The Best Insulated Jacket for Women Review

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Amber King, one of the authors, enjoys the freedom of scrambling in the San Juan Mountains in the Best Buy Award Winner, The North Face ThermoBall Jacket.
Credit: Jared Vilhauer
What is the best women's insulated jacket? Our 2014 updated review compares 9 of the industry's top-rated models. Over the last three months, we wore these products everywhere. From the tops of 13,000 foot peaks, to the tributaries of the Columbia River. We also wore them around town taking notice of what we liked and didn't like and we handed them off to friends to compare notes. To test the technical aspects, we stood in windy dust storms, and soaked ourselves in the shower. We evaluated each insulated jacket based on six different metrics: warmth, compression and weight, comfort, water and wind resistance, and of course - what the ladies love most: style.

This review only contains models with synthetic insulation, and features our Editors' Choice the Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's, for the second year running! We have also included a Top Pick for Breathability - Patagonia Nano Air - Women's and a Top Pick for Warmth - The Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's. If you're looking to spend little less, and get HUGE bang for your buck, check out our Best Buy award winner - The North Face ThermoBall Jacket - Women's.

Read the full review below >

Review by: and Amanda Fenn

Top Ranked Insulated Jackets - Women's Displaying 1 - 5 of 9 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's
Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's
Read the Review
The North Face ThermoBall Jacket - Women's
The North Face ThermoBall Jacket - Women's
Read the Review
Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's
Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's
Read the Review
Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's
Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's
Read the Review
Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's
Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award    Top Pick Award 
Street Price Varies $160 - $215
Compare at 3 sellers
Varies $170 - $199
Compare at 8 sellers
$269
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Varies $120 - $200
Compare at 5 sellers
Varies $209 - $299
Compare at 6 sellers
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User Rating Be the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate it
Pros Warm and cozy, packs into stow away pocket with loop, super versatile, awesomely water resistant, resistant to water absorptionHigh loft, warm, great colors, awesome water resistanceSuper warm, many cozy features, ultra rain and wind resistantLightweight, compressible, feminine fit and styleSuper cozy and stretchy fabric, breathable, many comfort extras, sassy stylin’ stitches
Cons No adjustable hood, not breathable, sticky zipperNo chest pockets, not very wind resistantBulky, heavier, not incredibly breathable, shallow pocketsFabric pills after limited use, absorbs waterReally expensive, not very wind resistant, non-adjustable hood
Best Uses Alpine climbing, backpacking, craggingLayering under shells, stand alone jacket for mild tempsAny winter activity, cold and long alpine missions, winter craggingLayering under a shell, a wide variety of outdoor sports: winter to summer, around-town wearAerobic activities in cold weather, summer hiking or camping, around town
Date Reviewed Nov 15, 2014Nov 13, 2014Nov 12, 2014Nov 11, 2014Nov 14, 2014
Weighted Scores Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's The North Face ThermoBall Jacket - Women's Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's
Warmth - 25%
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Weight - 25%
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Comfort - 20%
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Water Resistance - 10%
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Wind Resistance - 10%
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Product Specs Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's The North Face ThermoBall Jacket - Women's Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's
Style/Design Boxy and generous fit, no baffles Femine, active cut with diamond baffle pattern Boxy and generous fit, no baffles Active cut with flattering diamond baffle pattern Femine, active fit, flattering brick-style baffles on the sides, no baffles on front
Weight 11.2 oz (size medium) 10.4 oz (medium) 14.6 oz (medium) 9.7 oz (medium) 11.4 oz (small)
Insulation 60-g PrimaLoft GOLD 60-g PrimaLoft ThermoBall Mainbody: Coreloft 120g/m2; Hood & Underarms: Coreloft 80g/m2; Inside Pockets: Coreloft 60g/m2 60-g Thermal Q Elite 60-g Fullrange
Outer Fabric Pertex Quantum 20D 100% nylon 15D Ripstop, 100% nylon Gossamera 100% nylon ripstop 15D Ripstop, 100% nylon 1.3 oz 20D 100% nylon ripstop w/ mechanical stretch, super soft!
Lining Pertex Quantum 20D 100% nylon 15D 33g/m2, 100% nylon Gossamera 100% nylon ripstop 15D Ripstop, 100% nylon 2.0 oz 50D 100% nylon plain weave w/ mechanical stretch
Waterproofing DWR finish, water resistant DWR finish, water resistant DWR finish, water resistant Water Resistant Ripstop DWR finish, water resistant
# of Pockets [chest] 1 [hand] 2 [inside chest] 0 [chest] 0 [hand] 2 [inside chest] 0 [inside hand - no zipper] 2 [chest] 0 [hand] 2 [inside chest] 0 [chest] 0 [hand] 2 [inside chest] 0 [chest] 2 [hand] 2 [inside chest] 0
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stuffs into itself? Yes, into chest pocket, w/ accessory loop Yes, into hand pocket, w/ accessory loop No Yes, into hand pocket, no seperate accessory loop No
Cuff construction Elastic Elastic, with interior stretch cuff Elastic, with fitted exterior stretch cuff Elastic Elastic
Warranty Information Lifetime Warranty - includes seams, zippers & other manufacturer defects. After a year, the rules change a little. Lifetime warranty - includes repairs to seams & zippers, and other manufacturer defects Lifetime Warrantly - includes zippers, buckles, & other manufacturer defects. http://blog.arcteryx.com/warranty-worthy-claims Lifetime warranty - includes repairs to seams & zippers, and other manufacturer defects Lifetime warranty - includes repairs to seams & zippers, and other manufacturer defects
Unique Features Insulated hood, high compression: warmth ratio Highest warmth to size ratio, ThermoBall Technology, fleece-lined hand pockets Very warm, insulated hood is helmet compatible, tall collar, adjustable hood cinch cords, wrist-fitting elastic cuffs Lightweight Incredibly stretchy and mobile jacket materials
Color Selection Ink, Aubergine, Petal 14 colors! Black, Cherrywine, Malachite, Tamarillo Neon Light, Aristcrat (blue), Graphite/Bright Rose, Black, Sea Salt, Atlantis, Berry Jam Black, Cobalt Blue, Tobago Blue, Tailored Grey

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review



Selecting the Right Product
A good synthetic insulated jacket is a great investment. With new innovations in technology, technical insulated jackets today are warm, light, fairly compressible, and most importantly - they keep you warm in most wet conditions.

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This type of jacket is a perfect layer to consider when it's cold outside, and there is a possibility you might get wet. When they get wet, they still keep you warm, unlike down insulation. The ThermoBall earned top marks for its stand out warmth and water resistance.
Credit: Jared Vilhauer

They are ideal insulating layers for anyone planning an adventure that might include unexpected downpours or sweaty winter aerobic activities. However, before you commit to buying one of these synthetic layers, let's ask a big the question….

Why Choose A Synthetic Insulated Jacket?
When choosing a jacket, there are a multitude of decisions to make, but perhaps the first and most important to consider is whether to opt for synthetic or down insulation. All the products in this review are made with synthetic insulation which has several notable benefits in comparison to down. (Note, we use the terms "synthetic" and "insulated" interchangeably.)

Most importantly, synthetic insulation will continue to keep you warm even if it becomes wet. Unlike down, which loses its loft when wet, synthetic fibers maintain their structure and continue to trap warmth even in heavy rain. To be clear, you won't be as warm as if your jacket were dry, but you'll be warmer than if you were wearing a down jacket in the rain. Additionally, synthetic materials generally dry quickly, making it an optimal choice for outdoor adventures that might involve wet weather. They do not serve as substitutes for rain shells; however, if you are going on an outdoor adventure and aren't planning to carry some sort of shell, it's better to be caught in wet weather with a synthetic jacket than a down model.

The primary downside of synthetic insulated jackets are that they typically do not provide as much warmth for the weight as their down cousins. Additionally, they don't normally hold up as long as a well-cared for down product, but insulated jackets also don't require as much special care (i.e. you can just throw them in the washing machine without a second thought). So when you go out to make your purchase, take into consideration what you need it for, and if you would be best served by a down or synthetic model. For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, take a look at How to Choose the Best Insulated Jacket for Women review. You can also check out our Women's Down Jacket review, Women's Parka Review for information down insulated products.

Types of Insulated Jackets
Throughout our testing process, it became clear that some of the products in this review were more similar and comparable than others. There were thin, quilted jackets, including pieces like the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket - Women's, The North Face ThermoBall (Best Buy Award Winner), and the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's. These models work well as mid layers and are generally lightweight and super packable. We really liked using these pieces as extra outer layers on long rock climbs and beneath a shell while backcountry skiing.

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A look at all our quilted competitors. From the left to right: Patagonia Nano Puff, The North Face ThermoBall, Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic
Credit: Amber King

We also closely compared those products that had continuous shells, like the Rab Xenon X Hoodie (Editors' Choice), Arc'teryx Atom LT - Women's, and the Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody (Top Pick for Warmth). These insulated jackets offered a little more water resistance and their insulation felt more lofty since it wasn't stitched down into baffles.

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A look at the continuous shell jackets. On the left is our Editors' Choice Award Winner, the Rab Xenon X Hoodie. On the right is our Top Pick for Warmth, the Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody.
Credit: Amber King

Finally, we looked at models that offered increased breathability. Products like the Patagonia Nano Air, Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody, and Rab Strata Hoodie - Women's serve as insulating layers that will still be comfortable during heavy cardio activity. They help regulate body temperature by wicking sweat away from the body and allowing air to flow in. They also have softer, more comfortable fabrics that move with your body.

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Earning our Top Pick for Breathability, the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody is perfect for any alpine mission and just wearing around town. It's one of the three breathable shell jackets tested.
Credit: Amber King

Do you Have to Pay A Lot for an Insulated Jacket?
The simple answer to this is no. Like we said above, a good insulated jacket is a great investment, so you don't want to go too cheap. Though, it's important to know that not all high quality items are upwards of $200.00. For example, the Columbia Kaleidaslope II - Women's is a great option for those looking for something to just wear around town and hit the slopes of your local ski resort. With a price tag of only $150, you get a lot of bang for your buck. It has a lot of great features including a fur-lined collar to keep you warm and sassy baffles for that uptown look. This type of layer stands out because its not a performance piece, but a great coat for somebody looking to spend less, look great, and stay warm.

Criteria for Evaluation

Warmth
The number one reason to buy a jacket? To stay warm! As we discussed above, insulated jackets aren't as warm for their weight as their down cousins, but they do have some very specific advantages in wet weather. For the purposes of this review, we measured warmth of the products relative to each other, meaning that a 10 given to the warmest synthetic model will not be as warm as a 10 given to a down product in another review. This review encompasses products that are a bit thicker and warmer (like our Top Pick for Warmth), as well as thinner layers that are highly compressible and those that are more breathable. We tested products with hoods and those without, in addition to pieces with longer cut torsos and pull cords to seal in warmth. Additionally, we noted the type and amount of insulation used and tested each product in the field to determine how warm they really were.

After completing our testing process, we determined that the warmest model was easily the Arc'teryx AR Hoody, which contains 60g/m2 more insulation than most of the other pieces we tested. On the other end of the spectrum, the least warm ones were the ultra lightweight models like the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic and the more breathable ones like the Patagonia Nano-Air. We were also really surprised to discover that one of the thinnest, the Patagonia Nano Puff, was actually almost just as warm as our Editors' Choice winner, the Rab Xenon X. Both of these products use 60 g/m2 of PrimaLoft GOLD insulation (formerly known as PrimaLoft ONE), one of the leading synthetic products on the market.

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The warmest jacket tested was the Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody. When the temps got below zero in Utah, this jacket kept us warm and toasty.
Credit: Jared Vilhauer

Another fascinating find was the warmth generated by The North Face ThermoBall. Not only is it the Best Buy for this review, but it also was the warmest product with just 60g/m2 of insulation. The North Face claims that this technology is "better than down" because it is as warm as a 600 fill down jacket, but still managed to stay warm when wet. We can't necessarily say if its as warm as 600 fill goose down (so many different types and varieties), but we can say it was the warmest of the insulated jackets with 60-g/m2 of other synthetic fills, like the Patagonia Nano Puff and Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic for example. In general, it was loftier and stayed warmer in cold weather.

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The ThermoBall was the warmest of all the jackets with 60-g/m2 of synthetic fill. However, its sub-par wind resistance brought its warmth down just a touch, similar to other lightweight jackets tested.
Credit: Jared Vilhauer

Weight & Compression
When we thought about the function for a synthetic jacket, we realized that it is most definitely a "workhorse piece." That is, we're constantly stuffing them as a "just in case" layer in the bottom of a pack or clipping them to a harness for a long alpine or rock adventure. For this reason, we decided that compressibility and weight should be one of the most important categories to consider. We really appreciated models that compressed down so small and were so lightweight that we barely noticed them in the bottom of our packs. We also really liked the jackets that had integrated stow systems, to stuff and put away quickly. You'll notice, however, that generally speaking the lightest weight products earned lower scores in warmth. While this conclusion is not surprising, it is a good reminder that sometimes you have to choose which aspects are most important for you and be willing to compromise on other aspects.

The lightest, most compressible product that we tested was a close tie between the Patagonia Nano Puff and the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic. Both pack down into a chest and hand pocket respectively and got to the size of a small grapefruit. On the other end of the spectrum, we had pieces like the Arc'teryx AR Hoody and Columbia Kaleidaslope II that weren't very compressible and weighed a little more. We also had pieces like the Arc'teryx Atom LT and Patagonia Nano Air that were a couple of ounces heavier than our lightest pieces and didn't have the integrated stow systems. The Rab Xenon X, stood out among the rest. Even though it was not the lightest or most compressible product, we really appreciated how small it packed down while providing significantly more warmth than other thin quilted competitors like the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic.

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A comparison of the models that compress into their own pockets. From left to right: Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic (no accessory loop), Patagonia Nano Puff (w/ accessory loop), The North Face ThermoBall (w/ accessory loop). Rab Xenon X Hoodie (w/accessory loop). All other jackets were compressible, but these are the best for easy stuff and go functionality.
Credit: Amber king

Comfort
Although insulated jackets aren't nearly as cozy as, say, the ultra plush Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover, we found that some had features that made them just a little more comfy (like having a hood or stretch wrist gussets) and easy to use. We checked to see which ones had fleece-lined pockets and chin guards and which ones had gusseted underarms for maximum mobility. We also considered how the fabrics felt against our skin and whether or not they stretched or remained static when moving around. The loft of the insulation was considered a key point as well, since fluffier insulation makes a layer feel like a nest that you could hunker down into on cold days.

Through the comfort tests, we developed a very serious relationship with the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody. Why? Simply because of its cozy, soft, and stretchy outer and inner fabrics; the presence of its hood; and how, if we wanted to, we could wear it comfortably against our skin. We also liked that it protected our chin and allowed for the best mobility of all the products tested in this review. The Columbia Kaleidaslope II also stood out, as it features a fur-lined collar that zips up snugly against the neck. The Arc'teryx AR Hoody (Top Pick for Warmth) was also given a good grade for comfort because of its ample loft, adjustable hood feature, and AWESOME wrist gussets that keep everything cozy, mobile, and ultimately comfortable. On the other end of the spectrum, the lower scores seen with the ThermoBall are just a result of a simpler design.

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The high collar and big felt chin guards were a super plus in the category of comfort for the Rab Xenon X Hoodie.
Credit: Jared Vilhauer

Water Resistance
As we mentioned before, insulated jackets do not serve as substitutes for rain shells, but many of the products that we reviewed are treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish. Thanks to the differences in fabric and stitching, each repelled water a little differently. To test this metric in a specific head-to-head test, we wore them in the shower with a cotton shirt underneath. The cotton shirt was a telltale sign of whether or not our skin (or layers in the field) would get wet. After that, we looked at the amount of water each piece retained by squeezing each coat and observing if there were any areas that "pooched" up from water accumulation.

We were really impressed with the Rab Xenon X in this test. Its Pertex Quantum shell was able to continue beading throughout our five minute shower test and did not "wet out" like all the other competitors tested. We were equally impressed with The North Face ThermoBall that had similar but different performance. Its fabric wetted, but it retained little to no water. As a result, it was also the fastest to dry out. On the other end of the spectrum, we were let down by the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic; it did a good job of keeping us warm when wet and keeping the water away from our cotton shirt underneath, but it held the most water of any model tested. It also took the longest to dry out, even after being wrung out.

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The Rab Xenon X was a top perfomer in our water resistance test. Even after 5 minutes in the shower, the fabric still beaded and retained very little water. Not only that - but it keeps you warm when wet. Just like all of the products in this review.
Credit: Amber King

Wind Resistance
Have you ever been caught in a windstorm in just a single layer of clothing and suffered as the wind just cut through you to the core? Well, if you're wearing many of these synthetic insulated jackets, you won't have to worry about that. Wind resistance is an important metric to consider because you will likely run into windy situations while playing outside and you may or may not have a shell to save you. The next best thing? Owning a jacket with some level of wind-stop technology. When we tested wind resistance, we stood on top of mountains and in wind storms on the plains of Southeast Colorado. During these tests, we extended our arms to see how each product cut the frigid wind and whether or not we felt large gusts flow through.

The products that offered the best wind resistance were the ones donning a continuous, less breathable shell. For example, the Arc'teryx AR Hoody, Columbia Kaleidaslope II, and Rab Xenon X Hoodie had us feeling the wind less than any other insulated jacket. Unlike continuous shell models, the quilted pieces have their inner and outer layers tacked together. This is in combination with more perforations as a result of sewn baffles = less wind resistance. On the other hand, products with a more breathable membrane like the Patagonia Nano-Air (Top Pick for Breathability) and Arc'teryx Atom LT did not do well in these tests. They cut the wind with their rip stop material for about two to three minutes, but ultimately the wind passed through. Not a surprising conclusion to this long-winded test.

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Testing wind resistance at it's finest! 13,000 feet and counting more upwards. The ThermoBall performed similarily to the Thermostatic and Nano Puff in the this metric...not the most wind resistant, but its insulation made us feel warmer.
Credit: Jared Vilhauer

Style
As in many of the women's clothing reviews that we do here at OutdoorGearLab, style was a component of this review. We recognize that many women are looking for jackets that have a flattering and feminine fit. When considering style, we looked at the patterns on the article, and whether or not it offered a flattering look. Specifically, we looked at the cut, the baffle shapes, fun features (like fur!), and the stitching and fabric type. We compared and contrasted each model to give you a tangible style rating.

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A comparison of a few jackets tested. From left to right: Patagonia Nano Air Hoody, Rab Xenon X Hoodie, Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody, Columbia Kaleidaslope II, Patagonia Nano Puff, The North Face ThermoBall, Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic
Credit: Amber King

Perhaps the most stylish products in this review were the Columbia Kaleidaslope II and Patagonia Nano Air. Both with different looks, both looking fresh and stylish. The Columbia Kaleidaslope II doesn't have many technical advantages, but it is a stylish (and affordable!) piece that looks nice to wear out shopping or to work. We really liked its flirty front baffling, the fur lined collar, and color selection.

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Introducing the super snazzy Columbia Kaleidaslope II. It stands out from the rest for its around town look and sexy style. This is not a performance piece, but it looks great on the ski hill or while out to the pub with friends.
Credit: Amber King

A more technical piece, the Patagonia Nano Air, is a stylish and cooed-at jacket for its soft fabrics and lightweight feel. Even though it had a boxy cut, the flattering side brick baffles make the piece look more feminine. On the other end of the spectrum, a few products, including the Patagonia Nano Puff, had very boxy, unflattering cuts. Throughout the review, we did our best to give you an idea of which pieces provide a balance of style and outdoor functionality, which ones were best solely for around town, and which ones were more suited solely to outdoor applications.

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Whether you're skate skiing or just cruising around town, our Top Pick for Breathability will leave you feeling cozy and looking good.
Credit: Amber King

Editors' Choice Award: Rab Xenon X Hoodie
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The Rab Xenon X Hoodie is our Editors' Choice Award winner for the second year in a row! It strikes a fine balance between compressibility, weather resistance, and warmth. It also hosts a wide variety of comfort features that will make any adventure comfortable and convenient.
Credit: Jared Vilhauer

The competition for the Editors' Choice Award in this review was intense. The scores for three insulated jackets were close and at the top of the scoring tables. However, at the end of the day, we choose the Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's to take home first place for the second year in a row! This is a more versatile piece than the other contenders, especially with its cozy PrimaLoft GOLD insulation and fleecy high collar. Our testers felt warm and cozy in this awesome technical piece and we were also blown away by how quickly it dried, and how little water it retained in inclement weather. The Rab Xenon X Hoodie weighs in at just over 11 ounces and compresses down to a very manageable size. It wasn't the smallest or lightest product that we reviewed, but we loved this piece for technical adventures, hanging out around the campfire, and running errands around town. In the end, it was the most versatile piece for a great ticket price of just $215.

Best Buy Award:The North Face ThermoBall Jacket
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The North Face ThermoBall hosts only 60-g/m2 of insulation - but beats out its other lightweight competitors. We think it offers the best value...high scoring at only $199. If you're looking for affordable quality, take a look at the ThermoBall.
Credit: Amber King

When it came to choosing our Best Buy award winner, we fell over ourselves to give this to The North Face ThermoBall Jacket - Women's. We loved how it had the highest warmth-to-weight ratio of any of the pieces tested, keeping us warm on high mountain peaks with just a simple base layer underneath. The Thermoball's technology is proclaimed "better than down," keeping you as warm as a 600-fill down jacket. Not only that, but it's priced at just $199. It fits comfortably underneath and above tight hardshells and compresses just a little larger than the lightest products we tested. Not only that but it has interior elastic cuffs and adjustable hem pull cords to keep the warmth in and the cold out. With its beautiful diamond baffles, fun color scheme, and affordable price tag, how could we not give this product our Best Buy award?

Top Pick for Warmth: Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody
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The Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody won out Top Pick for Warmth Award. We loved its 120 g/m2 of Coreloft insulation that did an amazing job keeping us warm when it was cold out.
Credit: Amber King

The Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody- Women's stands out as a great, warm layer for those frigid belays in the mountains. With 120 g/m2 (60g/m2 more than most others) of Coreloft insulation in the body and underneath the arms, Arc'teryx designed this model to keep your core toasty. It possesses warmth features like gusseted wrists and a pull string hem to keep wind and water out. The hood has a one-pull adjustment point on the back that will suck its edges around your face. This also allows a helmet to fit either over or under the hood. Not only that, but it is harness and backpack strap compatible, with a higher internal chest pocket. What we really loved was the awesomely high and roomy collar that allows you to nestle way down into your coat if the weather turns. To top it off, this product is pretty water resistant and dries quickly.

Top Pick Award for Breathability: Patagonia Nano Air Hoody
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The awesome lightweight and soft fabric - along with its innovative insulation - won the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody the Top Pick for Breathability. A perfect jacket for aerobic activities on cold days, or as a stand alone jacket during the spring, fall, or summer.
Credit: Amber King

The Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's stole our hearts. We found ourselves reaching for this insulated jacket every time we went out the door to go for a cold morning run or a mid day hike. It's ideal anytime you need a layer that can move, breathe, and still keep you warm. This is why we gave the Nano Air our Top Pick for Breathability. The features that stand out the most are its soft, supple outer and inner fabrics that slide nicely on the skin and against other materials. Its mobility is outstanding and allowed us to move into contorted positions while on the climbing wall with ease. Furthermore, it was the most breathable piece that we tested. Once you put this piece on, if it's cold enough, you really do leave it on. Ideal for any winter aerobic sport, this technical item is not only functional, but it's also fashionable.

Best for Specific Applications
Best for layering under tight shells: Patagonia Nano Puff
Best for backcountry skiing: Patagonia Nano Air Hoody
Best technical piece with attractive styling: Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody

Amber King and Amanda Fenn
Buying Advice
How we Test
Helpful Buying Tips
How to Choose the Best Insulated Jacket for Women - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Insulated Jacket for Women

by Amber King and Amanda Fenn
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