Femme portant un manteau d'hiver

Winter Jackets: Down or Synthetic?

Also available in: French

When selecting a winter jacket among the vast selection available out there, sometimes a little guidance is well worth it. You’re no doubt looking for something warm (yet practical!) with a style that suits you. Should you choose a down-filled winter jacket or one made with synthetic materials? Here are a few things to consider to help you decide which one is right for you.

 

The 4 things to consider when shopping for your winter coat:

  1. The features of the down coat
  2. The features of the synthetic coat
  3. The criteria to consider when choosing a winter coat
  4. Maintenance

Shop our wide selection of winter coats and enjoy winter to the fullest this year!

Men’s Winter JacketsWomen’s Winter Jackets

Down-Filled Winter Jacket Features

Down is actually the plumage that grows under the feathers of geese and ducks. Its quality depends on the number on the tag, generally between 550 and 900. This indicates the volume and capacity to reshape after having been compressed. The higher the number, the better the quality. The more the down expands, the more warmth is provided.

  • Protection against the cold: high (with the condition that it not be wet, as it loses its insulating capacity when damp)
  • Compressibility and lightness: high
  • Care: frequency and delicacy required
  • Drying: slow
  • Activities: low-intensity activities, such as walking or light hiking.

 

Synthetic Winter Jacket Features

Synthetic insulation is designed for high-intensity activities, as it offers good breathability and dries quickly.

  • Protection against the cold: Moderate to good
  • Compressibility and lightness: Low
  • Care: Simple
  • Drying: Fast
  • Activities: High-intensity activities generating lots of perspiration

When should you choose a down-filled or synthetic winter jacket?

A down-filled winter jacket works well in cold and dry places, between physical activities in cold temps, on your way to go winter camping, when waiting for the bus, or when walking around town or the countryside.

A down jacket is lightweight and compact. You can easily put it in your bag when you get too hot, or take it out to wear so that you don’t get cold after an outdoor activity.

A synthetic winter jacket works well for jogging, snowshoeing or other moderate to high-intensity activities. Synthetic materials stay warm even when slightly compressed between your body and shell (outer layer).

Summary table: Winter jacket made of down VS. synthetic insulation

  Comparison Down-Filled Winter Jacket Synthetic Winter Jacket
  Pros  
  • Warmer than synthetic
  • Lightweight
  • Highly compressible
  • Durability that’s hard to beat if well maintained
  • Breathable
  • Moisture resistant
  • More economical
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easier to maintain
  Cons  
  • Longer dry time
  • Moisture retention
  • Not as warm when humid
  • Fragile so it requires more frequent
  • Expensive
  • Less warm
  • Less compressible than down
  • Less durable
  • Heavier

 

How to keep your synthetic winter jacket in good condition

Synthetic is easy to maintain—in hot or cold weather, lay it out in the sun for an hour and you’re done!

 

How to keep your down-filled winter jacket in good condition

For down, wearing your coat helps dry it slowly but surely. To accelerate the process, fill a water bottle with boiling water. Be careful not to burn yourself! Make sure the lid is closed tightly and roll it over your jacket. You’ll immediately see steam rising from the jacket. Do this for a few minutes. It also works on your down-filled sleeping bag.

Also available in: French