The 15 Best Puffer Jackets of 2023

Our top pick, North Face’s Down Parka offers warmth and weather resistance

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The 15 Best Puffer Jackets of 2022

Under Armour / Icebreaker

As temperatures plummet and winter storms blow through, it’s important to have at least one good jacket in your closet, ready to protect you from the elements. This is particularly true if you plan to spend your fall and winter days getting active outside. Whether that means walking, skiing, running, or backpacking, the draw of the great outdoors (and the multitude of exercise options it offers) doesn’t stop just because the snow starts falling.

Reviewed & Approved

Designed to stand up to any weather and to keep you comfortable in all conditions, the wind-resistant and water-repellant North Face HMLYN Down Parka is our top overall pick. If, however, you’re looking for a more affordable option, we recommend REI’s Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0 which offers similar warmth and weather resistance at a more manageable price.

If you want to brave the cold this winter, consider picking up an insulated puffer jacket to help you power through your favorite outdoor activities—the right jacket will keep you toasty and comfortable in any condition. You simply need to think about the most important features—weather resistance to wind and water, the warmth and quality of the insulation, the fit and comfort of the jacket, and what you plan to use it for. 

To help you with your research, we’ve rounded up the best puffer jackets for every temperature, weather condition, and activity. There are options for light activities, like walking, and all-day adventures, like skiing or backpacking. All of our top picks have been vetted for quality, come highly rated and reviewed, and include key features suggested by the experts we consulted. 

Best Overall

The North Face Men’s HMLYN Down Parka

The North Face Men’s HMLYN Down Parka

Dick's Sporting Goods

Pros
  • Water repellent

  • Wind resistant

  • Adjustable cuffs, hood, and hem

Cons
  • May not be warm enough for extreme cold

  • Top-entry pockets may not suit everyone

The North Face is a high-quality, well-known brand that regularly gets top marks for its outdoor gear. And the HMLYN Down Parka is our best overall pick for a reason. This sturdy, well-made jacket offers extra warmth (rated the “warmest” according to The North Face’s own scale) and water and wind resistance, and features adjustable cuffs and an adjustable hood and hem to keep the winter’s worst elements at bay.

This jacket is also well-reviewed by customers, comes in four different colors, and is offered in a women’s version as well. While it’s not the budget-friendliest puffer jacket on our list, it’s also not the most expensive and offers high-quality features for a mid-level price point. 

Price at time of publication: $380

Materials: Recycled nylon hood, body, and lining | Sizes: XS-XXL | Weight: 2.5 pounds | Insulation: 550 fill goose down | Care: Not specified | Weatherproofing: Wind-resistant fabric and non-PFC DWR finish

Best Women’s

Patagonia Women’s Tres 3-in-1 Parka

Patagonia Women’s Tres 3-in-1 Parka

Dick's Sporting Goods

Pros
  • Made of 87% recycled materials

  • Fair Trade certified sewn

  • 3-in-1 design allows for multiple uses

Cons
  • Expensive

  • May run small

Admittedly, the price point for Patagonia’s Tres 3-in-1 Parka is higher than most, but the key descriptor in the title is “3-in-1.” This long parka comes with an internal puffer jacket featuring 700 fill recycled duck and goose down and an external waterproof and windproof shell. Each component can be worn separately or together, allowing you to wear the jacket for a wide range of activities and weather conditions

The Tres 3-in-1 Parka is also Fair Trade certified, meaning it was made according to “rigorous fair trade standards,” and constructed of 87 percent recycled materials, so it’s a purchase you can feel good about. 

Price at time of publication: $649

Materials: Polyester | Sizes: XS-XXL | Weight: 3.18 pounds | Insulation: 700 fill recycled duck and goose down | Care: Not specified | Weatherproofing: Waterproof and windproof shell 

Best Men’s

Eddie Bauer Men’s Microtherm 1000 Down Hoodie

Eddie Bauer Men’s Microtherm 1000 Down Hoodie

Eddie Bauer

Pros
  • Packs down into its own pocket

  • Shoulder stretch panels allow for unrestricted movement

  • Very lightweight

Cons
  • No drawcord at the waist to prevent drafts

  • May not be warm enough for extreme cold

This lightweight, packable jacket offers an “athletic” fit that sits close to the body to allow for a more stylish look than most puffer jackets. The 1000 fill down is a top-of-the-line fill that offers superior warmth-to-weight ratio, which means you get more warmth than you would expect for such a lightweight jacket. 

The shoulder also includes stretch panels to improve mobility at the arms, making it a good option for outdoor adventures, including climbing, fishing, and running. In colder temperatures, the more athletic fit also makes it a good choice to use as a mid-layer underneath a heavier coat. 

Price at time of publication: $399

Materials: Recycled nylon | Sizes: S-XXL; also available in tall | Weight: 0.62 pounds | Insulation: 1000 fill down | Care: Machine wash cold delicate, tumble dry low | Weatherproofing: Water repellent  

Best Budget

REI Men’s Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0

REI Men’s Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0

REI

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Packs into its own chest pocket

  • High warmth-to-weight ratio

Cons
  • Fit may not work on larger frames 

  • May not be as durable as other jackets

Another lightweight, packable jacket that offers an impressive 850 fill goose down insulation, REI’s Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0 is also offered at a somewhat more affordable price point than most puffer jackets on our list. The jacket is rated as “warmer” by REI’s standards, but not the “warmest,” so in colder conditions, it’s important to layer other items under or over for added warmth.

The elastic wrists and drawcord hem restrict common points of air entry, helping to keep warmth in and cold out. While this jacket is generally well-reviewed, some tall buyers note that the fit is a little strange on a taller frame. This jacket is also available in a women’s version.

Price at time of publication: $219

Materials: Ripstop nylon | Sizes: S-XXL | Weight: 0.86 pounds | Insulation: 850 fill goose down | Care: Not specified | Weatherproofing: Water repellent  

Best Splurge

Mammut Photics HS Thermo Bomber Jacket

Mammut Photics HS Thermo Bomber Jacket

Mammut

Pros
  • Seams are laser fused to improve waterproofing

  • Stylish and functional

  • Unisex design

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Cuffs aren’t waterproof

If you have the money to spend on a high-end puffer jacket, we recommend Mammut’s Photics HS Thermo Bomber Jacket. This jacket is a unisex option and has a stylish bomber-style look with waterproof and windproof technology. The seams are laser fused rather than sewn to help prevent moisture from seeping in, while also keeping the down fill from falling out.

Reviewers note that it works every bit as well as a ski or snowboard jacket as it does a warm option for a night out on the town. The only apparent downside is that, while the jacket is waterproof and windproof, the cuffs aren’t. The jacket also doesn’t have a hood (although it does have a high collar), so if you need extra protection around your head, ears, and face, you’ll need to use other accessories. 

Price at time of publication: $750

Materials: Polyester | Sizes: XS-XXL | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Insulation: 750 fill goose down and feathers | Care: Machine wash normal, tumble dry gentle | Weatherproofing: Waterproof

Best Plus-Size

The North Face Women’s 1996 Retro Nuptse Plus Size

The North Face Women’s 1996 Retro Nuptse Plus Size

The North Face

Pros
  • Wide range of sizes

  • Packs into its own pocket

  • Hood can be stowed in its collar

Cons
  • Water repellent, but not completely waterproof

  • Sleeves may be too long for some

The North Face’s 1996 Retro Nuptse is one of the brand’s most popular winter puffer jackets for women and men. What really sets this jacket apart, though, is that the brand offers a wide range of sizes, including options in extended plus sizes. This is, sadly, a rarity for most outdoor brands, so The North Face gets points for acknowledging the importance of providing high-quality, attractive outerwear for all sizes. 

The 1996 Retro Nuptse is a great, all-around puffer jacket. It’s rated “the warmest” according to The North Face’s own standards, thanks to the 700-fill goose down insulation, along with high-quality water repellency. The attached hood can also be rolled and stored in the jacket’s own collar, offering hooded or hood-free options for wearers.  

Price at time of publication: $320

Materials: Recycled nylon | Sizes: XS-3X |  Weight: 1.5 pounds or more, depending on size | Insulation: 700 fill goose down | Care: Not specified | Weatherproofing: Water resistant

Best for Cold Weather

Gobi Heat Women’s Wolf Heated Jacket

Women’s Gobi Heat Wolf Heated Jacket

Amazon

Pros
  • Three heat settings

  • 6-10 hour battery life

  • 1 year warranty

Cons
  • Takes 3-4 hours to recharge

  • May run small

Warm puffer jackets with a body-hugging cut are a little hard to come by—puffer jackets, by their very nature, tend to be a bit “bulky” looking. But the Wolf Heated Jacket by Gobi offers a narrower profile thanks to its method of insulation. In addition to using synthetic down, the jacket features heat-conductive thread in the chest and back that’s powered by a rechargeable lithium polymer battery. The battery in the jacket can be set to three different heat settings. The highest heat setting warms up the jacket to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, sure to keep the wearer feeling warm and snug, even in the coldest weather. 

It’s important to note the battery does have to be recharged, offering the wearer between 6 to 10 hours of powered heat before needing a boost, depending on the heat setting. Recharging the battery can take between 3 to 4 hours, so if you need consistent heat for long periods of time, it might be worthwhile to buy a backup battery. Extra batteries cost $59. 

This jacket is also available in a men's version. 

Price at time of publication: $219

Materials: Nylon | Sizes: XS-XXL | Weight: 2.3-2.7 pounds (depending on size) | Insulation: Heat-conductive thread powered by lithium polymer battery | Care: Machine washable | Weatherproofing: Wind and water resistant  

Best Lightweight

Columbia Women's Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket

Columbia Women's Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket

Columbia

Pros
  • Vegan-friendly

  • Drop tail hem provides length and added warmth

  • Internal thermal reflectivity

Cons
  • May not be warm enough for extreme cold

  • May run small

Columbia’s Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket is a nice, lightweight puffer for chilly, although not very cold, weather. The longer length, hood, and comfort cuffs help protect the body from the elements. The jacket is also water resistant (though not waterproof) and helps retain body heat, thanks to the reflective inner lining. 

The jacket comes in nine colors and is made from 100 percent polyester (including the insulation), so it’s a vegan-friendly option. Just keep in mind that it features a slimmer, narrow fit, so you may have to size up—particularly if you have broad shoulders. 

Price at time of publication: $160

Materials: Polyester | Sizes: XS-XXL | Weight: 1.3-1.8 pounds, depending on size | Insulation: Polyester | Care: Machine washable | Weatherproofing: Water resistant

Best Packable

Outdoor Research Men's Coldfront Down Hoodie

Outdoor Research Men's Coldfront Down Hoodie

Amazon

Pros
  • Packs down into its own pocket

  • Suitable for most weather

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • May run large

  • Larger sizes may have less down filling

Packable jackets, like Outdoor Research’s Coldfront Down Hoodie, are particularly nice when you’re camping, hiking, or spending extended time outside and you aren’t sure if you’re going to need extra layers due to changes in weather. This hoodie not only packs down into its own pocket, making it easy to take with you, but it also offers superior warmth, thanks to its 700 fill down.

The jacket also features an interior stash pocket for storing gloves, beanies, or snacks, has a drawcord at the hem to help keep the elements out, provides wind and water resistance, and has extra insulation at the shoulders and wrists to help maximize warmth and weather resistance

It’s important to note the jacket runs a little large, so if you’re between sizes, it’s a good idea to size down. 

Price at time of publication: $199

Materials: Polyester | Sizes: S-3XL | Weight: 1.3 pounds | Insulation: 700 fill down | Care: Not specified | Weatherproofing: Wind and water resistant  

Best Hooded

Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket

Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket

Cotopaxi

Pros
  • 12 fun, retro colorways

  • Packs into its own pocket

  • Scuba hood for secure, warm fit

Cons
  • May not be warm enough for extreme cold

  • Level of water resistance is on the lighter side

Cotopaxi’s Fuego Hooded Down Jacket is part of the brand’s most popular lines of outerwear, evident by the various available styles—including hooded, non-hooded, parka, pullover, and vest options. The hooded down jacket is classic, trendy, and fun, and is offered in 12 different retro colorways. 

The lightweight jacket features 800 fill down, providing superior warmth for the weight of the jacket. The hood is scuba-style—the collar zips up to the chin and “hugs” the face, helping keep the elements out. This effect is magnified thanks to the elastic binding around the face, which is also provided at the cuffs. 

We love that the jacket packs down into its own pocket and is available in men's options, too. 

Price at time of publication: $275

Materials: Nylon | Sizes: XXS-XXL | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Insulation: 800 fill down | Care: Not specified | Weatherproofing: Water resistant

Best for Backpacking

Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater

Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater

Back Country

Pros
  • Wide range of sizes

  • Made from 87% recycled materials

  • Packs into its own pocket

Cons
  • No adjustments available at the wrist

  • May not be warm enough for extreme cold

When it comes to backpacking, you know your layering needs are going to change based on factors like the weather, time of day, altitude, the external terrain (whether you have natural wind blocks like trees and rocks), and how hard you’re working. Plus, you have to be conscientious about how much extra weight you’re carrying. Patagonia’s Down Sweater is a great option thanks to its lightweight (less than 1 pound) and the fact that it packs down into its own pocket. 

Plus, with its 800 fill down, the jacket offers a high level of warmth, making it a good mid- or outer layer, depending on the conditions. It also offers a windproof shell and a water-repellent outer coating to help in inclement weather. It’s important to note that the latest iteration of the popular sweater doesn’t feature wrist adjustments to help prevent cold air from seeping in, a fact that disappoints some long-term fans of the style. The jacket is also available in a women's version.

Price at time of publication: $279

Materials: Recycled nylon | Sizes: XXS-3XL | Weight: .81 pounds | Insulation: 800 fill down | Care: Not specified | Weatherproofing: Windproof and water repellent 

Best for Winter Sports

Outdoor Research Men’s Super Alpine Down Parka

Outdoor Research Men’s Super Alpine Down Parka

Back Country

Pros
  • Adjustable hood, cuffs, and hem

  • Hood can accommodate a helmet for winter sports

  • Comes with a stuff bag to pack it in

Cons
  • May be too large through the torso for some

  • Zipper may be hard to engage

If you like cold weather activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, or snowshoeing, Outdoor Research’s Super Alpine Down Parka is an all-around great option for keeping the coldest weather at bay. The parka is built with durability in mind, including a heavy-duty nylon shell that provides superior water and wind resistance. The 800-fill down provides warmth in cold conditions, and the adjustable hood is designed to accommodate a helmet as well. 

Although this is a high-quality jacket, the zipper may be a bit hard to engage, and the torso fits large for some individuals. That said, the large fit also allows for additional layers underneath when the outdoor conditions are particularly frigid. 

The jacket is also available in a women's version.

Price at time of publication: $429

Materials: Nylon | Sizes: S-XXL | Weight: 1.8 pounds | Insulation: 800 fill down | Care: Not specified | Weatherproofing: Highly water resistant, wind resistant, durable 

Best for Running

Under Armour Men’s Storm Stretch Down Jacket

Under Armour Men’s Storm Stretch Down Jacket

Under Armour

Pros
  • Packs into its own pocket

  • Scuba hood for better fit and warmth

  • Adjustable hem

Cons
  • Doesn’t offer reflection or high-visibility features

  • May run small

When it comes to running outside in cold weather, rain, or snow, you need a jacket that won’t just keep you warm, but will allow for the unrestricted movement runners need through their shoulders, arms, and torso. Under Armour’s Storm Stretch Down Jacket was designed for those who don’t plan on taking their workouts inside just because the weather takes a turn for the worse. 

This puffer jacket is filled with 700 Allied duck down with high-quality water repellency and wind resistance. The lightweight option packs into its own pocket and offers a scuba hood to provide more warmth around the face and neck. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that it doesn’t have reflective strips or high-visibility features. If you’re running in the early morning or evening hours, it’s important to carry a light or reflective vest to maximize safety. 

Price at time of publication: $200

Materials: Polyester | Sizes: S-3XL | Weight: Not specified | Insulation: 700 fill Allied duck down | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Weatherproofing: Water repellent and wind resistant

Best Long

Icebreaker Women's MerinoLOFT Collingwood II 3Q Hooded

Icebreaker Women's MerinoLOFT Collingwood II 3Q Hooded

Icebreaker

Pros
  • Long length helps retain warmth

  • Cruelty-free merino wool

  • High collar and scuba hood add protection

Cons
  • Water resistant only for light rain

  • May be too tight through the shoulders for some

  • Expensive

Unlike most puffer jackets that feature synthetic or down filling, Icebreaker’s MerinoLOFT Collingwood II 3Q Hooded jacket uses cruelty-free Merino wool as the primary fabric making up the coat’s shell and insulation. The result is a warm, stylish jacket that’s naturally moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and breathable. 

The length, scuba-style hood, and elastic cuffs all help keep the elements out, and the water-repellent finish can protect you from getting wet in light rain. The jacket also features shoulder darts to provide superior arm mobility, but keep in mind that some reviewers note the jacket runs small through the shoulders, so you may need to size up. 

Price at time of publication: $590

Materials: Merino wool, polylactide, cotton filling | Sizes: XS-XL | Weight: 2.1 pounds | Insulation: Merino wool | Care: Machine washable | Weatherproofing: Water repellent, windproof

Best Weighted

Pyvot Women’s Revolve Hooded Jacket

Pyvot Women’s Revolve Hooded Jacket

Pyvot

Pros
  • Stylish, less “puffy” jacket

  • Hidden internal weights may boost day-to-day energy expenditure

  • Sleeves and hood are unweighted for better movement

Cons
  • May not be warm enough for extreme cold

  • Not for all-day wear

Pyvot’s Revolve Hooded Jacket isn’t your typical puffer jacket—its chest and back feature hidden weights that make this option particularly heavy. This can serve two purposes. First, not unlike a weighted blanket, it’s intended to help keep the wearer feeling calm while using the jacket. Second, it can work a bit like a weighted vest—increasing calorie burn and effort as you go about your day. This happens because the more you weigh, the more calories you burn (although the calorie-burning effect of adding weight onto your person is minimal). 

The Revolve jacket is also less “puffy” as a whole, allowing for a more stylish, casual fit. And the arms and attached hood are unweighted to allow for unrestricted movement. Just keep in mind, switching from lightweight jackets to an intentionally heavy jacket may take some getting used to. Don’t plan on wearing this option for long periods of time when you first start using it. 

Price at time of publication: $295

Materials: Polyester | Sizes: XS-XL | Weight: 4.5-6.5 pounds, depending on size | Insulation: Polyester | Care: Hand wash cold, lay flat to dry | Weatherproofing: Water resistant 

How We Selected the Best Puffer Jackets

To choose the best puffer jackets, we first spoke with Steve Lemig, communications director at Road Runner Sports, and Marc Bromhall, the founder of Surf’s Up Magazine, both of whom are outdoor professionals and enthusiasts with decades of experience testing and choosing the best outdoor gear. They shared their expert opinions on which features every puffer jacket needs to have. 

Then, we researched over 40 jackets from the most trusted and popular brands. We considered the type of puffer jacket, the quality, the warmth and weather-proofing, and the price. We also examined each jacket’s fit, material, additional features, and design.

What to Look For in a Puffer Jacket

Weather Protection

Whenever you consider investing in a new jacket, you need to think about how well it will protect you from the elements. Yes, this includes cold temperatures, but it also includes rain, snow, sleet, and wind. You need to make sure you’re choosing a puffer jacket that’s designed to protect you from whichever elements you’re most likely to be exposed to. And if you’re planning on using your puffer jacket as an outer layer during activities like running, hiking, backpacking, or winter sports, the jacket you choose should have superior weather protection. At a minimum, the jacket should be wind- and water-resistant, but if you need it to perform in snow storms or downpours, it’s best to look for waterproof and windproof options. 

Form and Function 

Unless you plan on doing nothing more in your jacket than walking between your car and your office, you need to think about how the jacket will function under the conditions you plan to use it in. This includes the aforementioned weather—if you want to be able to hike in your jacket, you need to know it can stand up to rain and wind—and also includes factors like weight, breathability, how quickly it dries, whether it’s packable, and what level of cold it’s intended to protect against. 

“It needs to be lightweight so it doesn’t create bulk or obstruct mobility. It should be easily packable so you can stash it in your pack as temperatures change. It should be warm and have some water-resistant qualities to protect you from winter weather. And it should be breathable so you don’t overheat while exercising,” says Lemig. 

But the functional qualities you need to look for are also very sport-specific. “One more important feature to look for in a puffer jacket, especially one used for running and for being active, is how quiet the jacket is. A lot of puffer jackets are made with a nylon-like shell and make a loud swishing noise when you swing your arms. Look for a puffer jacket with soft exterior fabric to reduce noise during body movement,” says Lemig. 

One factor you may not immediately think of when making your purchase is how the separate “puffs” in your puffer jacket are stitched. Most jackets (almost all of them) are sewn together in the traditional manner, but this has an unfortunate side effect—it causes holes where the internal down filling can eventually fall out. “Lower quality stitching creates thousands of tiny holes that allow down and synthetic insulation to fall out,” Lemig says. “The best quilted puffer jackets use a technique called fabric bonding instead of stitching. Bonding creates pockets of insulation through an adhesive-like process that bonds the inner and outer layers of fabric. Without stitching holes, bonded fabric helps insulation stay put for longer-lasting warmth.” 

Insulation Fill Power and Weight

Puffer jackets are filled with either natural or synthetic insulation material to help keep you warm. The higher the fill power and weight of the jacket, the warmer it will end up keeping you. That said, there are some caveats. While 900 fill down is considered a higher-quality fill that offers a superior warmth-to-weight ratio than a 450 fill down, a 900 fill down jacket may not be very warm if not much of the fill is actually used in the jacket. That’s why it’s important to consider the fill power along with the weight of the jacket and the thickness of the insulation when making a purchase. 

“The thicker the insulation, the warmer the jacket will be in cold weather,” Lemig says. Unfortunately, the thickness of the insulation often isn’t provided by retailers, so you may have to count on reviews and appearance to judge how cold-resistant the jacket will end up being. 

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that fill power only makes a difference when talking about natural insulation types, like duck or goose down. “If it’s synthetic down, the polyester fill doesn’t vary too much in warmth value,” says Bromhall. So when considering synthetic puffer jackets, he says to pay attention to the shell and inner lining when considering its potential warmth.

Comfort and Fit

Of course, it’s also important to consider the comfort and fit of any jacket you choose. While most high-quality puffer jackets run true to size, you may want to read reviews or look for the measurement details of the models wearing the jackets to see if the jacket is likely to fit your body type the way it appears to fit in photos. 

Also, consider details important to mobility, like shoulder darts or ventilation panels at the shoulders that provide for ease of arm movement. Think about how you like the wrists, hood, and hem to fit, and whether it’s important for these entry points to be adjustable to help keep air or water from sneaking in. And if you plan to use your jacket for winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, check to see whether the hood can accommodate a helmet.

Sustainability

One other factor to keep in mind when selecting a puffer jacket is whether it has been made from sustainable materials and whether the materials have been ethically sourced. Puffer jackets made with duck and goose down fill are not vegan-friendly, and the down itself is often not ethically sourced. That said, you may feel better about purchasing a jacket made from sustainable products with ethical practices, like the Under Armour and Patagonia jackets featured on our list. In fact, Patagonia’s Tres 3-in-1 Parka is made from recycled down sourced from recycled garments. 

Likewise, many brands advertise the use of recycled fabrics in their jackets as corporations attempt to reduce their carbon footprint and provide more sustainable clothing options. 

It’s also important to note that if you’re seeking a 100 percent ethical, cruelty-free product, it’s best to choose vegan-friendly jackets made of 100 percent synthetic materials, like polyester or nylon.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a puffer jacket?

    A puffer jacket is an insulated jacket that’s designed with puffy stitched panels to keep the insulation in place. Most are filled with natural down (from geese or ducks), although some are filled with synthetic down. This is an important distinction to look for when considering puffer jackets. “Goose down has a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than synthetic insulation and compresses into a smaller space, making it very easy to pack away when not in use,” says Lemig.

  • What’s the difference between a down jacket and a puffer jacket?

    The terms “down jacket” and “puffer jacket” are used more-or-less interchangeably, as both refer to jackets filled with insulation. That said, not all puffer jackets are filled with natural down from ducks or geese—some are filled with synthetic down, typically made of polyester or nylon. True down jackets are filled with goose or duck down (and sometimes a combination of down and feathers), and come with a “fill power” rating that indicates the quality of the down.

  • How do I choose a warm puffer jacket?

    There are quite a few factors that play into the warmth of a puffer jacket. In addition to the quality of the fill material (if you’re purchasing a duck or goose down jacket, fill powers greater than 700 offer a superior warmth-to-weight ratio), you need to consider the thickness of the insulation and the quality of the jacket’s construction and features. Jackets with superior wind and water resistance will end up being warmer in windy and wet conditions compared to those with inferior resistance, regardless of insulation. 
    Likewise, look for protective features like hoods, high collars, adjustable entry points at the wrists and hem, and ventilation points to allow for breathability and sweat-wicking. Each of these features will help keep cold air out while allowing sweat and steam to escape. This creates a quicker-drying interior that will ultimately help keep you dry and warm for longer.

  • Should I size up or down on a puffer jacket?

    While Lemig points out that reputable brands should run true to size, it really comes down to personal preference and measurements, so be sure to read the jacket’s sizing guide before making a purchase. Pay special attention to jacket and sleeve length, as well as chest or shoulder breadth if you’re taller or broader-shouldered, as these can significantly impact the overall fit. And if you’re on the fence? “It’s always better to size up because that gives you the option to layer up underneath the jacket,” says Bromhall.

  • How much does a quality puffer jacket cost?

    As with most things in life, prices for puffer jackets vary widely. That said, Lemig is quick to point out that “you get what you pay for. It’s worth spending a little more for a quality puffer jacket. Low-quality jackets won’t be as warm, will lose insulation through stitching, and will wear out quicker.” 
    It’s also important to consider what the jacket will be used for, and what conditions you’ll be using it under. Heavier jackets designed to withstand frigid temperatures or snow-based activities like skiing and snowboarding tend to cost more than those that don’t need to stand up to weather extremes. Likewise, jackets you’ll be relying on to keep you warm and dry all day while backpacking in variable conditions will cost more than jackets you only need to keep you warm and dry during a 45-minute run. 
    Lemig says that, for a good running puffer, spending between $120-$200 is the norm. For heavy-duty jackets, Bromhall points to a higher price point, suggesting “anywhere from $300 to $1,500.” While the most expensive jacket on our list is $750, brands like Mountain Hardwear and Arc’teryx each have options well over $1,000, with some as high as $2,000. 
    The most budget-friendly jacket on our list is available for $219, whereas our best overall selection, The North Face’s HMLYN Down Parka was $380 when we published this list.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As an exercise physiologist with a master’s degree in exercise and sport science, as well as a long-time lover of outdoor activities and sports, Laura Williams, MS, ACSM EP-C, understands how important quality product recommendations can be. She only recommends products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Brand certification. Fair Trade Certified.

  2. University of Rochester Medical Center. Health encyclopedia: Calorie burn rate calculator.

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