Introduction to Buying an Ultralight Down Jacket
Ultralight down jackets are comfortable and warm. Down is a soft material from beneath birds feathers that provides an additional layer of insulation. It is a material that is ideal to keep you warm and not weigh you down. However, it is still essential to know exactly what you want in your jacket so you can find the right one.
The first thing you will want to consider when thinking about an ultralight down jacket is the insulation. Synthetic insulation can be almost half the price than a regular down jacket because it can be mass produced. It also tends to be waterproof which is a huge advantage compared to a regular down jacket which will need some sort of repellent if you wish to keep it from getting damaged from water. Also, compared to regular down, synthetic insulation is much easier to wash.
Everyday or Active
The first thing you will want to consider is what you need your jacket for. Some jackets will be more expensive if you need them to be more durable for activities like hiking, camping, backpacking, and other outdoors activities. The designs available will likely not be a wide range.
The fluffiness of material is referred to as the fill. The higher the fill power, the less down you need to keep you warm. A good number for lightweight would be 700 or higher.
You will want 30% down or more for your down jacket. You will want to compare different jackets because it can get confusing to focus on just fill weight and fill power if the percentages are different.
Naturally, if you are looking at buying an ultralight down jacket, you will need to be aware of how heavy your jacket is. Most lightweight jackets are between 8 and 15 ounces, with some being even less.
Goose or Duck Down
Another consideration will be goose down or duck down. Goose tends to be naturally warmer as well as lighter, and is usually the more expensive option. Duck down, despite usually being cheaper, will hold up better when wet compared to goose down. However, there are repellents available that can aid in protecting your jacket from water and sweat.
Baffles are what are used to evenly distribute down. The larger the baffle, the more room for insulation and space for loft, which can result in your down getting clumped together. Smaller baffles will leave fewer chances of this and will also be more compact and less puffy.
Because even the smallest holes can be the cause for your down escaping, Nylon is the best option for your jacket as it’s durable and light. Furthermore, you will want to consider the thread as well. Denier, the measurement of the outer material will need to be lower if you want a lightweight jacket.
Beyond the material itself, you will want to consider things like a hood, pockets, and lining. If you truly want a lightweight jacket, buying one without a pocket and hood is a great way to shed weight and avoiding including the extra lining will help with weight as well. There are also features such as drawstrings on your hood that you should decide if you want as well.
Of course, as with any clothing items, you will want to make sure you get the right fit for your jacket. Many companies run bigger in size with these types of jackets, but this is certainly not true of all brands. It is always best to try on these sort of items in person so you can be sure you like the fit and like the way it looks on you!
If you are concerned about the ethical practices of making a down jacket, you will need to look up the individual practices used for your jacket. Thankfully, the use of recycled materials has been on the rise and many companies have been adhering to the Responsible Down Standard which means that the taking of feathers has not caused the animals any harm.
What Should I Consider When Buying an Ultralight Down Jacket: Conclusion
There are many things to consider when buying a down jacket. From the fill power, to the type of down, to the intended use, there are many things you will want to look into before purchasing your own lightweight down jacket to ensure you get exactly what you want!
Written by Megan Schimp