It is important to acknowledge and express your feelings so you can deal with them. Especially if that feeling is “I feel cold.” A puffer or down jacket – goose or synthetic, either will do – is the most straightforward way to remedy that feeling. And thanks to a combination of outdoor apparel brands acquiring something of an edgier, outsider status of late, and fashion brands muscling into the down jacket arena, you’ll never have to deal with feeling self-conscious when you pull one on. As long as you stick with our picks, at least.
Rab Microlight Summit
Longevity is always a good indication of quality, so it’s worth us letting you know that this new model celebrates ten years of the Microlight jacket from the well-respected British climbing brand. While there are a number of details designed for climbers, there are also a number of advantages for non-climbers. Number one is the exceptional warmth (750 fill power, stats fans) given its lightweight nature, and the other is that Rab has developed a hydrophobic down (ethically sourced, naturally) to replicate the water resistance that makes synthetic down attractive.
Buy from Cotswold Outdoor | £230
Montane Icarus Flight
This is an Alpine model, which means it suits moving at speed over mountainous terrain. As it turns out, the fleece side panels that make the jacket less restrictive around the arms and more breathable also make it well suited to holding on to a grab rail on a packed bus. It also helps that the horizontal bars that keep the insulation in place are smaller than usual so it’s less bulky. The insulation itself is the latest version of PrimaLoft, ThermoPlume, which adds greater loft and squishiness without sacrificing the quick-drying nature of this top-drawer synthetic down.
Buy on Amazon | £125.04-£160.24
Sergio Tacchini Ice Jacket
On the form versus function spectrum, this puffer from the Italian sportswear brand sits squarely in the style camp. You had probably already worked that out after one look at that punchy colourblock combo, but let us draw your attention to the funnel collar, which is a sartorial upgrade over a hood. That’s not to say it won’t keep you warm, but we wouldn’t take the polyester and polyamide fill into the mountains.
Buy from Stuarts London | £110
Acne Studios x Fjällräven Expedition Down Jacket
Returning to that form versus function spectrum, this collaboration between two Swedish brands grabs both ends of the line, bends it into a circle, sits itself down at the join and simultaneously occupies both ends. Fjällräven brings the technical chops, using a 1974 model that’s stood the test of time as the template and filling it with high-grade down in offset layers, while Acne Studios contributes the flair with a reversible cosmic camo print. It’s a pretty special package, with a price to match.
Buy from Acne Studios | £1,000
SuperDry SD Expedition Coat
While SuperDry does plenty of down jackets (and it does them ethically: everything’s Responsible Down Standard certified – we were this close to recommending the Radar instead) this camo jacket with bold yellow accents was so far out in front of the style stakes, we couldn’t leave it on the bench. The hood is detachable but you’d be a fool to drop it – it looks great with the funnel collar.
Buy from SuperDry | £129.99
Paul & Shark Sharkhub Metallic
Another high-end option that marries head-turning looks with proper technical chops. The luxury Italian brand has dyed the outer shell with a unique pigment to give the jacket its luminous, metallic sheen. It’s also one of the more lightweight numbers on the list and is waterproof to boot.
Buy from Paul & Shark | £690
Berghaus Nunat Mountain Reflect
Whether you feel the cold, or plan to go somewhere pretty darn cold, this PrimaLoft-filled jacket will fit the bill. The 550 fill power is given a boost by an internal mesh that reflects some of your body heat back, and the windproof outer will help ward off the chill.
Buy from Berghaus | £180
Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro
Like many others here, this jacket uses PrimaLoft ThermoPlume and clocks in at the equivalent of 550 fill power. It distinguishes itself, however, by being better for sporty types thanks to the stretch panels under the arms that give you greater freedom of movement, and uniquely it packs down into its own pocket.
Buy from Inov-8 | £170
Canada Goose Hybridge Lite
You’d back the Canadian brand to do down jackets right, and in our opinion you can’t go wrong with this stripped-back version that’s designed for the 5°C to -5°C range – ideal for these shores. There are some excellent details on this model, too, like thumb loops and a soft lining around the collar.
Buy from Selfridges | £495