Padded trekking jackets

How to choose a insulated jacket for hiking or trekking

Whether it is to be worn during your hikes, your breaks or at the bivouac in the evening, choosing the right insulated jacket is not always easy… So check out all our tips for making the right choice!

The type of padded jacket you choose depends on 2 criteria: the outside temperature and the wadding material.
In this article you'll find lots of information to help guide you in your choice of padded jacket.

Why wear a padded jacket? a good combination of low weight, low bulk and warmth.

A padded jacket is practically essential in winter as well as for your mountain excursions.

If adopting the 3-layer system, a padded jacket can sometimes serve as a second layer, offering good thermal insulation; but it can often be used as a 3rd layer, worn over a technical t-shirt and fleece, for example. If adopting the 4-layer system, in extreme conditions, the padded jacket is worn as a 3rd layer, over a technical T-shirt and fleece, and under a hiking jacket.

The padded jacket has several features that make it very attractive. A padded jacket is a lightweight, compact garment which also has excellent thermal properties. Both these aspects are particularly valued by hikers who often look for lightweight equipment as well as trekkers who favour compact garments which they can easily fit in their backpacks. In the rest of this article, we'll see that there are various models of padded jackets: synthetic or down padding, with or with hoods, and with or without sleeves.

Outside temperature

The first question to ask when choosing a padded jacket and deciding on the level of warmth is: at what temperature will I use it? Your decision should be based on expected weather conditions, how you're going to use your jacket (2nd or 3rd layer) and your sensitivity to the cold.

Note: all our padded jackets are tested to ensure optimal comfort when hiking within a specific temperature range. Our tests help us determine the comfort temperature and limit temperature. The comfort temperature is the ideal temperature when you're stationary or in your bivouac at night. The limit temperature is the maximum recommended temperature at which the jacket is effective during physical activity.

The warmest padded trekking jacket for men

The warmest insulated padded jackets

When hiking in winter in extreme cold (below -10°C), we recommend that you opt for the most bulky jacket with the most wadding which will help trap more air and, therefore, offer better protection against the cold.
For extreme conditions, we recommend the Forclaz MT900 padded jacket. This type of jacket offers protection in temperatures as low as -18°C.

Women’s padded hiking jacket

In cold weather (temperatures above -10°c)

Our MT500 range is best suited to temperatures above -10°C. For temperatures above -5°C (when active), we recommend that you look at the MT100 range of padded jackets. They have slightly less wadding which means they're lighter and more compact than bulkier jackets.

Is a padded jacket waterproof?

Padded jackets are water repellent but not water proof. If it rains or snows, we recommend you wear a waterproof jacket or poncho over your padded jacket. Padded jackets are designed to provide excellent thermal efficiency and insulation, and reduce heat loss while also being lightweight and compact. This means that the outer layer of fabric used is rather thin. Hiking jackets, on the other hand, are more resistant to natural external elements such as brambles, or friction from stones, as well as weather conditions such as wind, rain and snow.

View our hiking jackets

Is a padded jacket hard-wearing?

The durability of a padded jacket is achieved in 2 ways: there's the overall strength of the fabric calculated in deniers; the higher the denier rating the more durable the fabric. In addition, some padded jackets are also made of ripstop fabric. Ripstop fabrics use a reinforcing technique that helps contain rips and snags, making the fabric easier to repair.
As mentioned earlier, a padded jacket is still relatively delicate and easily damaged by natural external elements.

What type of padded jacket will keep me warm? polyester or down? which is the best wadding for a padded jacket?

These are the kind of questions that customers tend to ask when they're still unsure about which jacket to choose.
Not all of Decathlon's padded jackets use the same wadding material! There's natural insulation and synthetic insulation. Some are stuffed with feathers and down which provide a good weight/warmth/bulk ratio, and others with wadding (synthetic insulation). In truth, both types of jacket will keep you warm. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. You can read more on this at the end of this article.

Women’s down padded jacket

Down-filled padded jackets

Down and feathers are natural materials which are known for their thermal insulating properties, compressibility and low weight.

Advantages: insulating properties and fill power, compressible and lightweight

Disadvantages: more expensive, less effective in wet conditions when down is damp, more difficult to look after

Men's synthetic padded jacket

Polyester padded jackets (or synthetic material)

Synthetic insulation's principal virtue is that it provides a good level of insulation and keeps you warm even in damp conditions. So it's ideal if you're hiking in a damp environment or if you're unsure about the weather conditions for your excursion.

Advantages: moisture-resistant, cheaper, easier to look after

Disadvantages: heavier and more bulky than down

Down padded trekking jacket

What does the fill power of a padded jacket mean? does cuin mean anything to you? what does the g/sqm on a down jacket mean?

We talk about fill power when referring to padded jackets that use a natural insulator such as down or feathers. The fill power of a padded jacket refers to its ability to trap air. Down has a natural ability to trap and retain air between the inner and outer fabric of the jacket. And it is this air, which is warmed by your body and then retained by the insulator, that helps keep you warm. We measure fill power in CUIN, or cubic inches. The higher the jacket's CUIN number, the higher the fill power and therefore the better the thermal insulation.

However, this information comes with a qualifier. It's important not to focus exclusively on the CUIN number if you're looking for a warm padded jacket. The weight of the wadding is also important. You can find this information in the product's Technical Data Sheet.

To compare two similarly sized jackets, padded with natural wadding, it's useful to multiply the weight of the wadding by the number of cuin. .The down padded jacket with the highest figure is the warmest.For example, let's compare a Medium down padded jacket with a wadding weight of 130 g and fill power of 800 CUIN to a similar jacket with a wadding weight of 180 g and 660 CUIN fill power.(130 x 800 = 104 000 and 180 x 660 = 118 800). In this example, the second padded jacket will keep you warmer or provide better thermal insulation at lower temperatures.

Padded jackets with or without hoods, with or without sleeves

Should you choose a padded jacket with a hood or without a hood? with or without sleeves?

There are different models of padded jackets, with or with hoods, and with or without sleeves. The hood provides additional heat when it's cold and windy. It protects the back of your neck and head. Some people prefer padded jackets without hoods, particularly when wearing them under a hiking jacket which already has a hood.

Sleeveless padded jackets are ideal mid-season, or even in winter if the weather's mild. This type of padded jacket helps keep your body warm: it protects your chest, neck and kidneys which are particularly sensitive to the cold. Sleeveless jackets help lighten your rucksack, offer more breathability on exertion and greater freedom of movement when worn under a jacket.

What have we done to reduce the co2 impact of our down jackets?

You may have noticed that some of our down jackets have a grey lining. The fabric of this lining is innovative because of its bi-ton process: it combines a black dope dyed yarn and undyed yarn. Compared to conventional dyeing, this process reduces CO2 emissions by 14%.

Some of our synthetic padded jackets are also made from recycled polyester. This helps reduce the use of petroleum products while preserving the qualities essential for hiking and trekking.

Our feather and down padded jackets are rds certified

All Decathlon padded jackets, made from natural material, are RDS-certified (Responsible Down Standard). This certification guarantees animal welfare practices and humane treatment of geese and ducks throughout the down and feather supply chain.

Looking after, cleaning and repairing your padded jacket

Sometimes, your jacket can get damaged or dirty when hiking. Fortunately, it's possible to clean and repair your jacket so it lasts longer.

However, if you want to look after your jacket properly, there a couple of other points to bear in mind. You need to use a detergent designed for technical garments so your jacket retains its high-performance, technical qualities. When washing and drying down jackets, we recommend that you follow the instructions set out in the link below.

More details on looking after padded jackets

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