Down Jackets That Can Weather A Storm (Or Your Sweat)

Puffy jackets that stay warm and dry

winter coats
Photo by Sam Kaplan

Nothing compares to goose down when it comes to keeping you warm. The only problem is when you wear down in the snow or rain (or sweat in it), it flattens into a soggy bag of feathers, losing its ability to insulate. These five puffy jackets were designed to stay warm no matter how damp it is outside. Here’s how:

1. North Face Summit L4

North Face makes a lot of great down jackets. This isn’t one of them. In this one, the company used springy polyester balls of synthetic insulation to mimic the shape of down. The balls trap heat like down plumes and feel nearly as plush. $299

2. Patagonia Fitz Roy Down Park

This glossy jacket uses sustainably harvested down stuffed into a nylon shell with a water-repellent finish. Insulating fabric uses interlocking Y-shaped fibers to repel water better than straight threads. $449

3. Outdoor Research Diode Hooded Jacket

A jacket’s hood, shoulders, forearms, and waist take the brunt of a storm. This one uses an artificial filling over those areas, so it won’t compress even when it’s soaked through. The chest also uses a mix of 70 percent water-repellent down and 30 percent artificial filling to trap in heat. $325

4. Black Diamond Hot Forge Hybrid Hoody

Black Diamond used a clever mix of materials to keep this jacket fluffy and dry. It inserted plastic fibers into down clusters at the microscopic level, propping them open even when they’re wet. There’s no weight penalty for the mixed material either, so the jacket is always easy to stash. $249

5. RAB Electron

Rather than mixing materials, Rab treated each down cluster with a water-repellent coating. The result is a down filling that’s able to maintain its fluffiness even in damp conditions. The coating also protects it from microbes that can break down the feathers over time and reduce your jacket’s useful life. $325

This article was originally published in the January/February 2016 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Jackets That Can Weather a Storm.”