We covered how to choose the right puffy jacket in this post and we received requests for our list of best and/or popular jackets. Today we delve into the options on popular puffy jackets and where you can spend some money on quality jackets that will last you.
We want to ensure you look at all the options and make sure you find the correct one for your needs as each hike and trip may require some different gearing. Check out our choice for the best puffy jacket here if you are short on time.
There are just a few points you should focus on when you are looking for your puffy jacket that should be deal-breakers if not met.
If you want to dig in a little more why not check out our post about choosing your puffy jacket.
This will help you cut through the crappier gear and instead focus on the best gear available.
When you want to get warm in the middle of starting camp there is nothing better than having the best puffy jacket in your backpack ready to pull out and get you warm.
This is why they are one of the few things you will want to drop serious cash on when or if you get serious in the ultralight backpacking.
|MAKE / MODEL||FILL POWER||TOTAL WEIGHT||DWR||OUTER MATERIAL||PURCHASE|
|MH Ghost Whisperer||800||8.8oz||Yes||10D||Here|
|EE Torrid Apex||CLIMASHIELD™ APEX||8.4oz||Yes||7D, 10D, 20D||Here|
|RAB Xenon X||Stratus 60g||12.7oz||Yes||Atmos ripstop||Here|
|Montbell PLASMA 1000||1000||8.4oz||Yes||7D||Here|
|Patagonia Nano Puff||60-g|
|12.8oz||Yes||100% recycled polyester||Here|
|RAB Proton||800||11.8oz||Yes||Atmos ripstop||Here|
|Feathered Friends EOS||900||10.6oz||Yes||Pertex® Quantum® brushed nylon||Here|
|Patagonia Micro Puff||65-g|
|Nunatak PCT||APEX by Climashield||12.5oz||Yes||10D, 15D||Here|
|Cerium LT Hoody||850||10.8 oz||Yes||Arato™ 10||Here|
The Ghost Whisperer is a very popular puffy jacket in the backpacker and thru-hiker communities due to its excellent heat and in addition due to the amazingly low carry weight. It doesn’t seem as lofty as some other puffy jackets but it’s good for three season backpacking.
This jacket packs down super small and has a quality hood and pockets. The shell is made from a 7 denier fabric which helps provide the jacket some strength but also helps maintain the low weight and the water resistant down makes it a top contender.
Incredibly Warm - People report easily going into 4 season weather without feeling the cold
Simple Pack - Packs into its own pocket so it is perfect for hiking
Slim Fitting - If you are a bigger guy or girl you may need to size up to ensure proper fit
Enlightened Equipment makes great ultralight quilts and a few years ago released their first insulated jacket, The Torrid. It’s the cheapest jacket on the list but you get a lot for your money.
If you want a killer jacket and you're on a budget then the Torrid is a no brainer.
Please note these are custom ordered and as such will have a delay in being shipped if on a short timeline I wouldn't recommend this choice.
Sizes run about a half size large for layering purposes.
The smooth ultralight nylon fabric has a durable water repellent finish for better performance in light precipitation. The elastic waistband and cuffs keep warmth in and cold out.
The optional hood adjusts with a shock cord, and a grosgrain zipper garage at the chin increases comfort. Zippered pockets keep the essentials at hand. The Torrid APEX Jacket is slightly over-sized to accommodate layers and has raglan sleeves for a full range of movement.
Fabric and Color Choices - Unlike many since these are made to order you can choose the fabrics and colors to fit you
Synthetic Fabric - Deals with water well and doesn't lose warmth in the rain similar to down and it dries very fast
Less Aesthetically Pleasing - Many people miss seeing the baffles and normal look of a puffy jacket
Zipper Questions - A decent amount of people experience issues with their zipper, though this looks to be that it is small to cut weight and needs two hands to operate
RAB's well-established, award-winning Xenon X Jacket now uses the new Gold Active Insulation from PrimaLoft. This insulation offers higher levels of breathability and helps to more effectively eliminate cold spots.
This combined with PrimaLoft's ability to retain warmth even when damp makes the Xenon X an extremely versatile piece, perfect for everything from a windy ridge to cold, wet mountain top.
Please take note that many people have said they run a half size small as they are for a "slim fit" and can make it a little tight in the armpit areas.
With technical features such as an under-helmet hood, elasticated cuffs and a slim fit, the Xenon X Jacket ups it's game for this winter and will continue to be a classic go-to layer for every adventure!
Extremely Light and Warm - Overall the weight to warmth ratio is very impressive
Internal Pocket - Unlike many with external pocket the internal pocket gives you storage inside near to your body
Sizing Concerns - Many have spoke about fitting being a little off from their expectations, make sure to measure yourself prior to ensure proper fit
This interesting jacket from Montbell is the only jacket on our list which features a fill power of 1000. The Plasma 1000 is the supreme puffy jacket and due to this, it is one of the warmest jackets.
It has a hefty price tag, but this ultralight jacket from Japanese manufacturer Montbell is cutting edge. They use a 7d nylon shell material that’s soft to the touch and water repellent.
It has a great hood and disappears inside a backpack.
This is made with some of the world’s thinnest nylon, 1000 fill power goose down, and gram shaving construction techniques. This puffy jacket challenges the limited definition of Ultralight. Extremely compact, highly portable, and with more than 40% of the weight from goose down.
Ultralightweight - Using 1000 fill down has dropped the overall weight into the near-weightless range of 8oz!
Warmth to 4 Season Levels - Shown to be useful to -12 degrees Celsius this is a very warm jacket
Delicate - Fabric can be easier to tear and doesn't appear to repel moisture at high levels.
Cost - You pay a good chunk more than many other jackets on this list for the 1000 fill and sub 9oz weight
Patagonia jackets are always built with quality in mind and the Nano Puff is no exception as again it has hit a home run on the Nano Puff. This is a jacket which is also built with recycled fabrics to make it as low a footprint as possible.
Please make sure to pay attention to the sizing guide when looking at the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket as the size appears to be more of a "slim fit" or "athletic fit" so you may need to size up for comfort, especially if you plan on layering underneath.
Packs Small - Fitting back into a pocket for quick and simple storage when not planning to wear
Cut Well - The jacket has a good range of motion without it moving and uncovering areas you don't want out in the cold
Sizing - Many have issues with the sizing limiting layering, please look at the sizing chart prior and measure yourself to know you are purchasing the right size
Designed for technical mountain use, the Rab Proton Jacket is a tough, lightweight and packable down-filled garment with zoned mid stitch-through baffle construction.
Featuring a stripped back and uncomplicated design, the jacket warms instantly and has the plenty of durability thanks to the Atmos Lightweight Ripstop nylon outer fabric and lining.
Working in conjunction with Nikwax, Rab have produced a high-quality 800 fill power hydrophobic down which is RDS Certified and gives the Proton Jacket its superior thermal performance.
This Rab down jacket also features a good selection of pockets, a peaked hood and a handy stuff sack.
Longer Torso Length - As opposed to some other jackets the RAB Proton has a elongated length
Looks Good - Not just for hiking, this will fit in as a wear to work or other location without looking out of place.
Armpit Height - Quite a few people said the armpit levels feel too high, but that over the first week or so you will adjust.
Crinkly At First - Jacket is very noisy until broken in, just note it does get better with use.
Named for the goddess of the dawn they designed the Eos jacket for early morning starts which need that extra layer of no-fuss insulation and warmth.
Featuring just the right amount of premium 900+ fill down, this hooded down sweater excels at keeping you warm on its own when conditions call for moving light and fast, or as a layering piece when weather moves in.
Equally at home on the trail or around town, this lightweight and easy to pack jacket will do wonders in your outerwear quiver. This is a very solid, no frills jacket but a good investment which will serve you well for many miles.
Ultralight Weight - The 900 FP down allows for only 3.7oz of insulation to be used to keep you warm even in the coldest temperatures.
Quality Build and Stitching - Each jacket has very high quality with the construction and you won't find poor stitching or repairs.
No Interior Pocket - Many people wish that they had included more than the two hand pockets on the jacket.
Limited Color Choices - With only 4 options many wish they could have a better selection in interior and exterior colors.
The newest "puff" from Patagonia is a strong performer for the most popular puffy jacket series. This features an amazing weight ratio to heat/warmth performance versus any of the other puffy jackets listed above.
The Micro Puff has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any jacket Patagonia makes—down or synthetic. That's thanks to PlumaFill, which stays warm when wet and maintains its loft after continued soaking and abuse.
Unique construction keeps it in place, so you won't end up with cold spots.
Great for On the Go - While not the warmest jacket by itself it is a perfect pairing with a fleece or wind breaker while traveling.
Good Warmth to Weight - Everyone says that they love this jacket even when out skiing due to the warmth it provides them.
Pockets Location - This has higher set pockets that may be perfect for backpacking and hiking but for normal use these appear to be just to high.
The PCT Jacket differs from a lot of other options on this list as it can be configured with different shell choices, each in a limited number of colors.
These are each versions of ultralight fabrics for folks who want the lightest, but realize that abrasion and tear resistance is minimal.
The is the big sibling to the JMT Jacket. With warmer insulation, more features and a roomy fit, the APEX insulated PCT Jacket excels during adverse weather conditions, or in any circumstance where moisture can infiltrate the insulation.
Full front zipper and zippered hand warmer pockets sets it apart from the pullover style Skaha Apex.
Fast to Heat - The instant you put it on you will begin to heat up solidly.
Wait Time - Since there is no "off the shelf" option you will need to order in advance to have on hand
Arc’teryx is known for making high-end quality gear and this Cerium Hoody is no exception. It is built with great materials and features a stylish finish. It is no surprise that the Cerium LT Hoody is a popular choice for backpackers.
With models for men and women and a nice low overall weight, Arc’teryx has created a really competitive option.
Streamlined, lightweight down hoody filled with 850 white goose down. This back-country specialist hoody is intended as a mid layer or standalone piece in cool, dry conditions.
The Cerium LT Hoody uses strategic placement of synthetic and down insulation, which helps retain warmth when wet, placed along the shoulders, collar, sleeves and underarms - all the areas prone to contact with moisture.
Good Mobility - Jacket fits well but doesn't constrict movement allowing you to freely move about without getting cold.
Seam Issues - Some people have said their gear came with seams not sealed down and threads hanging out
Zipper Durability - Appears that the zippers can break after prolonged use
These popular puffy jackets I listed above are my top recommendations for best jackets for ultralight backpacking. There are a lot of amazing jackets on the market.
Do yourself a favor and make sure to research and figure out what makes the most sense in protection and cost for you. Please feel free to contact me if you have any gear I should add or if you see a dead link.
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