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The best puffer jackets you can buy

The best puffer jacket overall

The best puffer jackets you can buy

The best waterproof puffer jacket

The best waterproof puffer jacket
Why you'll love it: You could blast the Columbia Titanium OutDry Ex Gold Jacket with a hose and not a drop would get through, so just imagine how well it repels rain and snow.

I have worn my Columbia Sportswear OutDry ExGold Jacket in downpours, blizzards, and in howling winds, and it has yet to let a drop of precipitation seep through to my skin or a biting breeze chill my core beneath its rugged, seam-sealed exterior.

In fact, during one drizzly high altitude hike, when a fellow trekker even commented on how he had never seen anyone wear a puffer as an outer layer in the rain before, I proudly told him that my ExGold puffer was completely waterproof.

With that waterproofing thanks to the water-blocking exterior comes a bit less flexibility than you expect from a standard puffer, and while breathable, the OutDry fabric holds in a bit more excess heat and moisture than most puffers, so sweating can be an issue if you're exerting yourself while clad in this generally excellent coat. But that's a fine tradeoff for a jacket that keeps the rain, snow, and wind outside where it belongs.

The OutDry ExGold's narrow, evenly-spaced baffles provide good heat retention, while the 700 fill power down insulation is suitable for mild winter days with only a single base layer or for colder days with decent thermal gear underneath.

While itself waterproof, you can always wear this coat under an outer shell as part of your layering, though things are going to get mighty toasty that way if you're doing anything all that aerobic. I use my ExGold as a unique hybrid of shell and layering puffer that's perfect on cold but not frigid days or nights.

One Columbia Titanium OutDry ExGold Jacket owner put it perfectly when he said how "convenient" it was to "not have to worry about having two separate layers, one for stating warm and one for staying dry." A writer from Outdoor Gear Lab called the coat "completely waterproof" but did call it "lacking in warmth."

Pros: 100% waterproof exterior, external taped seams, durable baffle bonding

Cons: Not as warm as other puffers

Buy the Columbia Titanium OutDry ExGold Jacket for $250

The best ultra packable puffer jacket

The best ultra packable puffer jacket
Why you'll love it: The Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket weighs less than 12 ounces and packs down small enough to fit into the pocket of a pair of blue jeans.

To be honest, I'm not sure why you would want to pack your nice warm puffer down into the cramped pocket of your jeans, but a few months back I did indeed stuff my own Patagonia Nano Puff into the front left pocket of my pants just to see if I could. I also tried to get a few other puffers packed down that small and to no avail.

This coat really does pack down smaller than any other genuinely warm jacket I have ever seen. Now, that's partly true because it doesn't have a hood, while most similar coats do. But it's mostly the case because the Nano Puff is a thin, lightweight jacket.

Despite weighing only 11.9 ounces, it's pleasantly warm thanks to the 60-g PrimaLoft Gold insulation. PrimaLoft Gold is a synthetic insulation made from 55% recycled material and that mimics the performance of down save for one unique facet: It retains about 98% of its insulating ability even when wet. Of course, unless you fall in a lake while wearing your Nano Puff, that probably won't be an issue, as the shell is highly water repellent. The shell is also windproof.

I often wear this jacket over a T-shirt on cool days and am perfectly comfortable. With an additional layer, I'm warm enough even for winter weather. And while I sometimes miss the hood when the breeze picks up or the drizzle sets in, I actually choose this puffer on many days precisely because it doesn't have a hood and is more comfortable for casual wear for the hood's absence.

With nearly a hundred reviews posted on Patagonia's site at the time of this review, the Nano Puff enjoys a four-star rating. One shopper speaks for many when saying: "This jacket is perfect for all temperatures. I have gone snowboarding in this jacket and used it under my shell... and [it] has also kept me comfortable all the way up to the mid 60s."

A Gear Junkie write up called the Nano Puff a best-seller "for a reason: It packs, puffs, stuffs, and warms with remarkable versatility."

Pros: Extreme compressibility, comes in multiple colors, insulation made from 55% recycled materials

Cons: Some issues with stitching along baffles

Buy the Patagonia Nano Puff for $199

The best extra warm puffer jacket

The best extra warm puffer jacket
Why you'll love it: If you like being cold, don't get an REI Co-Op Magma 850 Down Hoodie, because with this thing on, you're not going to be cold. At all.

The REI Co-Op Magma 850 Down Hoodie is one seriously warm jacket. As in 850-fill-power, in case the name didn't tip you off. That's the highest fill power rating of any coat in this list, and when you feel the warmth within this goose down stuffed puffer, you'll know the company isn't just tossing around figures, either.

The large baffles near the chest and the tighter baffles down around the lower torso ensure a close but comfortable fit and create an extra warm pocket of air around your core. Worn as your only coat, this puffer will keep you comfortable even on frosty days. Worn under a shell, and it's ready for a high alpine expedition.

Speaking of which, if you're a serious hiker, climber, touring skier, you'll appreciate several thoughtful elements worked into this jacket, elements that will remind you that REI is a genuine outdoor gear company, not a clothing company that edged into the outdoor space.

For example, the stitching at the shoulders is moved forward to prevent chafing from backpack straps, while the pockets are positioned for easy access even while you wear a pack's waist belt. Also, gusseting under the armpit allows for a fuller range of motion, essential during activities ranging from climbing to skiing.

One REI shopper called the Magma 850 "a superb jacket across the boards," calling it "well constructed and comfortable to wear." Another called the coat the "best jacket [he has] ever owned," saying it is "extremely warm."

Note that a number of customers reported sizing issues, including the XL running too big and the L too trim, so be ready to exchange it before finding the right fit.

Pros: Extremely warm, ideal for use with hiking pack, good price for good quality

Cons: Some sizing issues

Buy the REI Co-Op Magma 850 Down Hoodie for $149.93

The best stylish puffer

The best stylish puffer
Why you'll love it: Depending on which color and pattern you choose, the Backcountry Silver Fork 750 Jacket looks as good as it feels.

Don't ever buy gear based on looks, people. Your body won't care how great you look as the hypothermia sets in because your jacket is too thin. And frankly, the kind of people you meet out there on mountain trails won't care much, either. But hey, if you can find a piece of kit that works well and looks great, why not?

And for moderately cold days or when used as a layering piece, that's what you'll get with the Backcountry Silver Fork 750 Jacket.

The Silver Fork 750 has a slim cut and low profile baffles that minimize the puffiness of this puffer coat, making for more subtlety than you get with similar garments while still providing plenty of warmth thanks to the 750-fill goose down insulation. Th down is from sustainable and responsibly sourced from good old Allied Feather and Down.

While suitable for city wear, this jacket is indeed a piece of technical gear. It has large zipper pulls you can grasp with gloves, a water-resistant exterior, elastic cuffs, an adjustable hood and hem, and it packs into its own chest pocket for storage. The side pockets are warm and spacious, and there's a generously sized internal zip pocket as well.

One Backcountry shopper called the Silver Fork 750 "so warm" and perfect as an "outer layer" on "those sunny and cold days" and a "mid layer with a shell over it" for frigid and snowy days.

Truth be told, I've only worn my Silver Fork 750 on cold but sunny days just like the customer I quoted, but it has been plenty warm and comfortable with nothing more than a T-shirt underneath, and it looks right at home on top of a pair of dark jeans.

Also, full disclosure, I'm wearing it right now in my office as I type these words. Seriously, I am. Just striving for the true experience as I review. And yes, it's way too warm for indoor warmth. Time to layer down!

Pros: Stylish patterns and cut, sustainably sourced materials, large pockets

Cons: Rather expensive option

Buy the Backcountry Silver Fork 750 Down Jacket for $202.46

The best ultra light puffer

The best ultra light puffer
Why you'll love it: The Outdoor Vitals StormLoft Ultralight Down Jacket is rated at an 800+ fill power but weighs just 10 ounces.

So you want to stay warm in subzero temperatures, but you don't want to add more than 10 ounces to your gear weight? Then I've got a puffer you should meet. And in fact, meet is accurate, as the Outdoor Vitals StormLoft Ultralight Down Jacket is brand new on the market.

It lives up to the Outdoor Vitals mantra of "live ultralight" by weighing 10 ounces and lives up to the needs of the outdoorsman by packing an 800+ fill power insulation into that crazy light package. That's about the highest warmth-to-weight ratio you're going to find, which helps make the $179 price tag seem like quite a deal, really.

Beyond the low weight, high warmth of it all, nothing sets the StormLoft Ultralight apart from the pack, exactly, but having worn the coat myself on multiple outings, I can say there are no real drawbacks to point out, either. It has an adjustable hood and hem, thumb loops in the elasticized cuffs, and it blocks the wind and resists water.

The jacket is so new that if there are any issues, they may come out later, but for now, this is one ultra light packable puffer I'm glad to have at the ready for when every once matters.

Because of how new it is, customer Outdoor Vitals jacket reviews are hard to come by. But at least one other professional gear tester out there is on board with this puffer: The product reviewer from Sintax77 called it extremely warm and packable, and even affordable.

Pros: Very lightweight, thumb loops in cuffs, packs into its own pocket

Cons: Not yet tested by time

Buy the Outdoor Vitals StormLoft Ultralight Down Jacket for $179.97

Check out our guide to the best winter coats for men

Check out our guide to the best winter coats for men
The best winter coats for men

A good winter coat will keep you warm and dry even when the snow is falling and the wind is howling. A great winter coat will keep you warm, dry, and looking good, too.

Here are the best men's winter coats you can buy:

Check out more of the best winter gear on Insider Picks

Check out more of the best winter gear on Insider Picks
The best beanies you can buy

The word "beanie" is kind of one of those catch-alls that encompasses a ton of different styles, from slouchy cuts to ultra-fitted ones with a variety of embellishments and fabric variations. The sheer number of options is overwhelming. After all, when you can buy a beanie anywhere, how do you narrow it down?

You could do a ton of research on the topic. Or you can read on for our top five favorite picks for men and women from around the Internet.

Here are the best beanies you can buy:

The best places to buy scarves online

Your choice of scarf can make or break your comfort level in the wintertime. Opt for one that's wooly and warm and you'll be toasty. Choose a too-thin fabric and you, well, won't. Scarves are also a great opportunity to infuse a bit of personality into your winter wardrobe. And when you get bored of your outerwear, you can always pick a new scarf to mix things up.

These five brands are your best bet for warm, attractive options that will keep you cozy all winter long.

Here are the best places to buy scarves:

The best thermal gloves you can buy

A good pair of thermal gloves can make all the difference on a cold winter day. We did the research to find the best thermal gloves you can buy to keep your hands nice and toasty for the rest of this winter and for many more winters to come.

Here are the best gloves you can buy:

The best places to buy winter hats for men, women, and children

Your body loses a significant portion of its heat through your head, so keep yourself warm this winter with a great winter hat.

The winter hat makers we're featuring today offer hats in myriad styles, so once you've narrowed down the type of winter cap you need, you should be able to find several fine options from each brand.

Here are the best places to buy winter hats:

The best mittens you can buy

Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves, so if it's cold where you live, work, or play, slip a pair on and keep the chill out.

Yes, you will lose a measure of dexterity when choosing mittens versus gloves. But you won't risk losing a finger to frostbite, or simple suffering from frigid digits, to be a bit less dramatic. Today we've lined up some of the best mittens on the market, including mittens for babies, kids, adults, and some specialty pairs, too.

Here are the best mittens you can buy:

The best snow pants you can buy for men, women, and kids

Make the most of that winter wonderland this year by keeping yourself warm and dry with well-made snow pants when you're skiing, sledding, or generally romping about in the snow.

Here are the best snow pants you can buy:

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