9 Best Packable Jackets – Outdoors with Bear Grylls


A packable down jacket is one of the most useful pieces of clothing that an outdoors lover can own. A warm and cozy layer that can be whipped out at a moment’s notice will come in handy time and time again. 

In this guide, we have researched a selection of jackets that pack down into stuff sacks or into their own pocket. We’ve mostly focused on garments featuring down insulation, but there are a couple of synthetic options to check out if down is not for you.

The jacket that stood out the most, available for both men and women, is the Arc’teryx Cerium Down Hoodie. Not only does this jacket receive endless positive reviews, it also has excellent design and superior fill power, which makes it a wonderful choice for adventurers. 

Let’s take a look at the best packable down jackets on the market now. We’ve put together a buyer’s guide to help you find the perfect jacket to suit your needs. If you’ve still got questions, we’ve hopefully answered them in our frequently asked questions section below. 

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The Best Packable Down Jackets for Men and Women in 2024

Best Overall Packable Down Jacket – Arc’teryx Cerium Down Hoodie – Men’s and Women’s

This hooded jacket offers an unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio, which is why we’ve chosen it to be our top pick. Its refined design allows for easy freedom of movement as you ascend trails or climb mountains, with articulated patterning to offer stylish and unrestricted mobility. 

The insulation is made from 850-fill goose down, and the outer layer has a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish to wick away moisture. There are two zippered hand pockets and an additional interior pocket for securing important items. The jacket packs neatly into a stuff sack, so it can be stored for travel. 

It has adjustable cuffs, a helmet-compatible hood, a drop hem, and a flattering shape for style and comfort in the outdoors. 

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Best Warm Packable Jacket for Women – The North Face Retro Nuptse Packable Down Jacket

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Image by the North Face

This puffer jacket from The North Face is a pricey but timeless piece inspired by an iconic 1996 Nuptse jacket. It’s a great option if you want to mix a little retro style into your closet. Perfect for mountain or city adventures, this jacket will keep you cozy wherever you go. 

It’s practical too. The insulation is made from lofty 700-fill-power down, it is compressible, and it’s easy to pack down into its stuff sack. The outer features ripstop nylon, which allows the jacket to be strong and durable. 

The fit is boxy and relaxed, and it has a stowable hood that folds into the collar. There are two zippered pockets and an interior pocket on the inside. 

Best Lightweight for Women – RAB Women’s Microlight Alpine Down Jacket 

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Image by Rab

This jacket by Rab has several impressive features, making it one of the best down jackets on the market right now. 

Made from sustainably sourced 700-fill-power recycled hydrophobic down, the insulation will keep you warm without adding unnecessary bulk. The outer layer is made from Pertex Quantum Ripstop, which allows the jacket to be durable. A zippered chest pocket allows you safely store a phone.

Several reviewers mentioned how impressed they were with the jacket’s water resistance and its ultralight feel. So much so that some said it felt like they weren’t wearing a jacket at all. 

Best Budget for Women – Camel Crown Lightweight Packable Jacket 

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Image by Camel Crown

For under $50, this jacket by Camel Crown is a reasonably priced down puffer jacket with plenty of useful features for outdoors life. It is made from 75% duck down and 25% feathers, which provides strong insulation at 600-fill power. 

When packed into its stuff sack, the brand claims that it only weighs 300 grams, which is lighter than a water bottle. It has a heat reflective lining, and it’s available in black or a lovely shade of purple. 

It has smooth zippers, elastic cuffs to retain warmth, and an adjustable hem to contour the jacket to your body shape. 

Best Down Alternative for Women – 32 Degrees Women’s Ultralight Jacket 

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Image by 32 Degrees

Sometimes, a longer jacket is the perfect way to add style and warmth to your outfit at the same time. 

This style from 32 Degrees is made from a nylon outer shell and has a polyester lining for warmth. It is not made from down, so it makes for a great synthetic alternative. 

A great value option, the jacket extends over the hips for added coverage. Even with its valuable extra length, it still allows for mobility and can be packed into a stuff sack. The slim-fit style, with vertical lines down the side, offers a flattering shape.

It comes in several attractive colors, and for under $50, it is a stylish but practical jacket.  

Best Warm Packable Jacket for Men – Marmot Men’s Highlander Jacket 

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Image by Marmot

If the air turns chilly, you’ll be reaching for the Marmot Highlander jacket. It has a classic puffer look with a waterproof ripstop polyester outer shell for protection from the rain. It looks great with any cold-weather outfit you might be planning to wear.

The insulation is an extra-cozy 700-fill-power down, which packs down easily while you’re on the move. It has an elastic hood to keep out the chill. The Arctic navy or black are versatile additions to your outdoors closet. 

Elastic cuffs, an adjustable drawcord hem, and zippered hand pockets all work together to make this a very useful jacket for a range of situations.

Best Lightweight for Men – Jack Wolfskin Men’s JWP Down Jacket 

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Image by Jack Wolfskin

The Jack Wolfskin JWP down jacket is worth checking out for its practicality and ultralight feel. It has a small packed size, making it ideal for travel, camping, or backpacking. 

The insulation is made from Responsible Down Standard (RDS)-certified duck down fill, and the outer shell is made from windproof Stormlock protection.

Breathable and minimalist, this jacket has a clean silhouette and works well for a range of outdoor environments and weather conditions.

Best Down Alternative for Men – Rab Cirrus Flex 2.0 Hooded Jacket

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Image by Rab

You can always count on Rab to make great quality outdoor clothing, and this jacket is a fine example. It works great as a standalone jacket or as a mid layer.

The jacket’s insulation is made from 3m featherless insulation, which regulates your body’s temperature. It also features thermic stretch fleece and a hyperlite ripstop fabric to shed water quickly and dry fast. Plus, with it being synthetic, it still stays warm when it’s wet. 

The Cirrus Flex 2.0 is a breathable yet cozy option with a lightweight feel. Rab products tend to be worth the price for their long-lasting durability. People love the soft feel of the jacket, and it comes highly recommended for its versatility. 

Best Budget for Men – Wantdo Men’s Packable Down Jacket 

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Image by Wantdo

For a less pricey option, this packable jacket from the outdoor brand Wantdo will keep you warm in winter weather. 

Although it is offered at a low price tag of $65, there has been no scrimping on quality. It is made from responsibly sourced duck down filling, which offers superior warmth and protection in cold weather. 

Some reviewers mention that the jacket is so warm that it feels like being tucked up in a sleeping bag. It is extremely lightweight for packing and the construction and materials are of high quality, which is amazing to find at this price point. 

How to Find the Best Packable Down Jackets 

A good quality packable jacket is an important purchase for any adventure. Make sure it is suitable for your needs by considering the following factors.  

Fill Power: Down vs. Synthetic 

Down insulation is warm and breathable, making it an excellent choice for jacket insulation.

Fill power indicates the quality of the down insulation. Higher fill power numbers mean better warmth-to-weight ratio and greater compressibility. Look for jackets with a fill power of 550 or higher for optimal warmth and packability.

If you prefer a jacket with synthetic insulation, you can find several made with man-made fibers designed to mimic the properties of down.

Synthetic insulation such as PrimaLoft or Thinsulate offer great warmth-to-weight ratios, and unlike down, they can retain warmth even when wet. Synthetic insulation is also hypoallergenic, so it’s a good alternative choice for anyone with a sensitivity to down or an aversion to the use of animal products. 

Weight

A packable down jacket should be lightweight to minimize the burden on your pack when not in use. 

Packability

Down jackets are very compressible and often pack down to a small size. This is essential for easy storage for hiking trips, camping, or other outdoor activities. Look for jackets that come with a separate stuff sack or that can be packed into their own pocket.

Material

The outer shell material should be made from lightweight, durable, and preferably water-resistant fabrics. Some are treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish to repel moisture. 

Ripstop nylon or polyester are strong materials that are common choices for packable down jackets.

Construction

Look for jackets with quality stitching to avoid any heat from escaping. Sewn-through or box-baffle construction can prevent down shifting and cold spots. This also ensures even distribution of insulation and maximizes warmth.

Fit and Length

Consider the fit of the jacket, especially if you plan to layer it over other pieces of clothing. It should be roomy enough to accommodate layers but not too bulky or restrictive. 

If you are looking for a slim silhouette that will still keep you warm, check for alternate patterning and design features that accentuate the waist.

A longer jacket can help to elongate the frame and offer a stylish fit with extra coverage. Sleeping bag style and boxy-fit puffer jackets are also popular just now, but check first if this style suits you. Try on some jackets in a store if possible, so you can find what styles suit you best.  

Hood

Whether or not to buy a jacket with a hood is a personal preference, but it can be a very useful feature to protect your face, head, and neck from rain and wind. 

A hood might add extra bulk to a packable jacket, but it is very useful for cold and wet conditions. Consider it essential if you will be wearing your packable jacket in inclement weather. 

Pockets, Cuffs, and Hems

Zippered hand and chest pockets are always useful for storing essentials securely while you’re on the go. Hidden internal pockets can also be handy for keeping valuables or electronics safe.

Find a jacket with elasticized cuffs and drawcord hem adjustments for a customized fit. These features also help seal out cold air and trap warmth inside the jacket. 

Color and Style

Packable jackets come in lots of different colors. You can’t go wrong with neutrals like black, charcoal gray, or navy, which are versatile and easy to match with all outfits.

If you are searching for a hiking jacket, you might consider a bright color that can be easily spotted from a distance.

Budget 

Set a budget and find a jacket that meets your needs within that range. There are quality options available at various price points. The jackets on this list vary from $50 to $300.

The lesser-known brands are likely to cost a little less. Also, jackets featuring synthetic insulation may be cheaper to purchase than those with down insulation. 

Brands and User Reviews 

You can’t go too far wrong with respected outdoor clothing brands, such as Rab, Jack Wolfskin, and The North Face. Brands such as Marmot also offer great hiking jackets at a reasonable price.

If in doubt, always read user reviews when you are shopping online. It is a great way to find out information about the product, including how long it lasts over time. Important details about the fit and sizing will also help you make a decision.

You can also purchase in-store, which is a good way to try on a garment and check the fit and style, as well as investigate some of its features, such as stitching, fabric quality, and lining. Go to REI Co-Op or Dick’s Sporting Goods to shop their range of packable jackets in store.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Which type of insulation is best, down or synthetic?

In short, both types work well at fending off the cold.

Down insulation is lightweight and provides excellent warmth, but it can lose its insulating properties when wet. Synthetic insulation retains warmth when wet and dries faster, but it might not provide the level of warmth as down. Synthetic down may make a better choice in damp conditions.

Can I compress a packable down jacket for long periods?

While packable down jackets are designed to be compressed for storage, it’s not recommended to keep them compressed for extended periods of time.

This can affect the loftiness of the down insulation over time. It’s best to store the jacket uncompressed in a dry, well-ventilated space.

Can I repair a packable down jacket if it gets damaged?

From time to time, feathers can escape through the seams of a down jacket. The outer shell will usually be made from strong materials, but unfortunately, these things happen sometimes. This is why it is important to check the quality of the stitching before you purchase. 

Minor tears or punctures in the outer shell of a packable down jacket can often be repaired by using a patch kit specifically designed for outdoor gear.

For more extensive damage or issues with the insulation, it may be necessary to seek advice from the manufacturer or take the jacket to a specialized outdoor gear repair shop.

Final Thoughts 

There are an overwhelming number of jackets out there to choose from, and it can be tricky to know where to start the research process. We highly suggest taking a look at the Arc’teryx Cerium Down Hoodie, a fantastic jacket available for both men and women.

Consider the style, length, and fill power to ensure the jacket looks great and will keep you cozy. Then you might consider budget and brand, so you can be confident you are purchasing a good quality product. 

A good jacket is an investment piece. A packable version is beyond useful for all kinds of adventures, so it’s definitely a worthwhile purchase. 


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