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The 8 Best Men's Puffy, Down & Insulated Jackets of 2021

Puffy, down, and synthetic insulated jackets are a closet staple. Choosing the best men’s puffy jacket means answering some questions though. Synthetic or down? Jacket or hoodie? Stretch or traditional? Mountain or town... or both? Options abound and there are questions aplenty when shopping for your next cold-weather insulation layer. There’s no exact road map for figuring out what piece is right for you, but here are some things to consider to get you moving in the right direction.

Goose down is Mother Nature’s gold standard for lightweight warmth. The best men’s down jackets are insanely light considering how well they insulate and pack down really small - the latter might come into play if you need something that won’t take up a ton of space in a backcountry pack. Down’s one big downfall (pun intended) is it doesn’t insulate well when wet, so if you live somewhere like the Pacific Northwest where forecasted snow can turn to actual rain you might want to give synthetic insulation a look.

How you imagine you might use your new insulation will also help narrow down the field. If you tend to get after high-output activities - backcountry touring, trail-running, snowshoeing, fat biking, etc. - a lot of new offerings include a stretchy face fabric that’s great for mobility and tends to be more breathable than the polyester ripstop shell of a more traditional puffer. If you’re mostly just needing to keep warm while walking around the city or a mountain town at night, then classic looks and construction might be just the ticket.


Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie

The best men's puffy & down jackets of 2020
 

The one puffy to rule them all? A gaggle of gearheads could probably argue this topic for hours, but one thing’s for sure - the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie is about as classic of a puffer as you can get. The mid-puff Down Sweater is perfectly happy keeping you warm on sub-zero mornings in a mountain town or teaming up with your shell for those truly bone-chilling, well-below zero days. Patagonia hasn’t changed the look or design significantly in the past few decades - why mess with something that works so well - but the ripstop shell is now made from 100% recycled polyester and the oh-so-warm 800-fill goose down is certified humane - if you’ve got a mind to make conscious buying decisions, Patagonia most certainly has your back. All in all, this is one of the best men’s puffy jackets, and has been for a long time.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Midweight Puffy800-fill Goose Down$279

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Helly Hansen LifaLoft™ Hooded Stretch Insulator Jacket

The best men's puffy jackets of 2020
 

With its breathable and stretchy shell fabric, Helly Hansen’s LifaLoft Hooded Stretch Insulator is one of the newer-style offerings in this lineup. Built specifically for getting active in cold weather, it really shines at things like backcountry touring where you could be working up a sweat. This one is a synthetic, which is exactly what you want if moisture will come into play. Helly Hansen and PrimaLoft® collaborated to create the 80g LifaLoft insulation and gave it superior moisture-wicking capabilities along the way. Not only does this keep you dry - which keeps you warm - but it enhances breathability to prevent overheating when you’re really earning your turns out there.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Lightweight Puffy80g LifaLoft Synthetic$280

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evo Ballard Hooded Insulator

The men's down jackets of 2021

Our Ballard jacket might be a newcomer to the puffy coat arena, but it came out the gate swinging for the fences. The Ballard is a midweight puffy with synthetic insulation that will still work to keep you warm even if the jacket gets wet. The hood lets you block out foul weather, and handwarmer pockets keep you comfy as the weather rages.

The Ballard is very lightweight, and the smooth lining means you’ll barely notice having it on. It packs down small, so it works well as an emergency insulator in your ski pack, but is available in a variety of prints that look good out on the town as well. It’s got a nice smattering of urban style that disguises its technical interior, and 2% of every purchase goes to youth organizations. If you want great weather protection and insulation in a light, good looking package, search no further than the Ballard hooded insulator.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Hooded midweight puffy60g PrimaLoft Gold$149

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The North Face Powderflo Insulated Mid-Layer Jacket

The best men's insulated jackets
 

If you need a tech puffer that can pull double duty - both on the mountain and back in town - look no further than the Powderflo. The North Face took the timeless good looks of your grandfather’s bomber jacket and threw all the tech they could muster at it. This guy is going to be on the lighter side for insulation, but that makes it great in the shoulder seasons or as an insulation layer under your waterproof shell on powder days - the low-profile collar actually makes it an ideal layering piece. With pockets galore and synthetic insulation made from 70% post-consumer recycled polyester, there’s a lot to feel good about when you’re feeling the Powderflo this winter.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Lightweight Puffy76g Heatseeker™ Eco Synthetic$149

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Outdoor Research Refuge Air Hooded Jacket

The best men's down jackets
 

Ok, listen. Outdoor Research went and packed a ton of technology into this jacket. We could throw numbers and names at you until your eyes glaze over, but what you really need to know about the Refuge Air is that OR took the classic, lightweight synthetic puffy and made it ultra-breathable. You ski tour? You want this. You fat bike in fresh snow? You want this. If you’re putting out some heat and don’t want to clam up, and still need to keep warm, the Refuge Air strikes as much of a balance as we’ve ever seen between the two. And it’s simply a very versatile piece. On the way to the gym on winter morning and on the way to summits to shred powder back down - and everything in between - the Refuge Air is likely to become your new go-everywhere buddy.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Lightweight Puffy75g VerticalX™ Air Synthetic$224.95

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Mountain Hardwear Core Strata Climb

The best men's jackets of 2021
 

Mountain Hardwear knows that many times a traditional puffy is overkill and nothing sucks more than dancing between a too-cold baselayer and a too-warm puffy. That’s why they’ve designed the Core Strata Climb for high-output activities and warmer days. It's lightweight and less insulated than some of the other jackets on this list, so you won’t find yourself sweating if you try to move quickly wearing it.

No, the Core Strata Climb is not the warmest puffy jacket on this list, that’s not the point. Instead, it’s versatile, helping you stay comfortable as your pace and the weather change. And it’s designed with technical features like harness-compatible pockets to help you move through the mountains more smoothly. So if you’re looking for a technical active insulator that won’t make you break a sweat, it might be time to consider the Core Strata Climb.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Hooded lightweight jacket40g PrimaLoft Gold$225

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Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody

The best men's jackets of 2021
 

Arc’teryx knows how to do technical outerwear, so it's no shock that they make one of the best men's puffy jackets around. The Atom LT is designed to be light, warm, and breathable, in that order. It packs down impossibly small and will barely weight down your pack, but when you need it, the Atom LT offers a surprising level of warmth. The real magic of the Atom LT though, is how breathable it is. Part of keeping you warm is allowing moist air to wick away from your body and the Atom LT does this very well, whether you’re wearing it on its own or under a shell.

Like the Mountain Hardwear Core Strata Climb, the Atom LT has a slimmer fit, designed to be more technical and less casually styled. This means it works well with backpacks and harnesses and fits nicely under other layers, The Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody isn’t the most affordable jacket on this list, but it’s one of the highest performing. If every gram counts in the backcountry, and you need an insulator that won’t hold you back, the Atom LT has your back.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Technical Hoody60g CoreLoft$259

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The North Face DRT Down Midlayer

The best men's jackets of 2021
 

The North Face knows that we don’t just wear puffies because they keep us warm, they should look good too. And the DRT Down Midlayer just oozes style from its snap closure to its retro styling. It’s designed as the perfect midlayer for travelers and casual outdoor use. But don’t let those classic looks deceive you, it still packs a technical punch. The DRT packs down nice and small when you’re not using it, and its recycled down keeps you warm while having a minimal impact on the planet.

Because it’s primarily designed to be worn as a standalone piece, the DRT has plenty of storage options with two hand pockets and two big internal dump pockets so that you can keep all the essentials close at hand. The North Face also uses recycled materials throughout to help you keep your carbon footprint down. If you’re looking for a warm, good looking casual insulator, look no further than the DRT Down Midlayer.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Snap Jacket600-Fill Recycled Down$199

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