Depending on what part of the country you live in, Old Man Winter has arrived—if even for just the occasional drop-in visit—far enough ahead of the official Friday, December 21 start date to be a most unwelcome guest.
Getting dressed on days where the temperature ranges from just shy of comfortable to damn right cold can be a bit of a challenge, so we assembled this group of lightweight outerwear to keep you cozy on most chilly days. Many of these options are light enough to scrunch up into a bag if it’s balmier than expected but warm enough to protect from below freezing temps. In some case,s we like pieces that can layer under a raincoat or shell to protect from really nasty windy weather or precipitation, but some of these pieces are engineered to stand on their own.
Okay, Mister Heat Miser … bring on the best men’s down jackets to brave the winds of winter.
Men’s Down Jackets Under $300
Front chest pocket flaps lend a military, heritage vibe to Fjallraven’s entry into the down liner category. It pairs beautifully with the brand’s Greenland Jacket (duh) and brings Fjallraven’s Swedish heritage of outdoor sport and connection with nature to bear on one perfect piece. It’s also made from recycled polyester and padded with ethically produced down.
Maintaining Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability, the Silent Down jacket utilizes 100 percent recycled duck and goose down. The polyester stretch taffeta exterior is also made from 70 percent recycled material, resulting in a matte-finish puffer to keep you warm all winter long.
Gant imbues a classic with a slim silhouette that looks great with just about everything. It makes a perfect lightweight jacket for fall days or warmer climates but does double-duty layered under a shell or raincoat once the weather gets a little more abominable.
Men’s Down Jackets Under $500
Lululemon’s Glyde fabric is both wind- and waterproof, and with its sealed seams and goose down insulation, as well as adjustable cords at the waist and neckline, it’s a perfect jacket to keep you warm and dry on a commute. Plus, it is easily stowed for a business trip. It even has reflective details for hitting the streets on those longer nights. We also love the handy front stash pocket that keeps commuter passes, IDs, and other necessities close at hand.
Trust Eddie Bauer to create product that can brave the elements with ease while offering ultimate adventure performance. This jacket is super lightweight, utilizing the brand’s new Thindown technology. It features a moisture-shedding finish, an adjustable insulated hood to keep warmth next to your body where you need it, and a special media pocket to keep your phone or iPod warm and ready to roll.
Aether applies its minimalistic aesthetic to the classic quilted bomber in the brand’s Omega jacket. It’s filled with gray goose down to keep you nice and warm, but check the details: The updated baseball collar neatly crosses in front and the waffled down pockets are great at distributing heat evenly. The opening hides both zipper and snap closures and a snap-closure chest pocket keeps important things close at hand.
Adding a French accent to the classic puffer, the Vuarnet version features clean styling with thin channels of down and an effective adjustable hood. The down jacket also features water-resistant stretch and breathable nylon for your more active pursuits. With Vuarnet’s history of optic innovation and skiing performance, you’re sure to look “tres beau.”
It’s your favorite pullover hoodie sweatshirt done up with all the warmth of your best sleeping bag. Best Made’s pullover is filled with a goose-down mix (humanely sourced and fully traceable), while the great-feeling cotton/nylon shell is both durable and water-repellant. It has a kangaroo pouch pocket in front so you can warm your hands together and a zipper on the back left to make it easier to crawl in and out. This jacket tends to run a little small, so we suggest going a size up from what you would normally wear.
Men’s Down Jackets for $500+
We like options, and this North & Mark parka has ‘em. Wear the sleek outer shell to protect against wind and rain at the liminal change of the seasons (or when you’re on that business trip to warmer climes), then layer it up with the ThermPlume-filled inner jacket when winter goes full strength. The inner jacket is also a great looking option for a chilly, but dry, day. We particularly like the asymmetrical closure of the outer parka (which also features a removable hood).
Inspired by military-styling, Nobis’s parka includes a removable fur ruff, thumbhole openings in the elasticized ribbed cuff, and handy besom pockets. It’s also insulated with white duck down and has seam-seal construction to keep you extra warm and dry in even the toughest conditions.
The Cadillac Escalade of our outerwear selection, the Descente “Storm” is designed to channel rain away from pockets and away from the wearer’s face. It’s waterproof, breathable, and flexible; not to mention windproof and—with a 90/10 down/feather insulation—extremely well insulated. The aforementioned “para-hood” (insulated, not just a fabric shell) can also be zipped away into a solid standing collar. The jacket also boasts sleek, sci-fi movie-worthy great looks to match all the tech that went into it.
Even though most of these come with hoods, it’s still a good idea to get a great hat for winter, like one of these best beanies.