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A good puffy jacket is an essential part of any winter kit: It will keep you warm on breaks while stashing neatly away in the bottom of your pack when its not needed. To test the year’s best insulated jackets, we sent samples to testers all over the country. These six rose to the top.
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Best Weatherproofing: Patagonia DAS Light Hoody
Patagonia’s DAS Parka has been a staple of bad-weather belays for nearly two decades, but it’s too warm for all but the chilliest locales. This season, it gets a more packable and versatile sibling: The DAS Light proved be the ultimate snack break puffy, cold morning starter jacket, and couloir-dropping protection for a winter in perpetually wet Alaska. Buy Patagonia DAS Light Hoody Now / Read the Full Review
Best Women’s Fit: Mountain Equipment Xeros Jacket
Many women find the typical cut of a technical puffy to be restrictive. Not so with the Xeros, which has a straight cut, rather than a tapered silhouette. The design gave our tester plenty of room to twist and reach as she made kick-turns up Maine’s Moxie Mountain. Buy the Mountain Equipment Xeros Jacket Now / Read the Full Review
Warmest: Mammut Eigerjoch Pro IN Hooded Jacket
When sealed up like the alpine equivalent of a dry suit, the Eigerjoch Pro kept our blood flowing while we cooked breakfast in 0°F temps in Colorado’s Sawatch Range. The jacket’s slim fit, taped seams, and close-cut hem, cuffs, and hood—all with the tightest seals in the test—hoard heat. Buy the Mammut Eigerjoch Pro IN Hooded Jacket Now / Read the Full Review
Lightest: Montane Prism Ultra Pull-On
For shoulder-season hikes where it’s hard to predict how cold it will get, this is the jacket to toss in your pack. At half the weight and price of most of the jackets here, the Prism Ultra Pull-On is this year’s best “just-in-case” puffy. Buy the Montane Prism Ultra Pull-On Now / Read the Full Review
Most Breathable: Sierra Designs Borrego Hybrid Jacket
Winter temperatures in western New York are unpredictable, but our tester came to trust in one constant: this jacket. On trail runs and cross-country ski tours, she stayed comfortable in the Borrego, no matter if it was 15°F or 50°F. Buy the Sierra Designs Borrego Hybrid Jacket Now / Read the Full Review
Most Durable: Outdoor Research Helium Down Hooded Jacket
We barely noticed the sub-1-pound Helium hanging off our harness while we ice climbed at a New Hampshire crag —until we accidentally snagged it with a crampon while high-stepping. But when we topped out, to our surprise the jacket was unharmed. Buy the Outdoor Research Helium Down Hooded Jacket Now / Read the Full Review
Read More: Gear 360 Reviews the Decathlon Forclaz Trek 100 Down Hiking Jacket
A down jacket for $80? Believe it—and it’s better than you think.