A quick guide to down filled puffer jackets in New Zealand

How do you decide which down puffer jacket will be the best option for keeping you warm this winter?

Last updated: 9 May 2023

Understanding puffer jackets: what is down?

Down is the light, fluffy undercoating that’s clustered beneath the feathers of a duck or goose. It helps protect them from the cold.

Many puffer jackets have down fill, and it provides an exceptional amount of warmth for minimal weight, is super comfortable, and compresses easily.

Down jackets are worn for warmth and to protect you against the wind, but they aren’t waterproof.

Understanding puffer jackets: what’s fill power?

You can measure the quality of down by taking note of the fill power – this is shown as a number on the sleeve of your puffer jacket, or on the label. It usually ranges between 550 and 800.

Fill power determines the loft or ‘fluffiness’ of down. It’s measured by a standardised lab test, where higher fill power reflects better quality down that’s capable of trapping more air to keep and providing a better warmth to weight ratio.

Fill power numbers help you decide which down jacket to choose for your outdoor plans.

A higher fill power puffer jacket doesn’t necessarily mean it will be warmer

A higher fill power number doesn’t automatically mean a jacket will be warmer - you should consider the thickness of the jacket too.

For example, a Kathmandu Heli Lightweight Down Jacket with 600 fill power and a XT Ultralight Down Jacket with 800 fill power have similar warmth. That’s because even though the Lightweight jacket has a lower fill power number, it has more down than the Ultralight.

Finding the best down jacket for you

Base your choice of down jacket on the main activity you want to use it for. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How warm and compressible do you want it to be? This is where the fill weight and power comes into play.
  • What will you use it for? Consider whether you need a jacket filled with water repellent down or not – that’s one which will take longer to absorb your moisture as you sweat and the water when you get caught in light rain.
  • How will you wear it? As a mid-layer under your rain shell or as an outer layer?

Now you’re all geared up with the knowledge, it’s time to get shopping. You can check out Kathmandu Puffer Jackets at the official Kathmandu Trade Me Store.

This promotional article has been provided to us by Kathmandu.

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