Best Men’s Insulated Jackets

Best Men’s Insulated Jackets
Best Men’s Insulated Jackets

Best Men’s Insulated Jackets A good insulated jacket is a must for anyone who does outdoor activities. Whether it’s winter trekking or hiking, skiing, climbing, walking the dog, or going to the local pub, an insulated jacket is vital. A good insulated jacket should be warm and lightweight. And it should be the right fit and size to wear as an outer layer or middle layer.

10 Best Men’s Insulated Jackets

Best Overall: Cotopaxi Men’s Solazo Down Jacket

What We Like
Fun colors and retro styling

What To Consider
No hood
One-way front zipper

Cotopaxi’s Solazo is quintessentially puffy. With wide, over-filled baffles filled with a responsibly 650-fill down, the Solazo looks hot. And it is. It feels great to wear it too. The ripstop shell was silky against my skin and the sleek fabric slipped over anything I was wearing without tugging up my sleeves or getting stuck. The shell is smooth and soft just like the liner. Solazo is treated with eco-friendly DWR to wick away light moisture. The glove-friendly, zippered hand pocket held my hat and gloves, or my phone and wallet.

Hand pocket zipper pull is silicone-tipped for good grip even with gloves. When it was really cold, I used the internal zippered chest pocket to keep my electronics warm. A little lull? The chest pocket zipper has no zip pull, so I had to take off my gloves to use it. A minimalist draft flap along with a front zipper kept cool. So did the drawcord waist. The elastic on the sleeves was comfortable without being too tight. The sleeves slipped over and under the glove.

I also loved the fun colors of the Solazo. In a world of too many black, navy, and red jackets, Solazo mixes it up. With its retro styling, it brought a smile to my face whenever I wore it. Sometimes that mountain was on the summit when I took it out of my pack so I could bundle up while enjoying the scenery. Sometimes that was going to grab takeout and meet friends for a bonfire.

Sizes: XS to XXL | Insulation: 650-fill RDS down | Waterproofing: Eco-friendly DWR | Weight: N/A | Impact: RDS down and eco-friendly DWR

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Sitka Men’s Kelvin Lite Down Jacket

What We Like
The hood fits snugly and didn’t block my view
Synthetic inside feels like down

What To Consider
Hood isn’t adjustable
Sleeves were hard to pull over gloves

A synthetic-insulated jacket with the comfortable feel of the Kelvin Light down was made for hunters, which means it’s tough. But it’s cool enough to wear all the time, as it comes in colors other than camo. The hooded Calvin Light, which Sitka calls their mid-season, mid-summer layer, has elasticated cuffs that keep the sleeves from tipping over when the gloves are slipped on.

The synthetic insulation was warm even when it got wet. And the insulated neck came over the top of my chin, so it sealed out wind and snow when the jacket was fully zipped up. This jacket is great to have in your pack at all times. And for storage, it packs into its own hand pocket. I wore it for hiking, walking, and kept it under a shell for skiing on cold days. The internal mesh chest pocket helped my body heat my phone by keeping it warm so it wouldn’t die in the cold.

Sizes: M to XXL | Insulation: 900-fill Primaloft Gold | Waterproofing: N/A | Weight: 1 pound, 1 ounce (men’s size large) | Impact: N/A

Most Versatile: Outdoor Research Men’s Shadow Insulated Hoodie

What We Like
Thin and lightweight

What To Consider
Thumb loops aren’t comfortable
Chin protector could be broader

It goes without saying that outdoor sports usually involve a lot of hustle and bustle. But not every insulated jacket is so forgiving that movement feels completely natural. Outdoor Research’s Shadow Insulated Hoodie has a fit that’s non-binding without being baggy. It’s made of stretchy material that lets me move freely whether I’m reaching for grip or swinging my ski pole.

It’s thin and lightweight, with a storm-flap-covered center zip that came under my chin. Outer fabric may crumble. It survived a thorny bush and top seedlings at my local crag. While it’s not the only insulated jacket you’ll need this winter, it’s a great addition to any outdoorsman’s quiver.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: VericalX ECO SR 55 percent Repreve Recycled Polyester, 35 percent Sorona, 10 percent Polyester | Waterproofing: N/A | Weight: 1 pound, 1 ounce | Impact: Bluesign approved, recycled insulation

Best Budget: Bass Outdoors Men’s Glacier Hiking Jacket

What We Like
Locking zipper
Spacious chest pocket

What To Consider
Cuffs let drafts in
No zipper pulls

Created by Bass, a 150-year-old brand based in Wilton, Maine, the Glacier Hiking Jacket is a no-frills synthetic-fill jacket made for everyday use and outdoor adventures. The water-resistant stretch fabric was exceptionally comfortable for snowball fights and trailside antics. The attached hood keeps wind and snow out. The angled, fleece-lined pockets were easy to get into.

The jacket was noticeably heavier than other jackets we tested and didn’t compress well, so it wasn’t the best coat for backpacking or fast and light missions. But the extra weight felt good—like a weighted blanket—when I wore it, and the bulk translated to warmth during the day and wandering in the woods.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: Not listed | Waterproofing: BDry and BWarm Tech| Weight: N/A | Impact: N/A

Best for Everyday: Picture Organic Men’s Bemidji Jacket

What We Like
Sweater comfortable
Fun prints

What To Consider
No zip lets cold air in

Pictured’s Sherpa fleece-lined shirt-jacket is the layer I reached for when I was out on a sunny morning to skin on top of a mountain, when I was throwing a Frisbee for my dog, and when I was out with friends. was meeting from the pub

The snap front layer features a shirt collar and snap sleeves with zippered hand pockets, snap chest pockets, and an internal stuff pocket. It’s styled to be casual enough for every day, but the sweat-wicking lining and wind-repellent shell were technical enough for hiking, skiing, and more.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: Sherpa Fleece | Waterproofing: N/A | Weight: 2 pounds, 11 ounces | Impact: Recycled polyester, PVC-free DWR, global recycled standard

Most Packable: Mountain Hardwear Men’s Ghost Whisperer UL Hooded Down Jacket

What We Like
Extremely light and compressible
Superb warmth to weight ratio
Makes a great mid- or outer-layer

What To Consider
The shell fabric can snag
Wear it under a more protective layer for high contact activities that could tear it

The Ghost Whisperer is probably the lightest, fully-featured insulated layer out there for outdoor enthusiasts who want to go faster and lighter. There is no layer that has a better heat-to-weight ratio. So, if you’re going to conquer a new ice or cliff route, you’re busting the patrol gap at dawn and need a layer that won’t slow you down, or you’ll be at the bell of the lift line. The bells are ringing, and want to stay warm without looking bulky, this jacket is for you.

Ultralight 5D and 7D ripstop nylon, the DWR-coated shell is silky enough to slip under and over other layers. It has dual zippered hand pockets with elastic cuffs that don’t interfere with the glove, and that keep the sleeves facing up. And when you’re not wearing it, it stuffs up in its pocket and takes up a grape’s worth of space in your pack.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: 1000-fill Allied RDS-Certified Down | Weight: 6.7 ounces | Impact: Insulation is Bluesign approved

Best for Skiing: Dakine Reach Insulated 20K Jacket

What We Like
The jacket is cut long
Sleeves are cut long
High, fleece-lined neck

What To Consider
Only one internal stash pocket
Powder skirt is not removable

Made from polyester twill with Dakin’s waterproof, breathable laminate, the lightweight insulated reach is ready for shredding, whether you’re up the hill all day, every day of the season, or sculpt it whenever you can. Snowboard-style, with a slightly longer cut, a pass pocket, media pockets with cord routing, and a powder skirt, Reach walks the fine line between warm enough and not too hot.

And because of its eclectic cut, there’s always room to add layers at the bottom. A stretch mesh pocket on the inside stashes my goggles and gloves and pit zips into a jacket for spring skiing and riding. The hood slipped on my ski helmet on a foggy day. And the hem was adjusted with a cord inside the hand pocket. Men’s one-ton jackets do not have wrist gaiters. This one does, and they were great at keeping snow and cold out of the glove/jacket interface.

Sizes: S to XL | Insulation: Thermogreen | Waterproofing: 20K Waterproof / 20K Breathable Laminate | Weight: N/A | Impact: PFC-free DWR

Best for the Environment: La Sportiva Men’s Kopak Hoody

What We Like
Uses a renewable plus recycled insulation
Helmet-compatible hood

What To Consider
One-color only
Insulation isn’t as light as down

With a Kapok/polyester fiber insulated quilted chest and back, and faux fur-lined softshell arms, sides, and waist, the Kopak was great skinning, running, and Nordic skiing layer. Kopak’s insulation is a blend of recycled Primaloft and fiber Kapok tree seed pods that grow in tropical Mexico, Central and South America, and West Africa. This backcountry-focused ski jacket is tightly woven to repel wind and moisture. It’s fully stretched, so whether I was reaching up to swing an instrument in the snow, or reaching down to tie my boots, the jacket went on and stretched just fine without overstretching.

The fleeting neck constricted just below my nose. And the hood fits under as well as over a helmet. There is nothing artificial in this jacket. The insulated back was warm and protective when I wasn’t wearing the pack. And while the front and back insulation was thin, this jacket was perfect for high output activities. It also did an extraordinary job of splashing water through a very frozen waterfall ice route. It is easily layered under a shell when it is really wet or windy. And the cloth was tough enough to be scratched by rocks and brush without tearing.

Sizes: XS to XL | Insulation: Kapok and recycled polyester | Waterproofing: Stormfleece | Weight: 1 pound, 2.3 ounces | Impact: sustainably-harvested Kapok with recycled polyester, Recycled Fabrics, PFC-Free DWR coating, Bluesign Approved

Best Fishing: Orvis Men’s Pro Insulated Hoodie

What We Like
Surprisingly warm
Not surprisingly built to stretch and move with the fly casting motion

What To Consider

Don’t let the exaggerated title fool you. This insulated hoodie from Orvis is as good for hunting trout as it is running, hiking, climbing, skiing, or whatever your cold-weather outdoor activity of choice is. This jacket is incredibly warm and has 80 grams of Primaloft Gold Active Insulation on the body, hood, and arms and 80 grams of Polartec Alpha insulation on the sides and underarms. It’s made with 20D super-stretchy ripstop nylon.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: 80 grams PrimaLoft Gold Active and 80 grams Polartec Alpha | Waterproofing: Some weather resistance | Weight: N/A | Impact: Insulation is partially made with recycled materials

Best Style: prAna Pinchot Shirt Jacket

What We Like
Looks good
Very warm
Some eco-friendly practices

What To Consider
Not packable

Pran’s Pinchot Shirt Jacket checks a variety of boxes in a style-focused insulated shirt jacket. It’s got a 650-fill responsibly bottom, is a PFC-free durable water-repellent and is a BlueSign-certified product. Plus, it’s just a fun and warm shirt jacket with a soft and slick inner material that gives the feeling of being inside a sleeping bag. We also like that it has a zippered front for when other shirt jackets might just be button-up.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: RDS certified 650-fill down | Waterproofing: Claims to be totally waterproof with PFC-free DWR treatment | Weight: N/A | Impact: Bluesign certified and RDS certified down

Final Verdict

Cotopaxi’s Solazo (see on Backcountry) takes top honors for best-insulated jacket due to its competitively priced, technically overbuilt for everyday use, it’s the lightest on the planet, and it makes us want to wear it every time. smiles.

What to Look for in an Insulated Jacket?


Buying an insulated jacket that fits well is important because insulation works by creating a space that traps body heat. If the jacket is too big, your body will have a lot of room to warm up before it can warm up. If it is too tight, some of the air spaces will be compressed, reducing the warmth of the jacket.


Most jacket insulation is down or synthetic. Down usually feels lighter and more comfortable, but if it gets wet from sweat, rain, or melting snow, it loses its loft and loses its heat. Some downs are treated with water repellent. Most synthetics, whether polyester wool or polyester-based ball or strand insulation, are warm when wet, but they may not feel as great to wear. Some jackets now combine down and synthetic insulation to harness the properties of both. And several brands are working on replicating Down’s unique experience in synthetics.


The warmer a jacket is for its weight, the more expensive it will be. If you’re looking for a compressed jacket for technical missions then opt for a higher fill power. For everyday use, low fill power down and heavy synthetics can feel good, even when they are heavy.

What is the best way to wash and care for an insulated jacket?

Most down and synthetic jackets can be washed in a standard washing machine on the delicate cycle and dried in the dryer. Use an insulation-specific detergent like Nikwax Down Wash or Tech Wash. You may want to follow up the wash cycle with treatment, whether it’s a waterproof breathable membrane or DWR, to rejuvenate whatever waterproofing the jacket has.

Most of Nikwax’s technical fabric washing products have an accessory to reactivate the weather. We like Nikwax products because they work and they’re eco-friendly. Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

How many grams of insulation should I look for?

Don’t shop for jackets based on grams of insulation. Down’s heat is measured by fill power, while synthetic’s heat is measured by grams. But other important factors, such as whether the jacket has a membrane or body heat reflective layer, or how the insulation is chocked, can all affect heat.

Buy a jacket that matches the activities you’re used to. A mountaineering jacket and an all-around city jacket can have the same warmth at vastly different weights and price points.

Are insulated jackets waterproof?

Insulated jackets may or may not be waterproof. For high production activities, a jacket without a waterproof membrane often works best. For more sedentary activities, such as sitting on a chair lift, a waterproof breathable membrane will better retain body heat. Most insulated jackets have a water-repellent DWR treatment on the outside. With wear, that coating will wear out, but that can be replaced with a wash-in treatment.

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