Top 10 Best Down Jackets for Hiking [2020 Reviews]
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While it is freezing cold outside or a snowy climate, nothing else other than a down jacket with good insulating properties can handle the situation and make you feel comfortable. Hiking down jacket is the one which is well insulated with warm and soft under feathers from the geese or duck.
Down is always considered as the best insulator since it contains lots of small air pockets which help to trap warm air, thus retaining heat. Among the different variations, goose down is claimed to be the lightest and the warmest.
Quick Comparison: Top Hiking Down Jackets
- REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Jacket - Men's
- Patagonia Mens Down Sweater Jacket
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket - Men's
- Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Hoodie Jacket - Men's
- Arc'Teryx Men's Cerium SL Jacket
**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
How to Choose the Best Hiking Down Jacket?
Down jackets are designed especially for outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, backpacking, hiking and so on. Down jackets are tougher, light in weight and are water resistant too. They are not cheap but are good investments as it will keep you warm and cozy while being outdoors.
The real question is, how do you know which model is the best one for your needs? Don’t worry anymore. Here, in this article, we have listed what to note and what you need to consider prior to picking a model for your hiking requirements.
Down Fill Power
The down fill power of a jacket will provide you with information regarding its weight. Theoretically, higher the number, higher will be the down power. However, keep in mind that at times a jacket with 700 down fill-power will provide more warmth when compared to a jacket with 800 down fill-power if it has got a bigger amount of down. Alas, this is also a factor which contributes to weight.
When compared to other jackets, down jackets provides more warmth. And this is the reason why it is chosen by the hikers during chilly climates and warmth is the only factor which should be your main focus while you browse for or search for the down jackets.
The down insulation works well since the tiny feathers inside it will help to trap all the body heat very well. Fill power and the fill weight are the two important factors which you should check for as you look to the warmth element in any down jacket.
This is the element which plays a very important role in picking up a best hiking down jacket. If you are planning to use your down jacket for outdoor activities such as ski touring, climbing, mountaineering, backpacking etc, then you will need to carry much gear with you.
At this point, you will have to go for a down jacket which is as light in weight as possible. However, if you are going to use it as a single piece of garment for keeping you warm, the weight won’t be a significant factor here.
Type of Down
There are basically two types of down available and they are treated or hydrophobic down and regular down. The hydrophobic down is different from that of a regular down since it is treated with DWR (durable water repellent).
The DWR will help the down to dry quicker and will resist water for a longer period of time. This is the reason why choosing hydrophobic down insulation jackets are preferably good.
Synthetic vs. Down Insulation
When compared to the synthetic insulation, the down feathers are found to be lighter and hence they will be easy to carry around while not in use. The sheer quantity of the feathers which are used for the making of the down jacket will make the down jacket seem bulkier.
If you are planning for an active outdoor activity, then a down jacket might lead to heat up too much. On the other hand, if you are a warm person, then synthetic filled jackets will be the best pick for you.
Breathable and Waterproof Down Jackets
The shell of the down jackets will be coated with DWR (Durable Water Repellency) for providing some amount of resistance to rain. The waterproof down jackets will help to mix up this coating along with a waterproof membrane and this, in turn, will prevent the accumulation of moisture.
These kinds of waterproof down jackets will be breathable too, thus permitting sweat as well as moisture to escape.
There are mainly two kinds of construction - baffle box and sewn through. The sewn-through models are inexpensive than the baffle box down jackets, however, they provide inferior insulation. The outer layer of these models is stitched directly on the inner layer, thus permitting down to be divided into the lines.
This, in turn, will even redistribute down and block the movement as well. On the other hand, the cold spots will be present in the region where the insulation lines are being divided and this will lower the entire warmth.
The baffle box construction method will provide more insulation since every down box is having its own rectangle and hence the cold spots are removed.
This is a factor which needs more attention, especially if you are on a multi-day outdoor adventure. If you need all the things to be packed inside your backpack, then you should keep them as small and light as possible.
Remember, higher the fill power number higher will be the compressibility factor. If you are confused about picking a synthetic-insulated jacket and a down jacket, then compressibility will win every time.
Every down jacket should contain conveniently placed pockets for the purpose of keeping your valuable accessories. The most important factor is to check whether the pockets are easily accessible even when you are carrying your backpack.
Remember, the down jacket which you are choosing for hiking should not be too loose or too fitted. There should be enough space for adding layers. However, make sure that it is not that big since cold air can get inside through the arms and hem.
The down jackets are heavier when compared to the waterproof jackets and hence you require some room inside to let you move about.
How to Care and Wash Hiking Down Jacket?
For increasing the life of your hiking down jacket, it is highly necessary that you should clean it periodically. The inimitable features of the down require extra care as well as special cleaning. Prior to washing the down jacket, make sure that you wash the dirt or any loose mud in it. Open up all the Velcro and the zippers and close all the flaps before your wash. If possible, the jacket should be turned inside out.
It is always recommended to wash the down jacket using a cleaner which is designed especially for technical or down outerwear. Try to wash inside a front-loading washing machine. If you don’t have one at home, then try giving it to some laundry.
If you are planning to wash it in your home, ensure that you have cleaned well the compartment to check if there are any kind of detergent or softeners remain from the previous wash. Now set the washing cycle of the machine to cold wash on wool or delicate cycle. Now wash it using appropriate cleaners and take it out once the cleaning process is finished.
The next or the final step is to dry the clothing. You should not air dry the jacket since it is a lengthy process. In addition to this, there are high chances for the feathers to clump together and the jacket will start to smell odd. Also, you should not set the machine drier to high heat since this may melt the seams as well as the outer shell fabric.
It is always safe to check the label of your clothing for the right care and washing procedures. You can dry the clothing naturally, but not under direct sunlight. Make sure that it is 100 % dry before it packs it up for the next hiking.
Review of Some of the Best Hiking Down Jackets
The Patagonia Men's Down Sweater Jacket is a perfect classic Down Sweater with no hood. It is light in weight and has the windproof feature as well. In addition to this, it has got a recycled polyester ripstop shell along with 800-fill-power Traceable Down.
This durable shell fabric is crafted with 100 percent recycled polyester ripstop and is treated with durable water repellent finish for longer life. The contoured fit is having a longer-length hem. The comfortable nylon-bound elastic cuffs will help to keep you warm all through your hiking.
The REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Jacket is a boasting toasty and ultralight insulation jacket which provides easy movement as well as the right kind of warmth for your backpacking and hiking needs.
It is really made of good quality fabrics and is reasonably priced as well. Other than the low cost, it is having high-quality 850 down. It is considered as the best and the lightweight down jacket which is having a convenient internal chest pocket for keeping your phone or any other valuable accessories.
On the other hand, there is no hood option attached to it and won’t be chosen by many hikers.
We hope that the write-up is been useful and provides you with enough information which is required for you to pick the best-suited hiking down jacket. The list of the top-rated jackets will help you to effectively narrow down your selection and choose the right fit for you.
The basic thing is to identify your needs and conditions and also the climatic conditions which you are likely to face and then settle on the model.
Also look for the pros and cons of the down jackets before you settle for a particular model.
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