The 11 Best Men’s Insulated Jackets of 2021

Stay warm with these best insulated jackets

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A good insulated jacket is a must-have for pretty much anyone doing outdoor activities. Whether it's winter trekking or hiking, skiing, climbing, walking the dog, or going to the local pub, an insulated jacket is key. A good insulated jacket should be warm and lightweight. And it should be the right fit and size to wear as an outer layer or a mid-layer.

These are the best insulated jackets for the 2021-2022 season.

The Rundown
Cotopaxi’s Solazo is the quintessential puffy.
A synthetic-insulated jacket with the cozy feel of down, the Kelvin Lite was made for hunters.
It’s made from stretchy material that lets you move freely.
A no-frills synthetic-fill jacket made for everyday use and outdoor adventures.
This overshirt lined with sherpa features insulation for extra warmth and chest and waist pockets to carry your small things.
Possibly the lightest, fully-featured insulated layer made.
Made from polyester twill with Dakine’s waterproof, breathable laminate, the lightly insulated Reach is ready to shred.
The Kopak’s insulation is a blend of recycled Primaloft and fiber kapok tree seed pods.
This jacket was designed for fishing, but could really fit basically any outdoor activity.
This stylish shirt jacket from Prana also has some environmental chops.

Best Overall: Cotopaxi Men's Solazo Down Jacket

Cotopaxi Solazo Down Jacket
What We Like
  • Simple

  • Compressible

  • Fun colors and retro styling

What We Don't Like
  • No hood

  • One-way front zipper

Cotopaxi’s Solazo is the quintessential puffy. With wide, overstuffed baffles filled with responsibly sourced 650-fill down, the Solazo looks warm. And it is. It also feels great to wear. The ripstop shell was silky against my skin and the smooth fabric slid over anything I was wearing without balling up my sleeves or getting stuck. The shell is just as smooth and soft as the liner. The Solazo is treated with an eco-friendly DWR to repel light moisture. Glove-friendly, zippered hand pockets held my hat and gloves, or my phone and wallet.

The hand pocket zipper pulls are silicone-tipped for good grip even with gloves on. When it was really cold, I used the internal zippered chest pocket to keep my electronics warm. A small qualm? The chest pocket zipper has no zipper pull, so I had to take my gloves off to use it. A minimalist draft flap along the front zipper kept cold out. So did the drawcord waist. Elastic at the sleeves were snug without being tight. The sleeves slid over and under gloves.

I also loved the Solazo’s fun colors. In a world of too many black, navy, and red jackets, the Solazo mixes it up. Combined with its retro styling, it put a smile on my face every time I wore it. Sometimes that was on a mountain summit when I pulled it out of my pack so I could bundle up while I enjoyed the views. Sometimes that was grabbing takeout and meeting friends for a bonfire.

Sizes: XS to XXL | Insulation: 650-fill RDS down | Waterproofing: Eco-friendly DWR | Weight: N/A | Impact: RDS down and eco-friendly DWR

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Sitka Men's Kelvin Lite Down Jacket

Sitka Men's Kelvin Lite Down Jacket
What We Like
  • Hood fits snugly and didn’t block my view

  • Synthetic inside feels like down

What We Don't Like
  • Hood isn’t adjustable

  • Sleeves were hard to pull over gloves

A blended synthetic-down insulated jacket, the Kelvin Lite was made for hunters, which means it's tough. But it’s also good-looking enough to wear all the time, as it comes in colors other than camo. The hooded Kelvin Lite, which Sitka says is its mid-season, mid-warmth layer, has elasticized cuffs that kept the sleeves from riding up when I slipped on gloves.

The synthetic-down blend was warm even when it got wet. And the insulated neck came up high—past my chin, so when the jacket was fully zipped it sealed out wind and snow. This jacket is a great one to have in your pack all the time. And for storage, it packs into its own hand pocket. I wore it for hiking, walking, and layered it under a shell for skiing on cold days. The internal mesh chest pocket helped my body heat keep my phone warm so it didn’t die in the cold. 

Sizes: M to XXL | Insulation: 900-fill Primaloft Gold | Waterproofing: N/A | Weight: 1 pound, 1 ounce (men's size large) | Impact: N/A

Tested By TripSavvy

Montana-based Sitka Gear is known for making products tough enough to be used in the state's at times harsh conditions. And the Kelvin Lite fits into that mold. In a world increasingly full of highly packable and lightweight insulated jackets, the Kelvin Lite stands out for its simple warmth to weight ratio. I've been wearing this jacket during backyard dinners at home in southern California where the temperature can dip into the 40s as well as walking the dog and hikes in Colorado and the Midwest in temperatures in the 30s. It holds up in all of those conditions and looks equally appropriate on the trail as outdoor dining. — Nathan Allen, Outdoor Gear Editor

Most Versatile: Outdoor Research Men's Shadow Insulated Hoodie

Outdoor Research Men's Shadow Insulated Hoodie
What We Like
  • Stretchy

  • Thin and lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Thumb loops aren’t comfortable

  • Chin protector could be broader

It goes without saying that outdoor sports typically involve a lot of movement. But not every insulated jacket is so forgiving that movement feels totally natural. Outdoor Research’s Shadow Insulated Hoodie has a fit that’s non-binding without being baggy. It’s made from stretchy material that lets me move freely whether I was reaching for a hold or swinging my ski poles. 

It’s thin and light, with a storm-flap-covered center zip that came under my chin. The outer fabric could take a beating. It survived a thorny bushwhack and top roping at my local crag. While it’s not the only insulated jacket you’ll need this winter, it’s an awesome addition to any winter outdoorsman’s quiver.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: VericalX ECO SR 55 percent Repreve Recycled Polyester, 35 percent Sorona, 10 percent Polyester | Waterproofing: N/A | Weight: 1 pounds, 1 ounce | Impact: Bluesign approved, recycled insulation

Best Budget: Bass Outdoors Men's Glacier Hiking Jacket

Bass Outdoors Glacier Hiking Jacket
What We Like
  • Locking zipper

  • Spacious chest pocket

What We Don't Like
  • Cuffs let drafts in

  • No zipper pulls

Made by Bass, a 150-year-old brand based in Wilton, Maine, the Glacier Hiking Jacket is a no-frills synthetic-fill jacket made for everyday use and outdoor adventures. The water-resistant stretch fabric was exceptionally comfortable for snowball fights and trailside antics. The attached hood kept out wind and snow. Angled, fleece-lined pockets were easy to get into.

The jacket was notably heavier than other jackets we tested and it didn’t compress well, so it wasn’t the best coat for backpacking or fast and light missions. But added weight felt good—like a weighted blanket—when I wore it, and the bulk translated to warmth on day hikes and wanders in the woods.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: Not listed | Waterproofing: BDry and BWarm Tech| Weight: N/A | Impact: N/A

Best for Everyday: Picture Organic Men's Bemidji Jacket

Picture Organic Bemidji Jacket
What We Like
  • Sweater comfortable

  • Fun prints

What We Don't Like
  • No zip lets cold air in

Picture’s Sherpa fleece-lined shirt-jacket is a layer I reached for when I was setting out on a sunny morning to skin to the top of a mountain, when I was throwing the frisbee for my dog, and when I was meeting friends at the pub.

The snap front layer has a shirt collar and snap sleeves with zippered hand pockets, snap chest pockets, and an internal stuff pocket. It’s styled to be casual enough for every day, but the sweat-wicking lining and the wind-repelling shell were technical enough for hiking, skiing, and more. 

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: Sherpa Fleece | Waterproofing: N/A | Weight: 2 pounds, 11 ounces | Impact: Recycled polyester, PVC-free DWR, global recycled standard

Most Packable: Mountain Hardwear Men's Ghost Whisperer UL Hooded Down Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Men's Ghost Whisperer UL Hooded Down Jacket
What We Like
  • Extremely light and compressible

  • Superb warmth to weight ratio

  • Makes a great mid- or outer-layer

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • The shell fabric can snag

  • Wear it under a more protective layer for high contact activities that could tear it

Possibly the lightest, fully-featured insulated layer made, the Ghost Whisperer is for outdoor enthusiasts who want to go fast and light. There is no layer that has a better warmth-to-weight ratio. So, if you’re headed to conquer a new ice or rock route, you’re busting out dawn patrol laps and need a layer that won’t slow you down, or you’re lapping the lift line bell to bell, and want to stay warm without looking bulky, this is the jacket for you. The ultralight 5D and 7D ripstop Nylon, DWR-coated shell is silky for sliding under and over other layers. It has dual zippered hand pockets with elastic cuffs that won’t interfere with gloves, and that keep the sleeves from riding up. And when you’re not wearing it, it stuffs into its own pocket and takes up a grapefruit’s worth of space in your pack.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: 1000-fill Allied RDS-Certified Down | Weight: 6.7 ounces | Impact: Insulation is Bluesign approved

Best for Skiing: Dakine Reach Insulated 20K Jacket

Dakine Reach 20K Jacket
What We Like
  • Jacket is cut long

  • Sleeves are cut long

  • High, fleece-lined neck

What We Don't Like
  • Only one internal stash pocket

  • Powder skirt is not removable

Made from polyester twill with Dakine’s waterproof, breathable laminate, the lightly insulated Reach is ready to shred, whether you’re on the hill all day every day of the season, or carving it up when you can. Snowboard-styled, with a slightly longer cut, a pass pocket, media pocket with cord routing, and a powder skirt, the Reach walks the fine line between warm enough and not too warm.

And because of its generous cut, there’s always room to add layers underneath. A stretch mesh pocket on the inside stored my goggles and gloves and pit zips vented the jacket for spring skiing and riding. The hood slipped over my ski helmet on a blustery day. And the hem adjusted from a cord inside the hand pockets. Not a ton of men’s jackets have wrist gaiters. This one does, and they were awesome at keeping snow and cold out of the glove/jacket interface.

Sizes: S to XL | Insulation: Thermogreen | Waterproofing: 20K Waterproof / 20K Breathable Laminate | Weight: N/A | Impact: PFC-free DWR

Best for the Environment: La Sportiva Men's Kopak Hoody

La Sportiva Men's Kopak Hoody
What We Like
  • Durable

  • Uses a renewable plus recycled insulation

  • Helmet-compatible hood

What We Don't Like
  • One color only

  • Insulation isn’t as light as down

With a kapok/polyester fiber insulated quilted chest and back, and faux fur-lined softshell arms, sides, and waist, the Kopak was a superb skinning, running, and Nordic skiing layer. The Kopak’s insulation is a blend of recycled Primaloft and fiber kapok tree seed pods that grow in tropical Mexico, Central, and South America, and West Africa. This backcountry-focused ski jacket is tightly knitted to repel wind and moisture. It’s fully stretchy, so whether I was reaching up to swing a tool into the ice, or reaching down to buckle my boots, the jacket moved and stretched appropriately without riding up.

The fleecy neck zipped to just under my nose. And the hood fit under as well as over a helmet. There’s nothing gimmicky about this jacket. The insulated back was warm and protective when I wasn’t wearing a pack. And while the front and back insulation was thin, this jacket was perfect for high output activities. It also did an exceptional job of repelling water splashing off a not-quite-frozen waterfall ice route. It layered easily under a shell when it was really wet or windy. And the fabric was tough enough to get scraped by rocks and brush without tearing. 

Sizes: XS to XL | Insulation: Kapok and recycled polyester | Waterproofing: Stormfleece | Weight: 1 pound, 2.3 ounces | Impact: sustainably-harvested Kapok with recycled polyester, Recycled Fabrics, PFC-Free DWR coating, Bluesign Approved

Best Fishing: Orvis Men's Pro Insulated Hoodie

Orvis Men's Pro Insulated Hoodie
What We Like
  • Surprisingly warm

  • Not surprisingly built to stretch and move with the fly casting motion

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Don't let the superlative title fool you. This insulated hoodie from Orvis is just as good hunting trout as it is running, hiking, climbing, skiing, or whatever your cold-weather outdoor activity of choice might be. This jacket is incredibly warm and features 80 grams of PrimaLoft Gold Active insulation at the body, hood, and arms and 80 grams of Polartec Alpha insulation at the sides and underarms. It's held in place with a 20D super-stretchy ripstop nylon.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: 80 grams PrimaLoft Gold Active and 80 grams Polartec Alpha | Waterproofing: Some weather resistance | Weight: N/A | Impact: Insulation is partially made with recycled materials

Tested By TripSavvy

Growing up in Missouri, I faced an issue earning my fly fishing chops. The best time to fly fish for trout in Missouri is in the winter. It can also be incredibly cold in Missouri in the winter. Standing in spring-fed streams in 30-something degree weather wasn't always fun. The Orvis Pro Insulated Hoodie solves that issue when I return to Missouri in the winter to hunt trout. Heck, it solves it anywhere I go after trout. There are many pros to this jacket, like how warm yet lightweight it is as well as the super stretchy and moveable materials don't infringe on any casting motion. And while this jacket absolutely works on the river, it's also classy enough to wear in other more formal settings. I've been pairing it this winter with an outer shell to create a super protective—and warm—layering system while on the river. — Nathan Allen, Outdoor Gear Editor

Best Style: prAna Pinchot Shirt Jacket

Prana Pinchot Shirt Jacket
What We Like
  • Looks good

  • Very warm

  • Some eco-friendly practices

What We Don't Like
  • Not packable

The Pinchot Shirt Jacket from Prana checks the boxes many look for in a style-focused insulated shirt jacket. It's got 650-fill responsibly sourced down, a PFC-free durable water-repellent, and it's a bluesign-certified product. Besides that, it's simply a fun and warm shirt jacket with a soft and slick inner material that feels like being inside a sleeping bag. We also like that it has a zippered front when other shirt jackets might just be button-up.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: RDS certified 650-fill down | Waterproofing: Claims to be highly water-resistant with PFC-free DWR treatment | Weight: N/A | Impact: Bluesign certified and RDS certified down

Tested By TripSavvy

Anytime I need to look just a bit better than my typical outdoor-focused jackets, I immediately think of the Pinchot from Prana. It comes in four colors that are easy to match with layers underneath, pants, and shoes. And it's so incredibly warm. I like that there are multiple pockets for stashing items and that the only logo on the jacket is a very discreet "prAna" on the side. While this shirt jacket technically could be used on the uphill skin path or cold belays, we prefer this one for your outdoor dining or other more formal cold-weather gatherings. — Nathan Allen, Outdoor Gear Editor

Best Vest: Stio Men's Fernos Vest

Stio Fernos Vest
What We Like
  • Just 40 grams of insulation is enough to keep warm without weighing you down

  • Packable

  • Zip chest pocket

What We Don't Like
  • Not as warm as others available

The Fernos Vest from Jackson Hole-based Stio is built for cold-weather high-intensity pursuits. Its 40 grams of PeakFill Active Insulation is enough to keep you warm without overheating and slowing you down. And its 50D stretchy polyester outer is weatherproof with a durable water-repellent treatment. Its medium cut is ideal for layering underneath and a drop tail helps fend off any backsplash.

Sizes: S to XXL | Insulation: PeakFill Active Insulation (57 percent polyester and 43 percent recycled polyester) | Waterproofing: DWR treatment | Weight: 10 ounces | Impact: Made with some recycled materials

Tested By TripSavvy

At the risk of revealing my dorkiness, I love vests. Sure, they might look nerdy. But they're highly practical for cold-weather activities. When I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado more than a decade ago, I got an older Stio vest for frigid days running and skinning. It soon became one of the most important pieces in my cold-weather, high-intensity layering quiver. This Fernos Vest might be even better than the original Stio vest that made me appreciate the insulated vest despite its dad-like look. It simply does everything I look for in a vest and does it well. It's warm, allows a large range of motion, and the sleekness and stretchiness of it boost moveability, which I dig. — Nathan Allen, Outdoor Gear Editor

Final Verdict

Cotopaxi’s Solazo (view at Backcountry) takes top honors for the best insulated jacket because of its competitive prices, technical enough without being overbuilt for everyday use, it’s light on the planet, and it makes us smile every time we put it on. 

What to Look for in an Insulated Jacket

Fit

Buying an insulated jacket that fits well is key because insulation works by creating spaces that trap body heat. If a jacket is too big, your body will have a lot more space to warm up before you feel warm. If it’s too tight, some of the air spaces will be compressed, reducing the jacket’s warmth. 

Insulation

Most jacket insulation is down or synthetic. Down is usually lighter and more cozy feeling, but if it gets wet from sweat, rain, or melting snow, it loses its loft and loses its warmth. Some down is treated for water repellency. Most synthetics, whether polyester fleece or a polyester-based ball or strand insulation, are warm when wet, but they may not feel quite as luxurious to put on. Some jackets now combine down and synthetic insulations to harness the properties of both. And many brands are working on replicating the unique feel of down in a synthetic. 

Price

The warmer a jacket is for its weight, the more expensive it will be. Opt for higher fill power if you’re looking for a compressible jacket for technical missions. For everyday use, lower fill power down and bulkier synthetics can feel good even if they’re heavier. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What's the best way to wash and care for an insulated jacket?

    Most down and synthetic jackets can be washed on a delicate cycle in a standard washing machine and dried in the dryer. Use an insulation-specific detergent, like Nikwax Down Wash or Tech Wash. You may want to follow the wash cycle with a treatment to reinvigorate whatever waterproofing the jacket has, whether that’s a waterproof breathable membrane or DWR.
    Most of Nikwax’s technical fabrics washing products have a sister product for reinvigorating weather repellency. We like Nikwax products because they work and they’re eco-friendly. Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

  • How many grams of insulation should I look for?

    Don’t shop for a jacket based on grams of insulation. Down’s warmth is measured by fill power, while synthetic’s warmth is measured by grams. But other important factors, like whether a jacket has a membrane or a body heat reflective layer, or how the insulation is baffled can all influence warmth.
    Buy a jacket that matches the activities you’ll use it for. A mountaineering jacket and an around-town jacket may have the same warmth at drastically different weights and price points.

  • Are insulated jackets waterproof?

    Insulated jackets may or may not be waterproof. For high output activities, often a jacket without a waterproof membrane works best. For more sedentary activities, like sitting on a chair lift, a waterproof breathable membrane will better retain body heat. Most insulated jackets have a water-repelling DWR treatment on the outside. With wear, that coating will wear off, but it can be replaced with a wash-in treatment.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Berne Broudy has been reviewing hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, paddling, and other technical outdoor gear for more than 20 years for the most trusted publications.  

Methodology

Products were selected based on their performance in cold conditions being used for the activities they were designed for. Jackets in this review were tested in fall and winter weather in Vermont, New York, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Missouri, and Colorado. When possible, we chose new to market jackets, and jackets that are currently available. 

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