Can you really put a price on staying warm? Well, yes. Yes, you can. Because, living in these increasingly uncertain economic times means not all of us have a casual £500 going spare to spend on a state of the art down and insulated jacket. But should these financial issues stop people from enjoying the great outdoors? Nope. Nope, they should not. The world of adventure gear is bursting at the zip with bargain winter jackets that will keep you warm and, just as importantly, your bank balance looking healthy.
"But where are these bargain insulated jackets," I hear you cry, "...and will they actually do the job that they're supposed to?" Answer to first question: they're right here, in this article. Answer to second question: you bet your bottom dollar, they will. These coats might not be as flashy as some of the more elite products out there but if you want a decent insulated jacket for less than £150, look no further than the compiled list below. We'd recommend them to friend and foe alike. Oh, and while we find ourselves on the subject, if you haven't read our buyer's guide for down and synthetic insulated jackets yet; be sure to give it the once over before you make a purchase.
Quechua X-Light Men's Down Jacket
For the seriously low price of £27.99, you might look at this jacket and question whether it's got the strength to withstand a country mouse's sneeze. But rest assured, the Quechua X-Light Men's Down Jacket has got you covered for winter hikes. That price again: £27.99.
Tested for optimum comfort between -5°C and -10°C, this lightweight down jacket can be compressed into a storage pouch that can then be stowed away inside your backpack. Constructed from 75% down and 25% feather, with wadding in the hood and arms, and internal and external pockets; if you're after a solid and unspectacular down jacket that won't require you to remortgage the house in order to pay for it, you're definitely knocking on the right door with this one.
Jack Wolfskin Helium Men Down Jacket
We've got a whole lot of time for Jack Wolfskin. They make a lot of reliably warm clothing for outdoor activities, that don't cost a bazillion dollars. A recipe for success, if ever there was one. Jack Wolfskin's Helium Men Down product is a fine example of a jacket that can handle the heat, or lack thereof, and not charge you a small fortune for the pleasure of doing so. Without further ado, let's talk you through its plus points.
Firstly, it's only £120 so that's a big tick on value for money. Secondly, it can be stowed away inside its own pocket; so that's a big thumbs up in the practicality category. Thirdly, the down used is of the most premium quality - meaning optimum comfort and insulation is the order of the day. Last, but by no means least, the windproof outer fabric provides additional protection for the wearer. A great winter jacket, and yours for less than the price of a return train journey to basically anywhere in the UK. Top stuff.
Columbia Men's Flash Forward™ Down Hooded Jacket
Available in a variety of colours, including this canary yellow that's perfect for fans of Norwich City FC, the Columbia Men's Flash Forward is an excellent lightweight down jacket that will keep you warm when the weather's on-the-turn. And, what's more, it only costs £100. Happy days.
The Heat Seal technology, used in the construction of the coat, eliminates baffled stitches meaning that the down stays where it's meant to be (inside the coat) and the cold stays out. The water resistant fabric used means the Flash Forward won't let you down if the conditions morph from cold, to wet and cold. A good active fit for outdoor enthusiasts, and at a price that's hard to argue with, the Flash Forward will nail it whether you're moving forward, backwards, upwards, downwards or side-to-side.
Berghaus Men's Activity Hydroloft Jacket
For those who live and breathe an active lifestyle, you can't go far wrong with the Berghaus Men's Activity Hydroloft Jacket. Using their very own body-mapped Hydroloft Elite tech in its development, Berghaus have served up an insulated winter jacket that combines excellent warming characteristics with good levels of breathability for when your fresh air exercising goes up a notch.
Features worthy of a mention on this product include a high collar with built-in beard guard (yes, you read that correctly), a single hem adjustment at the waist with cord lock to help you secure the best fit, two hand-warming zipped pockets, and a chest pocket for item storage. Shout out also for the stretch fabric on the cuffs, that improve the closeness and comfort of the fit. This fantastic winter coat drags warmth to where you need it most, when you need it most, and will make your cold weather adventures all the more enjoyable as a result.
Alpkit Filo Mens Insulated Down Jacket
Regular readers of Outdoors Magic will know already how much love we've got for Alpkit's stuff. Alpkit are quickly becoming the masters of providing brilliant outdoor gear, at very affordable prices. Check out our Alpkit Gravitas review, if you don't believe us. Yes, technically, the Alpkit Gravitas is a waterproof jacket but it's also an extremely good illustration of what the brand itself is all about. As is the Filo, for that matter.
The Filo Mens Insulated Down Jacket has won the 'Best Value Down Jacket' accolade in a number of specialist outdoor magazines (which seems fitting when you consider the title of this article). As coats go, it's also highly versatile, guaranteed to keep you warm, and is constructed from ethically sourced down. The zippered fleece-lined front pockets should ensure your hands are snug on even the frostiest of days, while features like its lightweight design and wire-peaked detachable hood round the package off in the nicest way possible.
Rab Nimbus Jacket
Not, as far as we know, named after Harry Potter's Quidditch broomstick; the Rab Nimbus is a first-rate featherless synthetic insulated jacket. It's designed to be an all-rounder, as effective when climbing as it is when worn for winter walks. Manufacturers Rab have made the bold claim that the Cirrus™ insulation is a breakthrough for this type of gear because it combines the positives of natural down and synthetic fillings, whilst masterfully reducing their unique limitations. With magic like this on show, maybe our Harry Potter reference wasn't too far wide of the mark after all.
Getting into the nitty gritty details for a moment, the Nimbus offers a fantastically well insulated hood that can be worn either over or under a helmet. Throw two zipped hand-warmer pockets into the mix, with the left side one acting as an integrated stuff sack, as well as elasticated hand cuffs and a variety of other cool features and what you're left with a superbly versatile insulated jacket. The fact it's only £140 is the icing on a very delicious coat.