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The Best Down Jackets for Women

Blending technical prowess and premium style, our top picks for down jackets are so good, you won't want to take yours off.

collage of three down jackets

The down jacket is an indispensable part of any outdoor winter kit. Equal parts fluff and performance, the down jackets of today aren't like their enormous predecessors: modern down styles can be sleek and slim and still maintain tons of warmth and coziness. The best down jackets seamlessly blend style and capability, so you don't have to choose between staying warm, and looking good. If you're in the market for a new winter parka, coat or jacket, our top picks will keep you snug all winter long (and beyond).

What should you look for in a down jacket?


Down fill has been used as insulation by humans for centuries: the natural lofting, warmth retention and lightness of the small but mighty plumage have been prized by both our ancestors and modern-day adventurers looking for a little extra protection against the cold. Down insulation works best in cold, dry environments: although there have been advancements in treating down insulation to repel water, a down jacket that is submerged in water will get wet, unlike synthetic counterparts.

Down jackets typically feature a face fabric made of nylon or polyester: both are durable, strong, lightweight and can easily have water repellant treatments like DWR applied to them. Some activewear-oriented styles will also feature spandex to help maintain flexibility and stretch.

As you shop for the perfect down jacket to cozy up in this winter, you'll see the term "fill power" in many product descriptions: it refers to the down's ability to loft and trap heat. Fill power is calculated by how many cubic inches one ounce of down can fill. The higher the fill power, the warmer the jacket (or sleeping bag). Premium goose down can reach a fill power of up to 900fp, while duck only gets to 800fp.


A common misconception when it comes to down is that the insulation is made from the feathers of a bird; typically, geese. Down fill is actually made from the plumage that's found beneath the exterior feathers of a bird, and is soft, wispy and incredibly warm. Because down is an animal product, there are certifications that ensure animal welfare is top of mind during the manufacturing process: the most popular of these is the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). Brands can apply to have their garment RDS-certified, or use goose down from suppliers that have already gone through the certification process. If animal welfare and responsible manufacturing are top of mind as you shop, keep an eye out for this helpful acronym.

Use Case

The activities you plan on doing in your new and shiny down jacket will inform how you shop: if you're going to be doing high-intensity cardio circuits, you may want a more athletic style that only has insulation in the core. If you're going to be mountaineering or recreating in single-digit temps, you'll want to go for a jacket that's got high fill power, and water repellency to keep you protected. Advancements in fill power and jacket construction mean you don't necessarily have to go for the puffiest jacket to stay warm; if you're into the sleek and sophisticated look, there are warm and capable options on the market for you.

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How We Tested
down jackets for women
Hayley Helms

Throughout the fall and winter and into spring, I tried out the best and brightest down jackets available. I wore them on alpine hikes, on snow camping excursions, road tripping in single-digit temps and running around town on brisk days.

As I tested each jacket, I took note of fill powers, warmth-to-weight ratios, face fabrics and features (including pockets, packability and water-repellency). I researched where materials were sourced from for each jacket, focusing on responsibly-sourced down. I tested each jacket in a variety of temperatures and environments, and beyond functionality, I tested them for fit, feel and of course, style. I noted if the jackets held their own, or if they fell flat.

Let's dive into which picks made the list of best down jackets for women, and why.

Best Upgrade Down Jacket
Arc'teryx Alpha Parka
Best Overall
Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket
Best Stretch Down Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoody
Best for On-the-Go Athletes
Athleta Inlet Jacket
Best For Mountaineering
Norrøna Falketind Down 750 Hood
Best Budget Down Jacket
REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0
Best Vintage Style
Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket
Best Down Hybrid Jacket
Canada Goose HyBridge Knit Jacket
Best Classic Puffy
Outdoor Research Coldfront Down Jacket
Best Lifestyle Down Jacket
The North Face Westcliffe Down Jacket
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