Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Insulated Jackets

Mountain Hardwear Nilas Jacket

76

2014

Mountain Hardwear Nilas Jacket

The Mountain Hardwear Nilas Jacket has a huge upside and a lot of potential but there are some serious shortcomings when compared with competing pieces.

Columbia Powerfly (Women's)

87

2013

Columbia Powerfly (Women's)

If you get cold easy and could use extra body-heat retaining technology then the Columbia Powerfly is for you.

Arc’teryx Cerium LT (Women's)

86

2013

Arc’teryx Cerium LT (Women's)

If you’re going to be skinning or hiking—and therefore sweating—in the dry, cold mountain air, than the Arc’teryx Cerium LT should be in your closet.

Montbell Frost Smoke Parka (Women's)

89

2013

Montbell Frost Smoke Parka (Women's)

The Montbell Frost Smoke Parka feels like a mountaineering jacket in a small, light package and could save your ass in extreme alpine conditions.

Patagonia Hi-loft Down Sweater Hoody (Women's)

88

2013

Patagonia Hi-loft Down Sweater Hoody (Women's)

The 800-fill Patagonia Hi-loft Down Sweater Hoody works really well as a multi-use winter jacket for moderately cold and relatively dry climates or as a layering piece.

Marmot Jena Jacket (Women's)

87

2013

Marmot Jena Jacket (Women's)

If you are looking for a straight-forward down jacket to keep in your avy pack as your main insulation layer under a storm shell or as a stand alone down jacket, this is your pick.

Sierra Designs Super Stratus Jacket (Women's)

85

2013

Sierra Designs Super Stratus Jacket (Women's)

If you’re looking for a fitted down jacket for mostly resort skiing that can stand alone or be paired under a storm shell for average winter temps, this is for you.

Brooks Range Mojave Down Jacket

91

2013

Brooks Range Mojave Down Jacket

With a rack of down jackets to choose from, this was the one we reached for the most. This is a super warm jacket, but it doesn't have a weight penalty, and with the water-resistant down and great fit, it comes at a very fair value for its price.

Marmot Greenland Baffled Jacket

82

2013

Marmot Greenland Baffled Jacket

Marmot's Greenland Baffled Jacket is best reserved for cold places, winter camping or the chronically cold. It's a bit bulky for skiing with, but at rest stops or at camp its high warmth to weight ratio will be appreciated.

Mountain Hardwear B'Layman Jacket

79

2013

Mountain Hardwear B'Layman Jacket

The Mountain Hardwear B'Layman was one of the warmest synthetic puffies we've tried, and proved its ability to shuck weather. It’s a great choice for coastal places where precip doesn't always fall as snow.

Sierra Designs TOV DriDown

75

2013

Sierra Designs TOV DriDown

We loved this jacket's trim fit and middle-of-the-road weight and warmth, between a down sweater and expedition parka. It's not as warm as some jackets we tested, but it doesn't feel bulky, and comes at a fair price.

Helly Hansen Odin Belay

73

2013

Helly Hansen Odin Belay

The least warm of the down jackets we tested for this review, the Helly Hansen Odin Belay scored bonus points for its streamlined fit and easy layering. It lags in compressibility and weight-to-warmth ratio, but it boasts a wide comfort range.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket

94

2012

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket

According to Mountain Hardwear, the Ghost Whisperer (hooded) is the world's lightest down jacket—seven ounces, 850-fill down, two pockets, and a ripstop shell that's down- and wind-proof and water repellant.

Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody

87

2012

Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody

Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody is an ultralight hooded down jacket with breathable side panels and plenty of high-quality down for warmth.

Rab Generator Stretch Jacket

82

2012

Rab Generator Stretch Jacket

The Rab Generator Stretch Jacket is a hybrid piece, combing synthetic fill and softshell panels to create a jacket best used for warmth in active or more aerobic activities.

Smartwool PhD SmartLoft Full Zip Jacket

75

2012

Smartwool PhD SmartLoft Full Zip Jacket

The Smartwool PhD SmartLoft Full Zip Jacket is down-puffy style jacket, but with insulation made from wool.

Ibex Aire WI Sweater

70

2012

Ibex Aire WI Sweater

The Ibex Aire WI Sweater is an eco-conscious down puffy that uses wool's natural performance attributes in a casual, easy-wearing design.