What is the Difference between Puffer and Down Jackets?

When it comes to staying warm during the cold winter months, having a good jacket is essential. Puffer and down jackets are two popular options, but what is the difference between the two?

Synthetic VS Feathers

Let's start with a clarification. Not all men's and women's puffer jacketsย are made with synthetic material. We also have natural down puffer jackets, insulated with ducks and geese feathers, which is RDS (Responsible Down Standard) certified. This certification guarantees animal welfare and responsible raw materials sourcing.

Regarding synthetic, puffer jackets filled with polyester or recycled polyester are designed to mimic the insulating properties of down, but without using feathers. When mixing our Omni-Heat Infinity reflective technology with high-quality fibres from synthetic insulation, this combo provides you one of the greatest warmth.

Down jackets provide excellent insulation due to its ability to trap air and a better weight/heat ratio versus synthetic, but both still offer warmth and a true protection from the cold.

The Look

Puffer jackets are known for their big baffles that give them a distinctive urban and "puffy" look. They tend to have a more casual style and are a perfect option for those who want to stay warm while still looking fashionable. These jackets come in a wide range of colours, cuts and features, making them a versatile choice for a varietyย of occasions.

On the other hand, down jackets usually come with smaller baffles that offer a more streamlined look. Indeed, this design element makes down jackets ideal for outdoor activities like hiking or skiing, where mobility is important. In other words, they are absolutely perfect for those who want a jacket that is active and functional. The same as for puffer jackets, you'll find them in a variety of colours, shapes, features and styles, so you can find the perfect match!

The Packability

Are you looking for a winter jacket that is easy-to pack and compressible? Puffer coats may tend to be more challenging to pack because of their larger size. However, at Columbia, a few come with a packable option that allows them to be compressed and stored in a backpack, if needed. Down jackets, due to their smaller baffles, are naturally more packable and compressible.


Puffer jackets are usually heavier than down jackets. The down traps air between their fibres, creating a layer of insulation keeps you warm. Down jackets are also compressible and packable, making them a great choice for travel! However, at Columbia, you can find lightweight puffer jackets, too.


Now that you know the most important differences between puffers and down jackets, let's talk about what they both offer.

Foremost, both winter jackets provide great warmth thanks to high quality materials and our different reflective technologies. You'll find the perfect jacket to protect you from mild cold to extreme cold, whether it's a puffer jacket or a down jacket.

Moreover, both jackets can come with a hood to protect your head from rain, wind and cold weather. A hooded jacket is a perfect choice if you're going to the mountain. Please note that some of our jackets provide a removable hood to customise your look depending on your needs.

Finally, both types can come with multiple useful features like waterproofing, water-resistant, hooded, easier to pack... You'll also find both jackets with multiple pockets.

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