It doesn’t mean you can’t get a terrific synthetic alternative, I just mean if you’re out in the cold anytime soon, down will keep you the warmest. This list of best down jackets for women in 2020 is aimed at finding a jacket to keep you toasty.
This post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a commission if you make a purchase through my links, but this is no additional cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
There’s a few things you need to know first about the best down jackets for women or even for choosing a warm winter coat. Not all down jackets are the same.
Now I adore my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket. There’s rarely a day in winter when I don’t have it on. But it is a microlight jacket.
Just because it uses 800-fill goose down, pretty much the best you can buy, doesn’t make it a super warm jacket. Why? Because warmth factor also depends on the amount of fill.
Down Fill Power Rating
The down fill power rating is the universal rating system for goose and duck down. Generally for jackets the fill power ranges from 550 to 900.
The number represents the volume in cubic centimetres of a single gram of down, when fully lofted, (fluffed up). The higher the number the better. High loft down traps more air within the down jacket keeping you warmer.
Yet fill power doesn’t take into account the total amount of down. A jacket using lower quality fill will still be warmer than my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer jacket, if it uses a lot more fill. You have to compare the weight of down and the fill power.
Down Jacket Baffle Construction
It’s not just the fill that makes a difference to warmth, construction of the down jacket is key. Most down jackets use stitch-through construction where the outer fabric is stitched directly onto the inner lining, separating the down into baffles. This distributes the down evenly around the jacket but the down is pinched at the seams.
Performance down jackets for really cold conditions normally use box wall construction. Fabric compartments are created to distribute the down around the jacket. This type of construction is very bulky but eliminates any cold spots for really cold conditions. I have a Rab Expedition Jacket constructed this way. I only ever use it in high mountains.
Best Down Jackets For Women In 2020
This is my pick of the best down jackets for women available in 2019. Some are microlights, excellent if you want a lightweight jacket that punches above it’s weight for warmth, and some are built for serious cold weather.
Best Down Jackets For Women In 2020
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket
- Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket
- Marmot Aruna Jacket For Women
- Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody For Women
- Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket For Women
- Arc’teryx Thorium AR Hoody For Women
- Rab Positron Down Jacket For Women
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket For Women
I make no apologies for starting with this one. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket is my all time favorite. I’ve used mine everywhere. It’s a huge winner if you need an instant warm layer.
The outer is amazingly windproof and it packs down to almost nothing. It weighs just 7 ounces. You can stuff the entire jacket into it’s own pocket. I will even add it to my pack in Summer if I’m going to be standing on a cold belay.
The outer fabric is a lightweight rip stop fabric with DWR finish – it will bead off a few drops of rain. The jacket uses responsibly sourced, RDS certified, 800-fill power down. It also comes in a hoodless version if you’re not a hoody fan.
Best down jacket for women for super lightweight warmth.
Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket For Women
Hot on the heels as a top favourite is the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket. This jacket uses 750 fill power hydrophobic (water-repellent) goose down.
You get more high quality down for your money with the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket. It is a little heavier than the Ghost but still comes in at just 15 oz for a medium sized jacket. Fully featured with an excellent hood, this jacket is extremely popular in the UK and becoming more widely available in the US.
Best down jacket for women for lightweight hydrophobic down.
Marmot Aruna Jacket For Women
The Marmot Aruna Jacket is hugely popular if you’re seeking a more affordable lightweight down jacket. The 600 fill power jacket is warm and water-resistant.
It’s an excellent choice for fall camping or snow shoeing on winter days! Easy to pack at just 14 oz for a medium sized jacket and comes with zipped hand warmer pockets. This jacket always get lots of terrific reviews!
Best down jacket for women for affordability.
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody For Women
No list would be complete without an Arc’teryx jacket. The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody is one of the best. With premium 850 fill power, this jacket at under 10 ounces is almost as light as the Ghost and makes it’s mark for lightweight warmth.
I always love the Arc’teryx eye for detail and this jacket is no exception. The jacket fits snugly, zipping up over the chin to provide protection when the wind starts to blow!
Best down jacket for women for attention to detail.
Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket For Women
The Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket deserves a place on this list for comfort factor. Its unique stretch fabric construction makes this jacket a delight for active use.
The 750 fill power QShield duck down stays lofty even when wet. A big plus for outdoor lovers!
Best down jacket for women for comfort.
Arc’teryx Thorium AR Hoody For Women
Sometimes you need the extra warmth and that’s where the Arc’teryx Thorium AR Hoody comes in. It’s a go-to jacket for alpine warmth.
With 750 fill power goose down and an abrasion resistant outer shell, this jacket is mountain ready. There’s clever use of Coreloft™ synthetic insulation in the hood, cuffs and under the arms – areas prone to, shall we say, a little moisture!
Best down jacket for women for alpine use.
Rab Positron Down Jacket For Women
If you’re looking for the ultimate down jacket for warmth, put the Rab Positron Jacket top of your list. There’s no messing about with this jacket, 800 fill power and designed for mountain use up to 6000 m. A good choice for the Everest Base Camp trek.
With box wall construction, this jacket will keep you snug in all conditions. Definitely a top choice if you’re expecting some freezing cold temperatures.
Best down jacket for women for really cold weather.
I’ve tried to provide a range of different down jackets for women for different uses, microlight down for fall and spring or active use outdoors, more substantial down jackets for colder temperatures. If you’re a vegan or just don’t like the idea of wearing down, here’s some top picks of vegan-friendly alternatives:
It really depends on the purpose of the jacket. For fall or spring when it’s not too cold the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket is a top choice. For really cold weather pick the Arc’teryx Thorium AR Hoody.
Choose a performance brand such as Mountain Hardwear, Arc’teryx, or Rab. They all produce down jackets for really cold weather.
The Rab Zero G jacket is an incredible 1000 fill power. It only comes in a male version. The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody is 850 fill power. The Rab Positron Down Jacket has 800 fill power and comes with box wall construction to avoid cold spots. It’s designed for mountaineering on 6000m peaks.
It depends how high you’re climbing, what time of year and what temperatures you can expect. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket is an excellent choice for summer alpine routes. Go for something warmer in cold weather such as the Arc’teryx Thorium AR Hoody
The down fill power rating is the universal rating system for goose and duck down. The number represents the volume in cubic centimetres of a single gram of down, when fully lofted, (fluffed up). The higher the number the better. 800 fill has a higher warmth to weight ratio than 650 fill. It doesn’t mean an 800 fill jacket is warmer than a 650 fill jacket – you have to take account of the amount of down in each jacket. A bulky 650 fill jacket is often warmer than a thin 800 fill jacket.