Best Down Jackets 2024 - Outdoors Magic

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Down and Insulated Jackets

Best Down Jackets 2024

For ultimate warmth without the weight, you can't really beat a good down jacket

For lightweight and efficient insulation, you can’t beat a good down jacket – get the right one and it will end up accompanying you on every outdoor adventure throughout the year. The purpose of this article is to help you work out what’s the best down jacket for you and to show you what options (that we rate) are out there.

Down jackets are useful for hiking as their warmth-to-weight ratio tends to be much better than any other alternatives. They’re nearly always lighter than knitted or padded wool jackets, polyester fleeces, and jackets that use synthetic fills, though the gap is starting to narrow here as explained in our list of the Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets.

Also known as quilted jackets, or puffer jackets, down jackets are normally worn as an outer layer over a t-shirt or long-sleeve baselayer on mild and dry days. When it rains, it’s useful to have a waterproof layer that can fit over your jacket comfortably. On very cold days, some down jackets can be worn over a number of layers as part of an insulation system.

The Best Down Jackets Tested in 2024

Here’s our pick of 10 best down jackets, all of which we’ve tested over the last year. These are all available in men’s and women’s versions but if you’re looking for a women’s specific option, check out our list of the best down jackets for women.

  • Best Overall Down Jacket: Rab Mythic Ultra Jacket

  • Best Ultralight Down Jacket: Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody

  • Best Budget Down Jacket: Montane Featherlite Down Jacket

  • Best Waterproof Down Jacket: Jack Wolfskin Cyrox 2L

  • Best Down Jacket for Everyday Use: Fjällräven Expedition Pack Down Anorak

The Expert

I’m a long-distance hiker, regular wild camper and mountain runner who’s completed a number of big thru-hikes, including the 1034-mile perimeter of Wales, and I hold the FKT for a round taking in all of Wales’ mountain tops. I was formerly the president of the Ramblers in Wales and I’ve been on gear judging panels for the likes of ISPO, the Outdoor Industries Association and Scandinavian Outdoor Award.

As editor of this site, I was principally responsible for selecting and testing the majority of the jackets you see here. The ones I didn’t review myself – mainly the women’s ones – were all assessed by members of our test team during one of the big get-togethers we hold in the process of selecting gear for our Outdoor 100 product guide. 

During our trip to the Cairngorms to test out a new option from Jack Wolfskin. Photo: Dave Macfarlane

All of the down jackets here were assessed within the mountains of the UK. They were walked in, carried in backpacks, thrown on during windy summit stops and worn for cold evenings while out wild camping. I selected a range of different jackets; some are made for expedition-style use and others made for less gnarly activities, whether that’s three-season camps or just day-to-day wear. As such, each jacket was used and assessed within the context they were made for. There are some overarching things I look for in every down jacket: that’s a good warmth-to-weight ratio, durability, loft and longevity. On selection, any products that had expensive price tags needed to have the quality to back up the cost. Any low budget items needed to have the kind of performance that’s needed when out in the hills, when cold and potentially wet conditions are expected.


Best Overall Down Jacket

1. Rab Mythic Ultra Jacket

Our tester Becky using the Mythic Ultra in the Lake District during a hike along the Cumbria Way.

Price: £420
Weight: 537g
Best for: Climbing, hiking, backpacking
Key attributes: Sustainably made, innovative, highly functional

Boasting the highest warmth-to-weight ratio in the entire Rab collection, the Rab Mythic Ultra is one seriously well-made jacket that’s designed to insulate in some very cold conditions.

We tested this extensively in the Lake District and were blown away by the wamrth-to-weight ratio that’s been struck. It felt lofty and warm but it was also very light and very packable.

All the design details are there for those who want something to back them up on any alpine missions above the snowline, there are some admirable efforts around sustainability and, well, it just looks pretty smart too

You can expect a bunch of recycled materials, including Pertex’s 100% recycled fabrics on the inside and outside. The down all meets the Responsible Down Standard, and Nikwax’s Hydrophobic Down treatment is applied here to help the fill repel moisture. It’s a solution that’s completely water-based and earth kind. The water repellent this brings is definitely notable. We found we could wear this in light to medium heavy rain and the down still retained its loft.

Our testers Becky and Will using the Mythic in the Lake District's mountains. Photo: Joe Whitmore

There’s a clever baffle construction too including stitched-through baffles on the arms where more articulation and dynamic movement is required and box wall baffles on the body where maximum loft and warmth is wanted. It’s clever stuff and it works excellently. What’s more, the box wall baffles are all offset, further reducing the chance of any cold spots.

In terms of features you’ve got a two-way zip so it can be worn while belaying, it comes with a little stuff sack that can be clipped onto a harness, the hood’s large and adjustable and can be worn over a helmet (or under one) and the arms are articulated so that you can reach up without the hem lifting up over your waist.

Full Specifications

100% recycled Pertex fabric / RDS-approved 900 fill power down / Nikwax Hydrophobic Down treatment / stitched-through and box wall baffle construction / Thermo Ionic Lining / two-way zip / stuff sack included / helmet-compatible hood / articulated arms /

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2023 – Here’s our full Rab Mythic Ultra Jacket Review



Best Ultralight Down Jacket

2. Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody

Price: £350
Weight: 335g
Best for: Hiking, backpacking, climbing
Key attributes: Lightweight and highly packable, high-spec fill

What was once the Arc’teryx Cerium LT is now the Cerium Hoody. There are a couple of updates, with new colour ways, different ingredient fabrics and perhaps most notably a new liner that’s derived from natural materials (castor bean oil).

Those into their alpine climbing will appreciate the impressive warmth-to-weight ratio the new Cerium offers – it should fit the bill for lightweight backpackers too.

It’s mainly stuffed with 850 fill power responsibly sourced down but there’s also synthetic fill strategically placed in areas that are more prone to moisture, including the cuffs, shoulders and armpits.

Expect a little stuff sack that’s stowed in the breast pocket, two deep handwarmers and hem and hood adjustment. The hood is helmet-friendly too.

As for the fit, we’d call it slim or athletic. It’ll fit over a midweight fleece but anything chunkier will be a bit of a squeeze. It’s also pretty short on the hem but the articulation at the armpits prevents said hem from lifting when you’re reaching up.

We found this was very packable – the kind of thing you’d forget you had in your backpack. One little detail we didn’t quite like during tests was that the main zip felt a little flimsy.

Full Specifications

Men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL / 850 FP goose down and CoreLoft synthetic insulation / Arato 15 nylon shell / articulated construction / insulated StormHood

Here’s our review of the previous version, the Arc’teryx Cerium Jacket



Best Value Down Jacket

3. Montane Featherlite Down Jacket

OM tester Jordan wearing the Montane Featherlite during an autumn in Snowdonia.

Price: £120
Weight: 375g
Best for: Climbing, hiking, backpacking
Key attributes: Excellent warmth-to-weight ratio

This is a down puffer that nails the whole warmth-to-weight ratio thing. It weighs just 375g but brings plenty of thermal efficiency to proceedings thanks to its 140g of duck down with a decent 750 fill power rating. With that in mind, we reckon backpackers are going to love it. It’s that warmth at camp at the end of the day or the thing you whip out at lunchtime when you’ve stopped on a summit to eat your sandwiches.

There are some decent eco efforts on show here from Montane as well. The shell fabric, for instance, is made by Pertex using recycled materials and the whole item is completely free from any PFCs – meaning it’s not going to cause any water pollution. You can also count on all of the down being sourced ethically – in fact if you buy this jacket you actually get a code that lets you trace the down yourself.

The hood fits comfortably under a climbing helmet, it’s adjustable and comes with a nice little peak to keep the rain off your face. Other features include zipped handwarmer pockets, a chest pocket and there’s a little stuff sack which compacts the jacket down to no bigger than a beer can. 

During tests, we noticed that this jacket is quite low volume and doesn’t feel particularly bulky. The benefit of this is that it was easy to wear layers over this without feeling constricted. It does make this a little thin and lightweight for winter use or for really cold days in the shoulder seasons.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s (S-XXL) and women’s (8-16) versions / Pertex Quantum Eco 100% recycled nylon outer with DWR /  120g (UK 12) of 90/10 water resistant fluorocarbon-free duck down at 750+ fill / PEAQ Down lining Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and Track my Down.


Best Waterproof Down Jacket

4. Jack Wolfskin Cyrox 2L

Price: £230
Weight: 885g
Best for: hiking, day-to-day winter use
Key attributes: well made, high spec materials

This jacket brings waterproof warmth, combining a 700 fill power duck down and synthetic PrimaLoft insulation with a 2-layer waterproof shell. There’s also a bit of breathability thanks to the big zips at the armpits. 

Waterproof down jackets can be a bit hit and miss but all in all I’d say Jack Wolfskin have definitely hit with this. During an evening testing this high up in the Cairngorms in early November, I was really impressed by the amount of warmth it provided and it’s since become my go-to jacket for any cold and miserable days where I need reliable protection. While it’s designed for hiking, this thing could also easily serve as that all-through-winter day to day jacket that you walk the dog in or wear to watch football. Just bear in mind that at 885g, it’s not that light, so it’s not something to take on hikes where it might end up being carried in a backpack for long periods.

It could only be improved if they made the hood a little bit more insulated and made the main zip two-way.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / Texapore Pro Stretch shell / 700 fill power RDS down / PrimaLoft Black Rise insulation / 2 raised handwarmer pockets / inner zipped pocket / cuff gaskets / pit zips for ventilation.

Selected for our Outdoor 100 23/24 – Here’s our full Jack Wolfskin Cyrox 2L review.



Best Everyday-Wear Down Jacket

5. Fjällräven Expedition Pack Down Anorak

Becky with the Expedition Pack Down Anorak in the Lake District.

Price: £340
Weight: 518g
Best for: Camping, hiking
Key attributes: Responsibly sourced down, recycled fabrics, PFC-free

This is a light and packable down layer that’s available in both men’s and women’s versions. We only tested the women’s version though.

Our testers found that it offered excellent warmth for weight, thanks to its high-quality 700FP down fill. It works well as a standalone outer layer in cold, dry conditions, with a fit that will accommodate layers underneath. Having said that, it’s not so bulky that you couldn’t also wear it underneath a shell if required too.

The shell material and inner lining in the new series are both made of 100% recycled nylon, and the face fabric is also finished with a PFC-free water repellent treatment. This ensures added resistance to moisture without the need to resort to environmentally harmful chemical compounds.

Similarly, the 700-fill power down is guaranteed to be 100% traceable and ethically produced. In fact, the Fjällräven Down Promise is recognised as one of the best in the outdoor industry.

The anorak design is actually very practical. Obviously, you sacrifice the slight convenience of a full-length zip, but in return you get extra insulation around the torso for additional core warmth, plus a useful central kangaroo-style dump pocket. There’s a cosy baffled hood and an extended hemline for full coverage too.

Those who like a trim fitting down garment might want to look elsewhere as we found that this had quite a relaxed fit, spacious fit.

Full Specifications

700-fill power traceable down / multi-activity compatible / 100% recycled nylon shell and inner lining / PFC-free water-repellent face fabric / repairable design / kangaroo-style front pocket / loose fit / half-length front zipper / side zipper / single-layer stitch-through baffles / extra insulation on elbows and shoulders / two hand pockets / pack into kangaroo pocket / baffled hood / extended hemline.

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2023 – Here’s our full Fjällräven Expedition Pack Down Anorak review



Best of the Rest

6. Rab Valiance

Former OM staffer Giles trialling the Rab Valiance in cold north Wales conditions.

Price: £330
Weight: 750g
Best for: Hiking
Key attributes: Warm, waterproof

Impressive and effective, the Rab Valiance is a heavy-duty down jacket for winter adventures. It’s a jacket that’s not completely unlike a down sleeping bag with arms on each side. It’s that snug. And it’s also completely waterproof as well – something you don’t see very often with down jackets.

The outer shell is made from a durable Pertex Shield which uses a PU laminate along with taped seams to provide full rain protection. Underneath there’s a high-quality 800 fill power goose down which has a Nikwax hydrophobic treatment. This means that if by some chance any moisture is able to get through the waterproof outer shell, there’ll be no loft lost, and the jacket will keep on insulating.

This down doesn’t extend into the helmet however. Instead, Rab have opted to use a synthetic insulation, which interestingly, is called Pyrotec. The hood itself is helmet compatible and it has a useful wire-stiffened peak also. Other features worth noting are the Velcro adjustable cuffs, and the handwarmer pockets that have YKK zip closures.

Full Specifications

Men’s XS-XXL, women’s UK 8-16 / 800 FP RDS-certified hydrophobic goose down / Pertex Shield fully taped waterproof outer / 100% Nylon inner / Bonded narrow box-wall construction / Pyrotec synthetic insulation filled hood / Helmet compatible hood with wired peak / YKK VISLON front zip with internal zip baffle / Two YKK AquaGuard zipped hand warmer pockets / Internal security pocket / Oversize drawcord adjustment at hem and rear hood / Stuff sack

Check out our full Rab Valiance review




7. Haglöfs Nordic Expedition Down Jacket

OM editor Will looking alarmed but warm and comfortable, using the Expedition Pack Down during an evening in the mountains of Wales.

Price: £560
Weight: 850g
Best for: Winter climbing
Key attributes: Premium 800 fill goose down, bluesign approved fabrics, award-winning climbing-friendly design

Haglöfs’ new Nordic Expedition Down Jacket is one serious product with loads of clever design details. In fact, it was fun testing this and discovering all the clever little touches that Haglöfs have come up with.

It features the Swedish brands own Mimic synthetic insulation and premium 800 fill power goose down. This fill is also hydrophobic and the face fabric utilises a three-layer waterproof construction across the shoulders, torso and arms, with a moisture vapour transmission rate of 10,000g/m2/24hrs.

We’re particularly impressed by the eco credentials of the Nordic Expedition as it’s made from bluesign approved fabrics, the down fill is certified by the Responsible Down Standard and the DWR treatment is PFC-free. What’s more, Haglöfs as a brand is a leading member of the Fair Wear Foundation and is a certified climate-neutral company.

The most striking element of the jacket’s design, however, are the straps placed across the front panel. Designed to help improve ventilation, these straps let you open up the main zipper without sacrificing too much in terms of rain and wind protection. You’ll also find a unique (and very handy) waterproof drop seat in the rear, a helmet-compatible hood and a two-way main zip. 

During our tests, we found that the cut of the jacket was quite long, dropping down to below your trousers pockets. It felt durable and protective, very warm and we loved some of the clever touches that Haglöfs have added, particularly that bum seat!

Full Specifications

Bluesign approved fabrics / Responsible Down Standard approved / PFC-free DWR treatment / premium 800 Fill Power goose down / Mimic Platinum insulation / 3-layer zoned waterproof-breathable face fabrics / hydrostatic head: 15,000mm / moisture vapour transmission rate: 10,000g/m2/24hrs / front panel straps / helmet-compatible hood.

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2021/22 – Here’s our full Haglöfs Nordic Expedition Down Jacket review. 



8. Salomon Elixir Ultra Down

Cat Nicol testing the jacket in the Cairngorms of Scotland.

Price: £360
Weight: 402g
Best for: hiking, winter sports
Key attributes: good warmth-to-weight, sustainable efforts in design

We tried out the women’s version of this, but you can expect the men’s version to possess all of the same qualities. The thing that stood out most about this during our tests was its loftiness; this is one of those jackets that feels like a big cosy duvet. As you should be able to see in the picture here, the jacket has quite a long cut to it, with the hem coming down to below the waist. That brings that extra bit of warmth to this, so too does the clever internal reflective lining which is designed to reflect heat back to your body. 

Our tester Cat Nicol noted the Elixir’s “flexibility to move freely in” and she said it compressed to a “super small size” when she needed to carry it in her pack. 

Other things we liked about this include the fact that most of the materials are recycled and the PFC-free DWR has been used and there’s a good number of pockets – 4 to be precise. The only downside is that the two handwarmer pockets can’t be accessed when wearing a climbing harness or a backpack with a hipbelt. 

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / 800 fill power RDS down / adjustable hood / 2 handwarmer pockets / 2 zipped chest pockets / PFC-free DWR  / water repellent zips.

Read our full Salomon Elixir Ultra Down Jacket review.





9. Klättermusen Liv 2.0

Will using the Liv during our Green Gear Guide product testing.

Price: £290
Weight: 469g
Best for: Climbing, hiking, backpacking
Key attributes: Warm, sustainable

This is one of those classic all-rounder down jackets, the kind of thing that’ll suit anything from mountaineering and climbing to hiking and backpacking. Basically, it’s made for any pursuit where you want a top notch warmth-to-weight ratio. That comes from the premium 800 fill power down, generous fill weight and excellent down-to-feather ratio of  93% goose down to 7% feather.

The face fabric is made from 100% recycled Polyamide and no nasty eco-hazardous PFCs are present in the durable water repellent coating and impregnation. On top of that, the down is all certified by the Responsible Down Standard and comes with bluesign approval to boot.

Perhaps best of all, and this is where this jacket has a real edge, Klättermusen have gone for a box wall construction. This style of baffle structure tends to make for a much warmer jacket than one with a ‘stitched-through’ method as the chances of warm air escaping through the seams are minimised. The downside with box wall constructed jackets is that they tend to be heavier than ones with stitched through seams but this is by no means a heavy jacket.

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The zip is an unusual offset design, which adds comfort around the neck and throat. The handwarmer pockets are comfy, though they’re not particularly backpack or harness-friendly. There’s one more pocket on the inside of the jacket that’s quite large, big enough to fit an OS map, and this doubles as a stuff sack.

During our tests, we found that this had quite a boxy shape to it, but it felt very warm and comfortable. The outer shell fabric is a little on the thin side, though it still held up to our test period. It’s a shame that Klattermusen don’t make a version of this with a hood too.

Full Specifications

Unisex XXS-XXL / 800 FP RDS-certified, bluesign approved goose down / 20 denier 100% recycled polyamide with shoulder reinforcement

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2021 – Here’s our full Klättermusen Liv review



10. The North Face Summit L6 Down Belay Parka

The Summit L6 doing its job during one of our colder test trips.

Price: £650
Weight: 780g
Best for: Climbing
Key attributes: Excellent warmth-to-weight, innovative construction

This jacket is a specialist, highly technical piece of gear and it comes with a price tag that reflects that. We’ve included it here to cater for anyone who is looking for a high-spec down jacket for mountaineering and alpine use.

It has a heavyweight build and 800 fill power down, with an intricate baffle design and strategically placed Futurelight waterproof protection: this jacket has been developed specifically for the coldest climates and the most testing conditions.

The impressive asymmetrical baffle design gives a very close but comfortable fit, one that really helps to maximise heat retention. It allows room for layering without feeling restrictive. One feature that really impressed us was the draught yoke, which covers the neck and shoulders to prevent potential heat loss. Sitting above this yoke is a huge, fully baffled hood that’ll provide bucket loads of insulation even with a climbing helmet under it. You’ll find two huge mesh pockets on the inside of the jacket that’ll work well for glove storage – or even for somewhere to stuff a warm flask. The main zip is two-way, so you can throw the jacket on over a climbing harness and still have clear access to your belay device.

During our tests, this felt luxuriously warm and incredibly lofty. It’s like wearing a big down sleeping bag. The material felt a little on the brittle side, but it still held up throughout a testing period.


Selected for our Outdoor 100 2021/22. Read our full The North Face Summit L6 Down Belay Parka review.



How To Choose a Down Jacket

The best down jackets will strike a perfect balance between warmth, weight, breathability, packability and wet weather performance. A good down filled jacket will also have a long lifespan and ideally won’t cost you an arm and a leg either.

Some important aspects that make a good down jacket. The jacket pictured is the Patagonia Down Sweater.

Down itself is a layer of fine plumage found under the tougher outer feathers of ducks and geese. The best down insulation tends to be goose down as it’s more thermally efficient than duck down. Because of this, goose down is usually more expensive.

The age old question: choose down or synthetic insulation? Left is down, right is synthetic.

If you’re looking to buy a down jacket, it’s worth checking the fill power when measuring the quality of down insulation. The higher the number, the better the quality. The best down jackets tend to have a fill power of over 750. A fill power of 900 or higher is premium.

The best down jackets usually have a box wall baffle construction to lower the risk of heat escaping through any stitching. That said, this design does usually result in a slightly puffier and heavier jacket than down jackets with stitched-through baffles. Patagonia’s Nano Puff jacket is an example of a stitched through jacket that is very popular. On this page, the Rab Mythic Ultra shows an example of a jacket with box wall baffles.

Down can be rendered ineffective if it gets wet, as its loft collapses, reducing its insulating power. Therefore waterproof down jackets or water resistant ones are extremely useful. Some will come with a durable water repellent coating (DWR) to repel water, but you can also add this yourself. Nikwax, Grangers and Storm Care make treatments that can be applied at home.

Some Key Terms Related to Down Jackets

Warmth-to-weight ratio: this refers to the balance a jacket strikes between weight and warmth. The best jackets will be very warm but also very light and that balance can be hard to hit. The jackets on this page that hit the mark there include the Klattermusen Liv and the Rab Mythic Ultra.

RDS: This means Responsible Down Sourcing. It’s a certification that down has been procured through methods that prioritise the welfare of the animals and the environment.

PFC-free DWR: Down loses its capacity to insulate when it gets wet and because of this some companies will add a water repellent coating to their down jackets. In the past, these coatings have contained PFCs which are bad for the environment, but these days more and more brands are using alternatives that are non-hazardous.

Fill power: This refers to the thermal efficiency of the down fill. The lower the number the lower the efficiency. Anything upwards of 700 tends to indicate good thermal efficiency.

Fill weight: This gives an indication of the volume of down fill that has been used. It is usually measured in gsm (grams per square meter). A higher gsm tends to signify a warmer jacket, though fill power and the jacket’s overall design are a big part of the equation too.

For more on what makes the best down jacket, including the synthetic jackets versus down jackets question, plus our guide to ethical down, check out our full down and synthetic jackets buyer’s guide.

How to Wash and Reproof a Down Jacket


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