Step outside, take a deep breath, and feel the cool fall air burn deep in your tar-covered lungs, people: Fall has fallen, which means it’s [drum roll] puffer jacket season!
Now, if you’re new to the puffer jacket game, we’re jealous, since there’s literally no better feeling than the first time you get to experience being a big blob of shapely poofs as you strut down the street. When you’re sporting your puffer, you’re not only the Gorpy Ruler of the sidewalk, you’re also surrounded by a certain air of mystique, one that says, I know how to dress, and I'm not freezing my ass off. Plus, while you might not think you need a big coat right now, winter approaches, and you’ll be happy you invested in the end-all-be-all of stylish insulation when you’re the only one who’s not shivering during the many, inevitable post-toddy cig break.
So, what should you look for in a puffer jacket? Glad you asked. First, you’re going to want to lock in your preferred level of puffiness: Are you in the market for some serious, chonky floof, or are you planning on layering your puffer under a larger jacket for the winter? Is this an aesthetic purchase you want to ball out on, or do you just need a reliable, warm jacket you can pack up into a trail bag? These are the questions that we think about in bed while we stare at the ceiling, and they’re the ones that will guide you to the best puffer jacket for your personal, down-filled needs.
A puffer jacket isn't just a winter necessity; it's a game-changer—one that doubles as both streetwear and the coziest item in your closet for helping you still get out the door when the temperatures seriously drop. So we've put together this short list of some of our favorite pieces by the most outdoorsy brands in the game.
Crack open a Clif Bar, and let’s get puffin’.
Take two and pass
The North Face is a legacy outdoor-wear brand, and its puffer jackets are rugged enough for mountaineering but cool enough to wear out to the bar after you summit. (What’s the point in hiking if you don’t have victory beers afterwards?) The Hyalite Down jacket features side zipper pockets and packs down into pocket for easy storage in a bag or backpack, while the 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket sports a funnel neck and an oversized logo on the front and back.
The working man’s puffer
Contrary to popular belief, Carhartt is not only for sk8r dudes to spill Tecate on while asking you if they can have the last cigarette in your pack. The brand only puts out legit, high-quality products, and Carhartt is also notorious for being a family-owned, pro-worker company, so you can feel a little better when you spend your entire paycheck on workwear from the comfort of your office chair. This insanely sweet puffer is from Carhartt’s WIP line and features concealed front zip fastening, a classic hood, and front flap pockets.
You like a girthy puff
Who doesn’t? Columbia's Pike Lake Hooded Jacket is made with heat-reflective technology, which combines an interior lining made of a breathable fabric with a metallic dot pattern that helps retain heat and dissipate moisture.
It’s time to take back the brand
You’ve absolutely seen a finance bro or five rock a Patagonia vest as they walk from the office to Sweetgreen and back. We’d like the record to reflect that in no way, shape, or form does this mean that Patagonia is only for jabronis. Patagonia is a serious outdoors company, and it slings some very sweet puffers for blossoming Vermonters from all cultural walks of life. The bright orange Downdrift jacket is peak puffer, with two front zipped pockets and a drawstring hood. The Nano Puff Jackets, on the other hand, may look sleek and simple—but they also feature two zippered hand warmer pockets and an internal zippered chest pocket doubles as a “stuffsack” with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop so you can pack it up into a lil’ burrito and hang it off your backpack when camping. Best of all, they can be worn alone or layered under bigger jackets as the weather turns wintry.
You’ll be the Maine character
L.L. Bean is one of those legacy brands that has come full circle from classic to old-school and back to cool—take, for instance, their recent mega-hyped collab with Todd Snyder. The Freeport, Maine-based outdoor gear behemoth doesn’t mess around when it comes to apparel, and the brand’s Ultralight 850 Down Hooded Jackets are second to none. They’re made with water-repellent down that stays dry over 10 times longer than the untreated stuff, and feature a Pertex Quantum nylon shell that’s made from 100% recycled fabric.
You want to make sure people see you coming
If there’s one universal truth, it’s that Tommy Hilfiger knows what he’s doing when it comes to streetwear. This Legacy Hooded Puffer Jacket is the warm hug you didn’t get from Daddy as a child, and its rib-knit storm cuffs and fleece-lined stand collar help you trap and insulate that love all winter long.
Go ahead, sound it out
Despite it’s Welsh-looking name, Arc’teryx—the all-business outdoor gear purveyor that's having a big streetwear moment—is actually Canadian. We love our northern brethren, and we love Arc’teryx’s Cerium LT Jackets even more, because a) they weigh next to nothing yet provide exceptional warmth, and b) they’re form-fitting enough to wear underneath a larger, even puffier jacket. (Could this be Puffception?)
The dark horse
Um, did you not hear? Abercrombie—yes, the brand with the big honkin’ moose—is certified sick-and-tight again. The brand has revamped its catalog of cozy-sexy attire, and folks, it’s working. Take the puffers, for example. They’re simple yet refined, elegant without being pretentious, and very, very puffy.
Not ~that~ kind of basic
Uniqlo is one of the undisputed champions in the basics realm—and the brand’s puffer jackets are true to form. They’re puffy but not too heavy, available in a slew of different colors, and showcase Uniqlo’s classic, high-quality construction that helped turn it into the Big Dog retailer that it is today.
Puff, puff, pass out and miss your train station.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.