What's the best synthetic jacket for women? After thoroughly researching 60 different products, we purchased 10 of the best jackets on the market. During our testing period, we put each through the wringer, wearing them while climbing splitter cracks in the desert, running over rugged trails, and day hiking in a plethora of conditions. We wore each in the shower, stashed them into backpacks, clipped them to harnesses and froze our faces off while running in sub-zero temperatures. After evaluating each product, we've been able to select stand-out award winners, each suited for a different niche. A synthetic jacket is a crucial garment in any women's outdoor wardrobe, and we hope that our field-testing and objective research is helpful in the search for this critical addition to anybody's outdoor apparel collection.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Update - March 2018
As we cycle through the seasons, a synthetic jacket is an absolute necessity for any outdoor girl's wardrobe. Whether you're shopping in town or cross-country skiing, we've got the best recommendations. In this update, we've added new contenders and highlighted changes in existent reviews. This year we highlight new award winners and notable mentions to help you find the best insulated jacket for your needs.
Best Overall Synthetic Jacket
Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's
Featuring the best versatility of all synthetic insulated jackets out there, the Rab Xenon X has once again edged its way back on the podium, winning our Editors' Choice pick for the fourth year in a row! Boasting unique performance in the way of weather protection and a fantastic warmth to weight ratio, this jacket is our favorite for everything outdoors. Featuring a Pertex Quantum outer shell, it provides the best weather protection of any insulated model tested in this review. Pair it with a hardshell, and you'll stay warm in the wettest or snowiest conditions, with breathability as a trade-off. When wearing the jacket while commuting, hiking, climbing, and skiing, we noted its light and airy feel.
Outstanding weather protection
Lacks old comfort features
Not very breathable
We also love that it compresses to the size of a salami sandwich, stowing away easily for travel. The inner and outer fabric is slippery and smooth, providing great layering capabilities either above or under another jacket or shell. While we enjoyed all of these features, many of our testers didn't like its comparable fit, observing the boxy and somewhat unflattering style. That said, it's still our favorite for its unbeatable performance and versatility. Our testers loved taking it out through all four seasons. Many opted for it during expeditions because of its excellent warmth to weight ratio and its ability to protect and insulate in the face of mother nature's nastiest days.
Read review: Rab Xenon X
Best Bang for the Buck
Columbia Mighty Light Hooded Plush
While many insulated jackets may be hard on the wallet, the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush is a relatively inexpensive casual winter wear jacket. Retailing for just $130, this super cozy and stylish jacket that can be found at even lower sale prices online. With a 100% polyester ripstop shell and 80g of Omni-heat insulation, it protects well from rain and wind, while keeping you warm in temperatures that plunge into the negatives. In fact, this is the toastiest insulated jacket in our review! The 100% polyester lining features Omni-heat technology that makes layering easy. The fit is flattering (not boxy) and is long enough in the torso and arms for all body.
Cute and flattering design
Not compressible or light
Not super breathable
We love its cozy features that include a the fur-lined collar and cinch-able hood that kept us warm on cold and windy walks. Our only major caveat with this coat is its breathability and compressibility. While the insulation and shells keep in warmth, it doesn't allow moisture to leave quickly. It's also bulky and doesn't compress, making stowing a chore That said, its best use is for casual winter wear, not alpine excursions. If you're in the market for a decent jacket that's great for wearing around town or going to work - this Best Buy award winner is a no-brainer, and it's easy on the wallet.
Read review: Columbia Mighty Light Hooded Plush - Women's
Top Pick for Winter Recreation
Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody
The Arc'teryx Atom Proton AR Hoody - Women's stands out for its glorious balance of warmth and breathability. This Top Pick for Winter Recreation features 90-grams of Coreloft insulation that runs continuously throughout the body and arms and kept us warm in temperatures that dipped as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit. The shell is breathable and provides decent venting, keeping you warm while you move on the coldest days of the year. Its cute style with a selection of beautiful colors makes it a functional piece of winter wear that ranges from wear around town to frigid belays on your favorite ice climb.
Faulty and sticky zipper
Does not stuff into its pocket
The hood is helmet compatible with an easy-to-use one-pull adjustment that cinches around the back of your head. The gusseted wrists are glove-compatible and keep out the snow, while the collar is high and roomy, allowing you to hide away when the wind howls and the snow falls. While the fit is a little boxier than other contenders, it's a great option for those with a little belly. To top it off, the face fabric is slippery making it a great jacket to layer with a spacious shell or overtop lighter-weight jackets or layers. Our only caveat is the sticky zipper that had us frustrated for a few mornings. Aside from that, this Top Pick is great for winter use (not for warmer seasons) in some capacities. Its performance and craftsmanship stand out from the rest, preparing you for anything winter throws at you.
Read review: Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody - Women's
Top Pick for Alpine Adventures
Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody - Women's
As a well-rounded hybrid insulated jacket, the Arc'teryx Atom LT wins our Top Pick for Alpine Adventures for its exceptional balance of breathability and weather protection. Many of our testers claimed it was their favorite for style featuring a flattering design that will have you looking "mountain-chic". The Polartec power- stretch hard-face technology wicks away precipitation while the super breathable, stretchy fabric underneath the armpits provides great ventilation and mobility on the move. While the 60g/m3 of Coreloft insulation isn't the warmest out there, the fabric is smooth and sleek, providing great layering options both above a warm base layer or underneath a hard or softshell. We also like that it feels ultralight to wear and stuffs away into a backpack with ease (but not into its pouch or pocket).
Cute colors and style
Does not compress into its pocket or compression sack
No cinch around the face
Many of our longer-limbed testers favored the extra length in the arms but thought the torso was a tad short in comparison to other options out there. The gusseted wrists are compatible with winter gloves while the hood is helmet-compatible. While the ticket price is high, so is the value; it features some of the best craftsmanship on the market. This Top Pick wins because it kept us warm, dry, and comfortable through the three seasons of the Fall, Winter, and Spring while skiing, hiking, climbing, and more. We recommend it for all-year use. Take it with you while you hit the grocery store, commute to work, or ski tour in the backcountry.
Read review: Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody- Women's
Top Pick for Breathability
Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's
The Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's is our top recommendation for all aerobic activities. This insulated jacket is breathable and high quality. Be it a cold morning run in the winter or tower climbing in the fall. It keeps you warm when it's cold, cool when it's too hot and moves without a sound. It regulates through a wide range of temperatures, earning our Top Pick for Breathability. The outer and inner fabric is soft and smooth, but not the easiest to layer because of its tight-to-the skin design. That said, its a great option to layer underneath a shell.
Mobile fabric shell
Fitted and flattering
Not very wind resistance
Lacks a cinchable hood
Lacks compression pouch
While the fabric shell does a decent job wicking away moisture, it's not meant to withstand a wet-snow storm or a heavy downpour; it's not the most wind-resistant option out there. The fabric is super mobile, allowing any of its hosts to contort into positions mastered only by the best gymnasts. Ideal for use during winter aerobic sports or while wearing around any other time of the year, this technical piece is a must-have for those in search of a piece of gear that can keep warm and dry while you're on the move.
Read review: Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's
Top Pick for Lightweight Adventures
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody - Women's
Deserving a Top Pick, the Patagonia Micro Puff crushes the competition as an uber-lightweight and compressible insulated jacket. We were surprised by the amount of warmth it generates with its 65-grams of PlumaFill insulation. Of the lightweight jackets tested, it has the best warmth to weight ratio and provides decent breathability on the go.
Great warmth to weight ratio
Cute design and colors
Not super weather resistant
It's a perfect piece of gear for those in search of an insulated jacket that can pack down or compress for a backcountry overnight trip, and is a great additional layer or a wonderful stand-alone piece on warmer days. Our testers love its flattering baffle design and color choices that got a lot of kudos from other ladies on the street.
Analysis and Test Results
We tested 10 of the best women's synthetic jackets. In our testing period, we put each through the "stuff". Testing across the continent, we subjected each jacket to cold and blustery winter days that dipped down to -30 degrees! We took each on warm day hikes among rock spires and wore them while scaling cliffs in Utah. We wore these every day for months, handing them out to hard-charging women who provided valuable feedback over a plethora of conditions We even performed in-house objective tests to figure out differences in metrics like weight, compression, and breathability.
After our testing period, we scored each based on relative warmth, compression & weight, weather resistance, comfort, breathability, and style & fit. While all products did an excellent job as a functional synthetic jacket, we were able to figure out which jackets performed best for specific conditions, ultimately providing you with you great unbiased buying advice out there.
A look at our scoring rubric, so you have a good understanding of what each score means in this review. Keep in mind, the scoring is comparatively, looking at the differences between each jacket in this review (not everything out there).
When evaluating warmth, we took each jacket out into cold, blustery weather that dipped down into the negative double digits. We walked around, hiked, ran, and just stood around wearing similar layers under each coat to determine relative warmth differences. In the end, we learned a few things. First, that warmth in a cold-weather system is not just dependent on an insulated jacket, but that layering of base layers and mid layers is of the utmost importance. Any user can get away with wearing a thin jacket in cold weather if ample layers of the right materials are used.
We learned that jackets with a higher concentration of better quality insulation coupled with wind resistant fabrics did better than those without. We also noticed that products with a longer length and better cinching technology were much warmer than those without. While all jackets provided a decent amount of warmth, there are distinct differences between all contenders in this review.
The warmest contenders in this review included the Columbia Mighty Light Hooded Plush for its combination of 80-g of Omni-Heat insulation and 100% polyester triple ripstop face fabric. The longer length of both arms and torso with the cinching technology found in the hood and around the bottom of the jacket locked in warmth that was generated by body movement. When testing in - 30-degree weather, we can say this jacket will not keep you warm in these temperatures without the appropriate base layers. That said, it'll keep you warm on its own for a short period in the negative tens. We found that the Omni-Heat lining in the Columbia did the best job (in comparison to other jackets) at retaining core heat and keeping us warm on a cold winter walk in Northern Ontario. This jacket was given a nine out of ten in this metric.
In our testing, we layered using a single merino wool midweight base layer to truly determine the differences relative warmth.
In comparison, the Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody features 90-g of continuous Coreloft insulation throughout the body and arms that kept us warm (with appropriate layering) in temperatures that plummeted down to -15 degrees (Celsius). While there is more insulation in this jacket then the Columbia, our testers reported that the jacket isn't as long in the torso and the hood didn't cinch down as well, allowing heat to escape more readily. We also noticed this happening in the arms of the jacket due to the thinner and more breathability face fabrics used in the Proton AR Hoody. As a result, this jacket scored a comparative eight out of ten as we were left feeling a little colder than in the Columbia Mighty Lite jacket.
We were surprised that the Rab Xenon X provided enough warmth to keep us warm in - 15-degree weather. While the jacket is thinner than the Columbia or the Arc'teryx Proton AR, the lofty 60 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold Active provided generous warmth while the Pertex Quantum Nylon shell locked in heat generated from movement. When taking our winter walk in this cold Northern weather, we were at first much colder than when we were wearing the warmer jackets mentioned above. However, we started a jog, generating warmth within the jacket and pulled down the cinches on the hem of the jackets. Once we stopped, this warmth stayed with us for the remainder of the icy walk (roughly 20 minutes), keeping our core relatively warm. As a result, we'd recommend this jacket for colder weather when using an appropriate layering system, but not on its own.
The warmth performance of this jacket is comparable to the Black Diamond First Light Hoody. The Black Diamond instead features a more breathable shell designed for warmth during aerobic activities like Nordic or backcountry skiing. Other thinner jackets that scored lower in this review also had more breathable face fabrics or much less insulation.
Some jackets function best as a stand-alone piece that does better in the warmer seasons, or as an additional layer for skiing or hanging out around town in frigid conditions. For example; the Patagonia Micro Puff provided relatively more warmth and insulation than the Patagonia Nano Puff, which is surprising given its lighter nature. Both are great examples of jackets that have a slippery face fabric and easily fits underneath a shell or a heavier model in colder conditions. The North Face Thermoball Hoody also falls into this category, and we were surprised to learn that it provides even more warmth than the Micro Puff, with its fancy Thermoball technology that is claimed to the be "Better than down". Many of our testers liked using this piece for colder days in the winter and as a hiking option in the Fall.
The jacket that is the least warm of all is the super breathable Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody. An exceptional layer or stand-alone jacket in the warmer seasons, this is not a cold weather jacket due to its super breathable nature. That said, we loved wearing it during warmer winter runs or alpine tours in the backcountry.
Weight & Compression
A synthetic jacket is greatly benefitted by its ability to compress into the bottom of a backpack or its affinity to clip to something. Also, a jacket that shaves off the grams is effectively more versatile with a wider range of uses. As a result, we regard weight and compression as one of our most important metrics. To test each comparatively, we noted stow-away systems, relative weight (in grams), and compressed each until they couldn't compress anymore. We also took them on climbing and backpacking trips and stuffed them into all sorts of cracks and crevices. Jackets scoring the highest in this category feature a formal stow-away system, compress to about the size of a salami sandwich, and are so light we hardly notice it on.
If you're looking for the lightest and most compressible layer, the Patagonia Micro Puff is the best option out there! As our Top Pick, it weighs only 229 grams. It works great as a mid-layer in the winter or as a stand-alone piece during the winter months. Of all the contenders tested, it packs down the smallest and fits into the smallest cracks and crevices of any backpack. Additionally, it stows away into its left pocket and features a carabiner loop. This was especially useful as an extra layer at the crag or while wearing as mid-layer in -30 degree Celsius weather. We loved its relative weight to compression ratio so much that we gave this a perfect ten score, and is truly the best option if you're looking for a lightweight synthetic jacket.
Second in the running is the Rab Xenon X. This Editors' Choice award winner compresses just as small as the Patagonia Micro Puff and stows away nicely into its pocket. The most significant difference between the two is that the Rab is a little heavier (302 grams) than the Patagonia Micro Puff, thus scoring a nine out of ten in this category. The North Face Thermoball is also a lightweight option that does well in this category but scores a smidgen lower because of its higher weight (325 grams). All jacket options are great stand-alone layers in the warmer seasons and fantastic mid-layers in the cold of winter.
Jackets that feature a stow-away system include the following:
The Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody is one of the jackets that did well in this category despite it not having its stow-away system. The contender is thinner than most with a softer face fabric that doesn't make noise. While it doesn't compress down into its pocket, it still stows away nicely into the hood of the coat bring rated as the fifth most compressive contender tested. Also, it only weighs 317 grams, lighter than The North Face Thermoball Hoody, but heavier than the Rab Xenon X.
Other jackets with a more breathable face fabric didn't compress as well as those with a thin nylon-ripstop face fabric, though they still good job overall and perform well for their function. The Patagonia Nano Air (335 grams) and the Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody (420 grams) are still light for their purpose, but they don't compress very much, nor do they have a stow-away system. That said, they were not top choices if we were to embark on a lightweight mission. They were great for everyday wear, where stuffing them away wasn't necessary. The least compressive and heaviest jacket tested is the uber comfortable and warm Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush (408 grams)- trading off these performance features for weight and compression.
To assess this category, we designed tests that would measure each jacket's water resistance and its wind resistance. The chart shown here is the cumulative score of both water and wind resistance.
An insulated jacket does not serve as a substitute for a rain jacket or a hardshell, but many of the products that we reviewed are treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish. Thanks to the differences in fabric and stitching, each repelled water a little differently.
To test this metric in a specific head-to-head test, we wore each competitor in the shower with a cotton shirt underneath for about five minutes. The cotton shirt was a telltale sign of whether or not our skin (or layers in the field) would get wet. After that, we looked at the amount of water each piece retained by squeezing each coat and observing if there were any areas that "pooched up" from water accumulation. We also wore each in nasty conditions to see if our shower tests provided us with the correct data. In the end - it did.
The Rab Xenon X (Our Editors' Choice winner) once again performed shoulders above other products. Its Pertex Quantum face fabric repelled water even when we turned up the pressure; the fabric continued to bead the water and keep us dry. We were equally impressed with the The North Face ThermoBall, as when the material became wet, it held little to none of it. As a result, both are the fastest to dry in this review.
Have you ever been caught in a windstorm? Have you ever felt a polar wind cut through your jacket and chill you to your core until you wanted to curl up into a ball, trying to retain what little warmth you have? We have - over and over again. We consider wind resistance an important metric because any outdoor enthusiast will likely run into windy conditions. Jackets that are more wind-resistant are typically warmer than those without, but at the trade-off of breathability.
To test this metric, we wore each while hanging out at the tops of high mountains with just a single mid-weight base layer. We rode around on bikes to see which were the most impenetrable by the wind. During our tests, we learned that a few factors affected the wind resistance of a jacket. This includes the type and thickness of the face fabric. Contenders with more layers and/or a more solid outer shell that was less porous did better than those without. We learned that some face fabrics work better than others. Those with the least amount of airflow did the best in the weather resistance metric.
In this review, jackets that offered the best wind resistance featured a continuous, less breathable shell. Standing above the rest is the Rab Xenon X, which features a Pertex Quantum shell that resists wind the best models in this review. The only contender to do better is the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush, which has multiple layers that are thicker than most. Jackets with a nylon outer like the Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody, The North Face Thermoball Hoody, Patagonia Nano Puff, and Patagonia Micro Puff all have fairly wind resistant face fabrics. The scores differ due to the type of material and differences in the thickness of the fabric. For example, the Patagonia Micro Puff features a ripstop 100% nylon Quantum Pertex shell (similar to the Rab) that is surprisingly more wind-resistant than the Patagonia Nano Puff. Mostly because of the better quality (and less porous) fabric. However, the Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody has a more breathable face fabric than the Micro Puff, but it's more wind resistant because of the thickness of the layer.
Finally, it's important to note the more breathable products we tested scored lower in our wind resistance sub-metric. For example, the Outdoor Research Women's Ascendant Hoody is super breathable, but it is not the best piece to be caught in a windstorm because of its thinner fabric design and quilted shell. The Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody (Our Top Pick for Breathability) also isn't as wind-resistant as most jackets with a nylon ripstop outer, but its baselayers are a little thicker than the Ascendent Hoody making it more wind resistant open for those blustery days. The Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody has breathable, stretchy panels under the arms to allow more airflow, equating to less wind resistance. Of these three, the Patagonia Nano-Air provides the best wind resistance because its inner and outer layers are stacked together to hold their insulation in place, providing a double layer of protection, in comparison to the single layer found in the other jackets. This is one of the reasons it was selected as a Top Pick.
Comfort & Coziness
Looking to burrow down while the comforts of your coat surround your torso and face? In this metric, we look at the comfort and cozy features of each jacket. Think fur-lined collars, fleece-lined interiors, helmet compatibility and more! Contenders that scored the highest in this metric have the best features tested. These insulated synthetic jackets are ones that our testers didn't want to take off!
Our testers fell in love with the super cozy Columbia Mighty Lite Plush and the OR Women's Ascendant for their amazing features. The Columbia Mighty Lite features a fur-lined hood and collar that made burrowing down on cold days feel like wearing a fleece blanket. While this jacket is a little heavier and does not have a fully fleece-lined interior, our testers touted the OR Ascendant Hoody for its fully fleece lined interior and soft-shell fabric. Both are unique features that no other jackets exhibited. Both scored a nine out of ten in this metric.
All of the coats tested showed some affinity for helmet compatibility. Some, however, provided more room between the collar and body of the jacket. Some jackets like the Patagonia Nano Air and Arc'teryx models feature a garaged zipper, keeping metal of the face in frosty conditions. Take a look at the picture below to compare the helmet compatibility of each jacket tested.
All jackets had some features of coziness and comfort. Loftiness was a significant consideration here. In this realm, the loftiest jacket is the Rab Xenon X. Wearing it feels like slipping into a cozy and warm sleeping bag. While the Rab earned higher scores in this category in the past, it lost some points as the new model does not feature a fleece-lined collar (only a patch of fleece) anymore. Aside from that though, it's super cozy coat, scoring a seven out of ten in this metric.
Breathability is an important metric to consider so we can discuss if a jacket has the affinity to be used for exercise throughout the seasons. The more breathable options we tested typically have softer face fabrics or "breathable panels" that allow ample airflow in high sweat areas like under the arms or the back. A more breathable jacket is better for aerobic activities like hiking or running in cold weather, but sacrifice warmth and weather resistance as a trade-off.
Our Top Pick for Breathability is the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody. It features a quilted face fabric (1.5oz 30D 100% nylon ripstop) with a softer inner fabric (2oz 50D 100% nylon plain weave) that does an excellent job wicking and moving moisture out of the jacket. While this is our top pick, this jacket scores only a nine out of ten in this metric. In fact, the OR Ascendent is a more breathable jacket with a single layer that provides ample airflow. The only reason this jacket didn't win this Top Pick is simply because the Patagonia Nano-Air is a more versatile jacket suited for a broader range of seasons due to its better performance in other metrics. However, if you're in the market for the most breathable jacket that does wonderfully on cold winter runs or during a lazy hike, the OR Ascendent is a fantastic choice.
We were surprised by the breathability of the Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody. Wearing this jacket on an early morning winter run was a good choice. Our testers were surprised when the single base layer stayed relatively dry as the breathable Nylon ripstop shell provided ample airflow on this aerobic endeavor. As a result, we dubbed it a Top Pick for Winter Recreation as it's a tremendous wear-around-town piece and a perfect addition for colder aerobic exercise where you might want a thicker layer then the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody.
The least breathable contenders are those with a continuous nylon outer, loftier insulation, and thicker fabrics. For example, the Columbia Mighty Lite provides excellent warmth but does not allow moisture to escape easily, making it a fantastic wear-around town coat, but not remarkable for anything aerobic. The Rab Xenon X proved to be a little more breathable than the Columbia Mighty Lite because it features thinner fabrics, but the double layer of ripstop and nylon that locks in warmth so well does not allow air to escape readily, making it one of the least breathable jackets tested.
Style & Fit
As in many of the women's clothing reviews that we do here at OutdoorGearLab, style is a component of this review. We recognize that many women are looking for jackets that have a flattering and feminine fit that will accommodate the length of their torso and arms. When considering style, we look at the cut, baffle shapes, fun features (like fur!), stitching patterns, and fabric type. We also note the length of the arms and torso to help our longer-limbed ladies find a jacket that will actually fit them! We then compare and contrast each model to give you a tangible style and fit rating. Those with more stylish features and fit both short and long-limbed testers than those that did not have these features.
Many of the jackets provided different fits based on the body types testing them. In this metric, we used some different women to gain an opinion on each piece. Of all jackets tested, some of the most versatile pieces included the Rab Xenon X, Columbia Mighty Lite Hoody, OR Ascendent Hoody and The North Face Thermoball Hoody. All of these jackets feature a longer torso and arms that fit both our short and tall testers with a different type of fit. The other models in this review fit all of our shorter testers, but some of our taller testers mentioned that the arms and torso felt a little shorter than most. Be sure to check out each review to see an in-depth look at the fit for any jacket you're interested in. We would also recommend observing the photos below to see how fit compares with each insulated contender.
When looking at style, our testers all agreed that they love the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush for its cute features, feminine fit that hugs the hips, longer length, and chevron baffles that are flattering for all shapes and sizes. It also comes in cute colors!
Next, we all agreed that the Arc'teryx jackets offer a level of craftsmanship that is unrivaled by any other model. The Arc'teryx Atom LT features a continuous nylon face fabric and breathable arm panels that transition with different shapes of its primary color. This in addition to its flattering feminine cut had many of our testers eliciting "oooohs and awwws" whenever we pulled it out. The Arc'teryx Proton AR also features these same details (minus the breathable paneling), but the fit is a little boxier, accommodating those with a bit of belly or a larger chest more efficiently than the Atom LT. Both jackets feature the best colors of any jackets that most of our testers loved!
More technical pieces like the Patagonia Nano Air and OR Ascendent frequently elicited reactions like, "Oooooooh! It's so cute." Many of our testers liked the soft face fabric feel (others didn't) offered by the Patagonia Nano Air along with its brick baffling along the side of the torso. The OR Ascendent also has a soft face fabric but doesn't have any side baffling, and has a very basic design (thus scoring a little lower). Both have fabric that stretches to accommodate all shapes and sizes. The OR Ascendent has a longer torso and arms than the Patagonia Nano Air, fitting a wide range of body types.
With the many models on the market today, choosing the right jacket for your needs can be hard. Not only must you choose between synthetic or down insulation, but it is also important to consider what you require out of a jacket. Are you just simply looking for a jacket to around town in the winter? Or do you hope to find a multi-faceted piece that can perform during all seasons? We hope that this review will help to make your search easier. For even more information on purchasing the best jacket in this category, take a look at our Buying Advice article.
— Amber King
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for more info.