The best synthetic insulated jackets are a great alternative to down jackets, especially if you are concerned about the price. Compared to down jackets, these synthetics are more affordable. But at the same time, they can also provide exceptional value. They may not have a high warmth-to-weight ratio, but they compensate for their breathability and water resistance.
Of course, the process of finding a superb synthetic jacket isn't that straightforward. Several considerations have to be taken into account to guarantee that you are getting the ideal synthetic jacket that matches your expectations and desired uses. If you want to narrow down your choices right from the get-go, better check the following list.
|Arc'teryx Atom LT Insulated Jacket||Coreloft Compact polyester||Women’s|
|Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie||PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco polyester||Men’s|
|REI Co-op Norquest GTX Insulated Jacket||MidLoft polyester fiber||Men’s|
|Columbia Heavenly Hooded Insulated Jacket||Polyester synthetic||Women’s|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow Insulated Hoodie||PrimaLoft synthetic fibers||Women’s|
|The North Face ThermoBall Eco Insulated Jacket||ThermoBall recycled polyester||Men’s|
|Patagonia Nano-Air Light Insulated Hoodie||FullRange polyester||Men’s|
Versatility is one of the least things that people look for in synthetic or down jackets. But that doesn't mean that it isn't essential. The Arc'teryx Atom LT Insulated Jacket is among those few that lets you use it as a mid-layer or outer layer, depending on the external conditions. Its light insulation makes it ideal for lightweight backcountry trips. Meanwhile, air-permeable architecture lets you wear it during moderate-output adventures.
The supple Tyono 20 nylon shell of this jacket prevents its wearers from overheating. Since it has a durable water repellent finish, it can efficiently fend off moisture and light rain. Its durable Coreloft Compact 60 synthetic insulation guarantees decent thermal efficiency without compromising its loft. You'll also love the stretchable and breathable side panels of this jacket, enabling optimal ventilation and mobility. Even its collar is fully insulated to keep you warm and comfortable at all times.
One exciting feature of Patagonia Nano Puff is that you can double it as an insulated jacket or a micro-belay parka. Hence, you can conveniently use it on urban settings or trips toward the alpine and snowy regions. The jacket features a lightweight polyester ripstop shell with durable water repellent to prevent the elements from getting into your layers. Even the lining is made from the same material for added comfort and thermal control.
Meanwhile, its PrimaLoft Gold Insulation is crafted from post-consumer recycled materials. The said contents are water-repellent, packable, and retains insulation even wet. Therefore, the quality of Patagonia Nano Puff isn't just there to keep you warm and safe; it also adheres to the essence of sustainability and saving the Earth. Interestingly, the brick quilting patterns on its construction help stabilize its insulation and prevent the latter from being out of place. The jacket also utilizes a rugged thread on the quilts to ensure they can resist abrasion.
If you are constantly dealing with vertical waterfalls and heavy downpours, then you should seriously consider using the REI Co-op Norquest GTX Insulated Jacket. This unit has a fully seam-sealed construction, with the addition of a two-layer Gore-Tex fabric on top of its shell. As a result, it exudes absolute windproofing and water defense--but without compromising its overall breathability. Its 80-gram MidLoft polyester fiber insulation offers decent insulation minus the weight and bulk. It can keep things warm even if it gets wet.
There are pit zips installed on the Norquest GTX that let you discharge excess heat from your body if the weather gets sunny and bright. These vents are also useful whenever you want to wear a jacket while doing low-intensity activities. You'll find a brim on its hood that prevents the rain and snow from getting in your vision. You can also fine-tune the hood's fit, thanks to its double adjustment mechanism. Its cuff tabs have hook-and-loop closure to prevent the elements from coming in.
Once the temperature drops, women can rely on the warmth and comfort of the Columbia Heavenly Hooded Insulated Jacket. This gear features the use of Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology. It efficiently regulates your temperature so that you can remain warm even if the external conditions are already frigid. Such technology uses small silver dots that reflect the heat generated by your body back to you. Combined with its polyester synthetic down, it is not a surprise anymore why this jacket is among those that have the best insulating capabilities.
Of course, this unit has other ergonomics as well. For instance, its fleece-lined hood has a plush-like quality, as compared to its counterparts. The zippered hand pockets of this jacket allow you to stow your small essentials as safely as possible. Meanwhile, the cuffs have thumb holes to secure the sleeves and prevent them from moving around. With its drop-tail hem, your back gets the coverage that it needs.
It's not a new thing that many people prefer lightweight jackets over heavy ones. Well, if that's the case, then this women's jacket from Mountain Hardwear should be a deserving choice. It only weighs less than 12 ounces, which is extremely light--even among its class. But at the same time, this gear will not fail when it comes to warmth provision. After all, it has a body-mapped construction that utilizes the PrimaLoft synthetic insulation that provides maximum insulation and mobility.
The said insulation is also packable and breathable, with an extra perk that it is mostly recycled. On chilly days, this jacket works well as an outer layer. It is designed to cater to moderate backcountry pursuits such as backpacking and hiking. Its intuitive hood gives reliable protection against the weather, while its single-pull hem drawcord prevents the warmth from leaking out. There are also low-profile cuffs on the jacket that act as barriers against moisture cold air.
Compressibility and lightweight insulation are among the key features that The North Face ThermoBall Eco can provide to its users. It is also designed for environmentalists, as its insulation is manufactured from post-process content. Specifically, the ThermoBall recycled polyester offers premium quality; it is packable and retains warmth even if it gets wet. It doesn't add too much weight to the jacket, as the latter is only 15.2 ounces.
The North Face ThermoBall Eco includes a hem cinch cord and internal cuffs that prevent the entry of cold air and moisture. Because of these components, the jacket becomes an ideal gear for touring the snowy plains and frigid terrains. The jacket also provides sufficient storage space for your small belongings via its zippered chest pocket and hand pockets. Meanwhile, the packability of this jacket is one-of-a-kind. You can actually compress it down to the size that you'll be able to fit it inside a hand pocket.
The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Insulated Hoodie is crafted to tackle serious mountaineering pursuits. It features a reliable stretch as with the Nano-Air hoodie, but with more breathability. Admittedly, its insulation is just two-thirds of its cousin. Needless to say, it is still an impeccable jacket that you can use in frigid and damp conditions. The Patagonia Nano-Air Light has a light-yet-rugged ripstop nylon shell with durable water repellent for optimal outdoor performance. Meanwhile, its plain-weave nylon liner adds extra comfort to your body without limiting its mechanical stretch and ventilation.
The FullRange insulation of this jacket is capable of stretching so that it can distribute warmth evenly. The material is also water-resistant and provides superior air permeability as compared to other synthetic insulation. Its stretchable hood has an elastic binding for better comfort and fit.
It's not a secret that synthetic insulation is designed as an alternative to down. It is affordable and can perform even wet. Moreover, its ability to be water repellent is enduring. Overall, synthetic insulation has hassle-free maintenance; a simple slow wash can clean it.
However, keep in mind that the quality of synthetic insulated jackets isn't as good as top-caliber down, especially in the aspect of warmth-to-weight ratio, packability, and breathability. But at the same time, there are synthetic units that have gradually compensated for these minor insufficiencies.
In choosing a synthetic insulated jacket, the following considerations should be taken into account:
The first thing you need to consider when buying a synthetic unit is how warm it will make your body feel. In general, synthetics tend to weigh less than their down counterparts, but they also offer lower levels of warmth per ounce. This means that if you're looking for something with high warmth-to-weight ratios, then synthetics aren't going to cut it. But if you don't need to explore extremely cold environments, then these synthetic insulated jackets are worth buying.
The shell fabric used on most synthetic insulated jackets is made from polyester or nylon fibers. These fabrics are durable enough to withstand frequent washing without losing shape or strength. However, some manufacturers use other materials like hybrids which provide better moisture management properties. If you want to buy a waterproof synthetic jacket, look out for those using Gore-Tex technology.
Synthetic insulated jackets usually come equipped with either taped seams or welded seams. Taped seams are more common because they allow air to pass through them easily. On the other hand, welded seams prevent any kind of leakage by sealing off all openings. So if you plan to go hiking or camping where you might get caught up in heavy rainstorms, choose a jacket with welded seams. Otherwise, opt for a jacket with taped seams.
If you live somewhere hot, then you'll definitely appreciate having a jacket that allows heat to escape quickly. A great way to achieve this goal is to invest in a jacket with vents and zippers that let air circulate inside and outside. You may find yourself venturing further away from civilization, so you'd probably prefer a jacket that doesn't restrict airflow too much. That said, remember that ventilation holes could cause condensation buildup inside the jacket. Therefore, it is ideal that these vents can be locked or zipped to prevent the entry of the elements. Also, ensure that the zipper pulls are well secured. They shouldn't move around while wearing the jacket.
You should also assess the packability of the jacket, especially if you are going to take it on extended travels. You might need to squeeze them inside a suitcase, which is quite problematic if the jacket is quite bulky. Hence, always think first where you are going to use the gear. For international or interstate travels, I suggest that you select jackets that aren't that too difficult to carry.
The best synthetic insulated jackets can deliver optimal warmth and comfort in light to their users in light to moderate frigid environments. But at the same time, always remember that not every manufacturer makes quality products, so do your research before making a purchase.
That's it for now. If you have inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below!