Lightweight down jackets – now with hoods


When is a lightweight down jacket an even better jacket? When it has a hood.

Lightweight down jackets have become a must-have item for outdoors fans. For most Scottish autumn and winter situations, these lighter weight and slimmed-down jackets provide enough warmth (when accompanied with baselayers and waterproof outer jackets) and they do away with the need for big and puffy down jackets of old.

LayersI have tested and reviewed many lightweight down jackets in recent years but most did not have a hood. Now the outdoors clothing brands have brought out their new season’s lightweight insulated jackets with cosy hoods.

I am very much in favour of a hood. A great deal of heat is lost through the head and when the wind and cold whips up, I always look for a hat or hood for good levels of body warmth.

On test: Two hooded lightweight down jackets

berghaus-redBerghaus Furnace hooded Hydrodown jacket

I have written about the Berghaus Furnace hooded Hydrodown jacket before. You’ll read that I really liked the jacket but I wished that it came with a hood. Well, now it does.

There is a men’s Berghaus Furnace Hooded jacket and a women’s Berghaus Furnace hooded jacket.

Filled with the game-changing Hydrodown, launched by Berghaus last year, the Furnace has the benefit of some waterproofing. This means that even when damp, the Hydrodown will keep you warm (traditional down tends to go soggy and useless when wet).

In addition, the 700 fill down is positioned in a “three-zone body mapped design” inside the jacket to offer areas of warmth where you most need it.

berghoodThe Furnace also boasts good wind and water resistance thanks to the lightweight Pertex Microlight outer fabric.

The fixed hood has a stretchy outer edge binding but no drawcord (unlike the Helly Hansen Verglas hoodie reviewed below).

When the front zip is zipped up it finishes at almost nose level so the hood doesn’t need a drawcord and the hood feels snug and cosy. There is a fleecy inside to the zip top so it feels nice against the skin.

Additional features are two zipped hand-warmer pockets and stretch binding at the cuffs and a drawcord at the hem.

I like the slightly wider and stiffened zip back, which is less likely to catch in the zip, when compared to the Verglas below.

The jacket offers a lovely fit and would work well over a couple of thinner baselayers while also fitting underneath your usual waterproof outer jacket.

The updated hooded version of the Berghaus Furnace jackets gets five stars and is priced at RRP £200.

hh-blueHelly Hansen Verglas Hooded Down Insulator

Another wonderfully light and cosy down jacket that also comes with a hood. The hood on this jacket feels a little roomier and has a useful drawcord for great fit. In fact, the hood boasts a “one hand inside” adjustor.

I like that the hood has an adjustor so you can decide how cosy or less cosy you want it to be.

Like the Berghaus Furnace it is made with Pertex microlight ripstop fabric and has the same 700 fill. The down is 85/15 European goose. This down is not “hydro” treated so if it gets wet the it offers far less warmth.

101997_2However, the jacket does have a water repellent finish (DWR) to keep the worst of the wet off in a shower.

Other features include bottom hem adjustment, soft “snowstop” lycra cuffs, and zipped hand pockets with a fleecy inside feel. There is also a fleecy inside to the zip top so it feels soft against facial skin.

If you prefer a slightly roomier fit with a down jacket, Helly Hansen is a good bet.

The Verglas hoodie is sold in male and female fits and the jacket comes in a range of great colours.

The women’s Helly Hansen hooded Verglas is priced at RRP £230, reduced to £161, while the men’s Helly Hansen hooded Verglas is £200.

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