Best Down Jackets for Women in 2022

Patagonia Down Sweater

Patagonia Down Sweater

Hiking at high altitudes or in the height of winter can be an absolute pleasure but only if you are dressed appropriately for the low temperatures. A down jacket is the perfect option for hiking in icy cold weather as it provides the most warmth in relation to its weight compared with other insulation materials such as polyester fleece and synthetic fill. To learn more about insulation and understand how down jackets compare to for example fleece jackets, please read our article on mid-layer materials. A down jacket can be used on its own as long as the weather stays relatively dry; otherwise you will need to layer it with a rain jacket since down loses its heat-retaining properties when wet.

All products included in this review use either RDS-certified (Responsible Down Standard by Down Union) down or the brand has its own animal rights policy (Patagonia and Marmot) to ensure that the down only comes from animals which have never been force-fed or live-plucked.

We regularly update our reviews and selections to always recommend you the best products on the market.

1. Buying a Down Jacket for Hiking – What is important?

Warmth:

The feeling of being warmly dressed under various conditions is ultimately a subjective feeling, so there is no universal scale for the warmth clothes can provide. Nevertheless, when it comes to down jackets there is an indicator called the down fill power which specifies how much warmth the respective type of down provides for its weight. One kilo of down with a down fill power of 800 thus retains more heat than an identical quantity of down with a down fill power of 600. Naturally the actual warmth provided by a down jacket depends on the amount of down used, so also pay attention to the weight of the jacket. As hiking clothes shouldn’t be too heavy in general, we chose only jackets with a down fill power of 700 and above.

Type of Down:

Regular down loses its heat-retaining properties when wet, but this can be mitigated by treating the down with a durable water repellent (DWR), so it can resist water longer and dry faster once wet. Therefore, DWR-treated down is often called hydrophobic down.

Compressibility:

Some mountaineers only use a down jacket for the rest phases depending on the temperature and weather conditions, and thus it is practical if the jacket can be compressed easily into its own pocket or a stuff sack to save space in the backpack. However, do not store any down jacket stuffed down for extended periods of time as it will compromise the down’s loft and longevity.

Hood:

When deciding for a down jacket with or without a hood, you need to consider how much you would actually use it. Down jackets without a hood usually have a high, relatively tight-fitting collar which traps heat superbly while down jackets with hoods are designed to mainly trap the heat around your neck when the hood is up and in use. This means that more heat escapes when the hood is down, so be sure to use that hood if you have it. Most of the down jackets reviewed below are available both with and without a hood. A hood will naturally increase the weight of the garment slightly, but not terribly so.

Length:

Unlike down jackets and parkas for everyday use, a down jacket for hiking should not run much lower than to your hip as it will otherwise impede your strides and slow you down.

Pockets:

Every jacket for winter use should have hand pockets so you can warm your hands, but it is also an advantage if it has internal pockets so you can safely store valuables there instead of the hand pockets.

Care:

All the products can be machine-washed on cold cycles and tumble-dried at low temperatures.

Expert Selections
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2. The Best Down Jackets for Women Review

Best Down Jackets for Women

Best Down Jackets for Women

The Best Down Jackets for Women – List

  1. Patagonia Down Sweater
  2. Cotopaxi Fuego
  3. Black Diamond Access
  4. Kuhl Spyfire
  5. Jack Wolfskin JWP

Comparison

Scroll Horizontally
Feature/Product Patagonia Down SweaterCotopaxi FuegoBlack Diamond Access Kuhl SpyfireJack Wolfskin JWP
Down Type (Certification)Goose (Advanced Global TDS)Goose (RDS)Goose (RDS)Goose (RDS)Duck (RDS)
Hydrophobic (DWR-treated) downYesYesYesn/an/a
Fill Power800800700800700
Shell materialDWR-treated
100% recycled polyester 20x30D Ripstop
DWR-treated 20D giant-ripstop nylon30D 100% Ripstop Nylon Main: 20D MIKROTEX Nylon. Yoke overlay: Tufflex nylon 100 % StormLoc Ripstop Polyamide
Average Weight (metric)13 oz. (371 g) - hooded model14 oz. (397 g) -hooded model
12.13 (344 g) - hoody 14 oz. (397 g) - hooded model8.5 oz. (240 g) – size S
Back Length 25 in. (63.5 cm) 23 in. (58.5 cm)26 in. (66 cm)26.75 in (68 cm)25.2 in. (64 cm) for size S
Available versions With and without hood, vestWith and without hood, vest, parkaHoody, parka, full-length parkaWith and without hood, vest, parkaUnhooded jacket and vest
Patagonia Down Sweater

Patagonia Down Sweater

1. Patagonia Down Sweater

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Patagonia Down Sweater is a great down jacket due to its traceable 800 fill-power down and its 20D Ripstop shell which is treated with a DWR-finish. In spite of the durable shell material and finish, the whole jacket has a nice feel to it, but it is of course a plus that the top part of the zipper is covered with fleece, so it feels extra soft on your neck and face when it is all zipped up. Besides the two hand warmer pockets with Vislon zipper, the jacket has an internal zippered chest pocket which conveniently converts into a stuff sack with a carabineer clip-in loop so that you easily pack and store the jacket when you don’t need it. When you do need it, you can wear it as an outer layer or exploit its compressibility by using it as a mid-layer with a shell layer on top. The Patagonia Down Sweater comes both with and without a hood as well as a sleeveless vest.

 

Pros:

  • Traceable hydrophobic down
  • Shell fabric is treated with a DWR-finish (Durable Water Repellant), and is bluesign-certified
  • Compresses into inner pocket

Cons:

  • Big price jump between model with and without a hood

Where to buy?

Also available at:

REI | Backcountry

Cotopaxi Fuego down jacket

Cotopaxi Fuego down jacket

2. Cotopaxi Fuego Down Jacket

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Cotopaxi Fuego is the heaviest down jacket on this list, but as the name implies it is built for warmth! Not only does it utilize a responsibly sourced high-quality 800 fill power hydrophobic goose down insulation, but it is also equipped with a tight-fitting built-in scuba hood with elastic binding, elasticated cuffs, and a drawcord hem to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. The Cotopaxi Fuego down jacket has two zippered hand pockets and two interior stash pockets, of which one can double as a stuff sack for the jacket, when you are not using it on the go. The DWR-treated shell fabric is made of 20D giant-ripstop nylon, while the lining is made of 20D mini-ripstop. Unlike the other down jackets here, the Cotopaxi Fuego does not come in solid colors, but in cool color blocking variations – whether you are looking at the jacket with or without a hood, the longer parka version or the sleeveless vest from the funky brand.

 

Pros:

  • RDS-certified DWR-treated down
  • Only small price difference between jacket with or without hood
  • Packs into own pocket for easy storage

Cons:

  • Slightly heavy

Where to buy?

Also available at:

REI | Moosejaw

Black Diamond Access Down Jacket

Black Diamond Access Down Jacket

3. Black Diamond Access Down Jacket

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Black Diamond Access down hoody has been a part of the iconic brand’s product line for a long time, but was completely redesigned in 2019. The insulation is RDS-certified 700 fill power HyperDry goose down, which is PFC-free unlike certain other kinds of DWR-treated down. As it is a Black Diamond jacket, it is no surprise that the shell material is the most durable (30D Ripstop Nylon) of all the down jackets listed here. Rather than having just horizontal baffles like the down jackets above, the Black Diamond Access features flattering slanted baffles in the shoulder area. To seal in the warmth, the hood can be adjusted with an elastic in the back, the cuffs are elasticated, and you can tighten the bottom hem by adjusting the drawcord toggle. Essentials can be stored in the two zippered hand pockets or the zippered chest pockets.

 

Pros:

  • PFC-free HyperDry down
  • Durable shell material
  • Packs into its own pocket

Cons:

  • Not available without a hood
Kuhl Spyfire Down Jacket

Kuhl Spyfire Down Jacket

4. Kuhl Spyfire Down Jacket

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Kuhl Spyfire down jacket is aptly named because it looks cool enough to be worn in a spy movie! Joking aside, the stylish design is actually rooted in functionality as the larger baffles on the front and back provide good warmth for the core, while the smaller baffles on the arms and sides reduce bulkiness and weight. The Kuhl Spyfire down jacket is also made with knitted underarm gussets for breathability and added freedom of movement, and has an extra overlay of super durable Tufflex fabric  (88% Nylon, 12% Spandex) on the front body, shoulders and sleeves for increased weather protection. Other features count two zippered handwarmer pockets, one internal pocket, elastic cuffs and a small zippered pocket on the left sleeve. The Kuhl Spyfire down jacket has the longest back length of all down jackets on this list, so it will be particularly suited for those with longer torsos.

 

Pros:

  • Functional and stylish design with differently sized baffles
  • TuffleX overlay on the front and sleeves for extra weather protection
  • RDS-certified 800 fill power goose down insulation

Cons:

  • Big price jump between model with and without a hood

Where to buy?

Also available at:

Backcountry

 

Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket

Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket

5. Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Skiing

The Jack Wolfskin JWP down jacket is the least expensive product on this list, which ultimately stems from the fact that it utilizes duck down as insulation. Duck down is cheaper than goose down because duck is more eaten world-wide, while goose down is more sought after than goose meat. The RDS-certified 700 fill power duck down in the Jack Wolfskin down jacket is of a very high quality with 90 % of down and only 10 % of feathers (e.g. compared to the Black Diamond Access jacket insulation which consists of 85 % down and 15% feathers).  In any case the Jack Wolfskin JWP down jacket is the lightest product on this list, which on one hand means that it is slightly less warm (due to the smaller amount of insulation), but it is also very packable and can be easily compressed into the included stuff sack.  The only downside is that the slightly wide neck and cuff openings allow warm air to escape. You can read more in the firsthand review of the Jack Wolfskin down jacket here.

 

Pros:

  • Lightweight warmth (700 fill power RDS-certified 90/10 white duck down)
  • Packs into included stuff sack
  • Price

Cons:

  • Slightly wide neck and cuff openings permit warm air to escape

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Author Information

Laura P.

I loved to climb trees when I was a child – as an adult I use these skills for climbing and scrambling up mountain sides! I always wear a Merino base layer, sunscreen and my hair tousled.