There’s a nice trend going on for warming but slim-line down and insulated jackets. While the big puffed up Michelin man style down jacket was once the only thing for cold outdoors days, now most clothing brands have a good range of slimmer-style, super lightweight winter warmer down jackets. In addition, some down jackets – still with a warming 600 to 800 fill – are made from man-made insulation that works better at keeping you warm in the wet or else they are made with water-repellant down or water-resistant outers.
Benefits of lightweight down jackets
Wear as an outer layer when the conditions are cool or as a midlayer when the weather is chillier. The slim-line style also means that your waterproof outer jacket will easily fit over the top. A lightweight down jacket can also be stuffed into a small place in a rucksack while you’re walking in hills and mountains all-year-round. I find that when I stop on the hills, even in summer, I often need a warming layer to keep out the chill while enjoying my lunch or a breather. In winter, I have been known to wear a lightweight down jacket as a mid-layer and then an older-style puffy down jacket as an outer layer. It gets cold in Scotland and this clothing set-up has worked wonder when camping in the great outdoors in autumn and winter.
Six great insulated jackets
With so many lighter weight down jackets to choose from we bring you five of our favourites. Berghaus Furnace III
The Berghaus Furnace III Jacket – different fits for men and women – boasts a new HydroDown Technology. This means that the down is treated with a water repellent before being sewn into the jacket. The result is a neat-fitting and toasty warm jacket that is great for both dry and wet weather. The Berghaus Furnace III jacket will be in shops shortly.
See Berghaus Rab Xenon Hoodie
Made with lightweight PrimaLoft® insulation for warmth and with a Pertex Quantum layer that is strong and windproof, this jacket will be perfect for conditions where you are likely to get wet. While traditional down jackets become soggy and cold in the wet, man-made PrimaLoft manages to keep the body warm even when wet. It works, too. This jacket also has the bonus addition of a hood. I love a hooded jacket, especially for winter. See Xenon X hoodie for men and Xenon X hoodie for women. PS the fit on the women’s jacket is slightly shorter in the torso, although the arms are still long. This makes it a god choice for wearing under a longer waterproof jacket.
Mammut Miva Light and Broad Peak Light
The Mammut Miva Light is for women, while the Mammut Broad Peak Light is for men. These are two of the new down jackets that come with a water-resistant outer. Be warned though that this water-resistance doesn’t work in anything other than light rain. If the rain turns heavy, add a waterproof jacket over the top. The down is featherlight and boasts 800-fill warmth in a gorgeous design and colours. These jackets stuff into a zipped pocket, which is a good idea.
Montane Featherlite Down Jacket
This is a very light jacket with a 750+ down fill and also a PERTEX® Quantum Rip-stop outer that means it can be roughed up and worn in all kinds of conditions without risk of it being torn. A technical, integrated hood is a great added extra. The jacket can be stuffed into its own bag for easy and compact stowing. There are versions for men and women.
Montane Flux Primaloft jacket
For a synthetic version that will keep you warm even when it’s very damp or wet, the new Montane Flux jacket for men and women is perfect. It features layered 100g and 60g PRIMALOFT® ECO combined to maximise insulation without compromising comfort. It has also been extensively tested on the big walls of Patagonia’s Fitzroy in some of the most changeable weather conditions on earth so whatever walk or hike you’re doing you can be sure of a jacket that keeps you warm. The outer fabric is PERTEX® Microlight Rip-stop so it will cope with being worn for climbing and being stuffed inside your rucksack, etc. There’s a useful inside pocket, too.
Jack Wolfskin Altostratus jacket
This comes in a male version and a women’s, too. Rather than stripes of insulated pockets, this jacket has a checked pattern. The fill is manmade while the outer fabric is a windproof material tat also boasts a silicone coating to rain water just rolls off. There is a useful integrated hood as well.