Here’s a tip when shopping ultralight puffy jackets—look for pullover, sweater and vest options rather than full-zip jackets. The extra zipper length, material and seams can add weight you don’t need. The gram-counting hiker on your list will appreciate your homework.
Case in point: at 11 ounces The North Face Diez Pullover Jacket weighs five ounces less than its full-zip brother, and 1 ounce less than even the full-zip vest. While I generally like full zippers for maximum venting on the go, I usually reach for my puffy only when I stop moving. That’s why this pullover is perfect for all my cold adventures. A 13-inch zipper at the neck provides sufficient venting and makes it easy to pull on and off, even over a helmet. A 3-inch collar and draw cord waist help seal body heat in.
And heat up I did—surrounded by soft 900-fill down and 10-denier Pertex Quantum GL nylon with DWR. The Diez shed light Seattle rain and kept me warm with just a T-shirt underneath in near-freezing temps, though I wanted to add another layer when it got windy (15+ mph). Surprisingly, with all of that warmth, there’s very little bulk. The pullover packs down to 8 by 7 by 5 inches inside one of the two zippered hand pockets. It’s a great-looking jacket too.
Weight: 11 oz.(Men’s M)