When the temperatures plunge past freezing, you know itâ€™s time to don a puffer jacket.
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A practical staple for winter weather that has experienced a revival in recent seasons, the puffer brings retro appeal, tons of warmth, and, with certain models, outdoor features that get you through the seasonâ€™s damp and cold conditions.
As you seek out the best menâ€™s puffer jacket, hereâ€™s what you should know.
The Best Menâ€™s Puffer Jackets
With the number of options out there, consider the following menâ€™s puffer jackets to stay warm without losing your sense of style:
The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket
Over the past few years, The North Face went from being the brand of basic bros and Beckys to a respected streetwear collaborator combining its technologies with its heritage designs and pushing boundaries with its Purple Label division.Â
Based on a 1996 silhouette, the Nuptse puffer jacket* brings together these aspects with an old-school look and advanced features meant to keep you warm, including high-loft baffling with down insulation, a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish and adjustable cuffs to keep out the elements, and a hood that can be stuffed into the collar.
Moncler Cevenne Down Jacket
With luxury fashion inspired by the outdoors, Moncler delivers on both fronts with this jacket – a garment-dyed shell in a distinctive salmon hue, packable hood, and down insulation.
Prada Re-Nylon Cropped Puffer Jacket
Prada helps advance sustainability within outdoor garments through its Re-Nylon puffer jacket. The fashion brand utilizes ocean plastic waste, transforming it into regenerated nylon yarn. The insulation features a mix of goose down and recycled synthetic insulation.
Marmot Stockholm Down Puffer Jacket
This Marmot menâ€™s puffer jacket* rests on the outdoor brandâ€™s history of innovation and delivers in this regard while providing a silhouette still built for everyday wear. The result feels lightweight yet warm, thanks to moisture-resistant 700-fill power down, and an adaptable zip-off hood.
Arc’teryx Cerium SV Down Hoodie
Among outdoor brands, Arcâ€™teryx is considered premium, and this hooded puffer jacket* definitely doesnâ€™t let casual wearers and hikers down in that regards. 850-fill power goose down provides a high degree of warmth for its weight, evenly and economically distributed through the Down Contour™ baffle structure and Down Composite Mapping™, while a DWR finish repels moisture from the exterior.
Columbia Pike Men’s Lake Hooded Jacket Coat
This Columbia menâ€™s puffer jacket* is a solid synthetic insulation option. Helping you stay warm is Columbiaâ€™s proprietary Thermarator insulation and Omni-Heat technology, which uses metallic material to reflect and hold onto body heat and breathable fabric to release moisture.
Patagonia Silent Water Repellent 700-Fill Power Down Shirt Jacket
This Patagonia menâ€™s puffer jacket* offers a greater degree of versatility with its slimmer silhouette. Yet, donâ€™t let that fool you. This puffer is still built for the outdoors, with a DWR finish, recycled 700-fill power down for warmth, fleece-lined pockets, and bluesignÂ®-approved fabric exterior.
Nike Sportswear Down-Fill Windrunner
Nikeâ€™s sportswear series has rested on its retro appeal without compromising its technical aspects. The Windrunner down puffer jacket*, as such, considers every day and more active pursuits through a mix of water resistance and windproof protection, down insulation for warmth, and close-fitting cuffs that further keep out the elements.
Madewell Quilted Puffer Jacket
Madewell expanded to menswear a few years ago, and now, its product line includes several high-quality basics, like this midweight, quilted puffer*. No, this isnâ€™t something youâ€™ll take out on the trails. Rather, itâ€™s a lighter-weight transitional-to-cool weather jacket utilizing synthetic PrimaLoftÂ® insulation constructed out of recycled plastic bottles and a durable polyamide exterior.Â
Canada Goose Expedition Parka
Canada Goose saw its streetwear stock soar a few years ago after collaborating with Drakeâ€™s OVO brand. Still, that degree of visibility didnâ€™t compromise its core mission, of crafting durable jackets for extreme temperatures.
You get that right off the bat in the Expedition Parka*, a menâ€™s puffer jacket with a fur hood. Canada Goose designed it for the scientists working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, and fulfilling its mission is down insulation, a multi-pocket design for storage, fleece lining in key places, a durable, water-resistant exterior, and Arctic TechÂ® for keeping the wearer dry in wet, below-zero conditions.
What is a Puffer Jacket?
Men’s puffer jackets have a distinctive shape and construction, characterized by baffling along the exterior, or, more specifically, pockets filled with insulation. Their design serves a two-fold purpose: one, to feel lightweight, rather than weigh you down, and second, to keep warmth close to your body.
Today, puffer jackets are insulated with two types of materials. Down insulation, extremely light and warm, and synthetic, a bit heavier but with a degree of water resistance.
Down insulation, while considered the gold standard here, can have a few downsides if you donâ€™t know what youâ€™re looking for. One, down by itself is hydrophilic â€“ meaning it draws in water. Out in wet, cold conditions, the jacket quickly loses its insulative properties unless it has been treated with a water-resistant finish, like DownTec.
As well, especially with more consumers caring about sourcing transparency, you want to ensure ducks and geese arenâ€™t being harmed in its production. In considering this, look for Global Traceable Down Standard sources, which indicate the insulation isnâ€™t from live-plucked birds.
With these factors out of the way, not all insulation properties are equal. Defining this is the down fill power, indicating its loft and measured by cubic inches per ounce. The higher the fill power, the greater the insulation it will provide. Typical puffer jackets tend to offer fill power between 450 and 900. If it has a lower number, the jacket may be better suited as a mid-layer, which weâ€™ll get to shortly.
As a note, synthetic insulation isnâ€™t listed in fill power. Rather, itâ€™s measured in grams, with men’s puffer jackets offering anywhere from 50g to 200g of insulation.
Further considering the jacketâ€™s resistance to the elements, youâ€™ll want to look at the baffling. If itâ€™s sewn through, thereâ€™s a greater risk of shifting and a lesser degree of warmth. Box baffling, meanwhile, adds down to each section, often considering where your body feels the greatest amount of cold and is more likely to lose heat. In turn, these types of men’s puffer jackets tend to allocate more insulation to the body and less to the arms, helping you stay warm without adding any additional bulk.
While weâ€™ve talked primarily about the insulation, the exterior is also important. Cheaper materials like polyester tend to snag and tear, exposing the down inside and essentially making the jacket useless. Sturdier nylon, meanwhile, provides a more reliable level of durability and is able to handle regular day-to-day wear and more extreme conditions.
Secondarily, particularly for winter, youâ€™ll want an exterior thatâ€™s at least water-resistant, if not using a GORE-TEX™ or other waterproof treatment to block out moisture from precipitation.
Buying a Menâ€™s Puffer Jacket
If youâ€™re thinking about buying a menâ€™s puffer jacket, ask yourself the following questions before making a purchase:
- Where will you be wearing it? Is it just for day-to-day, primarily in an urban environment, or will you be heading up the trails on a hike, including in subzero temperatures? The latter option requires more insulation and is also where the jacketâ€™s tech features come in handy.
- What kind of insulation better suits your needs? Down is more expensive, can involve a degree of animal cruelty if you donâ€™t do your research, and isnâ€™t water-resistant unless treated, but it offers more warmth at a lighter weight. Synthetic, meanwhile, feels heavier, is less packable, usually isnâ€™t made from a sustainable resource, but more reliably resists the elements, and is priced more affordably.
- How durable is the exterior? You donâ€™t want a puffer that rips after a couple of wears. The fabricâ€™s denier count indicates its durability, from very thin â€“ ideal for a mid-layer â€“ to tactical-level with 1,000-denier Cordura nylon.
- Will other aspects compromise its performance? Moisture can seep through zippers, seams, and pockets. Look for something with heat-sealed seams and a flap over the zipper to fully keep out the elements.
- With or without a hood? Ultimately, determine if you plan to wear the jacket as an outer garment, or if it will be a mid-layer beneath a shell. A hood is ideal if the puffer will be your default winter jacket, while it can get in the way if you intend it to be a mid-layer.