The 3 Best Down Jackets for Outdoors 2021 Reviewed

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If you have been on backpacking trips where you cover multiple seasons, various altitudes, or even worse, multiple seasons and altitudes; then you know that you need the best down jackets and the lightweight warming layers are an absolute must to carry with you.

There are several different types of warming layers, and they all have their usefulness. But none of them offer the combination of lightweight, packability, and warmth that a high-quality Goose feather down jacket can give you.

Best Down Jackets for Backpacking

Why are they so good?

Let’s take a quick look at what makes these jackets so perfect for hikes where temperatures will fluctuate wildly. First, it is an incredibly warm jacket. Goose down has long been used for comforters because its feathers trap in the warmth, keeping it on you instead of letting it seep out of the blanket.

The next benefit it gives you is how ridiculously light weight it is. It almost doesn’t even matter how big the jacket is; they never seem to weigh much of anything. These things are ridiculously packable; the feathers can bend and twist in ways that no other type of warming layer can.

If you are going on a trip that is going to span the course of several months and a few different seasons, then you are going to want to purchase yourself a high-quality down jacket so that you can stay warm without having to add unnecessary weight to your pack. And we are here to help you find one that you will be sure to love.

Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket

First up is the Patagonia jacket, it is made up of a synthetic windproof fabric with 800 fill European Goose down, making it warm and extraordinarily compressible. It is a lightweight, fully insulated jacket that is perfect for hiking, climbing or mountaineering.

Personally, I like the contoured fit of the jacket. You can cinch down the bottom of it if it is too wide for you (perfect for trapping in heat and keeping out cold air). Another feature that I find useful is the zippers on the two pockets.

I cannot tell you how many times I have put something in my pockets only to find out later that they have fallen out. So zippers are a welcomed addition to front pockets.

Something else I really like is how long Patagonia has been in the warming layer industry. They’ve been in this business since 1973 and have developed a good reputation for themselves. Any time you purchase anything from this organization, you can be sure that you are getting a quality product for a fair price.

Is this the jacket for you?

Well, if you’re looking for a good down jacket that can get you through the colder days and not add unnecessary weight to your pack on the warmer days, then I would imagine you will be happy with this purchase. If you are going to be in more frigid temperatures, then I advise you look into something with a little bit more density.


Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer

This jacket is just incredible. It a full featured down jacket that is unfathomably light, weighing in at (get this) under eight ounces. This is the lightest full featured down jacket on the market today.

Mountain Hardwear has patented a design named “Q Shield Down” that keeps moisture completely out of the jacket so that nothing can rob your body of its own warmth. Another incredible innovation from these guys is the low profile quilt pattern. What this does is create heat traps in the coat to add extra warmth.

It has adjustable hems so that you can choose how much heat you want to keep in versus how much cold air you want to allow in (this is a life saver if you are like me and go from hot to freezing and back for no apparent reason.


Is this the jacket for you

Again, this is a full feature jacket, meaning it also has a hood. This jacket offers fantastic warming capabilities and doesn’t add on nearly as much weight as you would think a coat this warm would add. If you are hiking in frigid temperatures, this is a jacket that you will want to look into getting.


Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie

As you recall, I really enjoy the product that is made from Patagonia, and the Ultralight Down Hoody offers the same great quality as the Down Sweater they make. First of all, the color options on this jacket are bright, fun, visible, and all around awesome. But I really like the insulating capabilities of this jacket more than anything.

It is made with Patagonia’s patented technology “Pertex.” Pertex is a ripstop nylon shell that is the lightest fabric the company makes. What does that mean for you? This is among Patagonia’s lightest and warmest jackets in their lineup; you will be warm in this thing.

Should you purchase

This Patagonia is a little bit pricey, as it should be. But if you are not in icy cold conditions then I wouldn’t spend the amount of money required to pick one up, because you’ll likely find no use for it. However, if you are always in freezing temperatures, then you will love this piece of equipment.

Wrap – Up

Now that we have made it through the list of down jackets you should be able to determine which fits you best. Remember to take into consideration where you will be hiking, the elevations you will be traversing and the seasons that your hike will be covering. And please do not skimp based on pricing, you will only regret it in the long run. I hope you like our top 3 best down jackets review.

On a ski trip and need a jacket? Check out our top 3 ski jackets here.

Experiencing some extreme winter cold? We recommend this jacket here.

Need winter work boots? Read about these ones here. 

Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.