How to choose a jacket

If you could only take one jacket on your next adventure, which would you choose? First, let's figure out the weather conditions and the type of activity you'll be doing.

A jacket for cold conditions

If you’ll be outdoors in cold to freezing conditions, you’ll need a jacket that provides excellent insulation.

Your best option: down

Down is nature’s best insulator, providing exceptional warmth and breathability. A down jacket 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. Numbers on the sleeve like 550, 600 and 750 refer to the quality of the fill.

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.

A down jacket’s construction, such as the size of the baffles, also impacts your jacket’s insulation capabilities.

Man in down jacket sitting by fire
Harness the warmth of down as the sun begins to set

A jacket for cold and wet conditions

If the conditions you’ll be venturing in will be cold and wet, down won’t be your best option as it:

  • loses its ability to insulate when wet
  • is slow to dry.

Your best option: synthetic fill or water-repellent down

Synthetic fill is designed to replicate the qualities of down, but has the added benefits of being more resistant to moisture and able to dry faster.

synthetic fill jacket can be a more affordable alternative to down and is naturally hypoallergenic. The downside of synthetic is it’s heavier and bulkier than down, requiring more weight and volume to keep you warm.

Synthetic fill has made huge leaps in technology. Learn more about our Ecodown Thermore jackets, an alternative to down as a great insulation layer.  

Synthetic fill is resistant to moisture and able to dry faster than down
Synthetic fill is resistant to moisture and able to dry faster than down

A jacket for wet conditions

If you need to keep dry, a waterproof jacket will provide you with the best protection in extreme conditions. Most rain jackets have no lining, so in cold conditions it’s best to wear them over a fleece or merino mid layer.

Your best option: Gore-tex or softshell

GORE-TEX® is a reliable waterproof, breathable and durable fabric that will protect you from a sudden downpour. The material is ideal for your everyday commute as well as your more active pursuits.

Family of four boarding up the mountain
With the right wet weather protection, the fun won't end

A jacket for sweaty conditions

If you’ll be physically exerting yourself, you’ll need a jacket that’s highly breathable and, ideally, moisture-wicking - so you don't feel hot and clammy.

Should your activity require a lot of body movement, like climbing, you’ll need a jacket that's stretchy and flexible and allows a full range of motion.

Your best option: fleece

fleece jacket is an excellent choice for physical activity as it provides lightweight warmth, is highly breathable and moisture wicking. Most are stretchy too, with our more technical options providing a full range of motion.

In mild conditions you can wear fleece over a technical shirt or singlet. In colder or wet conditions, layer a flexible, breathable insulation or waterproof jacket over the top.

If you’ll be carrying a hiking pack or climbing mountains, you’ll also need a jacket that’s designed to be extremely durable.

The XT Series is our technical range that features durable and abrasion resistant fabric.

Image of a woman overlooking a lake with mountains
Cold environments deserve fleece warmth

A jacket for when you're on the move

About to embark on a backpacking adventure? You’ll want a jacket that’s easy to carry and pack. Look for a jacket with added travel features like a special passport or electronics pocket for added convenience. A hood is great for when you want to catch a few z's in-transit.

Image of a woman wearing down in the snow
A jacket for all travel occasions

Your best option: Federate

Whether you need fleece, down or rainwear, choose options that are designed to be compact and lightweight. The Federate Collection has a great selection for urban travel — designed with these features in mind.