Here in the UK an insulated jacket is a must-have. Even more so for dads for 3 core reasons:
- The amount of times we have to take our jackets on and off when we're out and about with the children is no less than a million. And having something light, flexible and effective makes this much easier.
- With children in toe, our temperature fluctuates constantly. One moment we're cold and snug in our jackets and the next we're lugging the pushchair up a flight of steps and we're dripping with sweat.
- We like to have a decent coat for those dog walks, 'get-your-baby-to-sleep' walks or just getting the family outdoors.
So what with insulated jackets being most dads jacket of choice these days, we've teamed up with Trekitt to bring you the ultimate buying guide so you can make the perfect choice. Here's what the experts say - and they are just that, experts - so be sure to browse their website.
Let's talk about Down Jackets
A down jacket is good for a range of temperatures. It all depends on the fill weight and fill power. The weight refers to the amount of down inside the jacket whilst the power measures the amount of space one ounce of down will occupy in cubic inches. The higher the fill power number the better the quality and the higher the loft. High fill power means the down can trap more air which provides greater warmth. A down jacket is suitable all year round and an insulating layer – whether it's down or fleece - should always be in your rucksack because when you stop you will chill off rapidly. The advantage of choosing down for your insulating layer is that it weighs very little and packs down really small.
If you’re a hill walker mountaineering or trekking in cold, unpredictable UK weather then something like a 190g, 800 fill power jacket is the goldilocks choice. Other things to look for are a PFC-DWR coating to the jacket’s outer which will keep light rain off, and hydrophobic down which will stop the down clumping in the damp, keeping you warm. And of course, ethically sourced European goose down that carries the responsible down standard logo.
You could wear a down jacket in the summer if you were at altitude and weren’t being active. For example, if you were sitting on the mountainside a down jacket would be a perfect choice.
Wearing a down jacket in the UK for winter walking isn’t practical. Once you get going you would overheat so you wouldn’t wear a down jacket if you’re active or doing high aerobic activity. However, they are handy if you’re at altitude and it’s worth carrying one for when you’re stopped. For example, if you’re having lunch, or administering first aid.
At Trekitt, we always hold by the mantra Bob Thomas at Contour Outdoor cooked up: ‘be bold start cold’. You’ll soon warm up.
You can wear a down jacket in the rain but if down gets wet it loses all of its insulative properties. Hydrophobic down absorbs less moisture and dries quicker than non-treated down but it’s still not waterproof. Think of it as an improvement on untreated down.
If you’re looking for a waterproof down jacket, then you’ll need a waterproof outer fabric and taped seams.
The big advantage of synthetic fill is that its thermal insulation is much less affected by the wet. You could go out and stick it in a river, submerge it and wring it out and it will keep you warm. Jackets with synthetic fill don’t absorb moisture because they are hydrophobic (water hating). Modern synthetics are getting very close to down in terms of weight and pack size, particularly the new blown synthetics.
Tierra Mens Belay 120 Hooded Jacket
- Soft, lightweight, thermoregulating and warm
- Featherlight, durable shell and lining
- Lofty, soft wool padding
- Fully adjustable hood, fits with or without helmet
- Two large hand pockets with microfleece lining
- One large alpine chest pocket
- Internal stowaway pocket
- Two-way front zip
- Elastics at sleeve hem
- Adjustable bottom hem
This jacket is ultra lightweight. You won't even know it's on, let alone in your pack. This really does make it a contender for our favourite here at Dadsnet.
It's made from recycled polyamide Ripstop weave with a PFC-free DWR (durable water repellent) which is a great option if you get caught in those showers.
Mountain Equipment Mens Earthrise Jacket
- 100% recycled Earthrise 20D outer fabric is lightweight and downproof, with PFC-Free DWR
- 143g (Size L) of recycled down with a minimum 700 fill power
- 100% recycled 20D lining fabric is soft and comfortable
- Stitched-through narrow baffle construction throughout
- YKK® moulded centre front zip with insulated rear baffle
- Two zipped hand warmer pockets and Napoleon chest pocket
- Elastane bound cuffs and adjustable dual tether hem drawcords
- Packs into hand pocket with twin karabiner carry loops
- Inner zipped security pocket
We love Mountain Equipment - JK, who tested this jacket out already swears they're the best on the market.
He tried this model and said that it only goes to prove him right even more so.
It's made with 100% recycled down fill and 100% recycled fabrics making it's footprint very sustainable, which is so important these days. Being down, it will lose performance if it gets wet, but for running around, dodging the rain clouds with the children, it's pretty perfect.
Montane Men's Icarus Jacket
- Articulated arms for high reach movement
- Pertex Quantum Eco outer fabric
- Primaloft Thermoplume
- Wind and water-resistant
- Two hand pockets
- Chest pocket
- Low profile cuffs
- Microfleece baffle construction
- Full-length YKK front zip with internal storm flap
- Insulated under-helmet hood
Montane is also a favourite of ours having reviewed the Axis last year and loving it.
The Icarus doesn't disappoint, especially for the price point. It's a little less flexible than the Axis we tested. But it's just so warm... It's better we take the insulation information straight from Trekitt with this one:
"205g of Primaloft Black Thermoplume made from 100% recycled materials. This excellent insulation from Primaloft is a jump forward in terms of synthetic insulation. Thermoplume Black Insulation offers the same thermal properties as 550FP down by using tiny silky tufts of synthetic fibres. In addition, thanks to the specific blend of water-resistant Primaloft fibres, it can deliver exceptional loft even in wet conditions."
The Montane Icarus is a solid choice for someone wanting to wear close to home or long walks with the family (or just on your own!)
Fjallraven Womens Exped Pack Down Hoody
- Lightweight and packable hooded down jacket for a wide range of winter activities.
- Perfect as an insulating layer on top of or under a shell jacket in cold conditions.
- Shell fabric and lining made from 100% recycled nylon.
- Padded with ethically produced down in stitched-through channels.
- Shoulders reinforced with synthetic padding (100% recycled polyester) to resist moisture and pressure.
- Comfortable hood adjusted with a yellow drawcord and leather tabs at the front, and an elastic drawcord at the back.
- Two-way front zipper with inside placket.
- Two hand pockets and one inside pocket, all zippered.
- Elastic binding on cuffs.
- Drawcord adjustment at hem.
- Front zipper and drawcords designed for easy repair.
- Fitted feminine cut.
- Packs into inside pocket.
If you're in the market for a jacket for your partner, or if you're a mum and you've found your way to Dadsnet... this is our favourite option.
It is more expensive but we found that the added detailing on the design was really strong and ultimately will be more appreciated by whoever's wearing it.
It packs into its own pocket, which is a cool feature and seeing as it packs down well, it can fit under the pushchair, in a bag or in the car without even really noticing it. A great jacket for running the children around, watching them on the sidelines at the weekend or any expeditions you can escape the kids to go on.
We love Trekitt at Dadsnet - it's not just because they stock so many brands giving you loads of choice but also because they really make the effort to assist you in buying the right item for you and your needs.
Their YouTube channel, podcast, product descriptions and customer service is all fantastic meaning when you're spending what is a significant amount of money, you know it's well spent.
(And on that point, a high-performing insulated jacket is 100% money well spent.)
But above everything, what we love most about Trekitt is their commitment to finding you more sustainable products. When you're looking around the website, have a look at the 'Greener Choice' range which are exactly that - greener choices meaning yuo can look good, stay warm and feel good about it.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions :)