Best Women’s Synthetic Down Jackets in 2021

Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

When it comes to staying warm in cold weather, one of the most important layers is an insulated jacket. In the past, I’ve relied on a down jacket as my primary warm winter layer. However, in 2019, I adopted a plant-based diet and have been trying to transition away from buying new gear that relies on animal products. The good news is today there are plenty of synthetic down jackets that are just as good (if not better) than the real thing, while being completely vegan and cruelty-free.

The best synthetic down jackets for outdoor women are lightweight, packable, comfortable, super warm, and ideally made from recycled materials. They’re also built to last through all your outdoor pursuits, and they’re even form-flattering so you won’t look like the Michelin man. A versatile addition to your cold-weather gear, synthetic down jackets are essential on cold winter hikes, underneath your ski jacket, when traveling in cold climates, and while relaxing by the campfire.

In this blog post, we’ve rounded up the best vegan-friendly lightweight women’s synthetic down jackets. We hope you find the best down-alternative jacket for your money that will keep you warm no matter where you’re going or what outdoor activity you’re pursuing!

Here are the best lightweight synthetic down jackets for outdoor women in 2021


Best Synthetic Down Jackets

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie

*Eco-Friendly* The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie is one of my favorite synthetic down jackets. It’s crafted from PrimaLoft™ Gold Insulation Eco, which is made from 55% post-consumer recycled material. It’s also water-repellent, highly compressible, and very warm for cold-weather hikes or as a warm layer underneath an outer shell. It also comes in a non-hooded version.

Here are some of the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie features: 

  • Weight: 10.8 ounces
  • Insulation: 60-g PrimaLoft Gold Eco 100%
  • Outer fabric made from recycled ripstop polyester
  • The front zipper has a wicking interior storm flap to keep moisture out
  • Hood is lightweight and designed to fit under a helmet
  • Price: $$
Patagonia Nanopuff Hoodie / Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: Patagonia / REI

Arc’teryx Atom LT Insulated Hoody

*Abrasion-resistant* A versatile synthetic down jacket that works great as a layer or as an outer shell, the Arc’teryx Atom LT Insulated Hoody is warm, breathable, and wind and rain resistant.

Thanks to the redesigned Tyono™ 20 face fabric, the Atom LT has an abrasion-resistant shell. Yep, abrasion-resistant – that means you can save that emergency duct tape for when you really need it because this synthetic down jacket is designed to stand up against scrapes and scratches in the backcountry. It contains synthetic materials that meet the Bluesign criteria, so you can feel good about wearing it.

Here are some of the Arc’teryx Atom LT Insulated Hoody features: 

  • Weight: 11.3 ounces
  • Insulation: 60g Coreloft Compact synthetic fibers
  • Treated with Durable Water Repellant
  • Dope Permeair™ 20 liner helps regulate temperatures 
  • Zippered hand and internal chest pockets
  • Price: $$$
Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody // Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: REI / Backcountry / evo

Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX Jacket

* USA-made & Ultralight* Enlightened Equipment makes super high-quality gear and their Women’s Torrid APEX Jacket is no outlier. It offers warmth, wind-resistance, and moisture-repellency all in one ultralight package. The Torrid APEX Jacket has elastic wrists and waist drawstrings to keep the cold out and the hood can be tightened with a shock cord.

For fit, the APEX synthetic down jacket is designed to be slightly oversized to accommodate layers and it has raglan-style sleeves which creates a wider underarm area to allow for maximum movement. You can even order a custom version of this jacket if you want a specific color or a hoodless version.

Here are some of the Women’s Torrid APEX Jacket features: 

  • Weight: Starting at 7.75 ounces
  • Insulation: Climashield APEX insulation
  • Wind-proof and water-resistant nylon shell
  • Zippered insulated handwarmer pockets
  • Made in the USA
  • Price: $$$
Enlightened Equipment Women's Torrid Apex Jacket // Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: Enlightened Equipment

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow Insulated Hoodie

*Eco-Friendly* The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow Insulated Hoodie is another ultra-lightweight packable women’s synthetic down jacket.

At less than 11 ounces, it really feels light as a feather so it’s a great women’s down jacket for backpacking. The entire jacket is made with 88% recycled materials and Mountain Hardwear is proud to say that production used 52% less water than that of similar styles from other brands in the industry.

Here are some of the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow Hoodie features: 

  • Weight: 10.5 ounces
  • Insulation: PrimaLoft® Silver Hi-Loft Ultra 80g synthetic insulation (made of 70% recycled materials)
  • Shell made with 100% recycled nylon with CZero PFC-free
  • Treated with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish
  • Packs down into its own pocket
  • Zippers made with 48% recycled materials
  • Price: $$
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow Jacket // Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: REI

REI Co-op Revelcloud Insulated Hoodie

*Budget-friendly* If you’re looking for a lightweight and packable synthetic down jacket that won’t break the bank, the REI Co-op Revelcloud Insulated Hoodie is a great choice. It’s specifically designed for cold-weather hiking and will keep you warm on chilly days out on the trail. When the sun starts to warm you up, simply stuff it into your pack or into its own pocket.

The outer shell is made from bluesign® approved ripstop recycled nylon treated with durable water repellent and the insulation is made from warm 60g polyester.

Here are some of the REI Co-op Revelcloud Insulated Hoodie features: 

  • Weight: Unspecified
  • Insulation: 60 g polyester insulation
  • Treated with Durable Water Repellent to resist moisture
  • Zippered pockets and chest pocket
  • Packs into its own lumbar pocket that can double as a pillow
  • Price: $$
REI Co-op Revelcloud Insulated Hoodie // Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: REI

Patagonia Radalie Insulated Jacket

*Eco-Friendly* The Patagonia Radalie Insulated Jacket is a great basic synthetic down jacket with a fun retro look. Designed with a sporty and flattering shape, its quilted shell is made from nylon and it is insulated with warm 150g Thermogreen® fill. The pockets, collar, and cuffs are all lined with a soft brushed liner for warmth and comfort.

True to Patagonia fashion, the Radalie Jacket contains recycled materials, many of which meet the bluesign® criteria. This jacket does run a bit small, so it’s not the best for wearing layers underneath. We recommend using it as a standalone jacket for cool days on the trail or out in town.

Here are some of the Patagonia Radalie Insulated Jacket features:

  • Weight: 15 ounces
  • Insulation: 150g Thermogreen® fill
  • Outer nylon shell treated with a durable water repellent (DWR)
  • Zippered handwarmer pockets and two chest pockets
  • Price: $$
Patagonia Radalie Jacket // Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: Patagonia / REI / Backcountry

Fjallraven Keb Padded Insulated Hoodie

If you’re looking for a stylish synthetic down jacket that can be worn on the trail as well as around town, the Fjallraven Keb Padded Insulated Hoodie might just be the one. While not super lightweight, it is warm and cozy and can be layered under an outer shell for wet or extra cold days. It’s perfect for easy hikes or staying warm around the campfire.

The fitted hood allows for one-handed adjustments and the 60g G-Loft Supreme synthetic fibers are made with recycled materials.

Here are some of the Fjallraven Keb Padded Insulated Hoodie features: 

  • Weight: 1 lb. 0.2 oz.
  • Insulation: 60g G-Loft Supreme synthetic fibers
  • Ripstop nylon fabric with durable water repellent (DWR) treatment
  • Elastic hand pockets and two additional pockets
  • Price: $$$
Fjallraven Keb Padded Insulated Hoodie // Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: REI

Patagonia Micro Puff Insulated Hoodie

*Ultralight Option* If weight is your #1 priority, the Patagonia Micro Puff Insulated Hoodie is your jacket. This synthetic down jacket weighs in at only 8 ounces and packs down super small yet still delivers on warmth. The lightweight outer Pertex® Quantum shell is windproof and treated with durable water repellant to keep rain and snow at bay while the quilted construction maintains warmth by trapping heat inside. It’s so well engineered that it was awarded Gear Of The Year by Outside Magazine in 2018.

If you’re looking for the ultimate lightweight and high-performing synthetic down jacket for hiking, backpacking, or travel this one is hard to beat.

Here are some of the Patagonia Micro Puff Insulated Hoodie features: 

  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Insulation: 65g PlumaFill polyester fibers
  • Shell treated with Durable Water Repellant to resist water
  • 2 layer waterproof nylon shell with sealed seams
  • Insulated hood
  • Pit zips for ventilation
  • Price: $$
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoodie // One of the best ultralight synthetic down jackets for women in 2021

Check price: Patagonia / REI / Backcountry

Columbia Women’s Three Forks Jacket

*Eco-friendly* Designed with stitch-free thermal bonding and heat-reflective technology, the Columbia Women’s Three Forks™ Jacket is a high-tech, high-performance synthetic down jacket that will match your needs for cold-weather activities.

The insulation is made from 100% recycled polyester that is lightweight and packable. It also packs down into its own interior pocket for trailside convenience.

Here are some of the Columbia Women’s Three Forks™ Jacket features: 

  • Weight: Unspecified
  • Insulation: Omni-Heat™ Synthetic Down 100% Recycled Polyester
  • Elastic binding at hood, cuffs, and hem
  • Packs down into its own pocket
  • Price: $$$
Columbia Three Forks Jacket // An eco friendly synthetic down jacket for women in 2021. Check out more lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: Columbia

Patagonia Macro Puff Hoody

*Extra-warm option* If you are looking for a synthetic down jacket that will keep you nice and warm in chilly winter temperatures and conditions, the Patagonia Women’s Macro Puff Hoody is a good option. This jacket provides more warmth than the ultralight Micro Puff and Nano Puff versions above, and because of that, it’s slightly heavier but still packable and light. It is pricey, but we think it’s worth it!

The Macro Puff is made with 100% recycled high-loft PlumaFill insulation that mimics real down without harming any animals and the shell is treated with a durable water repellent finish to ward off any precipitation. It also packs down into its own small pocket.

Here are some of the Patagonia Macro Puff Hoody features: 

  • Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Insulation: 100% recycled polyester, high-loft PlumaFill insulation
  • Ultralight recycled nylon ripstop shell is water-resistant, windproof, and treated with durable water repellent finish
  • Packs down into its own pocket
  • Price: $$$$
Patagonia Macro Puff Hoodie // Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

Check price: Patagonia / Backcountry


Down vs Synthetic Jackets: Why We Opt for Alternative Materials

You may have heard that goose or duck down is the superior material when it comes to warm, outdoor gear. Many jackets, sleeping bags, camp booties, and other gear essentials are filled with down insulation because it is warm, light, and packable.

However, here are Bearfoot Theory, we actually prefer synthetic down for several reasons. Here’s why:

1. Synthetic down is vegan-friendly and doesn’t harm animals

Down is produced in one of two ways. The first is by plucking live geese before they naturally molt, which is super painful for the animals. In other cases, geese are are killed, many after being force fed and fattened up for foie gras, with the feathers being a co-product.

I’ve made the switch to a plant-based diet, and since have learned about the ethical concerns around using animals to produce outdoor gear. As a result, in all of our new blog content, I will only be recommending vegan-friendly products that don’t cause animal suffering in their making.

2. Synthetic down doesn’t absorb moisture as rapidly as down

When down gets wet, its ability to keep you warm is drastically reduced. Some companies combat this by treating the jacket shell with a water-resistant coating, but this isn’t a fix-all solution.

Synthetic down jackets, on the other hand, perform much better in rain and snow and will continue to provide warmth even if damp or wet.

3. Synthetic down jackets dry faster than down

When down gets wet, it takes a long time for it to dry and the overall insulating properties of the jacket actually substantially decrease. On the other hand, when synthetic down gets wet, it dries out much faster without any long-term negative insulating effects.

Here are the best synthetic down jackets for women in 2021 including lightweight, packable, vegan-friendly down alternatives for cold temps.

4. Synthetic down can be more affordable

Down jackets can cost upwards of several hundred dollars while basic synthetic down jackets tend to be more affordable. Of course, some synthetic insulating down jackets like the Patagonia Macro Puff are still quite pricey, but they’re also as high-performing (if not more) than their down counterparts.

5. Synthetic down doesn’t aggravate allergies

For some people, down can aggravate allergies. This is because dust mites love to hide out in down feathers and they can provoke a number of allergy symptoms in some people including sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and more.

Switching to a synthetic down jacket can eliminate these allergy symptoms.

6. Many synthetic down jackets are made with recycled materials

We try to be as eco-conscious as we can and one of the best ways to support a more sustainable apparel industry is by buying products that utilize recycled materials (when you need new gear). Many synthetic down jackets like the Columbia Women’s Three Forks™ Jacket are made from post-consumer recycled fibers. Utilizing recycled materials prevents materials from going into a landfill and reduces the need to manufacture new fibers, which is often energy and water-intensive.

I hope this post on the best synthetic down jackets for women helps you find the best jacket for your favorite cold-weather activities! Maybe we’ve even convinced you that a synthetic vs down jacket is the best way to go 🙂


What’s your favorite synthetic down jacket and what activities do you wear it for? Tell us in the comments below!

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Written by Kristen Bor

Hey there! My name is Kristen, and this is my outdoor blog. I discovered the power of the outdoors in my 20s, at the time I needed it most. Now 15 years later, prioritizing that critical connection with nature continues to improve my life. My goal at Bearfoot Theory is to empower you with the tools and advice you need to responsibly get outside.

6 comments on “Best Women’s Synthetic Down Jackets in 2021

  1. How does the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody Puffy compare to the ARcteryx Atom LT synthetic hoody as far as warmth? I have the Patagonia jacket and love it, but it is really bulky. I’ve tried on the Atom but would like to know if it is comparable warmth to the Patagonia? Thanks.

  2. Super site! I am Loving it!! Will return once more. I’m taking your sustenance in addition. Thanks the best women heated jackets

  3. Very helpful. After watching an undercover video clip of the absolutely inhumane manner in which down is plucked from live geese, I can no longer buy down products. I learned that, despite claims to the contrary, most down comes from these facilities.

    So thank you, thank you!

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