The Hunt: Insulated Jackets

Rounding up the best lightweight, down-free insulated jackets for winter and beyond.

Patagonia Eco Puff Jacket


  • 30Denier 100% recycled rip-stop poly shell
  • 100g Thermogreen polyester insulation (90% recycled)
  • Responsibly made in Vietnam

Best Price: $122.00 at Patagonia

KUIU Spindrift Jacket


  • 40Denier micro rip-stop poly shell
  • 80g Primaloft ONE insulation
  • Made in Canada

Best Price: $139.99 at KUIU

Sherpa Adventure Gear Ladakh Jacket


  • 100% recycled polyester shell
  • 40g Primaloft ECO insulation
  • Responsibly made in Nepal

Best Price: $159.95 at Campsaver

Wild Things Custom Insulight Jacket


  • Fully customizable
  • 100% water-resistant nylon shell (choose from 50Denier with DWR finish, 70Denier with Epic by Nextec’s encapsulation process or 70D textured nylon with DWR finish)
  • Primaloft Sport insulation (choose from 2oz. or 4oz.)
  • Made in USA

Best Price: $211.00 and up at Wild Things

Beyond Cache Jacket


  • 30Denier silicone encapsulated poly shell
  • Primaloft ONE insulation
  • Fully customizable size / fit
  • Made in USA

Best Price: $299.00 at Beyond

Ibex Wool Aire Hoody


  • 100% recycled nylon shell
  • 88% recycled / 12% new poly ripstop lining
  • 100g Australian Merino wool insulation (70g in the sleeves and hood)
  • Made in Canada

Best Price: $325.00 at Ibex

Finisterre Bora Jacket


  • Windproof and water-resistant 100% recycled / recyclable matte ripstop shell
  • 200g Primaloft Sport insulation (130g in the sleeves and hood)
  • Responsibly made in Portugal

Best Price: $352.81 at Finisterre

Arc’teryx Veilance Node IS Jacket


  • Cotton / nylon Gore-Tex shell
  • Coreloft insulation
  • Made in Canada

Best Price: $795.00 at C.H.C.M.

Got something you want hunted down? Send an email to brad[at]well-spent[dot]com

  • Brian

    Nicely done.

  • Mehmet

    A good list. Gosh, does Arcteryx ever look overpriced compared to those other offerings.

    You should do a down jacket/coat hunt next ;)

  • Chris

    Can someone explain to me why “down-free” is desirable?

  • Badi

    I have the Outdoor Research Neoplume jacket and I love it. I was wearing it in Chicago over Thanksgiving in 30 degree weather with nothing but a t-shirt underneath. Insulated jackets are weird because they are so light when you put them on you can’t believe they’d keep you warm, but they do an amazing job!

  • Yo Chi

    @Chris – Some people have ethical concerns over the sourcing of down, i.e.- whether or not it was plucked from live fowl, or just the fact that it comes from an animal. If that’s not a concern of yours, there are some other benefits to synthetic insulation as well. For instance, once down gets wet it quickly loses its loft and therefore its ability to insulate, whereas synthetic fills better retain their insulating properties when wet. This might not be a huge problem for most urban folks, but if you live someplace where it’s wet a considerable portion of the year then a synthetic fill jacket might actually be preferable.

    • Brad

      @Chris @Yo Chi – Some good points Yo Chi. Also, some people are allergic to down. Like me.

  • Gio

    KUIU, while a Canadian company, in fact manufactures all of their products in China now. I cannot comment on the treatment of workers or about the sustainability of the supply chain, as none of this information is available on the website.

    Unless a statement could be obtained about the manufacturing process from KUIU, they should probably be left off of this list.

  • Gio

    Oh, and American Apparel now carries a down jacket, but I’ve never seen one in stores, only on the website. Quality, I suspect, is probably the usual American Apparel hit (I have a hoodie from them that looks a week old after almost ten years of wear) or miss (pocket on my pocket T shirt fell off after a week)

    Price isn’t bad, and it’s reversible with a hood. $149

  • Gio

    @Brad – yes, but that was over a year ago. Per this blog post from October of this year, all of their lines are now made in China, at a Toray factory outside Shanghai:

    There has been push-back against them on hunting and archery forums as well, apparently given that KUIU built their initial reputation on being one of the few high-quality, medium-priced offerings made in North America.

    It’s annoying, but it is what it is.

    • Brad

      @Gio – That’s unfortunate. Post has been updated. Thanks for doing the legwork.

  • Gio

    @Brad – no worries. I sent an email to KUIU on the off-chance they manufactured their goods somewhat ‘responsibly’ – but if past experience is any indication, the email will be either ignored or answered with a brush-off like ‘we have good relationships with the factories’ etc.

  • Michael Boardman

    At Wild Things you can dial in the type and amount of insulation you desire. Now offering PrimaLoft SPORT, PrimaLoft ONE, and PrimaLoft ECCO in 2 and 4 ounce offerings.

  • Brad

    @Gio – Just received the following from KUIU:

    “The Spindrift Jacket is indeed made in Canada by Tamoda Apparel Manufacturing in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Transparency in his business model is one quality that KUIU founder, Jason Hairston, takes pride in, and he’s always willing to speak with anyone and everyone about KUIU at any chance he gets.”

  • KORN

    What a great list! Am always looking for down free jackets…since I have ethical concerns over the manufacturing of down…and it does not work well when wet. Great to see that some companies are now offering different weights on the primaloft. Thanks for the list!