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Spring is on the horizon, but winter isn’t over just yet. When you need a transitional coat to get you between seasons (say, your heavy-duty outerwear and wool coats are a little too warm or heavy), you’ll want to throw on a down jacket or insulated layer.
We can thank mother nature for inspiring the design of chilly weather essentials, which are filled with goose and duck feathers (or a synthetic material that mimics their features) that are lightweight enough to allow birds to fly, yet keep them insulated by trapping warm air though thousands of air pockets. That’s why the material is the ideal insulation for outdoor apparel, sleeping bags and other packable items to deliver maximum warmth without too much extra weight.
Whether you’re embarking on a late winter camping trip, heading out for a snow day or just need everyday outerwear to combat wind chill or light rains, we’ve rounded up the best down jackets and hooded parkas to get you through every type of cold climate.
Uniqlo Men’s Ultra Light Down Parka
Forever our go-to for affordable and well-designed wardrobe staples, Uniqlo is also a great option for outerwear. This lightweight hooded down jacket’s ripstop nylon shell is water-repellent, while the lining helps to prevent static.
Proof Graphene Down Jacket
We love Proof for its line of reliable basic tees and polos. But the brand also makes cold weather-ready gear, like this Graphene Down Jacket, a stylish down option that will keep you super warm without any bulk. It’s a versatile jacket you can wear anywhere, and it’s built with a water-resistant material so you can stay dry even when that snow turns to sleet. It’s available in both navy and olive green, above.
Nobis Men’s Oliver Puffer Jacket
If you’re not into the classic quilted puffer look, or you like the idea of changing up your style, try Nobis’ reversible down jacket that’ll keep you warm in temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit. The shell is made of lightweight nylon on one side and three-ply micro denier fabric on the other. Whichever side you choose, you’ll get a breathable, waterproof and windproof jacket that has eight pockets for storage and a hidden zipper ventilation system. The hood is also removable, and the jacket is machine-washable.
Fjallraven Men’s Expedition Down Parka
Sweden-based label Fjallraven’s long down parka is packed with both down and synthetic fill to ensure evenly distributed warmth in the coldest of winter days. This insulated nylon jacket hits at the mid-thigh and has an adjustable hood and buttoned zipper placket to keep in heat. Plus, it even has two outer pockets and an interior zippered pocket so you can easily carry your essentials with you.
Save The Duck Men’s Synthetic Duck Hooded Rain Parka
For those who prefer to wear animal-free apparel and who dig the minimalist look, Save the Duck’s synthetic down rain jacket checks all the boxes. This sleek hooded parka’s shell is water-repellent recycled nylon and the fill is 100 percent polyester, and all materials are Oeko-Tex-certified. We like this silhouette’s workwear-inspired design, thanks to the collared neckline and the belted cuffs. A back vent makes it more breathable, and while stylish, it’s still super functional thanks to zippered chest pockets and two side slit pockets.
Holden Men’s Jackson Down Jacket
Outerwear brand Holden may be based in Venice, California (which isn’t exactly known for its bone-chilling temps), but that hasn’t stopped its creators from producing high-performance pieces that go seamlessly from snow-capped peaks to urban life. This stylish down jacket boasts a bomber silhouette with a shearling collar, and the shell is made from a textured Japanese fabric with a coating that’s right at home in the pouring rain. It’s filled with responsibly sourced 750-fill down, and the side zippers help keep you cool on the go.
Canada Goose Women’s Hybridge Lite Down Coat
This lightweight women’s coat features a slim fit that allows you to move comfortably during cold-weather activities. It’s filled with white goose down and has a water-repellent exterior, and the elastic hood allows for extra coverage. The cuffs feature thumbholes so you don’t experience that annoying moment where your sleeve moves up your arm, and the back of the hood has reflective taping to ensure visibility.
L.L. Bean Women’s Ultralight 850 Down Hooded Jacket
Heritage brand L.L. Bean’s water-repellent women’s hooded jacket is filled with DownTek PFC-free down, which says dry for over 10 times longer, the company says. This windproof and lightweight parka is made from 100 percent recycled nylon fabric, and we like that it can be packed away into its own pocket. It features an adjustable hood, a fitted design, two zippered side pockets and an internal zippered chest pocket for small belongings. It’s also really easy to clean it right in the washer and drying machine.
Patagonia Men’s Silent Down Shirt Jacket
When you don’t need a heavyweight piece of outerwear, this fair-trade down shirt jacket by Patagonia offers a casual look while keeping you warm and dry in the elements. The brand’s windproof and weather-resistant collared jacket features a snap-front button closure, 100 percent reclaimed duck and goose down and adjustable cuffs for an extra comfortable fit. Hikers will also appreciate that this garment hits at just the right length to allow for a hip belt or harness.
The North Face Men’s ThermoBall Eco Packable Jacket
Ideal for wet environments, this packable water-repellent jacket features a recycled nylon shell and The North Face’s ThermoBall insulation, which, while not down, offers a little extra, lightweight warmth. It’s got a stand collar to keep the wind away from your neck, and elastic-bound cuffs and a cinch-cord hem for keeping out the cold. It also comes with three zip-welt pockets (one on the chest and two for your hands), and we like that it’s easy to roll up and pack in a backpack for hiking trips or daily commutes.