While down insulation nonetheless owns the sphere for thru-hiking jackets, synthetic-filled layers are making a dent within the class. As artificial applied sciences change into extra eco-friendly and enhance their warmth-to-weight ratio, the efficiency hole between down and artificial will proceed to shrink. Since synthetics are much more reasonably priced and keep insulating properties even when moist, they change into extra interesting with every passing yr.

In contrast to down puffies, you’ll be able to put on the most effective artificial backpacking jackets each on-trail and in camp. Many fashions are constructed with breathable, wicking supplies within the face material, lining, and insulation, permitting the wearer to make use of it as a breathable mid-layer with out drowning in a puddle of sweat and decimating the insulating properties.

Finest Artificial Jackets for Backpacking: Fast Navigation

Enlightened Tools Torrid Apex Jacket | Finest General
Patagonia Micro Puff | Finest Patagonia Artificial Jacket
Arc’teryx Atom LT | Most Sturdy
Decathlon Forclaz MT100 | Finest Price range
Rab Xenair | Finest Lively Layer
Arc’teryx Proton LT | Most Breathable
Patagonia Nano Puff | Most Sustainable
Montbell Thermawrap | Finest Totally-Featured Ultralight

Forms of Artificial Insulation

You’ve acquired three choices: blown-in, steady filament, and short-staple.

Blown-in insulation, like PrimaLoft Thermoplume, is featherlike and feels most just like genuine down however typically is much less sturdy and never as heat when moist in comparison with the competitors.

Steady filament insulation, like Climashield Apex, consists of a single lengthy, steady fiber coiled over on itself. Steady filament is essentially the most sturdy kind of insulation. It doesn’t clump or migrate readily, is comparatively compressible, and has enduring loft.

Lastly, short-staple insulation consists of a number of brief, interlocking fibers. It’s initially loftier and extra compressible than steady filament. Nonetheless, loft tends to decrease extra quickly over time as a result of it’s also much less sturdy than steady filament.

Specs to Look For within the Finest Artificial Jackets for Backpacking

Weight: Underneath 16 ounces
Match: A medium match is your finest wager for this layer. You need to be capable to match a base layer and/or a fleece layer beneath and a shell on high. It’s frequent to hike / be energetic in an artificial jacket, so make sure you’ll be able to transfer freely within the garment and that the shoulders don’t prohibit your vary of movement.
Hood: Provides vital heat to any jacket but in addition makes it heavier and costlier. If you happen to go for a hood, it ought to have a drawcord adjustment so you’ll be able to cinch it right down to shut out drafts.
Shell Cloth: A sturdy, DWR-treated shell is perfect, as are bolstered cuffs and hem.
Options: At the least two hip pockets, which ought to be positioned excessive sufficient to be accessible beneath a hip belt. Search for a mannequin with a form-fitting hood that received’t eradicate your peripheral imaginative and prescient.

Notice: This checklist is A) not so as and B) will proceed to evolve as extra merchandise are launched and examined. Product weights are primarily based on measurement medium until in any other case specified.

-Maggie Slepian

Finest Artificial Jackets for Backpacking of 2024

Enlightened Tools Torrid Apex Jacket Males’s | Ladies’s (Finest General)
MSRP: $200
Weight: 8.8 ounces males’s | 8.3 ounces girls’s*
Fill: Climashield Apex artificial insulation
Measurement vary: XS – XXXL

Finest artificial jackets for backpacking: Enlightened Tools Torrid Apex.

*Weight primarily based on measurement medium hooded jacket with normal torso size and 10D inside and outer material

Enlightened Tools dialed down the ounces whereas nonetheless packing this jacket with sufficient artificial insulation to make it comparable in heat to down fashions just like the Patagonia Down Sweater and the Outside Analysis Transcendent Hoody, each of which I’ve taken on many chilly journeys. This jacket weighs a number of ounces lower than my down-insulated jackets whereas nonetheless sustaining heat when damp.

The Torrid Apex matches true to measurement whereas being roomy sufficient for layering beneath and comes with two zippered hand pockets, a excessive collar, and a deep hood. The face material is rugged and has a DWR end. The Torrid Apex clocks in with the best warmth-to-weight ratio on this checklist. – Maggie Slepian

Learn our evaluation of the Enlightened Tools Torrid Apex jacket.

Supplies and Options

Heat, ultralight, reasonably priced, customizable, US-made—this jacket has lots going for it. Ultralight (2 oz. per sq. yard) Climashield Apex, a top-performing steady filament insulation identified for superior thermal effectivity and compressibility, lends the Torrid jacket a powerful warmth-to-weight ratio.

The outer shell and lining include slippery-smooth nylon in a wide range of material weights and colours. You possibly can select between 7, 10, and 20 denier nylon for the shell and 7 and 10D for the liner. (Notice: the inventory Torrid jacket is available in 100% 10D nylon). You may also select whether or not or to not put an adjustable hood on the jacket.

All Torrid jackets come normal with a full-length zipper, two zippered hand pockets, elasticized cuffs, a drawcord-adjustable hem, and DWR therapy. The jacket has a unfastened/dishevelled match and runs barely outsized to accommodate layers beneath. Raglan sleeves (related on the collar quite than on the shoulder) improve vary of movement, which is crucial in a jacket that may perform as an energetic layer.

If you happen to love the jacket however want it had been a tad hotter, take a look at our evaluation of Enlightened Tools’s Torrid Pullover.

Execs: Ultralight; customizable; heat; reasonably priced; loads of room for a number of layers beneath; high-quality insulation; made within the US; huge measurement vary.
Cons: Dishevelled match; lack of quilting can result in gapping between inside and outer material layers; lengthy lead time for customized jackets; skinny supplies might compromise long-term sturdiness.

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Patagonia Micro Puff Males’s | Ladies’s (Finest Patagonia Artificial Backpacking Jacket)
MSRP: $329
Weight: 10.5 ounces males’s | 9 ounces girls’s
Fill: 65g PlumaFill polyester fibers
Measurement vary: S – XXL males’s | XXS – XL girls’s

Best synthetic jackets backpacking

Finest artificial jackets for backpacking: Patagonia Micro Puff.

At 10.5 ounces for a males’s medium, the Micro Puff is lighter than many down jackets. The jacket is minimalist, with no drawstrings for the hood or the waist and no chest pocket. The Micro Puff has two zippered pockets on the waist and two zipper-less pockets on the within. That’s it.

The shell is DWR-treated Pertex Quantum, and the distinctive baffle patterns preserve the insulation in place with minimal stitching and minimal chilly spots. The hood is cosy, with elastic taking the place of drawcords. Whereas the face material is handled and sturdy, that is higher as a mid-layer than an outer layer when the climate will get moist.

Learn our full evaluation of the Patagonia Micro Puff.

Supplies and Options

The Micro Puff’s 10D Pertex Quantum shell (ultralight, tightly-woven ripstop nylon) affords first rate resistance to wind and water, particularly because it’s DWR-treated to assist the jacket shed mild precipitation. The garment options 65g recycled steady filament Plumafill insulation (Patagonia’s in-house artificial fill), akin to 800-fill down when it comes to loft and heat. (By the by, the “65g” half references the burden of a one-meter-square sheet of that materials).

The Micro Puff’s quilting sample retains the down-like Plumafill from migrating with out having extreme seams. The cuff, hem, and hood of this jacket are elasticized (not adjustable) to seal out drafts. There are two zippered aspect pockets and two inside pockets for storage.

Execs: Plumafill insulation is akin to 800-fill down; hotter and lighter than Patagonia Nano Puff; light-weight; windproof and waterproof; minimal seams.
Cons: Costly; no shock wire adjustment for hem or hood; not as heat as most on this checklist.

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Arc’teryx Atom LT Insulated Hoodie Males’s | Ladies’s (Most Sturdy Artificial Jacket)
MSRP: $300
Weight: 13 ounces males’s | 11 ounces girls’s
Fill: Coreloft artificial fibers
Measurement vary: XS – XXXL males’s | XXS – XXL girls’s

Best synthetic jackets backpacking

Finest artificial jackets for backpacking: Arc’teryx Atom LT.

This jacket is tremendous light-weight for an artificial. It has all the common weather-related advantages of artificial insulation plus sustainability issues. It is a superb layering piece however can even stand alone as an outer layer due to the weather-resistant supplies. The fleece aspect panels are breathable, excellent for venting with out sacrificing heat. – Anne Baker

Supplies and Options

The Atom LT options 60g/sq. meter Coreloft Compact, a short-staple siliconized polyester insulation “that has undergone a particular course of which reduces the thickness of the fabric by 50 p.c with out lowering its insulation worth by the identical quantity,” in keeping with Arc’teryx.

All this polyester goodness is sandwiched between a DWR-treated, 20D Tyono nylon shell and a extremely breathable, 20D Dope Permeair nylon liner (each are proprietary Arc’teryx materials). The fabric is coloured with a dope dying course of that improves colorfastness and reduces water consumption and emissions.

The up to date Atom now options stretchy, polyester-elastane mix fleece aspect panels, which increase mobility and breathability. There’s additionally an adjustable, brimmed hood, stretch knit cuffs, and an adjustable hem. The jacket additionally has three zippered pockets: one inside chest pocket and two exterior hand pockets.

Like many (most) Arc’teryx designs, the Atom LT has a comparatively slim, athletic match that appears nice and cuts down on drafts. It’s nonetheless unfastened sufficient to accommodate a midlayer beneath.

Execs: Not too cumbersome; stretchy fleece aspect panels; 20D nylon materials are comparatively sturdy; no quilting.
Cons: Heavy; costly; zipper generally catches; helmet-compatible hood too voluminous for non-helmet-wearing thru-hikers.

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Decathlon Forclaz MT100 Males’s | Ladies’s (Finest Price range Artificial)
MSRP: $70
Weight: 13.2 ounces males’s giant | 11.8 ounces girls’s medium
Fill: Recycled polyester
Measurement vary: S – XXXL males’s | XS – XXL girls’s

best synthetic jackets backpacking

Finest artificial jackets for backpacking: Decathlon Forclaz MT100

If you happen to’re on a funds, it doesn’t get higher than the artificial MT100. It prices a fraction of the worth of most jackets on this checklist, but the burden, supplies, and options are on par with the most effective of them. It is probably not as sturdy as a top-shelf jacket, nevertheless it ought to survive a thru-hike for those who’re cautious with it.

Decathlon affords a refreshing degree of transparency on the product web page relating to supplies and design — which, when a product appears too good to be true, helps to encourage some much-needed confidence. We additionally featured the down model of this puffy in our roundup of the most effective down jackets for thru-hiking, so make sure you examine that out for those who’re on a funds but in addition concerned with actual down insulation.

Supplies and Options

We actually like that this jacket emphasizes sustainable supplies and manufacturing processes with out tacking on a worth markup for being an “eco-friendly” product.

The polyester insulation (generic; no fancy designer labels right here) is 70 p.c recycled, and Decathlon is utilizing PFC-free DWR therapy on the 20D polyamide shell material whereas many high-end corporations are nonetheless struggling to part these poisonous perpetually chemical substances out of their water-repellent lineup. The corporate additionally makes use of a extra sustainable course of to dye the materials on this jacket, lowering emissions and air pollution.

The jacket packs into considered one of its personal zippered handwarmer pockets — all the time a win — and options an adjustable hem.

Decathlon says it’s going to preserve you heat right down to 23˚F for those who’re energetic whereas sporting it or 41˚F for those who’re idle. There are such a lot of variables in real-world situations that it’s laborious to provide a jacket an correct temperature score (which is why it isn’t usually finished) however there’s no denying that the MT100’s 4.4oz/sq. meter insulation is the beefiest on this checklist.

Execs: Cheap; affordable weight; sustainable supplies/manufacture; heat.
Cons: Not ultralight; hood will not be adjustable and might really feel unfastened by some experiences.

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Rab Xenair Alpine Gentle Jacket Males’s | Ladies’s (Finest Lively Layer)
MSRP: $225
Weight: 10.3 ounces males’s | 9.3 ounces girls’s
Fill: PrimaLoft Gold Lively+ (55% recycled polyester)
Measurement vary: S – XXL males’s | XS – XL girls’s

best synthetic jackets backpacking

Finest artificial jackets for backpacking: Rab Xenair

Layering for cold-weather hikes is hard: it’s important to keep heat if you’re at camp or on breaks however preserve cool so that you don’t sweat by your garments whereas actively mountaineering. Often, this implies you’ll continually be shrugging layers on and off all through the day to remain forward of your inside temperature adjustments.

These situations are the place the Xenair shines: it’s heat and fairly wind resistant, however the body-mapped insulation and air-permeable Pertex shell material assist you to dump warmth and regulate moisture on the path. In the meantime, articulated sleeves and gusseted cuffs enhance mobility, making this our decide for the most effective energetic layer on the checklist.

Supplies and Options

The Xenair options body-mapped recycled PrimaLoft Gold Lively+ insulation, which is supposed to be extra breathable than normal synthetics. “Physique-mapped” means there’s considerably extra fill within the chest, again, hood, and outer sleeves, the place you’re extra more likely to want further insulation, and fewer fill within the aspect panels and underarms, the place you’re extra more likely to overheat and sweat.

The liner materials is Rab’s proprietary 20D Atmos ripstop nylon, whereas the outer shell is fabricated from breathable, recycled 20D Pertex Quantum Air.

The lower is semi-fitted however nonetheless roomy sufficient to accommodate further layers if wanted.  The Xenair has velcro cuffs and three zippered pockets: two exterior hand pockets and one inside, which additionally doubles as a stuff sack for the jacket. The elasticized hood is fitted and adjustable.

Execs: Partially recycled material and insulation; light-weight; body-mapped insulation; breathable material; packable; 20D material comparatively sturdy; articulated design
All “breathable” clothes have limits (you’ll most likely nonetheless must shrug layers on and off to maintain from sweating whereas mountaineering)

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Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody Males’s | Ladies’s (Most Breathable Artificial Jacket)
MSRP: $350
Weight: 14.1 ounces males’s | 12.3 ounces girls’s
Fill: Physique: Coreloft Compact 80 polyester fibers
Measurement vary: XS – XXL males’s | XXS – XXL girls’s

Finest artificial jackets for backpacking: Arc’teryx Proton LT.

The Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody is one other jacket that will get high marks for breathability. It is a piece you’ll be able to really feel assured sporting on-trail and at camp. The jacket is constructed with Fortius Air 20 face material that balances air permeability and climate resistance and is filled with Coreloft Compact 80 insulation to maintain you heat at camp. The Proton can stand as much as mild snow and dampness, and the slim match is a perfect mid-layer.

Supplies and Options

The Proton LT options Arc’teryx’s proprietary Fortius Air 20 face material, a breathable nylon-elastane mix that Arc’teryx says is 60 instances extra sturdy than the business normal. The liner, in the meantime, is 100% nylon within the type of proprietary Dope Permeair 20. The physique of the jacket is insulated with 80g/sq. meter Coreloft Compact polyester fill, whereas the hood is stuffed with 60g/sq. meter Coreloft Compact as a substitute (similar because the Arc’teryx Atom LT above).

The Proton is total considerably extra breathable and has a slimmer match than the Atom LT, making it a greater energetic layer.

It has an adjustable, helmet-compatible hood and hem and elasticized cuffs—additionally two insulated, zippered hand pockets and a delightfully roomy exterior zippered chest pocket. Designed with climbers in thoughts, the Proton LT’s gusseted armpits and articulated elbows aren’t altogether wasted on hikers, as these options translate to a notable improve in consolation and mobility.

Execs: Sturdy face material; heat insulation; breathable; gusseted underarms and articulated elbows; roomy chest pocket.
Heavy; costly, short-staple insulation can de-loft comparatively shortly.

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Patagonia Nano Puff Males’s | Ladies’s (Most Sustainable Artificial Jacket)
MSRP: $289
Weight: 12.8 ounces males’s | 10.8 ounces girls’s
Fill: 60g PrimaLoft Gold Eco
Measurement vary: XS – XXXL males’s | XXS – XXL girls’s

Best synthetic jackets backpacking

Finest artificial jackets for backpacking: Patagonia Nano Puff.

The Nano Puff is constructed primarily from eco-friendly supplies, together with a recycled polyester ripstop shell and PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco, which is constituted of post-consumer recycled content material.

This jacket is among the least insulating on the checklist, excellent for heat climate and sizzling individuals (temperature-wise, that’s, though the lower is very flattering). It additionally has a impartial match for layering over and beneath. The hood is form-fitting, the face material is abrasion resistant and extremely sturdy, and all supplies are weather-resistant. This jacket within reason breathable to be used as a midlayer on the go.

Supplies and Options

The Nano Puff is the one jacket on our checklist that options 100% recycled polyester in each the material and the insulation, a reduced-emissions manufacturing course of, and less-toxic, PFC-free DWR on the face material. (Although it’s value noting that the budget-friendly Decathlon Forclaz MT100 can also be a contender for the “most sustainable” award).

The insulation on this jacket is of the short-staple selection, which means it’s going to have superior loft and compressibility initially, however loft will lower over time as a result of it isn’t essentially the most sturdy insulation.

A brick quilting sample crisscrosses the 20D polyester shell (22D for the liner) to stabilize the insulation. This sample successfully shuts down any potential clumping/migration, nevertheless it additionally provides many seams that introduce chilly spots to a garment that’s already fairly skinny on insulation. The Nano Puff has elasticized cuffs, two zippered handwarmer pockets, and a zippered inside chest pocket. There’s additionally a drawcord-adjustable hem and a set, elasticized hood.

The jacket is on the lengthy aspect and includes a droptail hem (again is longer than entrance) to maintain your bum toasty. It matches comfortably and has sufficient room for a midlayer beneath with out feeling dishevelled. Due to the minimal insulation, it’s eminently packable as nicely.

The Nano Puff isn’t excellent as a standalone jacket for chilly climate, nevertheless it’s excellent for summer time use or hikers who run heat however want only a contact of snug, light-weight heat (and likewise need to do their bit for the surroundings).

Execs: Recycled supplies, diminished emissions, and PFC-free DWR; packable; snug match; first rate breathability.
Not that heat; a number of seams; hood not adjustable; costly/heavy for the quantity of insulation; insulation might de-loft comparatively shortly.

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Montbell Thermawrap Parka | Ladies’s (Finest Totally-Featured Ultralight Artificial Jacket)
MSRP: $219
Weight: 9.3 ounces males’s | 7.7 ounces girls’s
Fill: 40g Stretch Exceloft
Measurement vary: S – XL

Best synthetic jackets backpacking

Finest artificial jackets for backpacking: Montbell Thermawrap Parka.

The Montbell Thermawrap Parka is the second-lightest jacket on our checklist, after our total high decide, the Enlightened Tools Torrid. However though the Thermawrap is a tad pricier and heavier than the Torrid, it additionally has extra options.

These embrace particular, reasonably stretchy insulation to boost mobility, a zippered exterior chest pocket, low-profile quilting to stabilize the insulation, and a way more flattering match. For many who want to go ultralight with out sacrificing options and performance, the Thermawrap is the one.

Supplies and Options

Montbell’s Stretch Exceloft insulation contains three differing kinds and sizes of fibers to supply an optimum mixture of resilient construction and fluffy loft. The fibers are siliconized to repel water, so the insulation will dry shortly and retain heat when moist. Montbell claims their proprietary artificial outperforms the competitors in each thermal retention and “loft restoration price” after repeated compression and enlargement cycles.

The jacket is constituted of Ballistic Airlight nylon: 15D within the sleeves and 12D in the primary physique. Ballistic Airlight is Montbell’s proprietary ultralight, calendered, hollow-fiber ripstop nylon—functionally, the material is similar to Pertex Quantum. It maximizes wind/abrasion resistance and breathability whereas minimizing weight.

The Thermawrap includes a DWR-treated shell and zipper, two zippered hand pockets and a zippered exterior chest pocket, and an adjustable hem.

Execs: Ultralight; stretchy; reasonably breathable; reasonably priced; many options contemplating the burden; first rate wind resistance.
Cons: Skinny supplies might compromise sturdiness; not fairly as ultralight or reasonably priced as EE Torrid Apex.

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Why must you belief us?

As a result of we’re so extremely clever, after all! Enticing, too. (To not point out extraordinarily humble).

But when that isn’t sufficient to impress you, there’s additionally the truth that everybody who contributed to this text is an skilled thru-hiker with hundreds of on-trail miles beneath their belt. We’re gear nerds who love placing our tools to the take a look at on trails lengthy and brief, and we’ve examined dozens of puffies in pursuit of hotter backcountry days.

Furthermore, we do our greatest to remain plugged into the path neighborhood’s gear preferences (we’re undoubtedly these obnoxious individuals on path who all the time need to know what everybody else is packing). Meaning our picks for the most effective artificial jackets for backpacking aren’t simply our opinions: they’re primarily based on years of suggestions from the thru-hiking neighborhood. Due to everybody who commented on earlier variations of this checklist—we incorporate your solutions and requests as typically as potential.

Competence and backpacking proficiency personified.

Rachel Shoemaker and Alexander “GPS” Brown contributed to this checklist.

Featured picture: Graphic design by Chris Helm.



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