Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Insulated Jackets

Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket

86

2017

Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket

The Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket breathes extremely well when working hard in cold environments, yet insulates just as well when activity ceases, eliminating the need to layer up or down during stop and go adventures. 

Brooks-Range Mountaineering Alpha Softshell Jacket

83

2017

Brooks-Range Mountaineering Alpha Softshell Jacket

The Brooks-Range Mountaineering Softshell jacket keeps core temperatures stable in colder environments while allowing unrestricted arm mobility.

Black Diamond Equipment First Light Hoody

83

2017

Black Diamond Equipment First Light Hoody

The Black Diamond Equipment First Light Hoody is a durable workhorse for alpine environments, providing the right combination of breathability and heat retention for moderately active, start and stop pursuits in winter conditions.

Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid

83

2017

Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid

The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid is an extremely breathable and lightweight layer that prioritizes air permeability and moisture dissipation over anything else. 

Arc’teryx Proton AR Hoody

85

2017

Arc’teryx Proton AR Hoody

The Arc’teryx Proton AR Hoody is a durable, moderately breathable insulating layer with uncompromised construction quality suitable for medium intensity activity in true winter conditions.

Marmot Isotherm Jacket

82

2017

Marmot Isotherm Jacket

The Marmot Isotherm jacket is an abrasion resistant insulating piece that performs best for moderately active pursuits in freezing conditions.

Columbia Women's Hexbreaker Long Down Jacket

93

2016

Columbia Women's Hexbreaker Long Down Jacket

Columbia’s Women’s Hexbreaker Long Down Jacket is heating powerhouse chock full of features. 

The North Face Hooded Termoball Parka

92

2016

The North Face Hooded Termoball Parka

The North Face Hooded Termoball Parka is a long women’s jacket with synthetic insulation. 

Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Hooded Down Parka

90

2016

Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Hooded Down Parka

Mountain Hardwear’s Women’s Nitrous Hooded Down Parka is lightweight winter jacket with impressive warmth and solid features. 

Patagonia Lightweight Fiona Down Parka

89

2016

Patagonia Lightweight Fiona Down Parka

Patagonia’s Lightweight Fiona Parka is an ultralight and ultra-warm long down jacket for women. 

Eddie Bauer’s Astoria Hooded Down Parka

85

2016

Eddie Bauer’s Astoria Hooded Down Parka

Eddie Bauer’s Astoria Hooded Down Parka is a mid-weight parka that blends relaxed style and warmth. 

Patagonia Nano Air Hoody

90

2016

Patagonia Nano Air Hoody

The Patagonia Nano Air is a comfortable, lightweight, stretchable and breathable jacket that is perfect for aerobic activity on cold weather excursions.

The North Face Thermoball Hoody

90

2016

The North Face Thermoball Hoody

The North Face Thermoball Hoodie is a multi-purpose layer that can keep you warm on winter days in addition to looking stylish when used around town.

Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic

87

2016

Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic

The Mountain Hardware Thermostatic is a very lightweight jacket that is easy to throw in your pack for days when you might need an extra minimal layer.

High Sierra Molo Hybrid

82

2016

High Sierra Molo Hybrid

The High Sierra Molo Hybrid is an affordable jacket without any extra frills that serves it purpose as a lightweight layering piece for winter activities.

Rab Strata Hoody

91

2016

Rab Strata Hoody

The Rab Strata Hoody is a very comfortable and versatile jacket that layers well for a cold winter day or functions as an outer layer on warmer fall and spring days.

Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody

89

2016

Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody

The Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody is a lightweight insulating layer that is very comfortable and breathable but has some issues with fit.  

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.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer (Women's)

90

2013

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer (Women's)

If you are looking for a highly compressible down jacket with incredible warmth-to-weight ratio, then the Ghost Whisperer 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.