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Down jackets (also known as puffer jackets) are the best way to stay warm when traveling in winter. Fortunately for us, puffer jackets are having a moment this season.
From sporty to bold and colorful, find out the most stylish and practical options for your cold weather travels! Which will be the best down jacket for your trip?
Watch this Facebook Live where I compare four of my favorite down jackets!
Best Down Jacket
Table Of Contents
Packing for cold weather travel can be quite daunting especially if you want to travel carry-on only.
To help you make the most of your winter gear and limited luggage space, start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather
- Extreme Cold Weather Clothing Strategies
- The Secret to Packing Light in Winter
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
The key to wearing a puffer jacket and not resembling the “Michelin” man is to choose a flattering cut in a size that fits you. That is, unless you’re comfortable rocking the “oversized puffer jacket” trend, which might be tricky to wear on a plane seat.
Read this post to learn how to stay warm without looking like a snowman!
The biggest mistake women make in fashion is not wearing clothing that fits them. The best down jacket or other item of clothing is the ones that fits you well. Whether too big or too small, it’s important to purchase clothing that fits your body shape and height.
For example, if you’re under 5’3” shop brands with Petite sizes such as Asos, Top Shop, or Miss Selfridge. Those brands have Tall sizing as well while Asos, Target, and Nordstrom have extensive online Plus size collections.
Take a look at our list of best online shopping sites!
Don’t be afraid to try on different sizes until you get the right fit. And if the item is “just okay” then skip it and keep looking for the right piece. Don’t waste your money on clothes you’re not 100% happy with because you’ll never have “anything to wear”.
In addition, another way to ensure you avoid the “snowman” look is to choose your layers wisely. Avoid cotton fabrics and opt for synthetics and natural fibers when it’s cold.
Use merino wool or silk thermals underneath your clothing to create a warm base next to your skin and avoid piling on sweaters on top to keep you warm. You should only need no more than one or two layers in between your skin and your jacket if you wear thermals.
Find out how to choose the warmest thermals!
Don’t make the mistake of choosing the thickest puffer jacket thinking it will keep you warmer than a thin one. Just as with clothing, it’s all in the fabric.
Read this post on how to choose the best fabrics for travel!
Down jackets have a “fill” which is the material that insulates you and keeps you warm. The best down jacket styles have 100% feather fills and are also the least bulky. They also tend to be pricier, too, so if you choose a quality jacket, make sure it’s the perfect one.
You can save money by choosing a jacket that has a blend so it will be warm but moderately priced. On the low end, you can find a synthetic version and these are best if you plan to choose one with “trendy” details that may not last the test of time.
A solution to avoid a bulky look and create a more defined figure is to choose a belted style – a detail that’s currently on trend. These are the best down jacket styles for women that don’t want to lose their figure under a coat.
You can also add your own belt to the outside of the jacket to mimic this appearance without purchasing various puffer jackets. This usually works better with jackets that fall lower below your hips.
I have this belted red puffer jacket and it’s perfectly feminine and warm, too!
If possible, choose a down jacket that’s “packable”. This means that you can bundle it up into a small compression sack so it won’t take up too much space.
This is the best down jacket option for travel:
- Packable jackets tend to be thinner helping you avoid a bulky appearance
- What they lack in weight they make up for in warmth
- They save suitcase space
Saving suitcase space is particularly important if you’re going to a destination with varying temperature. It might be cold at night but sunny during the day so a packable down jacket is easy to store.
Use packing cubes to compress clothing and maximize space in your suitcase!
Headed to an extremely cold destination with sub zero temps? The best down jacket style is one that covers your backside, ideally falling to your knees.
If it’s going to be below freezing outside, warmth is essential so bring the best and add a belt to add definition if needed.
Pair a long coat with versatile, warm winter snow boots!
While inexpensive down jackets will work just fine for fashion purposes or moderately cold city travel, don’t skimp out when you’re headed outdoors.
If you’re planning a cold weather trekking, camping, or snow adventure then invest in a jacket that will keep you warm. Being cold when you spend the majority of the day outdoors and are in sub zero temperatures is not something to take lightly. In fact, it’s unsafe.
Look for specialty jackets that have natural fills, waterproof exteriors, and hoods. Don’t forget to bring your quality thermals on a trip like this, too!
I have the ultra-light and warm Columbia Turbodown shown above and love it! Get tons of compliments on the style, too.
Everyone seems to be talking about red puffer jackets at the moment (and I’m loving mine shown above). When it comes to adding some life into a basic, neutral travel wardrobe, colorful jackets are always the best.
If you’re traveling in cold weather, the majority of your pictures will most likely be outdoors and your jacket will be in every picture. Make it a good one.
If you’re hitting the slopes or going to a snowy destination colors like reds or blues look striking against the white backdrop.
In grey city skies, bold colors will also look good but do you really want to wear a sporty blue style in front of the Eiffel Tower or Buckingham palace? You may want to a opt for a colorful wool coat instead or a non-sporty puffer jacket in a neutral color.
Read this post for bold statement coats in non-puffer styles!
Ideally, you can own one down jacket that you can take on both outdoor adventures and wear to city destinations, too. These are two well balanced styles that fit the bill!
I recently got this one by Ibex and it’s extremely light, warm, and versatile!
Want the benefits of a puffer jacket but don’t like the idea of wearing one? Go for a non-traditional design with interesting details such as unique hardware or elegant collars.
Watch my Facebook Live to see me compare four of the best down jacket styles!
What do you think is the best down jacket for travel? Share your top pick in the comments below!
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For more tips on cold weather, please read:
- What to Wear in Cold Weather: Clothing, Gear, and Onion Strategy
- How to Pack for Cold Weather Like a Boss
- 10 Best Thermal Underwear for Women
- 5 Women’s Waterproof Boots you Won’t be Embarrassed to Wear this Winter