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Packable down jacket

Hi - we'd like to purchase packable (packs down into its own small bag), down jackets for our trip. Had looked at Uniqlo, but couldn't fine the hooded ones on their website. Also looked at 32 Degrees coats. Don't want to spend mor then about $75 so Columbia and Mountian Hardwear are out. I know I will get better quality for more money, but that is not an option right now.

Anyone have any suggestions? Ever tried the 32 Degree brand? Other brand suggestions? Please only respond if you have info/reviews that would answer the above questions.......thanks so much 😊

Posted by
1 posts

I have 2 of the 32 degree jackets and LOVE them! They are very lightweight and comfortable. I have worn them in 40+ degree (F) - maybe 10 degree weather. I do layer accordingly. The pack up nicely into the pouch and I also cram gloves and a sweater into the bag by stuffing them in the sleeves of the jacket. I get them from Macy's and they usually run $50 on sale.

Posted by
7817 posts

I bought two 32 Degree jackets for myself and one for my daughter last winter from Macy's website when they were on sale. The hoods are worthless. They are huge and there is no way to cinch them down. I've removed mine. The jacket fits neatly in a separate pouch. I bought my husband one that doesn't have a hood. It folds up into one of the jacket pockets. I wish the women's coats did that so I wouldn't have to worry about losing the pouch.

The jackets are light and comfortable, but living in California I have not tried them in really cold weather. Layering would probably make them work in all but the coldest temps.

Posted by
276 posts


Anyone use them (32 degrees coats) in cold temps? Around 32° or just under? We'd like to use them for our trip to Europe in Nov. We plan on layering and would like to have something we can pull out as it gets colder, but pack away when it's a bit warmer. Does it protect from wind? We'll also be bringing lightweight rain jackets for layering too.

Read reviews if there are any. The other day, I was looking at light weight, packable vests and jackets on LL Bean. Some of the pricier ones did not get good reviews for warmth. Primaloft products were not well reviewed. Others stated that a fleece jacket or wool vest did about as well and for less money. So, try to read some reviews if you can. I'm sorry that I don't know enough about these to make a good recommendation for you.

Posted by
5571 posts

Unfortunately quality does not come cheap. That said, a cheap synthetic insulated jacket may be better than a cheap down insulated jacket. Quality down, especially moisture repelling quality down is expensive. Wet down is worthless.

REI expert advice:


Nature's best insulator, these plumules from ducks and geese provide
the most warmth for the least weight and bulk—just as long as you
don’t get the down wet. The main benefits of down are the fact that it
is ultralight, ultrawarm and ultrapackable. On the other hand, it
won’t insulate when damp and dries slowly. If you anticipate rain,
snow, humidity or being active enough to break a sweat, you should
look at water-resistant down, synthetics or down/synthetic hybrids.
One way to determine the quality of down is to look at its fill power.
Ranging from about 450 to 900, fill power is the volume in cubic
inches that one ounce of the down fills up; higher quality down lofts
to a higher volume, so a higher spec number indicates warmer down.

Activity level: Best for mild (nonsweaty) exertion or casual wear.

And a down jacket is just the insulation part of your layering system. You need a base layer to absorb and wick sweat and a outer wind/rain shell layer. A good breathable wind/rain shell can be had for about $100, less on sale or as a factory second. Columbia has an sales tax free outlet store near you in Portland, OR:

Posted by
20787 posts

Costco recently had 32 degree down vests for $15. Bought two for recent trip. Surprising warm for the very light weight and size.

Posted by
1175 posts

I think you've constrained your problem too tightly. Your real issue is cost, and you want a good quality packable jacket for around $70. There are more solutions than the ones you've listed.

First, I'm going with Edgars comment. You don't want low quality down. And down, when wet, is useless. You won't be happy with the cheap.

I'd like to suggest an alternative. I used eBay search function for "nano puff" I found several used and on-sale Patagonia nano-puff jackets in the $70-80 range. These are synthetic, which means machine washable, breathable, and lose less warmth when wet.

EBay, by the way, has a wonderful feature where you put in the parameter key words for your item. It will email you when those parameters are met. So you may not find something today, but eBay will email you about it when posted 3 days from now.

Also look in Sierra Trading post.

Posted by
65 posts

I got a hooded, packable down jacket a few years ago at a JCPenney outlet - for $15. Still in great shape too. This year I purchased an Icebreaker merino-loft jacket. It is not as warm or packable as the down, but is still quite lightweight and is still warm even when wet. It is also much more breathable (and was also much more expensive, even though purchased at Sierra Trading Post).

Posted by
607 posts

Nothing warmer than goosedown. I find i get too hot wearing a full down jacket if i am doing any activity. Consider a down vest and a fleece jacket. I find the layered combo sufficiently warm and i can wear one or the other for temperature control. A vest is way cheaper than a full jacket.

Edit: spoke too soon. I searched amazon and there iare a fe companies called Cherry Chick, Wantdo or Zshow that sell cheap packable down jackets from China, some with hoods. The look quite slim fitting. Appear to be low quality, but reviews are good.

Posted by
5571 posts

Nothing warmer than goosedown.... The look quite slim fitting....

Warmth is generated by body heat and the insulating layer, be it goose down, duck down, wool or synthetics, holds the body heat within that insulating layer. The insulating quality of goose down depends on quality of the down and its thickness. In a sense looking slim is at odds with insulation quantity (thickness) where bulk adds to heat retention. I.e. the Michelin man look.

Posted by
1175 posts

Warmth is generated by body heat and the insulating layer, be it goose down, duck down, wool or synthetics, holds the body heat within that insulating layer

Technically, its the air molecules trapped in the insulation that keep the heat in. That's why wet goose down is such a problem. It collapses, leaving no air molecules and therefore no ability to trap heat.
Wet synthetics collapse less when wet, which is why they maintain their heat when wet.

Posted by
2525 posts

Low quality down jacket....bah! Given your budget, consider carefully comments by Edgar and Cindy H and her suggestion about my favorite winter outer layer, Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket (tucks into one of it's pockets). Shop. Also, utilizing soft merino wool products as part of a layering strategy works wonders.

Posted by
1479 posts

I have started buying my jackets and vests from Costco. This year's jacket model has a detachable hood, which I really like. I test them at Seattle football games and have been very pleased with their warmth and how they hold up. Can't beat the price.

Posted by
5571 posts

An old saying: "Penny-wise pound-foolish" applies to travel clothing assuming that you are not looking at a one time throwaway item.

I bought a Patagonia water-proof/breathable outer (un-insulated) shell some 15 years ago for my first Norwegian ski tour and have been using it for my travel to Europe including other ski trips and spring walking holidays. (Spring walking in the UK has been more brutal weather-wise than skiing above the Arctic in Finland and Norway). While it is not my every day winter jacket, it still looks and functions like a brand new jacket. First cost may seem expensive but its not a throw away and very cheap on a per year basis. More importantly, the consequence of cheap clothing failure can be very expensive.

Posted by
345 posts

I second Edgar's post. I have Patagonia under- and outer-wear from the 1990s and they are still in great shape. So if you are the type to hold onto clothes, I'd say make the investment in Patagonia but even better if you can get it on sale. I have been very happy with a Patagonia nanopuff vest I purchased on sale this year--it weighs next to nothing, stuffs into its own pocket, fits in my cross-body purse, has nice styling, and is warm.

Posted by
5571 posts

LL Bean catalogue a few days ago and saw packable warm coats for temps between 35ºF and -20ºF.

LL Bean's stuff is generally a pretty good value buy. Not the best, but a very good value. Now that said, just be aware of Bean's temperature comfort rating. Bean explains the rating as follows:

The first number of our comfort ranges is based on a computer model
simulating a person engaged in light activity, such as walking. The
second number is based on a model simulating a person engaged in
moderate activity, such as running or skiing. Because an active person
generates more body heat, the same piece of outerwear will be
comfortable at a lower temperature.

Here we determine the temperature ratings for outdoor apparel. First,
the mannequin is dressed in the L.L.Bean base ensemble. This consists
of thermal underwear, a fleece shirt and jeans, a knit ski cap,
mittens and boots. Then we add the jacket to be tested.

First note that the jacket's temperature rating is not based on standing around doing nothing (e.g. waiting for a bus). The first, higher number, is the still air temperature of a person walking. The second, lower temperature, is active exercise.

Second note that the jacket is tested with an appropriate base layers. For the Bean rating, the base includes a thermal base layer and fleece shirt in addition to knit ski cap, mittens and boots.

If you watch film clips of cross country ski racers, they race in un-insulated Lycra ski suits over a wicking base layer. Yes they do ski with ski caps and gloves, but no insulating layer at temperatures as low as -25C.

Posted by
339 posts

Given that your budget is no more than $75, your best option is to purchase a synthetic fill jacket and not down.

Down is expensive, brands/stores have jumped on the trend bandwagon and started offering down jackets at 'affordable prices'. Unfortunately these styles are either under-filled to be effective, there's simply not enough down blown/stuffed into each baffle for the garment to be effective or, they're blended with a synthetic which eliminates the benefits of down, which are compressibility, longevity and effective warmth-to-weight ratio. Uniqlo, 32 Degrees all fall into such a grouping of stylish, on-trend and price-sensitive but, ineffective.

Check out Sierra Trading Post, TJ Maxx, REI Garage, and Moosejaw Outlet..all are/have marked down clearance of larger name outdoor brands.

Posted by
1743 posts

For our trip a year ago February to Paris, Lucerne, then down through Italy, I purchased a Marmot Zeus Down Jacket on a clearance rack at REI for $99:

I was very pleased with the results from the fact that my wife and I had only one bag apiece, and could not afford the space. When the jacket was folded up into its own pocket, it was the size of a medium grapefruit, and weighs only 11 oz. The Marmot and a simple Columbia fleece covered all weather for me from 30-60 degrees Fahrenheit quite nicely. Only thing was if we had heavy rain, a light poncho would've been preferable to wear on top of either. But all we got were sprinkles.

Posted by
3357 posts

A few years back I got a great deal on a Patagonia men's Nano Puff hoody. It was probably really cheap because it was purple on the outside and red on the inside. I was looking at men's XL because the largest Patagonia women's size is waaaay too small for me in every dimension.

I love that jacket and planned to take it to the chilly and damp UK this year, but the zipper broke too late to have it fixed before I left, so I had to do something different. When I got back from my trip and whined about being too cold and how I wished I'd had that hoody, someone on the forum pointed out that I could send it to Patagonia and that they would replace the zipper and return it to me for free. So I did and they did. All it cost was my mailing cost to them.

My jacket is very similar to the Nano Puff hoodies shown on the Patagonia website, but the newer ones look like they'd be better. I can highly recommend their product and service, but I'd definitely shop around for a good price.

Posted by
800 posts

Hi. I just purchased a 32 Degrees jacket at Macy's for $49. I wanted a replacement for a lightweight down jacket that is wearing out. I am fussy and need snaps which the 32 Degrees has. I figure it will be the jacket I throw on to run in and out of the car and supermarket, etc. It is chilly (30s) and blustery in suburban Philly today. On a 20 minute walk, I was reasonably warm, sometimes too warm, sometimes chilled depending on the wind. Yes, the hood is worthless unless you tie it down with a scarf. Would I take it for a winter trip - maybe not, but I would consider it for backup. I am waiting for the L.L. Bean version which will arrive this week and which I anticipate will be the one I wear for walking to work.

Posted by
11757 posts

There are lots of good deals out there on down jackets this week.

If you don't know what brand you want, offers all the top brands ( Patagonia, Marmot, etc.) for 20% off through today ( must be a full-price item but browse their sale area too as you might find one at 40% off).

Eddie Bauer is offering 40% off everything today---saying "Monday is the new Black Friday").

And Patagonia has a "web specials" area on their website that can have great prices on discontinued colors, etc.

Posted by
280 posts

My husband and I have been using Eddie Bauer down jackets for the past 3 years and love them. They kept us warm in Chamonix and Aiguille du Midi. His has a hood that cinches well. In hindsight, I wish I would have gotten one with a hood. I found out after my purchase that Eddie Baur gives discounts to teachers. Darn!

Posted by
486 posts

I have a Patagonia Nano Puff jacket and a LL Bean down jacket. Both were purchased as we camp a lot in addition to traveling. The main reason is both coat's insulation water shedding properties. The Nano Puff insulation worked very well in the Andes on a five hike to Machu Picchu and the LL Bean down worked very well in a Michigan winter. I would make sure that you have a rain jacket that will fit over your down jacket and an umbrella to keep yourself dry.

Posted by
1065 posts

REI has a cyber week sale going on right now. REI and REI Co Op branded jackets on sale. I only checked the Men's but I would think women's too. Just search for insulated jackets. Free shipping with orders over $50.

Posted by
2124 posts

Thanks to the mention here about 32 Degrees packable down I purchased the coat from Macys for $69, intending to bring it along on a trip next April. I already love it, very light but also warm, hooded, and figure-flattering--I tried a much more expensive Michael Kors coat and it made me look quite upholstered. I have numerous coats and jackets that are black or navy so tried the eggplant color and it's a deep plummy shade, good neutral and a nice change. If I lived somewhere that had really cold winters I'd consider the more expensive/high-quality brands also mentioned here, but for me this is the perfect solution.