When it’s sub-zero outside – on those cold winter days that make you feel like you’re limbs are literally going to freeze solid and snap off – it’s at this very moment that we say – thank you, Mr Eddie Bauer, for creating the puffer! You’re a bloody legend.
Yes, it was the famous American outerwear creator that first designed the jacket, using duck down and quilted fabrics after he nearly froze to death on a fishing excursion. And the fact that this was all the way back in the 1930s proves what a highly practical and timeless piece it has remained since.
There have obviously been a few modern variations over the years but the concept pretty much remains the same. The key is understanding where you want to wear it, and what for.
So listen up!
What Is The Best Puffer Jacket Insulation?
Down Puffer Jacket Insulation
First, there are a few things you’ll want to consider, such as how your puffer’s insulation performs in the conditions you’re going to use it in. If you’re buying goose or duck down, then be aware that moisture such as rain and snow can quickly turn you into a shivering wreck without the right exterior shell – so water resistance is really important.
Synthetic Puffer Jacket Insulation
If you’re using your jacket to explore the great outdoors, synthetic insulation offers great movement, warmth and breathability on climbs, slopes or altitude treks. They’re also great for transitions in varying conditions and generally easier to store. Synthetic is less green in an ever more eco-conscious world, however, strides have been made to change this recently, and you can even buy synthetic-down hybrids.
Hooded Puffer Jacket
There are also other things to think of, such as do you need a hood to protect yourself from winds? Do you need a hip cut to free up leg movement or something longer if you plan to be less mobile?
Whether you’re out for a statement winter piece or something for your next mountain adventure – here we’ll help you find the perfect puffer to keep you snug and stylish throughout the cold season.
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Their Trekker jacket performs best during transitional periods between Autumn and Winter (unfortunately it might not hold up against sub-zero temperatures) but as a breathable, waterproof layer that benefits from synthetic insulation that will indeed stand up against inclement weather, it’s one of the best currently available.
The Tundra Quilted Jacket, for example, makes use of a recycled polyester ripstop for the shell, which is also given the DWR treatment. Insulation comes from Primaloft, so you can be sure you’ll be left toasty warm and with an attached hood and form-fitting cut, you’ll be kept protected while you look your best.
Their Cerium LT Jacket is a versatile, lightweight puffer with exceptional warmth. It can be worn as a mid-layer or on its own whether you’re trekking cross-country or popping into town for a spot of shopping. Arcteryx has used down composite mapping to give a trimmer, insulated fit without losing out on warmth - all protected by The Arato 10 shell.
Classic biker style and field jackets can be seen as the inspiration for the Moutain 2.0 Puffer too, with a below the waist fit and four pockets adorning the front. The poly-cotton fabric used for this jacket is water-repellent and down-filling is used for insulation. Designed to hold its own whether you’re commuting to work or hiking in the great outdoors, Belstaff’s puffer exudes style and substance.
This Expedition Down Lite jacket is a modern take on their classic Expedition puffer from 1974. It’s made for milder climates than the North Pole but should do enough to keep you feeling super warm thanks to a duck down and feather fill, a nylon DWR shell (free from PFC), and a zip closure with storm flap for those cutting winds.
Their Verglas Down Insulator is one of those pieces that can be worn by anyone, anywhere, whether you’re an 18-year-old cross country skier or an 80-year-old cross country walker. It’s extremely soft, warm and snug thanks to 20D Nano ripstop down fabric, and can easily be used for layering.
Their Down HyBridge Base Jacket is more in line with the urban winter, something sleek and sharp looking, away from the big bulky creations we so often associate them with. Insulation is predominantly of the duck down variety, although Canada Goose has used more breathable fabrics in some areas to keep you warmest where you need it, without overheating. Water-resistant and highly durable Cordura fabric is used for the exterior, and Dynamic Knit allows for greater range of motion.
Moncler’s jacket range is nothing short of extensive, and all are just as capable as the next, but the Taillefer jacket is a particular highlight. Exuding Moncler style in spades (just take the red white and blue accents for example) this jacket is filled with down insulation, comes complete with a hood (non-removable) and numerous pockets to keep your essentials close by.
It’s incredibly stretchy making it perfect for treks and climbs, as well as being light and easy to pack. It’s made with a knit fabric that offers more comfort than standard down alternatives and retains maximum loft even when wet. This puffer is a great allrounder for those who love to be outside all winter long.
The North Face
Although it uses 100% duck down it has a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) shell that offers great protection from the wind and rain. It also features a stowable hood and high loft baffles that create a boxy silhouette.
This Ritter Jacket has a shell weaved from Korean fabrics that are both water-resistant and highly durable for warmth and peace of mind. 650-fill power down insulation means you won’t lose heat when the temperature plummets - whilst a chin guard and hood protect your face and head from sideways rain and snow.
The ripstop shell is made from 100% recycled polyester with DWR properties and a brick quilted pattern. Excellent warmth is assured thanks to 60g Prima-Loft Gold Insulation, which is a blend of highly compressible, recycled fabrics that also offer water resistance. It’s also bluesign and fairtrade certified, meaning it’s not only made from sustainable fabrics but it’s also ethically produced.
Ralph Lauren Polo
Yes, we associate Lauren with jumpers, polos and suits, but this El Cap Down Filled puffer is perfect for winter protection. It’s nicely coloured for a start, bright without being flashy, with a synthetic water-repellent shell. It’s filled with down feathers to keep you snug and features a detachable hood and two side pockets. There’s also a drawstring hem to keep blustery winds out whilst holding heat in.
They use materials that have been tried and tested in both Arctic and Antarctica conditions. Their Black Wild Down Jacket weighs on 700g and is packable to an impressive 1.5 cubic litres. Shackleton has used power goose down sourced in Europe for insulation, with a fantastic windproof and water-resistant shell. There’s also a removable hood, with drawcord for further protection. This bad boy will keep you cosy in anything up to -20°C and is the ideal winter travel accessory.
Their Crinkle Reps Down Jacket slightly reinvents the classic puffer style and is somewhere between a bomber and a ski jacket. Either way it looks great, and a full down fill with nylon shell will keep you warm and cosy. It also features a packable hood, three front pockets and ribbed cuffs and hem.
Their Ultra Light Down Puffer Jacket is a great way to stay warm when you’re on the go, whether you’re on your way to meet mates or a chilly morning commute. It’s insulated by 90% down and 10% feathers and comes with a water-repellent (for light rain) nylon shell available in six snazzy colours. It has elastical cuffs for added comfort and is light and easy to store once you’re back in the warm.