top of page

How to choose a Synthetic Insulating Jacket

We talked about down puffy jackets, now let's talk synthetic insulation!

synthetic jackets are filled with polyester fibers that don't absorb water, keeping the warmth-trapping properties even when wet.

this is the layer you're going to grab if it's wet outside and/or you're being active in it this winter! synthetic layers perform when damp, they dry faster than down and are more than likely cheaper than a down counterpart. things to look for in your synthetic layer -


this is an insulating layer you'll be active in, so you want it to breath. insulating shells usually have vents that help with breathability while out adventuring in the snow

weight - 40g, 60g?!

these numbers just refer to the weight (in grams) of a square meter of insulation. AKA how warm to how heavy! The higher the number means it's a thicker (and warmer) insulating jacket. *this only helps when comparing the same insulation*

type of synthetic insulation and blends

there are so many types of synthetic insulation and, only to make things more complicated, there are blended jackets that have both down/synthetic or wool/synthetic blends.

to try and keep it simpler, look at the fabric, fit and features.

fabric - ask yourself if your priority is weight or durability

fit - do you need to layer over or under this jacket?

features - a hood is a necessity for me. ask yourself if you want a hood, zippers and/or pockets

the two synthetic jackets I have are both from Arc'teryx and have been on so many adventures with me over the years and still look brand new

When outside in precipitation in the winter, I usually wear one of the above synthetic jackets with a shell. The winter shell I use is an old version on the Arc'teryx Beta Jacket

For a winter backcountry shell, I look for breathability and weather resistance. Ideally, you'll have a GORE-TEX jacket with vents and is larger enough to fit over your layers.

Other synthetic insulating jackets I'd consider depending on what you are looking for:

Cotopaxi Teca Calido Hooded Jacket / unknown ounces but recycled materials


bottom of page