Ah the puffy jacket… If you’re into the outdoors, the ‘puffy’ jacket AKA down jacket, may already be a staple part of your wardrobe. For the most part, we’ve been taught that down is necessary to stay warm outside and that there aren’t many options that come close to replicating it. Unfortunately, down is not vegan friendly as the feathers are plucked from geese and ducks. The down industry is actually quite an awful industry to support. If you want to educate yourself on the truth about down, I highly recommend reading this article. Fortunately, there are several cruelty-free down jacket alternatives that provide a similar warmth to weight ratio to the typical puffy jacket.

To cover the basics…

The reason why most typically opt for down insulation is not only due to its warmth but also its weight. Down is incredibly light which makes it convenient for just about any type of activity. An ongoing issue with down is that when it gets wet, its insulating properties essentially go to sh*t. This factor is a huge one to consider based on functionality alone as there are severe consequences to being wet and cold.

Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

There are several major companies out there that are RDS certified. According to the RDS website, “The Responsible Down Standard aims to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not been subjected to an unnecessary harm”. In order to be RDS certified, companies follow very strict rules in regards to sourcing their down. No live plucking, force feeding, or disrespect for the animals are just a few of the requirements for a RDS certification. Seems all well and good right? Personally, I don’t believe that responsibly sourced down makes it ok to purchase down jackets, click here for a summary as to why.

Down Jacket Alternatives

I’ve created a short list of cruelty-free down jacket alternatives that you can reference when you are on the hunt for your next insulated jacket. Here are my top picks for down alternatives: 

Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody

  The Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody is one of the best synthetic insulated jackets on the market. The Proton is lightweight, breathable, and extremely durable so you can go all out on your adventures without worrying  about ripping it (common problem with down jackets). Described as a ‘self-regulating’ system, the Proton LT Hoody passes sweat and heat through the material so and never leaves you feeling too hot or too cold.

The Northface Thermoball Super Hoody

The Northface Thermoball hoody is filled with 100% recycled polyester. It’s warm, water resistant, and actually mimics down efficiently. The Northface paired up with Primaloft to bring a  new technology to synthetic insulation. The Thermoball series has been a game changer to insulation.  

Patagonia Women’s Micro Puff® Jacket

One of the best parts of this jacket is its warm-when-wet feature. Unlike down which gets completely compromised when wet, this Pluma Filled alternative still provides the user warmth which is an added safety bonus. 

Marmot Women’s Avant Featherless Hoody

Equivalent to the warmth of a 700 fill power down, this jacket is super warm for those chilly mountain days outside. The insulation is 3M™ Thinsulate™ Recycled Featherless Insulation which is made with 75% recycled loose-fill fibers which still feels warm when wet. 

Arc’teryx Atom AR Hoody

The Arc’teryx Atom AR Hoody takes the cake for best down jacket alternative. What I love about the Atom AR is that you can wear it both as an outerlayer on warmer days and as a super warm midlayer on the chillier days. The Atom AR fits great underneath a shell and packs light, weighing in at 14.6 oz.