Want the answer right now? Then the best down jacket for men is the Fjallraven Greenland No. 1.
The down jacket is a staple of cold-weather outdoor gear. Especially if you’re layering your clothes, you’ll definitely want to have one of these bad boys on hand.
However, there are many different down jackets on the market, it can be hard to choose the right one. Today, I’ll solve that problem for you and share my top 5 down jackets for men.
Best Down Jacket: Our Top Recommendations
- Fjallraven Greenland No. 1 (Best Down Jacket Overall)
- Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater Jacket (Most Versatile Down Jacket)
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer (Best For Ultralight Backpackers)
- Outdoor Research Transcendent Jacket (Best Budget Down Jacket)
Fjallraven – Greenland No. 1
I firmly believe that this is a must-have for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, especially during the colder seasons. The Greenland No. 1 definitely has a lot to boast, from the grade of its materials to its durability.
First, this jacket was made to withstand all the elements. It is both wind and water-resistant, protecting the wearer from all kinds of environmental attacks. It’ll keep you warm even in frigid temperatures thanks to the 700 cubic inches of down that it’s padded with. But even with this much insulation, it’s a relatively sleeker and lightweight coat compared to others.
This is one of, if not, Fjallraven’s most classic jackets. Ever since 1968, this jacket has been a go-to for hikers and campers alike. Since then, they’ve continuously been improving it, so you know it includes modern innovations. The brand has quite a reputation for its quality, which can be expected from the decades of experience they have in dealing with the great outdoors.
- No problems withstanding wind, rain, and snow
- Padded with high-quality goose down
- 5 pockets for added functionality
- The lining is made from recycled polyester
- Sure to last for several years
- Not the most budget-friendly
Best for: Outdoor enthusiasts looking for the gold standard in down jackets.
Patagonia – Men’s Down Sweater Jacket
This sweater jacket is an excellent choice for pretty much all kinds of climates and activities. I like bringing this because it treads a nice balance between functionality and comfort.
The lining of this jacket is soft to the touch but does not compromise its capacity to handle light rain and snow. Its construction is also commendable because it’s a lot more hard-wearing than other jackets within its price range, being padded with 800-fill down.
Although the Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket isn’t the lightest one on this list, it really isn’t much of a fuss to bring around. It’s thinner than others, which means this jacket is dense, providing a lot of bang for the buck. It’s also designed with an interior chest pocket where you can stuff the coat into once you’re done using it.
While it’s good to use in most weather conditions, it doesn’t provide much protection from harsher elements like the Fjallraven Greenland. If you were planning on taking this Patagonia jacket on an extreme outdoors trip, I would recommend bringing an additional outer layer like a shell for the cold or a poncho for the rain.
- Advanced Global Traceable Down – warm & friendly
- Durable water repellent finish
- Convenient interior pocket provides increased packability
- Comes in hooded and non-hooded variants
- Not really good at withstanding stronger winds and rain showers
- Would still need an extra outer layer for colder climates
Best for: Campers looking for a versatile jacket to take on their expeditions
Mountain Hardwear – Ghost Whisperer
The Ghost Whisper by Mountain Hardwear is perfect for those who want a sleek-looking jacket but are on a tight budget. This jacket is one of the most unique-looking products on the market. On top of that, it gives you 800-fill goose down (for top-notch warmth) all in a slim 8-ounce package.
The jacket is incredibly lightweight thanks to its fabric technology, which claims to be the only true 7-denier by 10-denier fabric with only one mill in the world able to weave it. If you don’t know what that means, let me translate – it’s awesome.
Despite not being as durable as the other jackets since it’s made out of nylon, it still does an excellent job of keeping you warm on more leisure-like trips. The 800-fill down fibers are infused with a hydrophobic treatment that repels moisture, making it an excellent insulator for different outdoor conditions.
Lastly, this is one of the two jackets on the list that can be stuffed into its own hand pockets, making it extremely easy to store when not in use.
- Extremely lightweight
- Down is treated to be hydrophobic
- Elastic hood and cuffs ensure a good seal
- Great for backpacking
- Easy to store when not in use
- Not the most rugged exterior, so might tear after prolonged use.
Best for: Campers who prioritize packability and elegance over durability.
Outdoor Research – Transcendent
If you’re looking for a jacket that’s like titanium (strong yet light), Outdoor Research has got you covered with the Transcendent model.
Quick note – this jacket has recently been updated with a redesigned baffle pattern and better cloth, so you might see some disparities online. However, rest assured that the old version holds up and is still worth its price in my professional opinion.
Either way, all versions of the Transcendent use 650-fill power goose down, which offers excellent warmth. They feature a 20-denier 100% polyester ripstop outer shell with a smooth and soft 44-denier 100% nylon taffeta inner lining.
These design choices result in a highly durable, wind-resistant, and comfortable jacket that you can quickly wear for long periods. Additionally, it has a two-way adjustable hood and elastic cuffs that ensure a snug and comfortable fit. There is also a cover for the zipper handle when you zip up the jacket to prevent chafing on your neck and chin.
One thing I dislike about the Transcendent is its lack of water-repellent coating. I advise layering over some water repellent clothing to mitigate this problem, which is easy to do as the jacket is very compressible.
Like the Ghost Whisperer, this jacket can also be stuffed into one of its hand pockets for easy storage when not needed. Overall, the Transcendent is perfect for cross-country activities where durability and comfort are required.
- Durable and wind-resistant
- Comfortable to wear
- Very compressible and widely adjustable
- Hand pocket doubles as a stuff sack
- Not suitable for wet conditions
- Can be a bit tight depending on your body type
Best for: Budget-conscious campers looking for a lightweight jacket perfect for general activities.
What To Look For In A Down Jacket
After reading through this list, you might still have some trouble deciding which down jacket seems like the best choice for you. Fortunately, I’ve included this compilation of essential things you should consider before buying one, so you know exactly what to look for.
Quality of Down
If you weren’t aware by now, “down” refers to the layer of fine feathers on geese and ducks usually found on their underbellies. These act as natural insulators for the birds, keeping them warm even in freezing temperatures. It is typically white or grey in color and looks a lot like a fresh ball of cotton.
This material is widely used in jackets because of its incomparable ability to hold body heat.
Down jackets are super warm; however, they aren’t perfect and will lose their insulating ability if they get wet. This isn’t terrible in itself, but it means you should keep this in mind when you’re considering hiking in the rain or camping in the rain.
One thing about down to consider is its quality. This is usually indicated by the fill-power, a variable that significantly affects how effective your jacket will be at insulating. A good rule to keep in mind is that a greater volume will be better at keeping you warm.
Down jackets with a fill power equal to or higher than 650 are deemed high quality. The best quality currently available on the market are jackets with 900+ fill power. These might be a little expensive, so tread lightly and don’t go too crazy with the down.
Since down is of animal origin, there can be many issues involving how this material is collected. With several cases of the force-feeding and live-plucking of these birds being brought to light, many brands have made it a point to uphold cruelty-free and humane treatment of these animals. Down is only considered ethically-sourced if the plumage was taken without harming the geese or ducks.
Brands will usually indicate a certification like the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) or Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS) on their products to prove that the down was sourced through ethical means.
However, since both manufacturers and suppliers are not legally obligated to get this certification, some brands opt to include ‘traceable down’ or ‘responsibly sourced’ on their product descriptions.
Suppose sustainability and animal welfare are things that you are much concerned about. In that case, I highly recommend doing some additional research on the brands, so you know precisely how their down is collected.
While I did say that fill power is a good measure of how well a jacket will keep you warm, it should not be the only thing you look for. Weight is a pretty good indicator of how well the down is distributed within the jacket. If more down is used for the padding, then it would definitely result in an increase in weight.
Now, the problem you might be thinking of is, “how do I juggle between weight and fill-power?” Here’s some guidance.
A heavier jacket with a high fill power will have better insulation than a lighter jacket with the same fill power. It’s also possible for a more lightweight jacket to have better insulation if it has a higher fill power. The best plan is to buy a jacket with high fill-power and weight that fits within your budget.
Of course, you should also keep in mind that a heavier jacket will make it more challenging to move around. This is worth considering if you’re planning to do many physically demanding activities, like trail running or skiing.
Lastly is everyone’s favorite topic – money. It’s a simple fact that down is not cheap. However, it can be acquired in a fiscally responsible manner.
Two factors determine the quality/type of down and the jacket’s construction.
Quality/type of down derives itself from the animal the down is sourced from. Goose down is more expensive than duck down because it provides warmth and is more comfortable to compress. I like both, as they both have their time & place.
Next, consider the level of construction for these jackets. Some jackets are sewn through, allowing manufacturers to consume less time and materials, making the final product more affordable. On the other hand, box baffle down jackets are usually thicker and more effective at blocking the cold, explaining why they may have a heftier price tag.
Lastly, you might be able to save money by picking up a synthetic down. I like these jackets for dangerous trips that might tear up my clothes. They won’t break the bank and will keep you warm but are nowhere near as comfy and cozy as real down.
I know from experience just how hard it is to choose a down jacket. With all the great options available on the market right now, it’s easy to get lost. Plus, your down jacket will be with you for years, so you want to make sure you pick a winner.
With that said, my top pick would have to be the Fjallraven Greenland No. 1.
Its outstanding quality and sturdy construction are hard to match. It’s able to withstand all sorts of weather conditions without fear of acquiring any rips or tears. Although its price tag may be a bit intimidating for some, this jacket’s combination of comfort and functionality proves that it’s well worth the investment.