We all love a good down jacket—they offer a ton of warmth in a featherweight package. But they’re inefficient when wet and you can look like the Michelin Man come to life. Admittedly, the newest down puffys have slimmer silhouettes and use more modern materials, but they still don’t cut a very stylish profile when strolling around town after a day on the slopes. Thankfully, there’s a new breed of outdoor jackets that are as fashionable as they are functional.
These hybrids mix old-school fibers, like wool and cellulose, with cutting-edge materials, like synthetic blends, that boast all the benefits of down with none of the negatives. Of course there’s still a time and place for your beloved puffers—just keep it to fast alpine adventures or treks when packability and lightness are required. If you’re trying to get style points, pick one of these 10 innovative jackets instead. They’re technical and handsome as hell.
These Outdoor Jackets Are the Best Alternatives to Puffers
1. Snow Peak Wool Fleece Jacket
Retro fleece jackets are coming back in style, and this furry number trumps synthetic competitors by being made entirely from wool. It can better react and respond to your body temperature. The fleecing is ultralight, but still maintains enough density to block gusts of wind. A high collar, full-front zipper, and roomy side pockets make this made-in-Japan jacket a winter staple.
2. Salewa Woolen Hoody
Thick and burly, this streamlined zip-up is made from structured wool blended with viscose—a cellulose made from wood fibers—that actually lends some added softness and breathability. A bit of synthetic polyester and elastane is mixed in so the textile gains durability and flexibility, along with better moisture control and temperature regulation. Two side zip pockets and a tailored hood with an elastic hem complete the look.
3. Prometheus Design Werx Beast Hoodie
This hoodie provides some classic alpine cachet with its late ’70s, early ’80s styling. It’s made from Polartec Shearling ThermalPro Retro Pile fleece, which is dense and substantial, keeping you warm in chilly temps. But it’s the attention to detail that’ll win you over. There are two internal stash pockets, two zippered hand pockets, and two zippered sleeve pockets—paired with loop panels so you can add your favorite patches—so storage isn’t an issue. The reinforced forearms/elbows, fitted hood with bill, and stealth thumbhole cuffs also add stylish functionality.
4. Oros Atmos Jacket
This thick and sturdy hoodie is filled with aerogel, NASA’s lightest, most advanced insulating technology (they use it to insulate spacecrafts). It’s 99.8 percent air, which is the magic behind insulation: All that trapped air circulates within the garment, containing your body heat. Aerogel also happens to be insanely light, flexible, and low-profile, so you’ve got all the warmth with none of the bulk. Long cuffs help keep drafts out, while a deep, snorkel-type hood gives you full-body cold coverage.
5. Filson Hyder Quilted Jac-Shirt
No one does classic-cool outdoor gear like Filson. The Hyder is surprisingly warm for its featherweight design. That’s because it’s filled with a special type of insulation. The ultralight-but-ultrawarm synthetic stuffing is eco-friendly, made using recycled water bottles, and similar to down in its breathability, toastiness, and ability to be compressed. The exterior of the jacket boasts a water-resistant dry-waxed shell for that signature Filson flair.
6. Amundsen Harvester Overshirt
Flash back to a fantastic ’70s vibe with this wide wale corduroy jacket. It may look retro, but it’s made from stretchy, water-resistant corduroy from renowned French textile mill Cosserat, and the fleece is sourced from fine Italian wool. The classic front-buttoned silhouette is timeless.
7. Fjällräven Skogsö Padded Jacket
One of the biggest downsides to wearing a puffy is how delicate they can be: You get limited protection from real-world hazards like sharp branches and rough rocks. But you don’t have to treat the Skogsö gently because it’s clad in Fjällräven’s legendary G-1000 fabric, a super-durable material that can also be treated with wax for long-term, hardwearing use. Stuffed with synthetic insulation and loaded with stormproof features, this jacket will get you through some of the roughest winter conditions.
8. Maloja Jakarm
The design of this reversible jacket is so novel yet so obvious you’ll wonder why all outdoor jackets aren’t like it. One side is color-blocked, boasting windproof nylon. Flip it inside out when hard rain or snow squalls roll in for protection against the elements. There’s a specialized GoreTex shell on the other side that’s entirely windproof, breathable, and water-repellent (rain beads right off).
9. Relwen Windzip Jacket
You’ll find yourself donning this casual jacket from Relwen for everything from quick errands to chilly nights on the town. The nylon/spandex blend shell has a bit of stretch while offering breathability and some water resistance. A double-layered, stand-up collar provides respite from chilly gusts and tricot-lined side pockets give icy hands a nice place to thaw out. Lycra trim at the cuffs and hems also help to seal out the cold.
10. Picture Horse Jkt
The eco-conscious materials used in this jacket include 100 percent recycled polyester and eco-friendly insulation. The body-mapped design has Polartec Power Stretch panels under the arms and around the shoulders for total freedom of movement, plus the outer shell boosts the insulation’s loft for maximum warmth. As far as outdoor jackets go, this hits the perfect balance: sporty yet sophisticated, fitted yet flexible.
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