We hate being cold. Not like 20-degree cold. We’re good with that. I mean -5 windchill cold. Standing on a 12K summit taking in the view and eating a snack cold. So we love puffies. Not only do they keep you super warm on the hill but they’re just as great for cruising around town when you might not be grinding it out. And given the very nature of a puffy, you can throw one in your pack for “just-in-case”. I once had a friend who broke a leg hiking in the high peaks in summer. She said the best bit of gear she had was her puffy. While she was waiting for search and rescue, her puffy kept her safe and warm.
So here’s our list of top puffies:
Best Down Jackets
Norrona GORE-TEX Infinium Down850 is an epic insulator born in the eternal winter of Norway. This 850 down is super warm but also breathable. We’ve taken it on backcountry tours but also elk hunts (they’ve got a camo colorway). Along those lines, this jacket, like many other downs, isn’t the most durable outer layer but makes an unbeatable insulator. Still, the GORE-TEX Infinium shell is more waterproof and windproof than almost any other insulator.
Again, Norrona has a reputation as a longtime insulation king. And the 850 is a culmination of all these years of experience in the coldest, wettest winter wonderland on earth.
Sizing: European Athletic Fit
Maybe you think REI’s namebrand is just a gimmick; if you thought so, you’d be wrong. The REI Stormhenge is an 850-fill-power goose down jacket that eschews the ages-old baffle look for some real jacket style. And unlike many puffies, there’s a pit zip to ensure that you don’t overheat. And it’s down certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) with a Fair Trade Certified factory and bluesign materials. And it costs less than most 850-fill down jackets.
REI kills it with the Stormhenge 850 Down jacket.
Sizing: Boxy Fit
Outdoor Research has for so long been a no-fringes outdoor company for people looking to kill it in the backcountry. In the Helium Down Hooded jacket, OR has dropped an 800-fill-power down that can handle backcountry life. Durable face fabric that most downs neglect; hand pocket that doubles as a stuff sack for throwing it down into your pack; and a brushed tricot lining inside the pockets to keep your stuff warm and taken care of.
Outdoor Research has long been about using the best technology to make a stripped-down functional bit of gear. As techy as you can get, with durability that can last and warmth that’ll keep you comfy on the gnarliest days.
Sizing: Slim Athletic Fit
When Big Agnes was founded in Steamboat, they envisioned revolutionizing the world of outdoor gear; their Soda Peak feels like the fulfillment of this dream. The Soda Peak keeps you warm with an 850-fill-power DownTek down that repels water. Of course the jacket stuffs into its own pocket for safe stowage. And their Stealth no-draft thumb holes insulate your hands while keeping your hands dialed into the warmth of the jacket. All packed into the lightest, most comfortable package you could dream of.
Sizing: Slim Athletic Fit
Eddie Bauer’s Centennial MicroTherm brings 1000 fill power into this list. The Premium Goose Down is unbeatable. The StormRepel® Super DWR makes sure that the jacket lasts longer than other downs and the moisture-shedding finish helps it to withstand all the weather that has a nasty habit of creeping up on you when you’re out exploring the snowy high peaks.
But Eddie Bauer’s Centennial line is all about celebrating their 100 years of tradition. With baffles copying the microchannel quilting of the original MicroTherm. These have discontinuous channel construction to enhance the thermal efficiency of the down and to kick out the cold spots that other puffies might have. It’s super warm and still super light.
Sizing: Roomy Fit
Patagonia’s Nano Puff jacket is like everything Patagonia makes – environmentally-conscious with bomber performance. The Patagonia Nano Puff has 60g Primaloft Gold filling to keep you warm. Especially with their brick-quilting panels with durable threads to fight gear abrasion. Like everything else, Patagonia has given extensive attention to every detail. The Nano Puff has a wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage at the chin to make it extra comfortable.
Finally there’s two-zippered handwarmer pockets with clean zipper garages. And the pocket you can zip your jacket into is a stuff sack to pack it into your pack. And you can wear it everywhere around town so that your Patagucci cred is front and center.
Sizing: Slim Athletic Patagonia Fit
Mountain Hardwear has a long reputation for making techie, rugged gear; but the Mountain Hardwear Super/DS Stretchdown Climb Hoody delivers serious style everybody is eyeballing. The Super/DS Stretchdown wraps 700-fill-power down in a single fabric – like, one piece of material so there’s no seams, no glues, none of that to inhibit movement or poke into your skin. Especially with the stitch-free baffles. And that stretch-woven fabric allows you to wear your puffy over rocks, in storms, places where you never would wear a puffy.
Super-warm, super-durable, super-stylish. Watch out Patagonia.
Sizing: True To Size
Down jackets are great on the hill and in the backcountry pack but where I really live in a hoodie is off the hill. That’s why Triple Fat Goose’s Logan Lightweight down is the puffie you need for on-mountain performance with city steeze. Simple around-town style that still performs on the hill. DWR Coating with Hydrophobic Nanotechnology. Plus there’s 2-layer twill construction on the outside and a soft inner lining. Because if you’re only looking at your [puffy as a piece of technical outdoor gear, you just need to get out more.
Sizing: Slim Tight Fit
A long time ago, somebody said that puffies couldn’t also be waterproof; and Stio proves this isn’t wrong with their Shot 7 Down. With that 800-fill HyperDry water-repellent down, you’re dropping the bomb against cold. But then it’s wrapped in Gore-Tex 2L outer to actually bring waterproofness and wind resistance to a down jacket. This is the solution for those deep, bluebird frigid pow days when you’re running endless hotlaps and devouring all the bottomless your legs can handle. Because those are the days when you don’t even want to think about quitting early.
Note this has a relaxed fit so you’ll probably want a size smaller than you normally buy unless you want it looser.
Sizing: Relaxed Fit
Black Diamond is a climbing company first and their Vision Down Park reflects this commitment to those harshest of environments. BD has brought in Japanese LCP-reinforced fabric to deliver a puffy that can actually take some scrapes without tearing up. That, combined with the 800-fill down, takes warmth and performance to the next level so all you’ll have to worry about will be achieving your rowdiest mission
The sizing is a little on the bigger side so it works perfect for layers, beacons, climbing stuff you name it.
- Helly Hansen Glacier Down Jacket Review
- L.L. Bean Ultralight Down Jacket Review
- Patagonia Nano Puff Vest Review