What You'll Find On This Page
- Best Packable Ultralight Down Jacket + Bonus Ultra Light Winter Packing List
- Your Best Down Jacket Reviews
- Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket – Women’s
- Sierra Designs Women’s DriDown Jacket
- Patagonia Women’s Ultralight Down Jacket
- Patagonia Downtown Loft Down Jacket
- Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
- 7Encounter Women’s Packable Down Puffer Jacket
- The North Face Transit Jacket
- Down Jacket FAQs
- BONUS INFO: Winter Packing List for Europe
- What to Pack For a Winter Vacay
- How to Pack for Winter in a Carry On
Best Packable Ultralight Down Jacket + Bonus Ultra Light Winter Packing List
When you’re heading off to Europe during the winter months, you need to be ready for anything. Clearly, the country you’re heading to normally dictates the type of weather you will experience, and even within that country, there are micro-climates, you need to consider.
Of course, this shouldn’t put you off; this just means you need to know what to take! One of the best ways to stay warm (and fashionable), is to purchase a high quality down jacket. We suggest a packable down jacket, to save room in your bags, to stay warm and to look stylish.
A down coat is a regular jacket which has extra insulation in the form of feathers from duck or geese. A down parka feels luxurious, soft, and warm, and the feathers help to create air pockets which trap the heat inside, therefore keeping the chill out.
What to Look For When Buying a Down Jacket
Type of down – For this, you need to look at what is known as the ‘fill power.’ This means how much down is actually inside the jacket, whether it is made of duck down, goose down, or something else! 400-450 fill is a medium warmth, whereas 750-900 is classed as being very warm and of an excellent standard. It’s really about knowing where you’re going and what you’re going to need. If you buy a jacket that is too thick, you’re going to be too warm, and conversely, if you go for too thin, you’re going to be cold.
Best Down Jacket Comparison Chart
We took a look at the best down jackets for winter. We compared the features & price and made this easy-to-use table to help you review and decide which down parka jacket suits you best.
Click on any heading to sort the table accordingly.
|Name||Best For||Weight of Jacket||Type of Down||Material||Fill Weight||Color Options||Price|
|Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket||Sightseeing||585g||European Goose Down||Pertex Endurance outer||800|
|Sierra Designs Women’s DriDown Jacket||Sightseeing||unknown||Duck DriDown||Nylon||600|
|Patagonia Women’s Ultralight Down Jacket||Outdoors||8.3oz||Traceable Down||Nylon||800|
|Patagonia Downtown Loft Down Jacket||Sightseeing||1.6lb||Traceable Down||Polyester||600|
|Arcteryx Cerium + Hoody||Hiking||Unknown||Duck Down||Nylon||850|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket||Hiking||6oz||Duck Down||Nylon||850|
|7Encounter Women’s Packable Down Puffer Jacket||Sightseeing||9oz||Down & Feathers||Nylon & Shell||600|
|The North Face Transit Jacket||Sightseeing||32oz||Duck Down||Nylon||550|
Detailed Help When Buying a Down Filled Jacket
There are two types you need to look at, sewn through and box baffle. In a sewn through down filled parka the outer of the jacket is stitched to the inner lining directly, so the down is separated into patches. This means the down won’t clump together, but there is the risk of cold spots occurring because of where the feathers are pinched when sewing. This is the most common type of down jacket, and therefore the cheapest. On the other hand, box baffle is more expensive, and this means that each separate ‘baffle’ has a separate down section. This means there is less chance of cold spots and a warmer jacket overall.
If you are packing your jacket rather than wearing it, the weight of the down jacket becomes an important factor. The good news is there is a lightweight down jacket for every occasion. The important thing is to select the correct down fill level in your ultra light down jacket.
Colour & How it Matches Your Wardrobe
What color goose down parka are you going to opt for? It’s always best to go for a neutral color, such as black, navy, gray, etc. colours, and avoiding colors which might not work with everything else you want to wear.
There are various materials that the outer layer of a down coat can be made from and this will affect the price and warmth, so you need to check out reviews to make sure you are picking the best one for your needs. Soft shell is a common material because it is extra waterproof, as well as combining the down inner for warmth.
What do you need the parka down jacket for? What is the down coat designed for? Is it the warmest down jacket, best packable jacket, womens down jacket, ultralight down jacket, long down coat or are you looking for the best hiking jacket? There are a plethora of choices and styles to meet your every need. Check out reviews to find out the honest answer to that question, before you make your purchase.
Your Best Down Jacket Reviews
Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket – Women’s
This women’s down parka is available in several different colors and is designed with the ladies in mind, fitting the female form perfectly; if you were worried that a down coat wouldn’t be shapely, this jacket proves you wrong. The outer is made of high-quality Pertex Endurance material, with European goose down, measuring 800 fill quality. The hood is also down filled, to give extra warmth, and is also helmet compatible. There is one zipped internal jacket, to keep your phone safe, and it is also lightweight, at just 585g.
Why we love this womens down jacket: The jacket is stylish and created just for women, which gives it shape, which other jackets can lack.
What you should keep looking for a more suitable down jacket: The fill quality of this jacket is middle of the road, so if you are looking for a super-warm jacket, you would need to look for thebest womens parka.
Sierra Designs Women’s DriDown Jacket
This womens down jacket is ideal for a woman who is wanting to get out and see a new European city during the winter months, when it may rain and be a little on the cold side. Of course, if you’re thinking about heading out into the mountains for skiing or something more outdoorsy than that, this jacket might not be warm enough. Made of 100% nylon, the jacket is filled with Duck DriDown, and is waterproof, with insulated hand pockets and two pockets on the inside. There is also a collar which is waterproof.
Why we love this down jacket: This is a stylish option for city sightseeing.
What you should keep looking for a more suitable down jacket: There is no hood.
Patagonia Women’s Ultralight Down Jacket
This women’s ultralight down jacket comes from a big named brand, so you know you are getting quality from the get-go. Available only in black, this jacket is made of nylon ripstop material and is waterproof. The construction is baffle finish, which is why this is a slightly more expensive product, and it has a slim-line fit, which makes it flattering for women. The fill quality is 800, which means it is warm enough for heading out on cold winter days.
Why we love this down jacket: Lightweight down jacket making it great for travel
What you should keep looking for a more suitable down jacket: Only available in black
Patagonia Downtown Loft Down Jacket
This fashionable parka down jacket is available in three different colors and is high quality for a day out in the cold. If you’re heading off to the nearest mountain, however, the fill power of 600 is a good middle of the road choice. The coat is made of duck down and polyester, making it warm and waterproof and it has two zipper pockets and a hood.
Why we love this down jacket: Available in many different fashionable colours
What you should keep looking for a more suitable down jacket: Not suitable for extremely cold temperatures
Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody
This lightweight down jacket is available in lots of different colors and is a slim fit, and incredibly flattering for women. The lightweight and durable fabric is a down rating of 850, which is very warm and would be enough for heading out on a hiking adventure. There is a storm hood which is adjustable and two hand pockets with a zipper closure and elasticated cuffs, to keep arms super-warm.
Why we love this down jacket: One of the best winter jackets for women and warmest down coat.
What you should keep looking for a more suitable down jacket: If you are not looking to go out into extremely cold temperatures for long periods of time, e.g. you are just wanting a jacket for heading out sightseeing, this one might be too warm
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
This womens down jacket is available in countless colors and the price changes depending on the color option you go for. Made of nylon, the down coat is waterproof and is filled with duck down to a level of 850, which is very warm and suitable for hiking adventures for the day. The jacket is lightweight and has a drawcord to keep warmth in even more and two handwarmer pockets at the front.
Why we love this down jacket: Available in countless colours and looks super-stylish
What you should keep looking for a more suitable down jacket: Slim line fit may not be comfortable for wearers who like more room to breathe
7Encounter Women’s Packable Down Puffer Jacket
This is a seriously fashionable down coat and one which comes in three different stylish colors, including white, gray, and black. The jacket is made of a shell and nylon combination, which works to keep the wearer warm and dry, with down and feather fill mix. The jacket has a fashionable standing collar and invisible front zippered pocket. The jacket also comes with a free tote bag which means it can be stored away when you’re not using it, keeping it in the best condition for when you need it.
Why we love this down jacket: Some women say that this is the best puffer jacket as it combines style with warmth.
What you should keep looking for a more suitable down jacket: If you want a brighter jacket then the muted colours this one comes in may not be suitable for you
The North Face Transit Jacket
North Face is a huge brand in the outdoors world, and this one is certainly a quality option. If you are looking for a long parka jacket for going about your business during the winter months, the down weight of 550 will be enough for you, and the jacket is also available in five different neutral color options, for serious fashion kudos. There is a two-way front zip, and everyone will see that you have gone for the big North Face brand, thanks to the logo on the front and back.
Why we love this down jacket: Big named brand and detachable hood adds up to a quality product
What you should keep looking for a more suitable down jacket: This long parka jacket is not the cheapest option
Down Jacket FAQs
What is the difference between traditional and hydrophobic down?
Hydrophobic down is a more modern style of down which is better set to handle wet weather. It is designed to repel moisture. On the other hand, traditional down has always had a slight issue when it comes to getting it wet. This is the primary difference between the two, as well as the fact that hydrophobic down also dries faster.
How To Clean A Down Jacket?
You need to check the washing instructions of each jacket to answer that question, but if your jacket is machine washable, rather than being dry clean only, you should turn the jacket inside out and wash on a cold, gentle cycle with only a small amount of laundry detergent, the gentler, the better. After this, you should repeat the process three more times without detergent, to make sure there is no residue left inside the down.
Are Down Jackets Waterproof?
Generally speaking, most down jackets are made with an outer material which is waterproof, such as hard and soft shell, but you need to check each jacket you are thinking about buying to check this first. The fact a down jacket is ‘down’ does not mean it is automatically waterproof.
What Is Down Quality?
When you purchase a quilt for your bed, you check out the quality of the down, if you are going for a down quilt, and the same can be said for a down jacket. There will be a rating, and you need to check that this suits your needs, and isn’t too thick or too thin. The higher the down quality, the thicker the jacket overall, and therefore the warmer it will be. There is a sliding scale starting at around 400 and going up to 1100. The higher the number the better quality and warmer the down parka.
BONUS INFO: Winter Packing List for Europe
Consider this your go-to guide on what to pack when you head off to the wonder of Europe this coming winter.
What to Pack For a Winter Vacay
- A warm jacket
- Waterproof jacket
- Sunglasses – Yes, the sun still shines when it is freezing cold!
- Walking boots/boots which do not let in the water and are suitable for snow and or rain
- Thick socks
Warm clothes: It’s impossible to give a long list of clothes to take because it depends on your size and preferences but you need to think along the lines of jeans, thick leggings, shirts, sweaters, and basically layers! It’s easy to be cold one minute, and quite warm the next, so layering will help you be comfortable in all different conditions. A hoodie is a good way to keep warm and stay fashionable.
Night clothes – Again, think about warmth, but remember that you are not going to Siberia! A pair of pyjama bottoms and a T-shirt will probably be enough, provided you are staying in a hotel which has central heating; if not, you need a sweater to sleep in.
Sun Lotion – If you are heading out on a bright sunny day, do not be fooled into thinking that you’re not going to get sunburn, especially if you are at altitude.
What to Leave at Home
Basically, anything for the summer or warmer months. While you will probably wear short-sleeves at some point, it’s likely that you will need to wear a cardigan or hoodie over the top, because when you sit, you will be cold. If you are visiting the Mediterranean coastline, even during the winter months, it is warm, but not warm enough to go without a coat. Think layers and you will be able to stay comfortable.
How to Pack for Winter in a Carry On
Are you planning a trip this Winter and already dreading the baggage fees and overpacking that is sure to come with adding bulky clothing to a suitcase? When you think about Winter clothing, you think about bulky warm sweaters, many many layers, hats, gloves, big puffy coats and heavy winter boots that take up a ton of room. All of these are recipes for disaster for your carry-on packing dreams.
It doesn’t need to be like that, however, with a few key pieces, some advanced planning, and a suitable method, you can be well on your way to your next winter destination with just a carry-on!
We’ve put together some of our favorite tips and tricks to get you fitting those warm winter clothes into a carry-on in no time!
The Secret Weapon
My secret to packing carry on only is to pack a base layer that will keep you warm no matter what goes on top. This cuts down on the need to bring a ton of layers or extra thick tops or bottoms. Invest in a lightweight set of merino wool or silk thermal underwear in a neutral color; I prefer black, that can easily fit underneath clothes without adding bulk.
These will hug to your body, keep you the warmest, and not make you look bulky or unfashionable. The silk versions take up even less space but will look fine even as a base layer for cardigans or shawls.
Limit The shoes
Luckily, in the Winter, you don’t need to think about strappy sandals versus flip flops versus active sandals. Bring a tall pair of boots and a short pair of boots, and that is all you need to get around in the Winter. If you are planning any adventure activity, of course, you’ll need to consider hiking boots or the appropriate footwear.
Be honest with yourself when it comes to packing sneakers or trainers, are you going to use the hotel gym? Have you ever in the past? With only 2, maybe three pairs, plan to wear the bulkiest ones on the plane and you are probably saving, even more, space than with your summer travels!
Planning is essential to packing in a carry-on no matter what season you’re traveling in, but it is especially important with winter travels. An extra tank top takes up a lot less space than an extra sweater.
First, remember that you will be wearing thermals under most of your outfits, so you will be able to get a few extra wears per top and bottom than you would typically! This can definitely help you cut down on the total number of outfits needed for a trip.
Next, plan out your outfits. Pick clothing that can be interchanged into a few different options. For a week long trip you should only need 4-5 tops, 2-3 bottoms, a dress, two outerwear options, two shoes and other necessities. Choosing primary colors and patterns can help to ease your mixing and matching as well!
Choose a Jacket You Love
Something you don’t need to keep in mind during the summer months is that your coat is really important for your travels. It is going to have a prominent place in any pictures that are taken outside in your travels in the winter, so make sure you like it and the way you look in it to avoid disliking the photos afterwards!
Skip The Big Bulky Jackets
Even for the coldest destinations, with smart packing, you can skip the big, knee-length puffy jackets. These only add bulk and annoyance to your trip as you’ll only be able to wear them on the coldest days and then will have to lug them around on non-freezing days. If you choose a lightweight down jacket you can layer more underneath to make up for the lack of thickness. That way, you make the clothes you were already planning to bring work double time giving you more outfit options, less weight, and less stress!
Pick Warm Yet Stylish Accessories
To spice up your one coat and make it look a little different from day to day, pick warm and stylish accessories to interchange. Scarves, gloves, and hats can add a punch of color, and transform your outfit completely even with the same coat on. To save room on bottoms and possibly squeeze in an additional option, try out some fun patterned tights!
Buy Accessories When You Get There
If it isn’t cold yet at home, you can save significant space by waiting until you arrive at your destination to purchase gloves, hats, and scarves. Go for a cheap version and just leave them behind when you go. Alternatively, you can use these items as your souvenir shopping, and they can be pieces that contain memories for years to come!
You’re now set. Enjoy your winter wonderland vacay.
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