On any cold weather trip, you’re going to want the best packable down jacket possible. What is a packable down jacket, you may be wondering? Well, these are smaller winter jackets that will keep you warm without being bulky and taking up tons of space like most typical winter down jackets do.
A packable down jacket is a very practical item for any fall or winter trip because not only will it keep you warm, but it won’t take up excess space in your luggage. Like its name suggests, these jackets are ultra packable and compress to be quite small, making for an awesome jacket for all of your jet-setting adventures.
Choosing jackets in general can be ridiculously time-consuming. To save you that precious time, we’ve reviewed our ten favorite packable down jackets to help with your search!
- 1 Our Picks for Best Packable Down Jackets 2021
- 2 Packable Down Jacket: Comparison Table
- 3 Why Choose a Packable Down Jacket for Your Travels
- 4 What to Look for in a Packable Down Jacket
- 5 Best Packable Down Jackets for Men and Women 2021
- 5.1 Patagonia Down Sweater
- 5.2 Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
- 5.3 Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
- 5.4 Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
- 5.5 Marmot Tullus Hoody
- 5.6 Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Jacket
- 5.7 Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown Jacket
- 5.8 Wantdo Hooded Packable Ultra Light Down Jacket
- 5.9 Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Jacket
- 6 Caring for Your Down Jacket
Our Picks for Best Packable Down Jackets 2021
- Best Overall Packable Down Jacket: Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
- Best Lightweight Packable Down Jacket: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
- Best Budget Packable Down Jacket: Wantdo Hooded Packable Ultra Light Down Jacket
- Most Stylish Packable Down Jacket: Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Jacket
Packable Down Jacket: Comparison Table
|Patagonia Down Sweater||$$$||13.1 oz||800-fill down||View on Patagonia|
|Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket||$$$||13.5 oz||PrimaLoft Gold Insulation||View on Patagonia|
|Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody||$$$$||10.7 oz||850-fill down|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer||$$$$||7.7 oz||800-fill down|
|Marmot Tullus Hoody||$||15.5 oz||600-fill down|
|Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Jacket||$$||11 oz||650-fill down|
|Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown Jacket||$$||9.9 oz||800-fill down|
|Wantdo Hooded Packable Ultra Light Down Jacket||$||7.7 oz||80% down fill|
|Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Jacket||$$||14 oz||800-fill down|
Why Choose a Packable Down Jacket for Your Travels
A packable down jacket is one of the most practical items for any cold weather travel.
Why? It will keep you warm, look stylish, and save space to boot.
No one ever wants to take their giant Canada Goose or knee-length winter jacket on a long trip. No hate to those jackets, but they’re just a hassle to pack, and forget about carrying it around when you don’t feel like wearing it! What a mess.
To solve this age-old problem, some genius came up with the idea of a packable down jacket which allows wearers to be as warm as they would be in their typical winter jacket but without the added bulk. This is what makes them ideal for travel, and why they should be in any adventurer’s closet.
Besides keeping you warm while wearing them, these are also an ideal travel companion because you can use them as a blanket on a cold airplane or bus, and they also double up as a travel pillow if you need something cushy to lay your head on.
Because they compress so well and weigh next to nothing, packable down jackets are an awesome addition to any jacket repertoire, and will be your new go-to when headed out into chilly weather.
What to Look for in a Packable Down Jacket
Knowing what to look for in a packable down jacket will definitely help you choose the right one for you and your travels.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind.
Size and Style
The first thing to determine when choosing a packable down jacket is what size and style you’d like.
Getting a jacket that fits you well is super important, because if it’s too loose, it won’t keep you warm enough and if it’s too tight you’ll be uncomfortable.
Most jacket brands have a sizing chart, and my biggest piece of advice is to measure yourself against that chart to make sure you’re getting the right size jacket. Another pro tip is to get one that’s a little larger than you normally wear so that you can fit extra layers underneath as needed.
The style of your jacket will also help narrow down the pool.
Do you want something that’s fitted around the waist? Has elastic sleeve? Has a hood? These are all things to think about, and mean more than you’d think when looking for a packable down jacket!
Probably the most important aspect of a packable down jacket is how warm it will keep you.
You can determine the warmth of a jacket by looking at two things: Fill Power and Fill Weight.
Fill Power is the main indicator of the quality of the down inside a jacket.
The higher the fill number, the higher the quality of the down! Essentially, jackets with a higher fill power do a better job at trapping body heat and keeping you warm.
Typically, less expensive jackets will range from 500 to 650-fill down. They’ll do a decent job at keeping you warm but aren’t good for seriously cold weather.
If you’re looking for something that will really stand up to the elements, look at down jackets that have 800-fill or higher, which is considered to be premium down. You’ll find jackets with over 800-fill at reputable brands like Patagonia, Arc’teryx and Mountain Hardwear, but you can bet these jackets are going to be more expensive than ones with a lower fill power.
Fill Weight is another main contributor to a jacket’s warmth. It is basically how much down is actually in the jacket.
The warmest jackets will have a high fill power and high fill weight. Fill weight is measured in ounces and is an important determinant in a down jacket’s warmth, but this number isn’t always listed. That being said, it’s definitely something to look out for.
While we’re on the topic of down, the kind of down that your jacket is filled with is another important thing to look into.
There are two main types of down that you’ll find in jackets: goose down and duck down. Sometimes jackets will be filled with a combination of both.
Goose down is typically the warmest and lightest type of down, but it’s more expensive than the alternative. Duck down or a combination of goose and duck is a less expensive option but won’t be as lightweight and compressible as goose down.
Another thing to look for in a packable down jacket is how waterproof it is.
Almost all packable down jackets will have some level of waterproofing, whether this comes from the material the shell is made out of or some sort of treatment it’s undergone. Some jackets are completely waterproof, while some are simply water-resistant and aren’t made for intense weather.
A jacket with a good amount of waterproofing is super important because down loses its insulating power when it gets wet. Not to mention, a soggy jacket is extremely uncomfortable as well.
To combat this, some manufacturers have started insulating jackets with synthetic materials that can take some moisture, or by adding polymer to the jacket’s down.
Furthermore, when the shell is made from water-resistant materials like nylon, it will wick light moisture off instead of absorbing it. The shell can also be treated with Durable Water Repellant (DWR) which also wicks water.
These are all things to keep in mind when looking at the waterproof factor of different jackets.
Another very important thing to look for in a packable down jacket is how much it weighs.
Having a lightweight jacket is key because it will be easier to travel with and pack. The only trade-off is that the ultralight jackets aren’t as warm as the ones that are slightly heavier.
There are a couple things that contribute to the weight of a packable down jacket. The first we’ve already talked about, and that’s the fill weight. How much down that’s packed into a jacket will influence its weight.
Another factor that adds to the weight of a jacket is the denier of the jacket’s shell.
Denier is the weight of the thread and is indicated with a number followed by a D. The higher the denier, the more durable a fabric. But at the same time, the higher the denier, the heavier a fabric is as well.
Ultralight jackets have a lower denier shell. However, these jackets are more prone to rips, tears and abrasion.
If weight is the most important factor to you, you may have to trade some durability and warmth.
Finally, a last thing to look for in a packable down jacket is its compressibility.
A truly packable down jacket should be able to compress into a tiny package, making it easy to fit into your bag. Compressibility is influenced by the type of down the jacket is filled with and what the shell is made out of.
If this is a main consideration for you, look for jackets that come with a compression sack for easy storage and transport.
Best Packable Down Jackets for Men and Women 2021
Now that you know what to look for to help you choose the best packable down jacket for you, here are our choices for the nine top packable down jackets you can buy in 2021.
Weight: 13.1 oz
Fill: 800-fill goose down
Pros: Form flattering | DWR finish | Elastic cuffs
Cons: No hood | Heavier
One of the best packable down jackets in the market is the Patagonia Down Sweater, made from recycled polyester and filled with 3.4 ounces of goose down.
Patagonia is well known for making durable and fashionable outdoor gear and this premium down filled jacket is no exception.
This is a top pick for best packable down jackets because of how versatile it is. It’s warm and super stylish, making it great for everyday wear around town but it’s slim enough to be used as a mid layer for snowy activities (think skiing or snowshoeing). The DWR finished shell wicks water off so you can wear it in light rain or snow without having to worry about it getting soggy.
All of this being said, there are a couple downsides to this jacket. Like with any Patagonia gear, this jacket doesn’t come cheap. It also isn’t the lightest on the market because the shell is made from polyester, which is known for being a heavier fabric. Finally, this jacket doesn’t have a hood which is a bit of a bummer for those days with extra precipitation.
Despite these shortcomings, the Patagonia Down Sweater is an all-round great packable down jacket that will make an awesome travel companion on most cold weather adventures.
Weight: 13.5 oz
Fill: PrimaLoft Gold Insulation
Pros: Warm when wet | Stylish | Drawstring hem | Built-in stuff sack
Cons: No hood
Another chart-topper on our list of best packable down jackets is Patagonia’s Nano Puffer Jacket.
Besides being sleek in style, this jacket is water and wind-resistant, lightweight and warm. Coming in 9 different colors, the Nano Puffer is made from ripstop polyester making it durable and long lasting.
Okay, so the fill isn’t exactly down, but this jacket is insulated with PrimaLoft Gold which is eco-friendly, ultra compressible, and retains warmth when wet.
Some things we love about this jacket are the drawstring hem, elastic cuffs, and internal pocket that doubles as a stuff sack. This is super convenient for packing purposes as it folds up to be no bigger than a can of tennis balls!
This jacket is great for cold weather backpacking, as a mid layer for skiing, and for everyday wear when it’s chilly outside.
That said, this jacket isn’t without its downsides. First, there’s no hood which is a bummer for days with precipitation. Second, wearers have complained that the stitching snags on everything. Third, it’s quite expensive for being so thin.
However, the Nano Puffer Jacket is great for active days in the cold, especially if you don’t want the added weight of a typical down jacket.
Weight: 10.7 oz
Fill: 850-fill European goose down
Pros: Hood | Premium down | Stuff sack included
Cons: Runs small | Expensive
Another outdoor gear powerhouse, Arc’teryx doesn’t disappoint with their Cerium LT Hoody that’s a great packable down jacket.
The Cerium LT Hoody is an awesome versatile jacket best suited for cold weather exploring in the backcountry or city walking in the winter. With a nylon shell that’s treated with DWR, it’s water-resistant, lightweight, and filled with premium down, guaranteeing warmth. It has an elastic hem and cuffs which keep the cold out, and a comfortable hood for trapping heat in.
This jacket is ultra compressible and folds down to the size of a water bottle when you use the stuff sack that’s included, making it perfect for travel.
While this jacket is pretty expensive, it’s an excellent piece of high quality outerwear that’s durable and long-lasting. The only thing to watch out for is it runs a little small, and is reportedly tight in some areas.
Weight: 7.7 oz
Fill: 800-fill down
Pros: Super lightweight | Lots of colors | Very versatile
Cons: Runs small
If you’re looking for a down jacket that’s packable and lightweight, this is one of the best options.
Filled with 2.8 ounces of 800-fill down, Mountain Hardwear created this beautiful jacket that’s meant for outdoor use or as a mid layer for days with heavier precipitation. This jacket has a 7D ripstop nylon shell treated with DWR which contributes to its low weight. While it’s thin, it’s made of durable material and sound construction.
Also with tons of colors, this form-fitting jacket is functional and stylish.
That said, because of its form-fitting style, it’ll probably be difficult to fit another sweatshirt underneath, so be mindful of this when choosing your size.
Wearers boast of using the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer in below freezing temperatures and staying comfortable, as well as using it for active and everyday use.
Weight: 15.5 oz
Fill: 600-fill down
Pros: Elastic cuffs and hem | Fitted hood | Treated down stays warm when wet
Cons: Lower fill power | Sheds feathers
Marmot did an awesome job crafting this lightweight down jacket at a reasonable price.This jacket is great for both functional and casual wear and is a great budget choice in terms of packable down.
The Tullus Hoody is made from nylon and 600-fill down, but it’s special because the down was treated to stay warm when wet. This, combined with the water-resistant nylon, makes it an ideal jacket for cold, damp conditions.
The elastic cuffs and hems keep the jacket in place for active use and lock warmth inside as well. The attached hood also has elastic so it fits snugly without blowing off in harsher conditions.
People who have purchased the Marmor Tullus Hoody love the fit and praise it for its warmth, but complain about constantly shedding feathers. It’s also made specifically for men, so I’ve linked below to a women’s model that’s similar in design and functionality.
Weight: 11 oz
Fill: 650-fill down
Pros: Good fit | Allows for layering | Elastic cuffs
Cons: Low fill power
Speaking of budget-friendly options, this Eddie Bauer jacket is one of the best inexpensive packable down jackets on the market.
Coming with its own stuff sack, this jacket packs up extra small and it’s quite light, making it a convenient travel companion for women and men alike.
The shell is made of 100% nylon that’s treated with DWR, which allows it to wick off light precipitation and keep you warm and dry on all of your adventures.
The fit of this jacket allows users to wear layers underneath for added warmth, and it fits true to size. This is super handy as the one downside to this jacket is that the fill power is on the lower side.
In addition to regular sizes, this jacket is even available in Petite, Plus, and Tall sizes to ensure that there’s a fit for everyone!
Coming in some beautiful colors, the CirrusLite Down Jacket is a great pick for an inexpensive, packable down jacket.
Weight: 9.9 oz
Pros: High fill power | Packs into itself | Drawstring hem | Elastic cuffs |Ultralight
Cons: No hood | Runs large
If you’re looking for a warmer, lighter option from Eddie Bauer, the Downlight StormDown jacket has 800-fill power with a polyester shell treated with StormRepel DWR finish.
What does all of this really mean?
Well, this is a warm jacket that’s water and wind-resistant, and will hold up in a variety of winter weather patterns.
What’s to love about this jacket? There’s a drawstring hem and elastic cuffs, with a design that enhances mobility. This makes it an awesome jacket for winter adventuring and active days in the cold.
When you’re done using it, the jacket packs away easily. You simply fold it into the left-hand pocket which also has a carabiner clip-in loop.
The fit runs a bit large so keep this in mind when purchasing. Otherwise, the Downlight StormDown jacket is super lightweight and very packable. Overall, people really seem to love this jacket.
Weight: 7.7 oz
Fill: 80% duck down
Pros: Ultralight | Durable | Lots of pockets | Elastic cuffs
Cons: Strange sizing
Functional, durable, warm and inexpensive — it doesn’t get much better than the Wantdo Hooded Ultralight Down Jacket.
This jacket is made from 20D nylon, making it durable and water-resistant. It is filled with 80% duck down and 20% feathers, creating a warm insulation without adding weight.
This ultralight stylish number is well-designed, with two outside pockets and two inside pockets, as well as a media port for headphones. Leave the bag at home; this jacket will fit everything you need for a day on the town or a walk in the woods.
Besides all the functionality, the Wantdo Hooded Ultralight Down Jacket also has an attached hood, elastic cuffs,and a hem seal to further lock in warmth no matter what you’re doing, and a carrying pouch for stuffing it into when not in use.
Plus, it comes in 7 different beautiful colors!
The one thing to keep in mind is that the sleeves are quite long while the body of the jacket can be a bit tight. It’s best to consult the sizing chart before purchasing!
Weight: 14 oz
Fill: 800-fill goose down
Pros: Fashionable | High fill power | Elastic cuffs
Cons: Doesn’t unzip completely | No hood
Finally, we’ve got another stylish option from Cotopaxi. The Fuego Hooded Jacket is lightweight, durable, and warm, making it an ideal option for looking good on the go.
Made from 20D ripstop nylon with an 800-fill goose down and DWR finish, you’ll be cozy wherever you go in this jacket. The goose down is also water-resistant so you stay warm and dry if you get caught in a rain shower.
It’s great for athletic use, thanks to the elastic cuffs and drawstring waist, but it stands out as a great piece of streetwear as well with eye catching red details. The athletic, streamlined fit will also keep you looking slim and stylish, even when it’s cold out.
The Fuego Hooded Jacket is lightweight and comes with its own compression sack to keep it tucked away in a small package when you’re not wearing it.
Caring for Your Down Jacket
Each packable down jacket requires different care. We recommend carefully checking the tag on your jacket for unique washing and care instructions.
Your best bet is to keep it out of a machine (unless specified), and wash it by hand in cold water. Then, simply hang it to dry.
For smaller dirt spots, use warm soapy water to clean the areas of the jacket that need some TLC. You should have a fresh jacket in no time!
When you’re not traveling, keep your jacket out of its pouch to help retain its shape and form.
Hopefully this article gives you a good idea of what to look for in a packable down jacket and you’ve found one that’s perfect for your cold weather travels. Seriously, these jackets are worth the investment. Once you have one, you’ll probably be kicking yourself for not getting one sooner.
If you’re looking for more inspiration on travel jackets, check out our guide on best travel jackets for any kind of adventure.
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