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The 6 Best Men's Puffy, Down & Insulated Jackets of 2020

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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Arc’Teryx Thorium AR Hoodie

The men's down jackets of 2020

Leave it to Arc’Teryx to blend the best of both worlds when it comes to making an insulated jacket. Unique in the market, the Thorium AR uses both 750-fill down and strategically-place synthetic insulation. Remember above when we said down loses loft and insulation abilities when it gets wet? Well, the Arc’Teryx brains up in B.C. put synthetic insulation in the places you’re apt to sweat or get wet the most - the hood, cuffs, and under the arms. Then they put down - and its superior insulation properties - in the torso and arms. Coupled with an able DWR treatment to the nylon ripstop shell, this “insulation mapping” indeed gives the Thorium an edge in wetter winter environments (looking at you here, Pacific Northwest). This is one of the best technical men’s insulated jackets.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Midweight Puffy800-fill Goose Down/Coreloft™ Synthetic Insulation$325

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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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Picture Organic Junip Tech Crew

The best men's jackets of 2020
 

Puffy or performance layer? Picture Organic didn’t want to choose, so they just made the Junip Tech Crew both. Basically, a moisture-wicking baselayer with 100g Primaloft® Eco Insulation at the chest, the Junip could be a great option for someone who gets a little too cold to just have a baselayer under their shell or someone who runs a bit too hot to run a full micropuff midlayer. There’s so many phases to the seasons, you’ll surely find a ton of use (especially during fall and spring) for this unique piece. Bonus? Big ol’ zippered pouch pocket on the front so you can kangaroo away your keys or some chairlift snacks. Plus, the hybrid design gives is some unique style compared to other puffies when you’re out and about in town.

StyleInsulation Original Price
Hybrid20D Ultralight Primaloft® Eco 100g Insulation$99.99

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