Our take This jacket is made for the coldest places on Earth. So, we took it to one of them: Antarctica’s 10,801-foot Mt. Waesche. The West Rib shined as one tester’s everyday puffy while he conducted climate research in -20°F temps. The killer insulating properties come courtesy of small, 800-fill down-stuffed cubes that are sewn side-by-side on the inside of the torso; space between each one allows them to conform better to your body, which maintains loft and limits cold spots. Tradeoff: You might need funding from the National Science Foundation to offset the price.
The details The West Rib’s giant hood fits over a helmet, yet still secures tightly around the face without one. Two exterior chest pockets are roomy enough for snacks, but they sit outside the jacket’s insulation so stored items get cold (two internal drop pockets are insulated, though). Elasticized cuffs slide over large gloves, and the collar reaches over your mouth. Ding: The main zipper snags easily.
Trail cred “It packs down to the size of a honeydew, so I had no trouble bringing it along as the ultimate emergency puffy,” one Maine tester says.