Down jackets serve as outer layers in outdoor attire wonderfully, providing a thick layer of insulation. In some situations though, a standard down jacket is overkill – aside from being heavy and bulky, they can be overly hot.
Fortunately, brands do produce lighter down jacket variations that are suitable for outings in milder colds without burdening the wearer too much.
While picking the best lightweight down jacket for your needs can be fairly straightforward, if your demands are very specific, you might struggle with the shopping process. If that’s indeed happening to you, then our buyer’s guide might be able to help you!
Quick Comparison Table
|Tommy Hilfiger Down Jacket||• Outer shell material: Nylon.|
• Available in many colors
• Machine washable
|Hawke & Co Men’s Down Jacket||• Outer shell material: Nylon.|
• Fill power: 550.
• Machine Washable
|Columbia Men’s Delta Ridge Down Jacket||• Outer shell material: Polyester.|
• Fill power: 650.
• Water resistant
|EUROUS Men’s Mid-Long Hooded Down Jacket||• Material: PU leather|
• Lining: Polyester
• Color: Brown
|Tommy Hilfiger Down Jacket||• Outer shell material: Nylon.|
• Ultra loft faux down filling
• Water & Wind Resistant
|ZSHOW Men’s Hooded Down Jacket||• Outer shell material: Nylon.|
• Quilt: Parallel Quilted
• Pockets: 2 Interior & 2 Side Pockets
|Columbia Men’s Voodoo Falls TurboDown Jacket||• Outer shell material: Polyester.|
• Fill power: 550.
|Eddie Bauer Men’s CirrusLite Down Jacket||• Outer shell material: Nylon.|
• Fill power: 650.
|Eddie Bauer Men’s CirrusLite Hooded Down Jacket||• Outer shell material: Nylon.|
• Fill power: 650.
• Warmth and lightweight
|Calvin Klein Men’s Hooded Down Jacket||• Outer shell material: Nylon.|
• Removable hood
• Non removable fleece bib
10 Best Lightweight Down Jackets Reviewed
Let’s kick off our guide with the top 10 best lightweight down jacket suggestions. We’ve tried to keep our list diverse both price- and feature-wise to hopefully satisfy the needs of as many of our readers as we can.
In our reviews, we’ll cover the key features of each jacket and will touch upon their downsides (based on our intuition and buyer reviews).
The Tommy Hilfiger down puffer jacket is a nice pick if you are ready to pay for quality. This is a pricier down jacket, but it will most likely serve you longer than cheap options.
What we like about this particular jacket model very much is that it’s available in two sizing styles – standard and big & tall. Each style is available in multiple options, so no matter your body shape, this jacket should fit just right. There are plenty of colors available too.
Design-wise, the Tommy Hilfiger jacket doesn’t have anything too remarkable to offer. This is a traditional down jacket with a pair of pockets for your small essentials.
Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t provide precise fill down specs, but this jacket seems to be on the lighter side among the reviewed picks.
Although all in all a solid jacket, this model has one big downside. In some jackets, the pocket bottoms are not sealed. Some people have lost keys and other small items due to this defect. So if you do go for this jacket, carefully check its pockets.
2. Hawke & Co Men’s Down Jacket
- Outer shell material: Nylon.
- Fill power: 550.
- Machine Washable
The Hawke & Co delights its wearers with a gorgeous mountain collage. Aside from that, this jacket costs way less than the Tommy Hilfiger model, though the quality obviously won’t be as good either.
For added convenience, the Hawke & Co jacket has a chest pocket on the left in addition to the two side pockets. You are getting a hidden hood too for protection on rainy days.
In terms of insulation, this jacket is on the lighter side among our picks, with the fill power being 550. So despite its design theme, it’s not the best pick for colder days.
One thing to note with this jacket is that though it’s available in multiple sizes, they are all in separate listings. The particular jacket we reviewed was X-small – for other sizes, you’ll have to look up listings manually.
Remarkably, Hawke & Co also donates 2% of its earnings to charities aimed at retaining the planet’s environment or that assist the homeless and the starving.
The Columbia Delta Ridge down jacket offers insulation superior to many jackets in its class. This is achieved thanks to the so-called Omni-Heat technology.
Here’s how this jacket works. It is composed of metallic dot patterns (visible from the outside and inside) that retain heat, while the rest of the lining is breathable and can dissipate moisture along with excess heat. The baffling in the Delta Ridge jacket is heat-sealed and has no stitches.
The fill power in this jacket is 650 too, which paired with the good insulation allows for a pretty warm experience while keeping the jacket relatively light.
Convenience is also great in the Delta Ridge jacket – the collar is equipped with a soft chin pad, and there are also 2 pockets for small essentials.
Delta Ridge is RDS-certified as well. The Responsive Down Standard requires that manufacturers employ more animal-friendly down collection techniques, so Delta Ridge is more eco-friendly than the average down jacket.
There is one notable downside with the Delta Ridge jacket, however – it doesn’t have any waist size adjustment. Most down jackets on this list do, and given how advanced Delta Ridge is, this downside is a little underwhelming.
We really like the style of the EUROUS mid-long jacket. It has a more classical, strict design that not only looks good but may also work with some people’s styles better.
As a mid-long jacket, this model will be heavier than our other picks, but if you are worried about style more than weight, it should be great.
What’s also nice about the EUROUS down jacket is that it has four pockets – two chest pockets and two lower side pockets. EUROUS also includes a detachable fur hood that is as stylish as it is functional.
One thing to keep in mind with this down jacket is that it doesn’t seem to be waterproof or even water-resistant. So far, all of our jacket picks have had some form of water protection, so this is a bit disappointing.
This down jacket is very similar to the Tommy Hilfiger model reviewed at the very beginning. It’s again a high-quality jacket that’s priced a bit steeply. There are two small differences between the jackets though.
First up, the collar in this particular jacket seems thicker and should therefore provide better heating in the neck area. And secondly, the outer pocket zipper design is different – the zippers aren’t covered by a flap and could thus theoretically let water through.
Other than these two, the two down jackets are fairly similar, including the heating department. Tommy Hilfiger again offers a good number of sizes and colors for this jacket as well.
The ZSHOW down jacket is a nice pick if you want to keep your head and neck warmer. This jacket comes with a non-removable integrated hood. This hood is nice and thick and offers better insulation than thin, foldable hoods found on some jackets.
The pocket layout here is nice as well – you are getting not only two exterior but also two interior pockets.
Insulation-wise, the ZSHOW down jacket is on the lighter side. This is great for the purposes of this post, but you won’t be able to wear this jacket even in more or less serious cold.
The design of this jacket is also clean and tidy, though we don’t particularly like how it looks. It’s also available in four colors, which is pretty limited but still nice.
Note that the ZSHOW jacket has run small for some people, so you may want to go a size bigger.
The Voodoo Falls TurboDown jacket is a lighter alternative to the Columbia Delta Ridge jacket reviewed earlier. The fill power here is 550, so this jacket is going to be noticeably lighter and cooler than Delta Ridge. With that said, Voodoo Falls retains the Omni-Heat system in its full glory.
Aside from Omni-Heat, Voodoo Falls also employs the so-called TurboDown filling. This tech essentially reinforces the insulation capabilities of the natural down filling with a reflective inner layer. This layer reflects heat back onto the wearer, increasing heat performance.
With all that said, remember that this jacket isn’t for cold-weather wearing. It won’t hold up since its filling has low power. But it should do really well for moderately low temperatures.
Voodoo Falls features an integrated hood as well along with a drawcord for hem adjustment. This is rather typical but still nice to have stuff.
The Columbia Voodoo Falls jacket is a rather high-quality piece of attire, but unfortunately, the down feathers often come out. This isn’t something exceptional – any jacket will lose some filling over time. For the price though, we’d expect better sealing and fewer complaints from buyers.
8. Eddie Bauer Men’s CirrusLite Down Jacket
The Coleman Sundome tent is a decent option for light use cases. Sundome is among the cheapest tents on this list as well, so it’s a good pick for budget shopping.
In terms of design, this is more or less the Coleman Steel Creek dome tent reviewed earlier, but without the screen room. You are getting similar features, including integrated pockets, a power strip port, and decent water & wind resistance.
Sundome offers some extras too – it’s a little larger than Steel Creek, and it is more versatile thanks to the adjustable bottom vents.
9. Eddie Bauer Men’s CirrusLite Hooded Down Jacket
This down jacket is the same CirrusLite jacket we’ve just reviewed, but it has a hood instead of the thick collar. It’s thus a better pick if you want to stay not only warm but also dry.
Unfortunately, the hooded CirrusLite is available in fewer sizes too. But if you are lucky, the available sizes should work just fine for you.
Other than the hood and size options, there are no notable differences between the two CirrusLite jackets. The insulation is the same, and the filling is again RDS-certified (according to Eddie Bauer’s website).
10. Calvin Klein Men’s Hooded Down Jacket
Quality-wise, the Calvin Klein down jacket appears to be pretty solid, though there have been a few people complaining about feather coming out. This is nothing too serious though – this jacket is a good-quality piece of attire, albeit on the pricey side.
Calvin Klein includes a removable zippered hood with this down jacket too. You are additionally getting a branded zippered bag for convenient jacket storage.
How To Choose The Best Lightweight Down Jacket?
Picking a down jacket can be pretty simple – you could figure out which jacket you like the most and go for it without much thought. But because down jackets can be very different, you should put more effort into understanding what you are dealing with.
In this section, we will teach you how to better understand down jacket product descriptions. We’ll cover a few important down jacket features and specs, including things that specifically pertain to lightness and some more general stuff.
Fill power & weight
First and foremost, you should find out the fill power and the fill weight of the desired down jacket. Not all jacket makers list these specs, but you should at least try to find them.
What do these two specs mean though?
- Fill power: Fill power is used to determine the quality and insulative ability of the down. This spec measures the number of cubic inches occupied by one ounce of down. The higher the fill weight, the more lofty and insulative the down will be.
- Higher fill power doesn’t automatically mean heavier weight. On the contrary, to achieve the same thermal performance, you would need to use less high-power down to reach the effectiveness of a higher amount of low-power filling.
- Fill weight: Fill weight simply shows the weight of the entire down in the product in grams or ounces.
- Typically, heavier fill weight equates to better thermal performance. However, fill power also plays a role in thermal performance, so you can’t determine the insulation of a down jacket based on fill weight alone.
- For example, if two jackets have the same fill weight but different fill power, then you can say that the jacket with the higher fill power will be warmer, all else equal. In contrast, if the fill power is the same but the fill weight is different, then the jacket with a heavier fill will most likely be warmer simply because it has more fill.
Since we are talking about light down jackets, you would probably want to get yourself a jacket with lower fill weight. Typically, lightweight jackets have 3-4 ounces of fill.
As for fill power, how high it should be depends on your needs. If you want to stay cool, then look for lower fill power. And to be protected from cold, your down jacket should have higher fill power.
Fill power is measured on a scale from 400 to 800 (sometimes 900). The higher the rating, the loftier and more thermally insulative the down filling is.
If provided, check the total weight of the jacket as well, not just its fill weight. Jackets have many other things besides filling, including zippers, interior and exterior lining, and sometimes hoods.
Within the context of this post, the lighter a jacket’s weight, the better. However, you should not view weight isolated from other features and specs. If you want better insulation, then don’t forget to check fill weight and fill power too.
Jacket construction is very important to consider as well – both from the standpoint of lightness and overall performance.
Construction-wise, there are two things to pay attention to in down jackets – denier and baffle design. These are worth a little more in-depth coverage.
Denier, or D, basically measures fabric thickness. The higher the denier, the thicker and tougher a fabric will be. But consequently, high-denier jackets are often heavier, so you will have to balance durability with weight.
You don’t need an astronomically high denier in a down jacket – 20D-30D is probably enough for most needs. If you think you need an extra-durable jacket, go higher but remember that the jacket will get heavier.
Although lower deniers usually imply lower weight, you shouldn’t go for a very flimsy jacket just because it weighs little, unless it will work fine for your needs.
Down jackets are typically divided into several chambers called baffles. These chambers are filled with down to keep you warm. The purpose of the baffles is to keep the filling from shifting around and therefore maintain consistent insulation across the jacket’s surface.
Baffles are available in two styles – box-wall or stitch-through baffles.
Box-wall baffles make jackets warmer because they keep the thickness of the fill more or less even throughout each baffle.
In stitch-through baffles, the chambers are pinched at the seams. In these pinched areas, there is very little loft, which results in overall worse insulation.
Box-wall baffles are much more difficult to produce though, which results in noticeably higher jacket prices. So for most people, stitch-through jackets are going to provide adequate insulation at an optimal price.
Another thing to note with baffles is that small baffles may restrict high-power fabric, not allowing it to extend all the way. This could severely decrease the down’s insulative ability.
With that, a jacket with high fill power should probably have larger baffles. The baffle type doesn’t matter, though for better warmth, box-wall would obviously work better.
Down should be protected from moisture because it loses its insulative abilities when wet. Fortunately, most modern down jackets have water-resistant uppers, so this should not be a problem.
Keep in mind that some jackets are only water-resistant, while others are fully waterproof. The difference between these two protection levels is that waterproof jackets will not let water through no matter what, while water-resistant jackets will block out only light rain or splashes.
Brands often mis-advertise their jackets’ water protection level. Down jackets that are only water-resistant are often claimed to be waterproof. For most people, this probably won’t matter, but if you truly want your jacket to withstand extended downpours or submersion, then be careful with what you buy.
Natural down is sourced from duck or geese, so it’s not exactly animal- or eco-friendly. Not everyone cares about this, but sustainability is a big deal for some buyers.
If you do want to get a more ethically-produced jacket, then look for one that complies with the Responsible Down Standard (or RDS). We’ve seen a few RDS-certified jackets on our top. To get more info on how RDS works, read RDS 2.0.
If you are willing to go even further, then look for jackets with synthetic filling. These are beyond the scope of this post though since we are talking about down jackets. We can say one thing – natural down is the best when it comes to warmth and insulation.
If you want a more convenient light down jacket, then look for these features:
- Waist hem drawcords. Most (but not all) down jackets have drawcords that allow you to adjust the fit in the waist area. Unless you find a perfectly fitting jacket, we think that this is a must-have feature for effective insulation.
- Elasticized cuffs or waist hem. These perform the same purpose as drawcords – ensure a tight fit to trap heat inside – but they don’t have any adjustment.
- Hoods. For rain protection, a hood is a nice thing to have as well. Hoods can be zippered and removable, folded into a hidden pocket in the collar, or be a permanent component of the jacket’s look.
- Pockets. Typically, down jackets have a pair of outside pockets and at least one interior pocket. For most people, this is enough – if you want more, then look for more pockets.
- Packability. Most down jackets are packable, i.e. can be folded and stored in one of their pockets. Some packable jackets are designed to be folded and stored in a dedicated storage bag instead. Both options are pretty convenient, though a jacket that can be packed inside its pocket is more space-saving.
Your down jacket should fit snugly but not too tight. It should not be too loose either since you want to get rid of any openings to trap heat inside.
If the jacket has elasticized cuffs and a waist drawcord, then it’s fine if it is a little bigger. But the jacket shouldn’t be too big for you – it will look baggy.
Also keep in mind that some jackets reach mid-thigh, and most standard jackets extend down to the waist. This is mostly a style preference, though long jackets tend to be heavier.
Tent shopping doesn’t always go smoothly – you may have to try 2-3 tents to understand what does and doesn’t work for you. Hopefully, our 6-person tent buying guide will allow you to avoid guessing and find a good tent on your first attempt!
You may also like: