Best Ultralight Down Jackets

15 Best Ultralight Down Jackets

When choosing whether or not to get a new jacket, one may seek out certain jackets based on what they plan on using them for. Whether you’re looking for a jacket to use casually, or if you’re looking to tear down the slopes, ultralight-down jackets have become more and more popular through today’s day and age.

Within this list of the best ultralight down jackets, there are many types of jackets with useful qualities. These types of jackets have the ability to pack down into smaller sizes and are known to be very plush and warm. Besides size, when looking to purchase a down jacket, qualities such as warmth, weight, and thickness are all factors that one may take a closer look at.

Other factors that may come into play are whether or not you’re looking for a hood, drawcord and straps, adjustments, pockets, or other helpful accessories that may also benefit the buyer. Below you will find a list of the best ultralight down jackets in the market today.

Top 9 Best Ultralight Down Jackets: Men Options

1. Arc’teryx Thorium AR

This jacket is a midweight piece with a very durable shell for maximum usage. The Arc’teryx Thorium AR is 1 lb. and 1.3 oz. but includes a whopping 4.6 oz. of 700 fill-fiber down. This jacket is known to be one of the thicker options in its class but is very versatile.

This jacket may be less attractive for those looking for a lightweight jacket for climbing and hiking, but still offers an athletic look that is attractive to many. If you are thinking about which size to get, this jacket is known to run small.

Pros
  • Extremely Durable
  • Versatile and offers an athletic look
Cons
  • Not lightweight

Sample Customer Review… This jacket is really an ideal piece for winter activities whether as a mid-layer or wearing alone. Its face fabric is much more durable than its competitors such as Arcteryx Curium LT and Patagonia Down Sweater. It is extremely warm and pretty soft. Due to its regular fit, it has enough room for easily layering up. However, for the same reason, you should choose a suitable hard shell as it has extra space for this jacket. I have three hard shells: Arcteryx LEAF Alpha Gen2, Arcteryx Beta AR, and Klattermusen Brede in the same size. Brede could not place the Thorium AR underneath.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

2. Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody

If looking for a slim fit down lightweight down jacket, the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody may be a good fit for you, however, others seem to steer away from the slim fit qualities that this particular jacket offers. The Cerium LT Hoody is an ultralight jacket that weighs in at 10.8 oz. This jacket is equipped with a silky-looking design and fabric, however costs significantly more than its competitor products.

This company took into consideration many different scenarios that may come into play when wearing this jacket and has enhanced its features to accommodate those concerns. Arc’teryx has stuffed this jacket with synthetic fibers in areas that are known to be susceptible to the most wetness, in order to help keep the buyer dry and remain warm.

This jacket’s slim design and puffiness limits how much you are able to layer this jacket with, however, it still falls into top categories when rating its performance. If certain qualities in this jacket fit your needs, this jacket is definitely a great choice to purchase.

Pros
  • Silky fabric
  • Enhanced features such as synthetic fibers to prevent wetness
  • Slim design
Cons
  • Costs more than similar products
  • Puffiness limits the amount of layers you can wear with this jacket

Sample Customer Review… I like the athletic fit of this jacket. Doesn’t have the boxy look of other downs. I’ve been out in 30-40° weather and been super comfy. It packs down into pocket with some effort if you get hot on a vigorous hike. The neck and hood are comfy when fully zipped and hooded. The zippers are bigger than mountain hardware Ghost Whisperers and I’ve heard that it packs down better.

I would recommend this jacket for anyone who walks the town and trails in the winter. I’m not sure how well this jacket holds up in temperatures colder than 25°. I suspect it would do fine with a few thin layers underneath.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

3. Rab Neutrino Pro

The Rab Neutrino Pro is known to be one of the heavier options when searching for a lightweight down jacket. This jacket weighs in at 1 lb. and 5.3 oz., however offers great qualities that other jackets may lack. The Neutrino Pro has 8 oz. of 800 fill-power down and fits in a similar price point to other jackets that are less warm and don’t have such great qualities.

One complaint some may have regarding the Neutrino Pro is that it comes with a left-handed zipper, as this coat is European made and may take some getting used to. Others do not favor how heavy this jacket is when compared to others, as its weight is noticeably higher than most down coats out there.

Pros
  • Offers more warmth than jackets at a similar price-range
Cons
  • One of the heavier jackets
  • Left-handed zipper

Sample Customer Review… Love this jacket, warm, light in weight not in warmth or comfort. I bought the XL, I’m 5’10” 190 lbs it fits perfectly. The pockets are roomy, comes with a storage bag, the hood fits over snow hats, is warm, blocks wind.

Read more at Amazon.com

4. Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody

This down jacket is tailored to those who may be interested in outdoor research. The Transcendent Hoody is a less expensive competitor down jacket that still offers options that are premium and may not come with other jackets on the market. This jacket provides a great amount of warmth as it is equipped with 4.1 oz. of 650 fill down, and has pockets that are lined with warm fleece fabric.

The Transcendent Hoody comes in a variety of different colors and designs for whatever meets your style. Although this jacket isn’t as warm as others on the market, the style for everyday use and adventure puts this jacket on top charts. It may not be able to fold down into pocket-sized storage, but this jacket is overall still a great choice for a down jacket.

Pros
  • Tailored to those interested in outdoor research
  • Less expensive
  • Provides great warmth with fleece fabric
  • Comes in a variety of colors and styles
Cons
  • Is not as warm as others

Sample Customer Review… Surprising warmth and weight for its fill power. At this time the only concern is some degree of feather shedding which seems to be normal, just not ideal. Warmth is significant, and it is excellent for layering if you’ve got a waterproof shell to add on! The stuff sack (the left pocket, I think) is a nice feature, but I’m always afraid I’ll tear some seam and lose all of the feathers.

If you’re bare-handed, the front pockets are incredible and feel nice and toasty. The zippers work well and the hood is a huge plus. Definitely worth the additional cost over just the jacket alone. Great product by Outdoor Research. We are yet to see how durable and long-lived the layer will be, but I am optimistic.

Read more at Amazon.com

5. Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket

This jacket was made for maximum waterproof protection as well as maximum warmth through cold temperatures. The Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket is one of the lightest jackets in its class weighing in at 1 lb. and 1 oz. This jacket was built to withstand heavy winds and cold wet scenarios.

The Alpine jacket comes equipped with a wire brimmed hood that helps your jacket hood stay on, and offers maximum protection and warmth through all weather. Although this jacket is pricey, the features available through this jacket make a great all-around down jacket for the winter months.

Pros
  • Maximum water protection
  • Maximum warmth in colder temperatures
  • One of the lightest jackets
Cons
  • Relatively expensive

Sample Customer Review… Very warm for its weight, and not as bulky as many down jackets, fully packable, it comes with its own sac. I have used it in several high mountains (+16000 feet) in the Andes where snow, ice, and wind are a constant. Kept me warm while staying inactive and outside on base camp.

Read more at Amazon.com

6. Fjallraven Expedition Pack

The Fjallraven Expedition Pack Jacket is a great choice for everyday use and for short outdoor activities. It is not the warmest jacket on the market is only equipped with 700-fill-power down but will get you through your adventure. The jacket does come with synthetic insulation in the shoulders which helps add more weather resistance, has an athletic fit that is more form-fitting than other options on the market and has a great adjustable hood. Overall this jacket is a great choice for any hiker since it is very durable and will last you a long time due to the fact that it is made from great quality products. 

Pros
  • Great for everday use
  • Comes with synethic insulation to add weather resistance
  • Offers a form-fitting athletic fit
  • Durable
Cons
  • Not the warmest jacket

Sample Customer Review… This is an expensive jacket and you get what you pay for: a super high-quality item that is form-fitting and fantastic. I bought this for our cold Minnesota winters.

Read more at Amazon.com

7. Mountain Hard-wear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody

Mountain Hard wear’s Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody is an incredibly lightweight down jacket that offers a maximum amount of heat for its size. This jacket is great for quick missions as it offers zippered hand pockets, and is wind and water-resistant even at the highest wind speeds and rainiest of days.

Some may complain that this jacket can be known to look boxy, or large through the torso, however, this jacket is able to be layered with other jackets for extra warmth. Others may complain that this jacket doesn’t offer a great seal of warmth through the cuffs, or that the sleeves may be loose. Despite these complaints, this jacket is still a great jacket overall for cold days or however you may choose to use it.

Pros
  • Offers maximum amount of heat for its size
  • Wind and water resistant
  • Able to be layered
Cons
  • Looks boxy
  • Loose sleeves

Sample Customer Review… Always had good luck with all my MHW gear, this is no exception. Super light, packs great, and is as warm as I’d expect. The fit of MHW jackets has never been ideal for the athletic type and this too is another more on the boxy style end. Regardless, as a jacket I use for function on the trail, it does its job well. As an urban piece with occasional outdoor use, I’d go for something else if looks are more what you desire.

Read more at Amazon.com

8. Mountain Hardwear Super/DS Stretchdown Hooded 

The Mountain Hardwear Super/DS Stretchdown Hooded Jacket is very comfortable and stylish, which allows you to wear it not only on your hikes but as an everyday addition to your closet. It is not meant for extremely cold weather since it comes equipped with only a 700-fill-power down, which will not keep you the warmest.

The jacket was designed to increase the user’s range of motion and to be very durable. It is a great choice for any hiker since it layers very easily and is a staple item to have in your closet for any outdoor activities that may present themselves, but you will need to keep in mind that it is bulkier than other options on the market. 

Pros
  • Comfortable and stylish
  • Designed to allow a full range of motion
  • Durable
  • Layers easily
Cons
  • Not meant for the coldest weathers
  • Bulkier than others on the market

Sample Customer Review… The best down jacket you can buy. Super comfy and fits great, fitted. Adjustable drawcord around the waist to keep out drafts. Super soft. You feel like your wearing a down comforter.

I’ve used it for hiking and backpacking and love it. It keeps me warm in 40, high thirty temps. If you wear a decent underlayer you will be fine in even freezing temps. The hood is big but that’s on purpose, this jacket is intended to be used while climbing and backpacking, outdoors activities. If you are gonna buy this jacket to wear around town, you are buying too many jackets for what you need.

This is a professional jacket for outdoor enthusiasts. Get a Columbia down jacket or some Patagonia jacket for cheaper.

Read more at Amazon.com

9. Patagonia Down Sweater

When looking for an all around casual down jacket, the Patagonia Down Sweater is rated to be the best jacket overall. This jacket is very light and able to be compressed into a backpack, but also offers a great amount of warmth to keep you comfortable in cold temperatures. This jacket is able to be layered with other jackets if needed, and offers many different colors and designs tailored to whatever is your kind of style. It is stuffed with 3.4 oz. of 800 fill-power down, and is extremely comfortable.

The Patagonia Down Sweater was rated well for its quality, as this jacket has been tested by many, and it is known to last the longest amount of time, for the greatest amount of use. As Patagonia’s brand and reputation don’t come cheap, this jacket does come at a high price, and others may complain that it can be heavier than other jackets on the market. Overall, this is still a great option for a lightweight down jacket.

Pros
  • Light and able to be compressed
  • Offers a great amount of warmth
  • Able to be layered
  • Extremely comfortable
Cons
  • Heavier than other comparable jackets

Sample Customer Review… Great lightweight jacket works well for layering in cold weather and packs into its own pocket.

Read more at Amazon.com

Top 4 Best Ultralight Down Jackets: Women Options

10. Rab Neutrino Pro

The Rab Neutrino Pro for Women is very similar to the men’s version. The lightweight jacket can be worn during hikes and other winter activities.

Pros
  • Great color and stylish
  • Offers amazing warmth
Cons

    Sample Customer Review… Love it! The color is great, super warm, cheaper on Amazon than on other sites.

    Read more at Amazon.com

    11. Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody

    The outdoor research transcendent hoody for women is water-resistant, lightweight, and flexible. It’s in the same price range as the men’s jacket.

    Pros
    • Water-resistant
    • Lightweight
    • Flexible
    • Offers great warmth and fits well
    Cons

      Sample Customer Review… I was looking for a good lightweight winter coat to wear while hiking that would keep me warm; this fits the bill perfectly. Fits me well, easy zip, and comfy. It is very warm as hiking activity increases.

      Read more at Amazon.com

      12. Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody

      This lightweight and versatile jacket share common qualities as the men’s jacket listed above. There are a variety of colors and natural insulation to maximize warmth and comfort.

      Pros
      • Very slimming look
      • A variety of colors
      • Natural insulation to maximize warmth and comfort
      Cons

        Sample Customer Review… I absolutely love this jacket. I have not taken it off since my husband gave it to me. The length in the arms is perfect and it has a very slimming look. Above all it magically regulates your body temperature, I never feel too hot or too cold. It’s amazing!

        Read more at Amazon.com

        13. Mountain Hard-wear Ghost Whisperer/ 2 Hoody

        The women’s mountain hard-war jacket comes in a variety of colors. The puffy down jacket comes with a hood and two real pockets, which is great for someone who likes to wear hooded jackets during the cold season.

        Pros
        • Comes in a variety of colors
        • Lightweight
        • Provides great warmth
        Cons
        • Puffier than other comparable jackets

        Sample Customer Review… I absolutely love this jacket! It is super warm and extremely lightweight. I’ve taken it on a few backpacking trips now and kept admiring it randomly. These go on sale sometimes so keep an eye out! I got this for $190.

        Read more at Amazon.com

        14. Wantdo Women’s Lightweight Down Jacket

        The Wantdo Women’s Lightweight jacket does not only have the qualities that many of the other jackets have, but it is also cheaper! It comes in a variety of colors. It is not only fashionable but also viable for heavy usage. With a high-tech Nylon shell, it ensures great insulation.

        Pros
        • Cheaper
        • Great Insulation
        • Fashionable
        Cons
        • Not ultra lightweight

        Sample Customer Review… This jacket is awesome! It’s so lightweight it folds up and fits into a little bag that it comes with. It’s great for travel. I traveled from Los Angeles to NY and needed something warm for when I got to NY but easy to travel with. Not too big and bulky. This jacket was perfect. It was cold and windy today in New York. I felt no cold or wind through this jacket.

        I wore a hoody with it though. I definitely recommend wearing a hoody. The hood works nicely with a hoody. It adds an extra layer of warmth to your head and ears but I don’t think the hood would be warm without the hoody because there is no drawstring. That’s the only thing missing. But it zips up the neck. So it’s still great. I also got caught in the rain. No rain penetrated the jacket and it dried fast. The zipper pockets kept my belongings secure. Especially the chest zipper pocket. I highly recommend this jacket!

        I bought an XL. It fit me perfectly. I am a size 16 and I have big boobs. And it fits everywhere comfortably

        Read more at Amazon.com

        15. Lock and Love Women’s Ultra Light Weight Jacket

        Not only is it affordable, but the Lock and Love Women’s jacket also provides all the features of premium jackets and more! Being lightweight, it is able to be compact. This makes it packable for travel. Its Nylon coating makes it waterproof and wind-resistant. With great insulation, this jacket is great for all consumers.

        Pros
        • Affordable
        • Comes in many styles
        • Wind and Water resistant
        • Packable
        Cons
        • Not as warm as other jackets

        Sample Customer Review… I really like this jacket! I bought it for warmth and it does more than keep me toasty. The hood, which you can unzip, feels like it’s filled with some of the same down as the jacket. Only not as bulky. The jacket is light as a feather and folds down into nothing to put in its stuff sack. There are two deep zippered pockets. The fabric seems sturdy. I bought this to wear under a raincoat and it does that nicely. I recommend it highly!

        Read more at Amazon.com

        Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing Ultralight Down Jackets

        Goose down provides more warmth for weight than any synthetic insulation available on the market. It is the go-to insulation for jackets for those seeking to explore the outdoors. Whether it is for everyday wear or for the backcountry, a down-jacket is often the top choice. It simply is in a class of its own when it comes to warmth and coziness. The word “down” is synonymous with high-quality, warm, and durable jackets. 

        Yet despite its reputation and quality, it is important to note that there are downsides of down. For example, down has poor moisture management; it does not insulate well when it is wet and it takes a long time to dry. If you are looking to travel to a location where you will be exposed to a lot of moisture, you may consider another type of insulation. 

        Now that you have decided that you want a down jacket, there are quite a few more things to consider. While all of these jackets are high quality, some of the most important factors to consider are warmth, fit, and price. When purchasing one of these jackets, the price often runs fairly high. For that reason, it is important to make the right choice!

        Warmth

        All the jackets listed in this article are of high quality and should do extremely well in the winter no matter your location. However, some of these jackets are made for even colder temperatures than others. For this, it is important to identify what the purpose of this jacket is. Are you using it as an everyday jacket? Or are you using it to climb mountains? Backpacking? Answering this question can allow you to make the right choice. 

        Fit

        Believe it or not, different jackets fit differently! It is important to know that some jackets run bigger than their size and others run smaller than size. Look at some of the Amazon reviews and try to find someone who is your size and read their feedback. This will allow you to buy the right-sized jacket.

        Price

        Prices of Ultralight Down Jackets vary! Be sure to make sure that you purchase one that is within your spending range. Remember, higher prices do not always mean higher quality!

        Conclusion

        When looking into the best ultralight down jackets, many different options, designs, and features come into play. However you may choose to wear your jacket, and whatever temperatures and conditions you may be involved in, qualities within these different jackets may benefit one another very differently. Lightweight down jackets offer a great amount of warmth and style with the ability to fold down and be extremely compact for storage purposes. Hopefully, after reviewing this list of jackets, you may find one that is tailored to fit your specific wants and needs.

        Written by Jenn Hauck; Contributor: David Chu

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        Ultralight Down Jackets: Things to Consider Before Buying (top10consumer.com)

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