The puffer jacket — also known as the down jacket — is one of winter’s most reliable pieces of gear. Versatile, breathable, and able to keep you warm without impeding movement, the best men’s puffer jackets or down jackets will keep you insulated regardless of the wind chill. When shopping for a puffer coat, consider the insulation type, which takes into account how well the jacket retains warmth. Down is the best. But synthetic fill is not a bad option either. Keep an eye out for features that suit your needs — detachable liners, for instance, or a jacket that stuffs down small for easy travel.
When it comes to the nitty gritty, our friends at REI have some great guidelines for jacket-shopping:
- A down jacket is insulated with plumage from ducks and geese. They’re considered the warmest, but if you’re so inclined, try to find one with down that’s ethically-sourced. Other things to keep in mind is the volume of the fill. The higher the volume, the warmer the jacket. These jackets are great for everyday use. And don’t be fooled by how puffy a jacket is: It’s not a sign that it’s any warmer.
- Synthetic insulation is best when you’re looking at performance. It dries fast and is great for anyone who’s skiing, snowboarding, or hiking. The higher the number on the fill, the warmer the jacket. These are the coats you want to get if you’re planning on taking on a few Black Diamonds.
- A blend of down insulation and synthetic insulation is ideal for really hard-core activities, and when you get one of these jackets, they’re generally more affordable than a pure down coat.
Keeping these criteria in mind, here are the best men’s down jackets and best puffer jackets to keep you warm and active all winter.
Best Everyday Puffer Jacket: Patagonia Quilted Down Hoodie
Want a jacket that you can wear all year? Here you go. This puffer pull-over hoodie from Patagonia is filled with ethically-traceable down. The shell is windproof and water-resistant, and made from 100 percent recycled polyester. Because they thought of everything, there's zippered handwarmer pockets and an interior zippered chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack with carabiner clip-in loop. It's light, warm, and will last you for decades.
Runner-Up: Marmot Guides Puffer Jacket
A no-frills puffer coat, the Guides Puffer Jacket is a bit bulkier than standard performance puffers but man oh man is it toasty. It traps warmth wonderfully. Stuffed with 700-fill down, it's also water resistant-enough to handle light rain. Hand, chest, and interior pockets keep all your stuff close. Can be worn alone or with a shell.
Best Lightweight Puffer Jacket: Eddie Bauer EverTherm Down Jacket
Weighing in at 12 ounces, the EverTherm is one of the most lightweight puffer jackets you can buy. There's no quilting to be found anywhere on this jacket. That means more thermal efficiency. Translation: more warmth for you — it's rated to -15 degrees — and less bulk. As useful worn on the slopes as it is running winter errands, it's an excellent all-around option. Bonus: It's Responsible Down Standard-certified.
Best Hooded Puffer Jacket: Burton Edgecomb Insulator Jacket
If your perfect day consists of a black diamond, followed by a black coffee at the office, this is your jacket. The hoods can be cinched up and the cuffs are adjustable. The exterior is Gore Paclite Shell, and the interior is made from insulated removable down. A wildly versatile jacket, it features a GORE-TEX shell with removable down lining, and has a lean cut we love.
Best Packable Puffer Jacket: Lands’ End 800 Down Jacket
- TEMPERATURE RATING – WARMEST: +1° to +22° Fahrenheit. Learn more
- 800 fill power down means warmth without weight through the body
- Primaloft insulation adds warmth at the sides, collar and pocket
- Packs into its left hand pocket for easy travel
- Water-repellent, downproof, windproof shell fabric
Best Puffer Jacket for Skiing and Snowboarding: Columbia Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange Jacket
This performance jacket combines a waterproof shell with a fleece liner to always keep your body temperature in check. It's waterproof but breathable and regulates your temperature via a strategic assortment of small silver dots. Each part of the jacket can either be worn on its own, or together when you really hit brutal weather. The storm hood is removable and adjustable. There are zippered hand pockets. The fill is entirely synthetic.
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