How Much Warmth Do You Need (Types Down Jackets)

How Much Warmth Do You Need? (Types Down Jackets)

15/07/2021 Off By chadmin

For the best in cozy and lofty warmth, down jackets are in a class of their own. That said, the category covers a wide range of options, from lightweight and packable designs for backcountry use to stylish and hardwearing models for your winter commutes.

Down jackets vary substantially in terms of warmth. On the lightweight end of the spectrum, popular models like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 provide sufficient insulation for summer backpacking and shoulder-season conditions, while a winter-ready piece like the Feathered Friends Khumbu Parka is packed with enough down to handle sub-zero temperatures. To help clarify the different types of down jackets and when and where they excel, we cover the three main categories below:

Lightweight Down Jackets

A healthy percentage of down jackets fall into the lightweight category. In general, we think of designs that have approximately 3 – 4 ounces of down fill as being lightweight, which means that they are great for shoulder seasons, warmer winter days, or as a midlayer for skiing. Depending on what you wear underneath and your level of activity, a lightweight down jacket can provide sufficient warmth to just around freezing. For anything colder than that, you’ll want to look in the midweight or heavyweight categories. One of the most popular lightweight down jackets is the Patagonia Down Sweater (3.4 oz. of 800-fill power down), which is an extremely versatile piece.


Midweight Down Jackets

Midweight jackets represent the smallest category here but an underrated one. Models like the Rab Microlight Alpine (1 lb. 1 oz.) pack in 5 ounces of 750-fill down, and the Patagonia Fitz Roy 1 lb. 1.1 oz.) nicely balances an ultralight construction with a healthy 5.6 ounces of higher-quality 800-fill down. In practice, these jackets offer a noticeable boost in warmth compared to their lightweight counterparts above. We’ve worn midweight jackets with just a t-shirt on into the teens Fahrenheit and stayed warm and cozy throughout.



Heavyweight Down Jackets

For true winter conditions, a heavyweight down jacket is your best bet. These burly designs have the highest amount of down fill on the market and often feature weather-resistant shell fabrics, large hoods, and longer cuts for protection below the waist. In addition, some heavy-duty winter jackets see a drop in down quality (more on this in “fill power” below) as they tend to take on a more casual slant. Our favorite model for everyday wear and commuting is The North Face McMurdo, and on the other side of the spectrum, the Rab Neutrino Pro (8 oz. of 800-fill power down) is more performance-oriented for serious outdoor use.


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