It’s a puffy jacket showdown! Do you need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good puffy down jacket?
North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia all make these sweet, puffy, down jackets that feature lightweight packability that still keep you warm down to low temperatures. Just one problem: they cost a small fortune!
For Christmas, I got a Chinese knock off of one of these brand name puffy down jackets for about 1/8th of the cost. After a little over a month, including a trip to the great white north of Minnesota, how did the Chinese knock off stand up?
Puffy Down Jacket Price
Let’s start by talking about price. I’ve always wanted a puffy jacket, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay for one. The Mountain Hardwear puffy down jacket with a hood (basically, exactly the same as my Chinese knock-off puffy down jacket) comes in at a “cool” (see what I did there) $350.00 on Amazon. Helly Hansen is a bit more reasonable at $94.35. Columbia is getting closer to my price range at $69.39. However, I got my puffy, down, packable jacket for $39.99.
At that price, I can almost buy 9 of those puffy down jackets before I’m in for just 1 Mountain Hardwear version. I looked at the Mountain Hardwear one at a local Columbia Sportswear store. It looks and feels almost exactly like my Chinese knock-off version. In fact, the Mountain Hardwear one felt like it had less down fill than mine!
Puffy Down Jacket Performance
On that note, I can hear you saying, “Yeah, but the Chinese knock-off doesn’t perform nearly as well in the cold!” I’ll admit, that’s possible. As I just noted, though, the amount fill seems awful similar.
Admittedly, I have not worn or tested the Mountain Hardwear puffy down jacket. Nor have I tried any of the others I mention, above. I can only tell you what I’ve experienced with my Chinese knock-off puffy down jacket.
We recently returned from a trip to Minnesota…in January. I put the puffy down jacket to the test in the coldest state in the US.
With just a couple thin, long-sleeve base layer shirts underneath, I was perfectly comfortable with just the puffy down jacket down into the low 20’s. No issue.
Sledding, standing around, hiking, or skiing. During all activities (or non-activities in the case of just standing around outside), I felt perfectly warm in the jacket. And, I loved having the hood to ward off the wind from my neck.
The nice thing about this jacket, too is that I’m just as comfortable in it at 60 degrees on a windy beach back home in Florida. Instead of a couple base layers, I just throw the jacket on over a t-shirt and I’m good to go!
Puffy Down Jacket Fill
Mentioned above, the fill in my Chinese knock-off is duck down. When I got it, I was a little concerned, as it feels so thin and like there’s hardly any down in the jacket. As you can read, above, it definitely is enough to keep you warm in a Minnesota winter, so my fears were quickly laid aside.
I would note, however, that the down fill does “leak,” a bit. After a couple 30-60 minute drives, you’d see a few duck feathers on our black cloth seats in the car. Your base layer shirt might have a few at the end of the day, as well.
Nothing overly concerning and even if I do lose a fair amount of down over a year, I can still buy a second one and be almost under the cost of the cheapest name brand one I found (Columbia). I’m still over 8 away from reaching the cost of the Mountain Hardwear one.
Puffy Down Jacket Showdown Conclusion
I’m overjoyed with my Chinese knock-off puffy down jacket. It’s the most versatile jacket I’ve ever owned. And, the cost can’t be beat.
- Actual down
- Loses a few feathers with use
I would buy this jacket, every day, and twice on Sundays. In fact, I’ve already bought one for my son to use on his Scout camp outs. We plan to get two more, so every member of the family has one.
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