No matter the activity, our pick of the best puffer jackets for men will beat the cold and ensure you stay snug
Puffer jackets – also known as insulated or down jackets – have gone from being an essential piece of kit for winter sport enthusiasts to being a wardrobe staple for virtually everyone. The combination of lightweight practicality and superb warmth is hard to beat, especially as the temperatures drop. If you’re someone who regularly feels the chill, a deep-filled down jacket is impossible to beat, while at the other end of the scale, the lightest, most packable options offer the ability to layer up without having to carry a huge coat.
Below, you’ll find our pick of the best puffer jackets for men in 2023. We’ve looked across the market to bring you options that are suitable for a range of activities, whether that’s an extra layer for keeping warm on the way to work, a technical choice for working outdoors, or something simple, snuggly and stylish to keep the frosty mornings at bay.
Check out our quick guide to buying the best puffer jacket, where we deep-dive into fill ratings, waterproofing and sustainability, as well as other essential areas to consider before you buy.
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Best puffer jacket for men: At a glance
- Best puffer jacket for layering up: Tentree Cloud Shell Shirt Jacket | £150
- Best packable down jacket: Rab Mythic Alpine | £280
- Best casual puffer jacket: Columbia Unisex Ballistic Ridge Oversized Puffer Jacket | £125
How to choose the best puffer jacket for you
What types of puffer jackets are there?
Puffer jackets are coats that are filled with insulation, in the form of natural down, synthetic insulation or a combination of the two. They’re brilliant to wear in cold temperatures since they trap air in their fibres, creating a warm cloud around you – or at least that’s how some can feel!
We’ve chosen a range of puffer jackets to suit different needs. We haven’t focused solely on high-performance, high-priced outdoor brands, including everyday jackets at affordable prices that will also keep you seriously warm.
Should I choose down or synthetic insulation?
Both options are great and will keep you warm, but one may excel over the other in certain uses.
Down is the fine layer of fluffy feathers that sit beneath normal feathers on waterfowl, typically geese or ducks. Down retains more heat than feathers, so opt for a jacket with a high percentage of down – 80/20 down to feathers is typical.
It’s worth checking the fill power when measuring the quality of down insulation, too. The higher the number, the better the quality. The best down jackets tend to have a fill power of over 750. A fill power of 900 or higher is extremely high.
Down jackets are seriously lightweight, can pack down small yet offer superior warmth – but they aren’t great when they get wet. Moisture causes the down to clump and this will hinder its insulating properties; it can take a long time to dry out. Some new hybrid downs have a hydrophobic coating that prevents this problem, but it’s best to look for a jacket with a water-resistant coating on the outer shell. You could even add your own DWR (durable water repellent) layer using Nikwax.
Make sure any down is ethically sourced; sadly, there are unethical, cruel suppliers out there, so look for the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) logo on the label.
For years, scientists have been trying to replicate the properties of down using polymer fibres, with the results becoming better with passing years. Obviously, this will be the only option for vegans, but they’re also becoming increasingly eco-friendly. Virgin polyester is derived from oil, which isn’t a great choice of material. However, the majority of brands now offer jackets that comprise recycled insulation, some of which is made from plastic bottles and industrial plastic waste.
Synthetic jackets tend to be thinner and more breathable than natural down – which is great if you’re using the jacket in high-activity sports. Brands such as PrimaLoft are getting so close to mimicking down that it won’t be long before we’re at parity.
Synthetic insulation is also fine in wet conditions, retaining 75% of the warmth when wet compared to only 15% with down insulation.
Note that cheap polyester puffer jackets might feel warm at first, but won’t retain heat anywhere near as well as premium insulation or goose down.
How we test puffer jackets for men
As we’ve mentioned earlier, insulated jackets are now seen everywhere and you don’t need to be scaling a mountain to want to benefit from the excellent warmth to weight ratio. As a result, we were able to test many of the jackets on a day-to-day basis, without the need to head to the Highlands.
Where designs came with handy stuff sacks for each storage or pockets, we tested the durability of these and the ease with which the jackets can be packed away. We also took note of the difference between the synthetic and the down jackets in terms of warmth, weight, and packability.
We’re often having to test winter products during warmer times of the year – which, in this case, was quite a sweaty undertaking – that said, even in the heat of the day, we were still able to check fit, features, and comfort. And, to double down on our findings, these jackets have all subsequently been taken to cold regions, including Scotland, Colorado, the French Alps and even sub-zero South Korea.
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The best puffer jackets for men you can buy in 2023
1. Tentree Cloud Shell Shirt Jacket: Best puffer jacket for layering up
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Tentree
At the time of writing, Canadian sustainability-focused brand Tentree had planted 81,312,322 trees as part of its commitment to giving back and protecting the planet. And if you hadn’t guessed from the name, for every garment the company sells, it plants 10 trees.
The sweater-weight Cloud Shell shacket (shirt jacket) is lightweight and cosy. It’s ideal for those chilly days where you need to layer up, but don’t want to be stuck with a bulky jacket all day.
Available in navy or black, it’s cut well. The collar and push fastenings are a welcome change over the more typical down offering, and it can be worn in a host of situations where you need to keep warm, but don’t want to look like you’re heading up the south face of K2.
It’s snuggly without being bulky, and a great option for those who need a coverup but whose body temp generally runs too hot for a weighty coat. We wish there had been at least one zipped pocket to keep our phone and keys secure, but overall, for £140, this is a great option for those looking for something stylish and snug.
Key specs – Fill: PrimaLoft Black insulation; Outer: 100% REPREVE recycled polyester, bluesign certified non-PFC water repellent
2. Rab Mythic Alpine: Best packable puffer jacket
Price when reviewed: £280 | Check price at Cotswold Outdoor
Cut slim without being tight, this high-quality 900FP European goose down jacket packs down seriously small but offers a huge amount of warmth. Part of the Mythic range, which includes sleeping bags, it’s been designed to offer the highest warmth to weight ratio. And trust us, it does just that.
Using ultralight 100% recycled Pertex Quantum 10D ripstop that seems impressively durable, and DWR waterproofing for light showers, the down here has also been treated with Nikwax fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic finish, which means – unlike lower-quality down jackets – it won’t stop insulating if it becomes wet. Note that all Rab down products meet the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) for stringent animal welfare standards.
One of the comfiest jackets we’ve ever worn, the Rab Mythic Alpine offers stretch where you need it, and plenty of down baffles in around the body to help keep your core warm. Available in bold Marmalade Orange, Black (on test), Orion Blue and Graphene (grey), and in men’s and a slimmer-cut women’s fit, it’s a jacket designed for outdoor lovers rather than fashionistas.
It’s expensive, but the combination of considered materials, design and comfort means few who try it on will want to take it off again.
Key specs – Fill: 900FP European Goose Down with Nikwax fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic finish; Weight: 313g (medium); Outer: 100% recycled polyamide 10D Recycled Pertex Quantum nylon ripstop with fluorocarbon-free DWR
3. Finisterre Fourier Jacket: Best puffer jacket for warmth
Price when reviewed: £175 | Check price at Finisterre
Boxy cut, masses of insulation and sporting serious style, Cornish surf-wear pioneer Finisterre’s Fourier jacket is just about the perfect hybrid to take you from beach to bar without missing a beat. At 900g+ it’s quite hefty, but feels superb to wear, keeping you toasty even in the worst conditions.
Insulation is A-Form, a proprietary material made from 100% recycled polyester, which offers the same high-loft as down, but with superior performance, especially in wet conditions.
Named after Fourier’s law of heat conduction, this jacket is super warm, and while Rab and Arc’teryx offer a better warmth-to-weight ratio, neither will look as home in the pub. We especially like the matte textured finish of the 100% recycled shell, which transcends the classic “outdoors” aesthetic. Note, though, that finish does pick up more dust than a technical wet-look puffer.
With snug cuffs, zip pockets and an altogether cool aesthetic, there’s little to dislike about the Fourier, and given the brand’s commitment to sustainability, it offers great value, too. If you’re looking for a similar style with improved technical performance, the Nimbus is also hard to beat.
Key specs – Fill: A-Form 100% recycled synthetic down; Weight: 940g (medium, approx); Outer: 100% recycled nylon with fluorocarbon-free DWR
4. Uniqlo Seamless Down 3D Cut Parka: Best puffer jacket for style
Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at Uniqlo
The Japanese global fashion brand Uniqlo made £3.6 billion in 2022. Appealing to all ages and styles, it offers a collection of simple but fashionable pieces at good prices. And over the past few years, its down jackets and outerwear have flown off the shelves, and having tested them, it’s easy to see why.
If you want a simple but extremely impressive down jacket, the £89 Ultra Light Down is hard to beat for value and performance, but for something a little more on-trend, the Seamless Down 3D Cut jacket is close to perfect. Available in seven colours and in sizes XXS-3XL, its innovative seamless construction means that instead of relying on stitching to hold in the insulation, the fabric has been bonded together. This, along with the matte finish of the outer fabric, gives the jacket a more premium finish, looking more city than mountain.
That doesn’t mean the jacket won’t keep you warm and pretty dry wherever you wear it. Filled with sustainably sourced down feathers, it’s incredibly warm and supremely comfortable. The outer fabric has been coated with a DWR layer that will resist a shower, and the zips are waterproof, which is rare at this price.
A superb-value jacket, with a raglan-style shoulder for ease of movement, this is a versatile winter jacket that will suit a wide range of people – which explains why it tends to sell out in the popular sizes. So be quick!
Key specs – Fill: 90% RDS certified down, 10% feathers; Outer: 100% polyester with DWR
5. Decathlon Forclaz MT900 -18°C: Best budget puffer jacket
Price when reviewed: £110 | Check price at Decathlon
Forclaz is Decathlon’s premium collection, designed for people who are serious about outdoor activities, but who don’t want to spend a fortune. The brand’s buying power means it’s able to offer great kit at very reasonable prices – and we’ve tested jackets that are triple the price of the MT900 that aren’t half as warm.
Filled with responsibly sourced down and feathers, this jacket has been tested to provide comfort between -5°C and a very chilly -18°C. And while we didn’t endure those extremes during testing, we’re confident you won’t get cold wearing this jacket, especially if you layer properly.
As with most down jackets, it’s like a cloud to wear, and instantly raises your body temperature. Thankfully, Decathlon has included two zip vents for ridding excess heat if you’re working hard on a hike.
Other welcome features include reinforced waterproof panels on the cuff and shoulder, and waterproofing on the hood. The rest of the jacket has a water-resistant coating; but the down isn’t treated, so will need to be kept dry, and refreshed if it does get soaked.
It can also be stuffed into the internal zipped pocket for easy storage, which is a bonus for a jacket with this much insulation.
Sound too good to be true for just over £100? Well, it isn’t perfect, with oddly small hand pockets that, unless zipped up, risk spilling their contents. The hem is also quite snug – our reviewer is a standard 32in waist and the medium sample only just zipped up comfortably. In addition, the stitching isn’t quite as consistent as you’ll find on a more expensive jacket – but, given the positives, if you care for your kit then this will certainly last for many seasons.
Key specs – Fill: 85% RDS certified down, 15% feathers; Weight: 570g (large); Outer: 100% polyamide membrane with DWR
6. Columbia Unisex Ballistic Ridge Oversized Puffer Jacket: Best casual puffer jacket
Price when reviewed: £158 | Check price at Columbia
Sporting unashamedly old-school looks, we love the yellow and black of this Columbia jacket, but for those wanting something a bit more subtle, it’s also available in other combinations as well as standard black. One thing’s for certain, no matter the colour you choose, you’ll need only a T-shirt underneath, even in February.
Inside the Ballistic Ridge is filled with recycled polyester insulation, plus the latest version of Columbia’s hidden weapon against cold: Omni-Heat Infinity. This is an upgraded version of the excellent Omni-Heat reflective lining, where the silver dots (gold, in the Infinity range) lining the internal fabric of the jacket do a fantastic job of reflecting your body warmth back onto you. It’s a neat trick that works well, although what you gain in extra warmth you do lose in breathability.
Put the jacket on and you’re enveloped in warmth, and while it lives up to its “oversized” title, it isn’t stupidly so. No, we wouldn’t hike up a mountain in it, but it is perfect for icy winter city breaks.
The jacket also uses Columbia’s Storm-Lite DP II outer fabric. Made from polyester, it has one of the better DWR waterproofing layers available, and survived quite a downpour before saturating. Luckily polyester insulation means it can also withstand drenching better than feathers.
Key specs – Fill: 100% recycled polyester; Outer: 100% Polyester with DWR
7. Arket Sporty Down Jacket: Best puffer jacket for sustainability
Price when reviewed: £137 | Check price at Arket
If you have no intention of climbing crags or hitting the backcountry any time soon, but want to be warm, stylish and as sustainable as possible, you need this Sporty Down Jacket from Arket. Its slightly boxy shape looks great as a casual jacket, and the fact it’s made using a combination of recycled polyester shell and Re:Down 100% recycled down and feather filling sets it apart from the rest.
The adjustable hood is also impressively insulated, the pockets deep and generous, and Arket has been kind enough to include a two-way zip, making it easy to get some ventilation when you start to – and you will – overheat. Available in standard Black or a subtle Khaki Green, it’s a great-value choice given the sustainable materials used and superb warmth it delivers.
Historically, down was often rescued from old pillows and duvets, cleaned and reused. Arket’s supplier, Hungary-based Re:Down, follows exactly these methods, with the company rescuing and washing down – and then recycling the water used – using solar power in the factory and avoiding chemical processes at all costs.
The jacket doesn’t offer the best level of water-resistance, so we recommend taking an umbrella, but aside from that it’s an impressive, comfortable and comparatively affordable choice.
Key specs – Fill: 100% recycled down (80% down, 20% features); Outer: 100% recycled polyester
8. Haglöfs Floda Mimic Parka: Best puffer jacket for super-cold climes
Price when reviewed: £400 | Check price at Haglöfs
Founded in Sweden in 1914, Haglöfs has been making cold-proof gear ever since, and the Floda Mimic Parka is a great example of its work: this jacket is huge, plush and incredibly warm.
In truth, it might prove too warm for the majority, especially in urban areas; but if you feel the cold, or happen to spend hours standing still – maybe you’re a football manager, team coach, carol singer or a Dad on the sidelines – this jacket will change your life.
The outer shell is recycled, lightweight and tear-resistant Pertex Quantum, and it’s been treated with a DWR, so drizzle won’t be an issue. Filled with Mimic Gold, which emulates down but is water-resistant, it will keep you warm even if you do suffer a good soaking.
Available in True Black or Seaweed Green, you definitely get what you pay for – and we really appreciated the little extras. These include Polartec stretch cuffs for supreme comfort and cold sealing, deep pockets, a removable and adjustable hood and two huge zippered chest pockets.
Remember, though, this is a huge jacket; it won’t pack down or stash easily, so make sure you have space to store it. Or maybe just consider living in it and saving on your gas bill.
Key specs – Fill: 400g Mimic Gold; Weight: 1,680g (medium); Outer: Pertex Quantum, 100% recycled polyester with DWR