Field Tested: Our Favorite Down Jackets for Off-Season Adventures

When the snow squall hits on the boat launch — the one you’d hoped could be extra fall-like than wintery — the layer you need greater than a aircraft ticket to Hawaii is a down jacket. With a thick layer of insulating down and a cinched-up hood, nothing beats down for heat safety and luxury. When you’re zipped right into a puff coat, survival is assured and luxury is far more instant than the interminable wait to climb into the sleeping bag when the day is over.

If you push the sides of the season, when you love the flame of fall and bloom of spring, even when it dangers the occasional return to winter, some model of a down jacket ought to be in your gear checklist. Consider this vary of choices, from full-on arctic safety to light-weight under-shell layers, and match them as much as your seasonal fortitude. When the water bucket freezes stable at daybreak and your companions are hopping from foot to foot to rev up physique warmth, you’ll be glad you probably did.

Testing the most recent crop of down jackets on a current winter run of Utah’s San Juan River. Courtesy Alan Kesselheim

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