How to choose a down jacket

Down is nature’s best insulator. It provides exceptional warmth and is incredibly lightweight and breathable. It can also be compressed down to a compact size, making it great for travel.


Down jackets are designed in a wide range of styles for many different activities. Here are three key factors to consider when purchasing the best down jacket for your needs.

Warmth & down fill power

Down keeps you warm by trapping body heat and preventing it from diffusing into the cold air around you. The performance of down fill is measured by 'fill power'. The numbers 550, 600, 800, for example, refer to the fill’s quality, not the amount of fill in the down jacket as is commonly thought.

Fill power is measured by the number of cubic inches that one ounce of down occupies in a climate-controlled test cylinder. The more volume occupied by the down, the greater the amount of air trapped and the greater the insulation generated.

Image of a man and a woman in a coffee shop looking at one another while wearing down jackets.
The Epiq down jacket features 550 fill power with responsible down.

Weight

Down is naturally light and fluffy, which makes it highly compressible and easy to pack for travel and outdoor adventures.

Light down jackets are more compressible and make sense if you’re climbing, trekking or on the move. A light down jacket is also an ideal travel companion, especially if you're backpacking across multiple climates. 

On the other hand, heavier down jackets are great for less demanding pursuits and can be more durable. If weight is an important factor to you, understanding down fill power in a bit more detail will help you make the right choice.

Image of a man sitting on a wall wearing a red heli down jacket.
The Heli down jacket is compressible, lightweight and made for travel.

Water-resistance & waterproofing

Down loses its ability to insulate when it gets wet (and once wet it can be slow to dry). Luckily, down jackets can come with in-built solutions.

On the move:

Depending on your needs, there are a few different options. For travel, the Benmore 5-in-1 comes with a removable NGX rain jacket that easily slips on and off the inner down jacket. Ideal if you get caught in a light shower to protect the insulating properties of your down jacket.

For every day, go for a down jacket with durable water repellency (DWR). The Pertex® shell fabrics that we use in all of our down jackets and vests are treated with a DWR finish which helps to bead water in light rain.

Image of a man on a cliff wearing a black Epiq jacket
The classic Epiq jacket encourages water to bead off the surface.

For the snow:

Specifically designed for cold alpine conditions, the technology in the XT Series driFILL jacket is a game-changer. DriFILL is breathable, natural down with a water-repellent treatment that sheds water and dries quickly. The XT Series driFILL Down Jacket has been engineered to be waterproof, with NGX shell fabric and seam-tape construction.

Stay warm on your adventures with your perfect down jacket.