Best Lightweight Down Jackets

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Down Jacket Thermal Image
FLIR Thermal Image

ProLite Gear considered over 20 different Lightweight Down Jackets before selecting 10 to do an in depth review on. All 10 of these jackets are excellent, but one jacket was awarded our Premium Performance Award, and one received our Best Value award.

In order to qualify as “lightweight” the down jackets had to weigh less than 10 ounces(283.5 grams).

We like lightweight down jackets for all season use – whether as an outer layer for the three seasons or as a layering piece for the winter. We look at multiple criteria and take into consideration various components that you will find in the comparison table. In addition to weight we consider the feature set of each jacket, and how the design impacts the performance of the jacket.

All of the jackets tested utilized state of the art ultralight face fabrics, high quality sourced down, and minimalist components.

To help evaluate each jacket’s ability to keep you warm, we used a FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera to capture a thermal signature for each jacket. This allowed us to understand the effect that baffle design, hood vs. no hood, and draw cords at the waist have on a jackets insulating capabilities.

Our preference is function over fashion, and the FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera showed that sewn through baffles do “leak” heat. The functional purpose of baffles are to keep the down clusters in place. However, designers also use baffles to create aesthetically pleasing lines in the jacket and to control “poofiness” so that the jacket looks slimming. There is some argument within the industry regarding the ideal amount to compress the down in each baffle. We were not able to form an opinion on that, but we did note that making sure each baffle had sufficient down in it was required. The Montbell jackets with their square shaped baffles seemed to perform the best. Jackets that had a large number of baffles performed to worst.

We tested both hooded and non-hooded down jackets. A key thing we learned is that jackets without hoods do a better job “sealing” around the neck to prevent heat from escaping when the hood is not being used on the hooded jackets.

We also learned that jackets with draw cords in the waist perform better at trapping body heat than jackets that do not use a draw cord in the waist. Draw cords in the waist add minimal weight, and are a good investment.

Lightweight Down Jacket Review Videos

Montbell Ex Light Down Anorak Review
Montbell Ex Light
Down Anorak Review
GoLite Selkirk Review
GoLite Selkirk
Ultralight Jacket Review
Arc'teryx Cerium LT<br />Jacket Review” border=”0″><br /> Arc’teryx Cerium LT<br />Jacket Review</a>            </td>
</tr>
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<td class= Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Ghost
Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket Review
Sierra Designs DriDown Sweater Review
Sierra Designs
DriDown Sweater Review

More Reviews coming soon…

Related Articles and Videos

Lightweight Down Jacket Thermal Imaging Tests
Lightweight Down Jacket Thermal Imaging Tests
Lightweight Down Jacket Buying Advice
Lightweight Down Jacket Buying Advice

Product Review Grid (click to view all 10 jackets at once) or use the scroll bar below the grid to view additional products.

PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCT
PRODUCT NAME Montbell Ex Light Anorak
Montbell Ex Light Anorak
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket
GoLite Selkirk Ultralite Down Jacket
GoLite Selkirk Ultralite Down Jacket
Arc'teryx Cerium LT
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Jacket
Sierra Designs DriDown Sweater
Sierra Designs DriDown Sweater
Montbell UL Down Parka
Montbell UL Down Parka
Montbell Ex Light Down Jacket
Montbell Ex Light Down Jacket
Montbell UL Down Jacket
Montbell UL Down Jacket
Sierra Designs DriDown Better Vest
Sierra Designs DriDown Better Vest
Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody
Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody
Outdoor Research Filament Pullover
Outdoor Research Filament Pullover
REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW READ REVIEW
AWARD ProLite Gear Premium Performance Award ProLite Gear Best Value Award
PRICE (US $) $219.00 $350.00 $179.00 $325.00 $189.00 $175.00 $189.00 $155.00 $99.00 $349.00 $225.00
VERIFIED WEIGHT (Mens Medium) 173g / 6.1oz 223g / 7.9oz 181g / 6 oz. 245g/8.6oz 310g / 11 oz. 260g / 9.2oz 157g / 5.5oz 215.5g / 7.6oz 200g / 7 oz. 263g / 9.3oz? 207g / 7.3oz?
FILL WEIGHT 65g / 2.2oz 79g / 2.8oz 70g / 2.47 84g / 2.96 oz * plus synthetic in mapped areas 90g / 3.17 oz. 71g / 2.5oz 51g / 1.8oz 56.7g / 2oz 50g 108g / 3.8 oz. 50g / 1.8 oz.
FILL POWER 900 850 800+ 850 * plus synthetic in mapped areas 800 DriDown * Water Resistant 800 900 800 800 DriDown *water resistant 800 *Traceable 800
HYDROPHOBIC DOWN No Yes, Q-Shield DOWN No No Yes, DriDown water resistant No No No Yes, DriDown water resistant No No
FACE FABRIC 7D Ballistic Airlight 7D x 10D Whisperer 7D x 10D Double Ripstop 20D x 10D denier ripstop 30D Poly 15D Ballistic Airlight 7D Ballistic Airlight 15D Ballistic Airlight 10D Nylon 10D 10D Pertex Quantum
HOOD Stretch Binding Stretch Binding No Hood No Hood * Hooded model is offered No Hood 2-way Adjustable No Hood No Hood No Hood 1-way Adjustable No Hood
POCKETS 1 Kangaroo 2 Zippered Hand 2 zippered hand, 2 interior 2 Zippered Hand 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered interior, 2 other interior 2 Zippered Hand None 2 Zippered Hand None 2 Hand, 1 Napoleon – Zippered 1 napoleon zippered
CUFFS Stretch Binding Stretch Binding Stretch Binding Stretch Binding Stretch Binding Stretch Binding Stretch Binding Stretch Binding N/A Stretch Binding Stretch Binding
HEM/WAIST Drawcord Drawcord Drawcord Drawcord Drawcord Drawcord None None None Drawcord Drawcord
MAIN ZIPPER ½ length Size # 3 Coil Full length Size #3 Coil Full Length Size #3 Coil YKK Full Length Size #3 Coil YKK Full Length Size #5 Molded YKK Vislon Full length Size # 5 Coil YKK Full length Size #3 Coil Full length Size # 3 Coil YKK 1/2 Length Size #3 Molded YKK Vislon Full length Size #4.5 Coil 1/2 Length
STUFF SACK Included Integrated Into Pocket None Included None Included Included Included None Included Integrated Into Pocket

9 Responses

  1. Wow! Awesome video reviews. Thank you for putting this much effort into your reviews.

  2. Thank you very much for your review. One peace I was missing was the Rab continuum, maby you get the chance to get your hands one of these.
    Thanks!

    Paul

  3. Igor Pikovsky

    Great review!

    However you missed the best jackets out there. What about the PHD K Series 1000 – by far the best out there, even better wamrth to weight ratio than Montbell. $$$, but nothing better. Would love to see them reviewed.

    http://www.phdesigns.co.uk/phd-k-series-1000-down-ultimate-warmth-weight-performance

  4. Igor Pikovsky

    Also would be great to see Arcteryx Cerium SL reviewed in addition to LT.

  5. Hi i would like to know of theres any other jackets like this http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/3-in-1-river-salt-jacket?p=81805-0-150
    That has a higher filled than 600 or better

  6. Would you trust the Sierra design dridown vest to hold up with being worn daily under a soft she’ll? How does it compare in warmth to a R2 type fleece?

  7. I love your channel and your various reviews.. very helpful.
    I do have a slight problem.. I live in japan and I’m having problem getting fitting cloths since they mostly have Japan FIT, run small and very short sleeves.
    The bigger the size only the core is getting wider, sleeves doesnt change much.
    Another problem I have is that many brands have completely different items here for example Columbia and Marmot, not only the names, size and design are different, the materials used are completely different.
    Maybe they just let the imported or another company use their brand name without the technology…
    Anyways I do know that MARMOT in JAPAN has 100% different materials used than in the US, also its a japanese made tech. I noticed that the US marmot has various types of materials being used across its product line.
    As for columbia they have the same materials – just design, colors and fit are different.
    What I’m getting to is.. it will be great if you will be able to get your hands on some japanese market items and do a review on them.
    Why I’m getting this Idea is because I saw your Montbell review under BEST LIGHTWEIGHT DOWN and I think Montbell is a japanese company.
    I would love to get some american marmot or rab but most are not being sent over here or if they do its become ridiculously expensive with high shipping costs.
    I do most of my shopping on AMAZON US. Whatever I can get my hands on I usually buy straigt away… 1 problem is that sometimes the fit is a bit off.
    I hope you read it and decide to check some of the japanese items. see how well they compare to their us siblings.
    Thanks in advance and have a good one :)

  8. Another great review! I’ve come to really trust the reviews you do. great format. Quick to the point with all relevant info. Thank you!

    a quick question on the Montbell. I’m a big guy 6’1″ and 255#, how would you describe the fit this anorak? are they a tighter fit or more relaxed?

    Thanks again for the reviews!

  9. Throughout the text and video review of the Arcteryx Cerium jacket, the LT and SL versions are confused and referred to interchangeably. Just to be clear, the reviewer refers to the jacket he’s wearing/reviewing as the LT. He’s actually reviewing the Cerium SL. The images flashed up on the screen during the review are also confusing because images of the Cerium LT are used. I have a Cerium SL and all of the reviewer’s comments about the jacket (other then the name) are accurate.

    The text review uses an LT image and weight information etc. for the LT rather then SL.

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