How to Choose the Best Down Coats

Down insulation is a classic choice for cold weather gear, and it’s easy to see why.down coats No other material can match the warmth-to-weight ratio of this insulating staple.down coats In a down coat, feathers cluster together to create millions of tiny heat-trapping pockets that keep body warmth close by—even when the garment isn’t fully inflated. It’s also long-lasting and packs down to a small size when not in use, making it perfect for stashing in your backpack or pocket until you need it again.

The best down jackets feature a durable outer shell with a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment or coating that’s capable of shedding moisture at a rapid rate.down coats Some feature tighter woven fabrics that can slow wind penetration as well, increasing their effectiveness against the elements.down coats

To choose the best down jacket for you, consider the weather conditions you’ll be using it in most often.down coats If you want something that will be warm enough for a light layering system in mild conditions, opt for a lightweight down jacket with a fill power of 550, 600 or 650, which indicates the quality and fluffiness of the down.down coats

Midweight down jackets are ideal for hiking and camping, as they can be worn over a baselayer in temperatures below freezing.down coats Some of the top options include Rab Microlight Alpine with 5.down coats 4 ounces of 700-fill down and Patagonia Fitz Roy that combines an ultralight construction with a high-quality 800 fill down for a toasty, comfortable experience.

If you’re headed out in snow or rain, a waterproof down jacket with a DWR treatment and tightly woven fabrics is the way to go.down coats Most manufacturers include waterproof ratings in their product descriptions to let you know how effective a jacket will be when used in wet climates.down coats

In addition to fill power and waterproofing, there are many other factors to consider when choosing a down jacket.down coats Consideration of the fabric and seam construction, for instance, can greatly affect a jacket’s durability and performance. Some brands use heat seamed baffles, which are welded together to prevent warmth from escaping between the seams. Others use bonded baffles, which are fused into the jacket’s shell to reduce stitch lines and improve water resistance.

Another thing to consider is the source of the down.down coats Purchasing jackets with traceable down ensures that the feathers are only taken from animals that were humanely treated for food. This way, you’re not supporting live-plucking or force-feeding practices that can cause pain and distress to the birds. Synthetic insulation is a good alternative to down for those who prefer animal-free gear, but it cannot match the warmth-to-weight ratio of feathered down. It’s also a good idea to look for a jacket with removable hood liners and a durable storm flap, as these features can make the difference between having an uncomfortable, drafty jacket or one that keeps you warm and cozy. Lastly, consider how your jacket will be repaired if it gets damaged, as this can impact its overall durability and lifespan. You may be able to patch up small tears or holes with fabric glue, and some down jackets come with repair kits for quick fixes.


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