Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Welcome to our big down jacket test 2021. Here we present all the down jackets we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best down jacket for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a down jacket




Summary

  • Down jackets have a better thermal performance than other winter jackets.
  • Untreated down is very sensitive to moisture, so look for a high-quality filling.
  • The warmth also depends on the density of the down. Here, too, there are different qualities and therefore price ranges.

The Best Down Jacket in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying a down jacket

What makes a down jacket better than other winter jackets?

Down jackets are clearly superior to other winter jackets in three ways:

  • They are extremely light
  • They have excellent thermal insulation
  • They are highly compressible

It is precisely these factors that make your down jacket the perfect companion through the cold season. However, because down is an animal product and therefore expensive, and its warming effect can diminish when it gets wet, there are now also synthetic fibres that imitate the properties of goose feathers and also defy moisture.

These colourful models are perfect to take along, because they fit rolled up in the enclosed bag! (Photo: pexels / pixabay.com)

In the following comparison you can see the advantages and disadvantages of both products:

Down feathers

Advantages
  • Extremely light
  • Very small pack size
  • With good care, you can enjoy it for a long time
Disadvantages
  • It loses thermal insulation when wet
  • Is not resistant to moisture

Synthetic fibres

Advantages
  • Insulates warmth even when damp
  • Hardly absorbs moisture
Disadvantages
  • Noticeably larger pack size
  • Not as durable as down
  • Slightly heavier

What cuts are there?

As with all jackets, there are also different cuts for models with down filling. Women's and men's jackets usually differ in that they are tailored to the body proportions of women and men.
Did you know that the down jacket was developed in 1936? But it wasn't until 1940 that Eddi Bauer patented it.

Women's jackets are therefore often tailored or belted. For men, the cut is rather straight and offers more room to move, especially in the shoulder area. There are shorter models with less filling for autumn, as well as longer versions as a coat or parka, which also have more filling power for winter.

Note: The right fit of down jackets is very important, because the great warming effect is created by a layer of air between the jacket and the body.

Whether you choose a short quilted model or a long coat, it doesn't matter - down jackets come in all sizes from XS to XXL.

What are the differences in the filling?

In connection with down, you often read about the bulk or filling power, which is given in cuin (cubic inches). Generally speaking:

  • The higher the filling power, the better the thermal performance
  • The fill power depends on the quality of the down
  • The higher the fill power, the higher the price

In addition to the filling or bulking power, the mixing ratio between down and supporting feathers is also important. These feathers are needed to keep the down in shape. But here, too, it is important to bear in mind: The higher the down proportion, the better the thermal insulation. A ratio of 90% down and 10% feathers is a good value for a winter jacket.

What should I consider when buying?

If you have decided on a shape and keep a few relevant factors in mind, you will hardly notice the cold winter temperatures in your new jacket:

  • Good workmanship of the jacket -> clean seams
  • Low weight -> indicates good down quality
  • High cuin value -> very good thermal performance

How much does a down jacket cost?

The quality and filling quantity of the down are decisive for the price of a down jacket. When buying a down jacket, you should therefore pay attention to the ratio of down to feathers. You can get a cheaper version for around €60, but these are usually thinner models for the transitional period. For a winter jacket with a filling power of 750 cuin you will definitely have to spend more than 100€. Real mountaineering models can easily cost 500-700 euros. However, you can often find real bargains! These can be, for example, models from the previous year that have to be taken out of stock or there are various sale promotions directly from the retailers.

What synthetic alternatives are there to down?

There are many alternatives to down that offer the same or even better warmth. If you don't want to take a risk because of possible bad animal husbandry, you should use the following overview as a reference:

Synthetic Down Alternatives Description
Primaloft The fine fibres are made of microfibres and store body heat. It comes in different qualities (Gold, Silver, Black) and is often used in outdoor clothing or equipment.
Cotton Cotton is very breathable and can insulate heat very well.
Polyester Smooth filaments store heat. One can differentiate between microfibres and coarse fibres, which in turn differ in their heat insulation.
Thermolite This type of insulation is particularly suitable for sports and outdoor clothing.
Climashield Climashield are synthetic fibres that keep you warm for a very long time even in wet weather due to their structure.
3M Thinsulate 3M Thinsulate are very fine synthetic fibres that are extremely breathable and impermeable to water vapour.

Decision: What types of down jackets are there and which one is right for you?

Another major factor that affects the price of down jackets is the difference in manufacturing. When it comes to processing, there are two variants that make the loose feathers into a warming jacket. We distinguish:

  • Down jacket with stitched seams
  • Down jacket with chamber construction

In the following sections, we will briefly introduce you to the types.

What distinguishes a down jacket with stitched seams and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

These cold bridges can occur because the down cannot move there. If you wear the jacket as an additional layer of warmth under a windbreaker, or if it is only intended for the transitional period, you do not need to take this factor into account.

Advantages
  • Less work
  • Less weight
Disadvantages
  • Cold bridges can form along the seam

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a down jacket with a chamber construction?

If you are going to be in very frosty areas with double-digit minus temperatures, you should think about buying such a down jacket. The partitions inside the jacket provide extra warmth!

Advantages
  • Continuous layer of insulation
  • down stays in place
Disadvantages
  • Much more time-consuming to make
  • more expensive than stitched seams

Daunenjacke

With the right down jacket, you can enjoy a walk in the snow without freezing. (Image source: Andrey Kiselev / 123rf.com)

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate down jackets based on these factors

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate down jackets. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Material
  • Comfort
  • Filling power
  • Design
  • Special features: Hoods & fur collar

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Material

Down is the lower feathers of ducks and geese and, due to its structure, cannot be compared to a normal, colourful bird feather. A down feather has many small branches, the finer these are, the higher the quality of the down, because the warming air layer can then develop better.

Comfort

Due to the low weight of down, your new garment becomes a light, cuddly and most importantly, a warm winter companion! Especially in a longer coat or parka you will feel protected and comfortable in cold temperatures.

Filling power

The filling power mentioned above is the essential warmth factor that should definitely play a role when buying. Here is a brief overview of cuin values and their significance:

Cuin value Thermal performance
450 Sufficient for thinner models
650 Good thermal performance for winter
850 Excellent thermal performance, even for extreme temperatures

Design

With down jackets in particular, you often hear the phrase "they wear so much". This fact cannot be completely dismissed, because yes, the horizontally stitched seams make such winter jackets look very powerful. But in combination with slim jeans or leggings that accentuate the legs, the jacket becomes a great eye-catcher. Quilted jackets also come in a wide variety of colours and shapes. Thinner versions in bright colours and shorter cuts, for example, look very sporty. Longer models and coats in muted colours and a large hood are not only a great source of warmth, but also create an elegant look. A belt emphasises your waist and creates a more beautiful figure in your new jacket.

A fur collar not only looks chic, as the edge of the hood it also helps to keep the warmth in your face better. (Photo: jackmac34 / pixabay.com)

Special features: Hoods & fur collars

Once you have decided on a style, there are other details that make a down jacket a loyal winter companion.

  • Hoods are often removable and protect your head from the cold
  • Fur collars are not only a chic design element, they also act as a windbreaker

Facts worth knowing about down jackets

Care of down jackets

Frequent washing puts a strain on the insulating performance of down and can cause it to deteriorate over time. Therefore: Wash your down jacket as seldom as possible, but as often as necessary! Unless otherwise stated on the fabric care label, you can put your jacket in the washing machine. However, you should wash it on a delicate cycle and use a detergent that is fine or specially formulated for down. The spin speed should also be reduced, 500 per minute is more than enough. If necessary, you can do a second rinse cycle and spin again.

There are also some points to consider when drying the jacket, these also apply to down duvets and sleeping bags: If you have a tumble dryer, first check its capacity if you have a very puffy jacket model. Put some tennis balls (preferably new ones so you don't get your clothes dirty again) in the drum. These will ensure that the down feathers become fluffy again during drying. If you don't have a dryer, you can also let your jacket air dry. To do this, spread it out completely and shake it out every now and then to make it easier to puff it out.

Down and moisture

Untreated duck or goose feathers can clump together in damp conditions and lose their warming effect. To prevent this, many manufacturers use an outer material that is coated and waterproof. The down is subjected to a special process before processing, which also makes it water-repellent. This down is then called hydrophobic down because it absorbs up to 75% less moisture than untreated down and is thus warm even when wet.

What to consider when choosing a colour

Since down is not naturally pure white, but can also be brown or grey, it is quite possible for the feathers to show through in jackets made of very light-coloured outer material. If you don't like this, it's better to go for more subdued colours. Otherwise, there are jacket models across the entire colour spectrum, from bright to subtle, there is something for everyone.

Why do down jackets smell?

One of the most common causes of bad smells is the inferior condition of some down, which is often not even washed before processing. Therefore, look for a seal of quality for high-quality down, such as from Traumpass or the DACH Region. Good quality down has a much lower risk of smelling unpleasant if you follow the correct drying procedure. Which brings us to the second reason why down often has a musty smell: The down has not been dried properly! This is most often the case when the jacket is air-dried after washing and not shaken out again and again. In addition, air-drying can take a very long time (sometimes up to two days). If you have a dryer, make sure you use it! If you follow these tips, your new down jacket will last you through the winter.

How can I waterproof a down jacket?

Many down jackets, especially in the outdoor sector, are filled with hydrophobic down, which makes them less sensitive to moisture. Unfortunately, this effect gradually diminishes with repeated washing. If you notice that your jacket is not as warm as usual, it is time to re-impregnate it with the next wash. This works as follows:

  1. Put the jacket in the washing machine as usual
  2. Replace the detergent with a special impregnating agent in the detergent compartment (pay attention to the dosage instructions on the package)
  3. As usual for down, use a gentle cycle and reduce the spin speed!
  4. As good as done! Some products are made even more durable by heat. So put it in the dryer and don't forget the tennis balls!

Bright colours are a great contrast to the grey winter days (Photo: mikali / pixabay.com)

inPicture source: Rhiannon Stone / pexels.com

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