffs.

Like I said: from a distance, you would notice this jacket is bulky and must have a broad range of features for outdoor cold conditions.

Its hood can be zipped off if you feel too much heat.

The jacket is convincingly warm with great features; however, I cannot say the same about its breathability.

The priority of Caterpillar goes to warmth than the breathability. I must say the jacket is ideal for frigid climatic conditions.

If you plan to engage in aerobic activities while wearing it you might soak in excessive sweat.

What is the Best Insulated Jacket for your Needs

Best Value Synthetic Insulated Jacket

Winter jackets are generally expensive depending on the type of insulation. However, it is better to look or the best value and take it from there. 

The best value includes all the best features you would wish for.

After a careful analysis of the features, Marmot Calen emerges as the best value money can buy. 

It comes with Primaloft insulation, dubbed as the best synthetic down insulation. Combine this insulation with great features such as warmth, weather resistance, and breathability then you have the best value. 

Best Synthetic Insulated Jacket for Breathability

Breathability is seldom a priority in the majority of insulated jackets, but there are a few that do their best. 

Arc’teryx Atom men’s Jacket, for instance, include side panels on the outer layer through which perspiration can escape. 

If you do energy-intensive outdoor activities, you might find this jacket attractive for its ability to wick away moisture.

Best Synthetic Insulated Jacket for Weather Resistance

Weather resistance is perhaps the single most feature that all outdoor enthusiasts look out for. With such a jacket you will enjoy prolonged camping days in the wilderness knowing that no winter conditions can match your fleece. 

In this category, I give the crown to Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Parka. It looks bulky and thick, and it is super-insulated to protect you against the elements. Other jackets also fare well in this category but caterpillar seems to have an advantage over them. It is super warm.

Best Synthetic Insulated Jacket for Comfort

What makes a comfortable jacket? This can be subjective and can differ from one person to the other. Ideally, comfort includes the warmth of the jacket, its fit, and its insulation. 

I would like to hand the victory to the North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket

It is surely one of the best synthetic insulated jackets that money can buy. 

Considering that it is made of nylon, which is good in heat retention, it takes the crown in the comfort category. Moreover, it fits very snugly.

Best Synthetic Insulated Jacket for Style

Winter coats are seldom about style. If color constitutes style then I will still choose the North Face Thermoball for its wide range of colors. 

I can choose any color to suit my style. In fact, you can wear the jacket beyond your camping endeavors.

The Verdict: What is the Best Men’s Insulated Jackets for Hiking

This marks the end of our comprehensive guide. It is long but worth reading especially if you preparing to hit the road to your favorite wilderness.

Camping or hiking in the outdoor is a challenge because you have to take into account the unfavorable weather conditions.

Although I have handpicked the top 5 synthetic jackets, selecting the best synthetic down jacket can still present challenges. 

In line with the features I have highlighted in the beginning, I give the crown to the Arc’teryx Atom LT Jacket

Primaloft insulation has been on the market for a long time and it is considered the best down alternative hence I chose this lightweight warm jacket as the winner.

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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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