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Cooler temperatures shouldn’t be an obstacle to your hiking adventures. Whether you are preparing for winter or planning a trip in the high mountains, buying a good down jacket is the best thing you can do to be safe from the cold. The best down jackets are lightweight but highly effective even the harshest situations.

With hundreds of models available on the market you’ll be spoiled for choice, with cuts, colors, and unusual combinations of materials all competing for your attention. We have carefully selected the ten best down jackets out there to make the shopping process a little easier, picking models for every budget and possible use.

For more of our top hiking apparel recommendations, check out the Best Down Jackets

 

Quick Answer - The Best Down Jackets for Women

  1. Patagonia Down Sweater
  2. Rab Microlight Alpine
  3. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
  4. Outdoor Research Illuminate
  5. Arc’teryx Cerium LT
  6. Cotopaxi Fuego
  7. The North Face Summit L3
  8. Patagonia Silent
  9. Mountain Hardwear Super/DS

 

Comparison Table - Best Down Jacket for Women

PictureNameHoodWater ResistantPriceRating
Patagonia Down SweaterNoNo$4.6
Rab Microlight AlpineRab Microlight AlpineYesYes$$4.5
Mountain Hardwear Ghost WhispererMountain Hardwear Ghost WhispererNoYes$$4.4
Outdoor Research IlluminateOutdoor Research IlluminateYesNo$$4.6
Arc’teryx Cerium LTYesNo$$$4.2
Cotopaxi FuegoYesYes$4.1
The North Face Summit L3YesNo$$$4.1
Patagonia SilentNoNo$4.8
Mountain Hardwear Super/DSYesYes$$4.7
Kuhl SkyfireKuhl SkyfireYesNo$$$4.9
PictureNameHoodWater ResistantPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - Best Women's Down Jackets

Patagonia Down Sweater

Specs
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Hood: No
Features
  • Shell & Lining Treated With Durable Water Repellent
  • Wide Variety Of Color Options
  • Flattering Contoured Fit With A Long Hem For Extra Warmth

BEST FOR: ALL-AROUND USE

The Patagonia Down Sweater is up for anything, from backcountry hikes to city commutes. The Down Sweater comes in a wide variety of color options beyond your standard outdoor clothing color palette, and the fit is contoured to be flattering for around town or aprés hiking wear. The long hem adds an extra layer of warmth, and the adjustable drawcord keeps drafts out.

Both the shell and lining are treated with Durable Water Repellent to keep you dry in a drizzle or light snow. The lightweight jacket can also be easily compressed into its own chest pocket for packing.

Rab Microlight Alpine

Specs
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Hood: Yes
Features
  • Hydrophobic Down Continues To Insulate Even When Wet
  • Down-filled Hood With Peaked Brim Keeps Your Head Warm & Dry
  • Nylon Lining Provides Comfort & Prevents Feathers From Poking You
Rab Microlight Alpine

BEST FOR: WET WEATHER

If your hikes take you out in wet and snowy weather, the Rab Microlight Alpine will protect you from the elements and keep you dry and warm. The light outer fabric is treated with durable water repellent, so rain and snow won’t soak through. But even if they do, the down insulation is hydrophobic and will maintain its loft and insulation despite getting wet. The jacket is not fully waterproof though, so don’t expect it to withstand a total downpour.

The Microlight Alpine also has a fully insulated hood to keep your head cozy, and a peaked brim which prevents precipitation from getting into your eyes.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer

Specs
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Hood: No
Features
  • Ultra Lightweight Yet Still Very Warm
  • Soft Elastic Cuffs Keep Wrists From Getting Cold
  • Packs Down Into Its Own Pocket With A Carabiner Loop
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT & PACKABLE

The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is so light you’ll hardly feel its presence, just like a ghost. Despite its lightness, it will keep you toasty warm with water-resistant down insulation and water repellent ripstop outer fabric. The wrist cuffs are lined with soft elastic to keep out the cold, and the hem can be adjusted with a drawcord.

The Ghost Whisperer is great for layering and travel, since you can simply pack it down into its own zippered pocket and stuff it in a bag or use the carabiner loop to attach it to your harness or hang it outside your pack.

Outdoor Research Illuminate

Specs
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Hood: Yes
Features
  • Soft Interior Lining Offers Extra Cozy Comfort
  • Key Clip In Pocket So You’ll Never Misplace Your Keys
  • Media-Compatible Chest Pocket For Listening To Music Or Podcasts
Outdoor Research Illuminate

BEST FOR: LAYERING

The Outdoor Research Illuminate Down Hoody is a lightweight midlayer that can keep you warm in cool weather and be worn under thicker outer layers when conditions get colder. A soft interior lining is cozy and prevents feathers from the down fill poking through. Another handy feature is a key clip in one of the pockets so you never have that dreaded feeling of wondering where you put your keys when you get back to your car at the end of a long adventure.

The Illuminate is not the warmest down jacket you can buy, but it is a great option if you already have a heavier parka or hard shell you can pair it with when temps turn frigid.

Arc’teryx Cerium LT

Specs
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Hood: Yes
Features
  • Down Strategically Placed Where You Want The Most Warmth
  • Soft Lining In The Collar For Extra Comfort When You’re Bundled Up
  • Down-filled Hood Protects Your Head From The Elements

BEST FOR: SUMMIT HIKES

The Arc’teryx Cerium LT keeps you toasty warm and dry thanks to a proprietary Down Composite Mapping system which places down insulation where you need the most warmth and adds synthetic insulation in areas that are more prone to getting wet. A water repellent finish on the exterior adds extra protection against precipitation.

The hood of the Cerium LT is down-filled, low-profile, and adjustable so it hits the sweet spot of being cozy while staying out of your field of vision. The collar has a soft lining for comfort when it’s zipped up and close to your face, and elastic on the cuffs keep your wrists from getting cold.

Cotopaxi Fuego

Specs
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Hood: Yes
Features
  • Snug Scuba-Style Hood Keeps Your Head Cozy
  • Included Stuff Sack So You Can Carry It In Your Pack Just In Case
  • Slim Fit For A Streamlined, Stylish Look

BEST FOR: MOUNTAIN TOWN STYLE

When you want to combine style and warmth, look no further than the Cotopaxi Fuego. The slim fit of this jacket is very flattering and the color blocking on the chest adds a cool design element, so the Fuego will take you from the trail to the town bar in style.

But the Cotopaxi Fuego is more than just looks. It’s insulated with water-resistant down, to maintain heat even if you get caught in the snow, and the cuffs, hem, and hood all have elastic to keep warmth in and cold out. The Fuego also includes a stuff sack for taking it on the go.

The North Face Summit L3

Specs
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Hood: Yes
Features
  • Zippers Specially Designed For Easy Use While Wearing Gloves
  • Long Hem Provides More Coverage And Extra Warmth
  • Drawstring On Hem Can Be Clipped Up To Avoid Snagging

BEST FOR: ALPINE HIKING

The North Face Summit L3 is a down jacket designed to keep up with all of your adventures in the alpine. It is extremely warm with high-quality down insulation, and the outer ripstop fabric is extra durable in high-wear areas. The Summit L3 is also made for movement with the sleeves cut in a way that provides you with full mobility, and a slim fit that can easily be layered.

A longer than usual hem provides more coverage and extra warmth where you want it, while the adjustable drawstring on the hem can be clipped away to prevent it from getting caught on any obstacles. Also, the zippers of The North Face Summit L3 are specially designed to be easy to use while you’re wearing gloves.

Patagonia Silent

Specs
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Hood: No
Features
  • Snaps Over Zipper Provide Extra Protection From Wind
  • Lined Side Pockets Close With Snaps
  • Stretch Material Lets You Move

BEST FOR: EVERYDAY WEAR

Once you put the Patagonia Silent Down jacket on, you won’t want to take it off until the temperatures rise again. The stretchy material of the jacket moves with you wherever you go, while the recycled down fill keeps you toasty warm at all times. Plus, the snap buttons that cover the zipper offer substantial protection from the wind. The side handwarmer pockets also close with a snap for easy access, especially when wearing gloves.

Though this jacket doesn’t have a hood, the stand up collar provides warmth at the neck, and when combined with a beanie or wool hat, you can customize your look and still stay warm.

Mountain Hardwear Super/DS

Specs
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Hood: Yes
Features
  • Specialized Construction Keeps Down In Place Without Stitching Or Glue
  • Outer Shell Is Made Of Stretch Fabric For Full Mobility
  • Hood Is Low Profile So It Doesn’t Impede Vision

BEST FOR: ACTIVE WARMTH

The Mountain Hardwear Super/DS Stretchdown is made to move and warm you up on your especially active adventures. The construction is unique and doesn’t use stitching or glue. Instead the insulation is woven together to keep it in place and prevent cold spots by trapping heat where you need it. Also, the outer shell has an element of stretch to give you exceptional freedom and mobility as you maneuver through the backcountry.

A water repellent finish and hydrophobic down fill keep you dry and warm even if the conditions outside take a turn for the worse and the wet.

Kuhl Skyfire

Specs
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Hood: Yes
Features
  • Reinforced Overlay Provides Extra Water & Abrasion Resistance
  • Thumb Loops Keep Hands Warm And Sleeves In Place
  • Below Hip Length Offers Full Protection From The Elements
Kuhl Skyfire

BEST FOR: WARMTH PLUS DURABILITY

With a special Airskape overlay fabric on the front, shoulders, and sleeves, the KUHL Spyfire offers extra protection from wet conditions as well as abrasion resistance if you’re prone to tearing your puffy.  The down insulation keeps you warm with larger baffles on the front, back and sleeves, and smaller ones on the sides so the jacket doesn’t feel too bulky.

The sleeves of the Spyfire have thumb loops to stay in place and keep your wrists and hands covered, while the long hem sits below the hips for even more coverage where you need it. Water resistant zippers on the front and pockets mean you don’t have to worry about leaks.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING DOWN JACKETS FOR WOMEN

A down jacket is such a useful piece of outdoor gear that you really want to spend the time to make sure you pick the right one for you, which will depend largely on the activities you do and the weather you do them in. REI gives great advice on how to choose proper outerwear for your activities, while Field & Stream offers some tips for how to choose the right down jacket.

WARMTH

When you’re picking a down jacket for women, you’ll want to consider the conditions you’ll be wearing it in. If you plan to take part in a lot of alpine adventures, you’ll want to make sure to get an extra warm down jacket. But if you live in a more mild climate and don’t do a lot of summit hikes above treeline, you can probably get by with a slimmer more lightweight puffy option.

Also, think about whether you plan to layer the jacket because you might not need as much warmth if you’re always going to be wearing it over or under something else. But if you want it to standalone, make sure it can handle the cold.

 

WATER PROTECTION

Down jackets are never completely waterproof, but some can handle moisture better than others. Many down jackets for women feature an outer layer that is treated with durable water repellent (DWR), so water beads up instead of soaking in. If you spend a lot of time in rainy or snowy weather, you will benefit from a jacket filled with hydrophobic down, which is designed to continue to provide insulation even if it gets damp.

 

HOOD

Do you need a hood on your down jacket? It depends. Obviously, a hood will provide much needed warmth for your head, but if you’re planning to wear your down jacket with other outer layers which already have hoods, it might feel bulky. If you don’t adventure in super cold conditions, a beanie or wool hat might be plenty of head coverage, making a hood unnecessary.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

WATER REPELLENT

Not completely waterproof, but the outer layer has a treatment to keep moisture from soaking through.

HYDROPHOBIC DOWN

The down has been treated to resist moisture and continue to insulate while wet.

BAFFLES

Fabric that separates pockets of down to keep it in place.

PLACKET

An extra layer of fabric that covers the opening of the jacket.

READ MORE

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