The Ultimate Ultralight Down Jacket Buying Guide

Views: 239     Author: Lydia     Publish Time: 2023-12-07      Origin: Site


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The Ultimate Ultralight Down Jacket Buying Guide

The Ultimate Ultralight Down Jacket Buying Guide

Down remains the most popular insulating material in the outdoor business, with the best warmth-to-weight ratio and unsurpassed packability. As a result, a down jacket will keep you warm while not adding weight to you or your pack. Choosing a down jacket is dependent on how warm you need it to be as well as the qualities you require.

What temperature should it be?

Our lightest down jackets weigh less than 150 grams and are as warm as a three-weight microfleece. In terms of warmth, heavier down coats weighing 350-500 grams are similar to very heavyweight fleeces and make excellent mid layers. Jackets weighing 500 kilos or more are available as outerwear for extremely cold temperatures. As a result, there are various elements to consider while comparing the warmth of jackets.

1.Parka Jacket

Reduced Quality

In general, the more down (fill weight) in a jacket, the warmer it will be, but this presupposes the down is of equal quality. However, down quality varies greatly and is assessed by fill power. Down with a higher fill power will keep you warmer than down with a lower fill power. To make matters worse, there are two commonly accepted ways for calculating Fill Power: the 'US' Method and the 'EU' Method. Both approaches use the same process, but the 'US' Method produces a slightly higher figure than the 'EU' Method for the same quality down - for example, an 800+ Fill Power (EU Method) is roughly similar to an 850+ Fill Power (US Method).

Wherever we offer a Fill Power for a specific clothing (or sleeping bag), we specify whether the measurement is 'EU' or 'US' - so you can be certain of the facts. Because the distinction is minor, and for the sake of simplicity, we will not mention it when writing in general, such as in this article. As a result, as a general rule:

A 650 fill power down is considered good grade for outdoor gear.

In terms of down quality, 750-850 fill power is considered to be in the upper tier.

900+ fill power is considerably better, but it is more expensive, resulting in higher-priced clothing.

Which characteristics are essential?

When compared to other types of jackets, down jackets might be rather basic in terms of features. However, it is critical to choose a down jacket with the characteristics you require, and taking out any functions that aren't necessary will help you save weight.

Personal preference and whether the jacket will be used as a midlayer or an outer layer will determine if you need a hood. If the jacket will be used as a midlayer, a hood may not be necessary because it may cause 'hood overload' if additional layers are put over the top of it - and they all have hoods!


While pockets are not required on down jackets, most will have two hip pockets and some will have an additional chest pocket. Consider how you will use the jacket (for example, would it be an outer layer or a midlayer) and buy one with pockets accordingly. Remember that extra pockets will add extra weight.

If the jacket will be worn as an outer layer, more pockets may be required because you will be storing items in them that you will need easy access to throughout the day/night. You should also consider the position of these pockets, particularly the hand warmer pockets on the hip, which should be large and in a comfortable position.

Zips are also an important factor to consider; some jackets will have 'open pockets,' while others will have zip closures; we believe zip closures are better for down jackets because open pockets allow cold winds in and warm air out; you must be able to close the pocket to maximize the insulation of the jacket. Although pockets with zips add weight to the jacket.

Box-Wall vs. Stitch-Through Building

Box-wall or stitch-through construction is available for down coats. The horizontal box-wall construction is the warmer of the two because it more effectively utilizes the loft and warmth of the down, resulting in fewer cold areas. Because more material is used, these horizontal compartments are designed to keep the down in place around the body and maximize the performance of the jacket - jackets using this method are often heavier and don't pack down as small as most jackets that use smaller stitch-through construction.

Stitch-through construction is more common because it is easier and less time-consuming for manufacturers to produce; the outer material is stitched directly into the inner lining, separating the down in different baffles; however, this is less warm than box-wall because the down is pinched at the seams, reducing the optimum loft of the down and potentially creating cold spots. Because this method utilizes less fabric and is lighter than more intricate box baffle construction, it is frequently less expensive for consumers.

Making fabric 'boxes' for the down rather than sewing through quilt style is obviously a lot more labor and a lot more involved. As a result, most jackets are'stitch through', and the ones that are 'Box-Wall' are more expensive.

Down is hydrophobic.

When down becomes wet, it loses most of its insulation capabilities, but this is where Hydrophobic down comes in. This is a relatively new concept, and the goal is to eliminate the biggest disadvantage of'regular' down, which is its lack of effectiveness when wet. Hydrophobic down has been treated with a long-lasting water repellent, allowing it to dry faster and resist water for longer, allowing it to function better in damp circumstances. This makes hydrophobic down jackets more adaptable, as they may be worn in cold, damp circumstances without being damaged, which is ideal for the British environment.

Jackets made with hydrophobic down are slightly more expensive because it adds another step and expenditure for the producer. Whether or not you require hydrophobic down is a matter of personal opinion and whether you believe this is a characteristic you require, though more and more manufacturers are incorporating it in their goods.

There are many more qualities that down jacket manufacturers may or may not include in their products, but the ones listed above are what we consider to be the most important. Other elements to consider include draught exclusion, zip protection, the effectiveness of the collar, cuffs, and adjustable hems.

Care Instructions

How to Dry Your Down Jacket

As previously said, you should strive to prevent getting your down jacket wet, although this is not always possible. Down jackets should be dried flat rather than hanging if they get wet, as the stuffing gets heavy when wet and may harm the interior baffles. They may also be tumble-dried on low heat, although it's worth noting that putting something in with it, such as a tennis ball, can help break up any clumps of down that may have developed when it got wet. They should be cleansed with natural soaps or professional washes from businesses like Nikwax that are specifically intended for the job.

Keeping your Down Jacket Safe

If you are storing your down jacket for a lengthy period of time, such as during the summer, it should be hung up so that the down is not compressed, as this might impair the fill of the down, and it should be stored in a dry place. Long lengths of time should not be spent storing down coats in their compression sacks.


To summarize, down jackets are excellent for cold weather and provide the best warmth-to-weight ratio when compared to other options, such as synthetic insulation. There are several factors to consider when selecting a down jacket, which have been discussed above, but the two most important considerations should be how warm you need the jacket to be and whether you will use it as a mid or outer layer.

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