Are you looking to buy the best men's synthetic or down insulated jacket in 2021? We've researched and reviewed plenty to list the best based on quality, affordability and performance. Whether you are looking for the warmest possible jacket available to keep you comfortable in the most indifferent temperatures, a lightweight and stretchy active layer, we have you covered with some excellent and affordable recommendations.
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In terms of insulation, human technology has not yet mastered a like-for-like synthetic alternative to down. So there are still some negatives to synthetic insulation compared to it. However, there are also some benefits to using synthetic insulation jackets over down.
Down on its own doesn't have a natural ability to repel water. So, when a jacket gets wet, it will clump together, losing its loft, and failing to trap warm air inside. However, synthetic insulation won't collapse when wet to the same extent as down; therefore, you can still count on some insulation level in wet conditions.
However, it is now possible to treat down with a solution that gives it hydrophobic properties, so it's hard to say outright that synthetics are better in wet weather than down!
The best down jackets strike a perfect balance between warmth, weight, breathability and packability. A good quality down-filled jacket will also have a long lifespan and ideally won't cost you an arm and a leg either. Down jackets do struggle in the wet weather though, unless encapsulated in a waterproof shell.
What call down, is itself is a layer of fine feathers found under the more rigid outer feathers found on ducks and geese—the best down insulation is goose down as it's more thermally efficient than duck down. As a result of this, a goose down jacket is usually more expensive to buy.
If you're looking to buy a down jacket, it's worth checking the fill power when measuring down insulation quality. The higher the number in the fill, the better the quality. The best down jackets have a fill power of over 750. Premium jackets will have a fill power approaching 1000. The best down jackets usually have a box wall baffle construction to lower the risk of heat escaping through any stitching.
Plucking a helpless goose/duck of their lovely insulating down isn't a very nice thing to do. Fortunately, many reputable outdoor brands take measures to ensure that the down fill used has been sourced responsibly.
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