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REI Co-op 650 Down Review

Our budget option, this jacket performs well, complete with a DWR treatment and a stow-away pocket.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $100 List | $48.83 at REI
Pros:  Lightweight, inexpensive
Cons:  Not very warm, no hood option
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 4, 2019
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 14
  • Warmth - 30% 5
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7
  • Fit - 15% 6
  • Compressibility - 10% 8
  • Features - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The REI Co-op Down 650 is a basic, affordable way to take the lofty, insulating feathers from a duck and wrap them around your body, so you don't freeze to death. As of recent, REI branded jackets and sleeping have been impressing our testers with their quality, features, and affordability. However, compared to the jackets and bags in the Magma series, the Down 650 is lackluster.

While the once award-winning, now discontinued REI Co-op Magma 850 Hoody hit that perfect sweet spot of price and quality, the Down 650 lacks any "wow" factor. We admit our testers are a tough bunch to impress, and to this model's credit, it didn't lose any feathers during our testing period. It also has a water-repelling DWR treatment, and it packs away into its left-hand pocket.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
REI Co-op 650 Down
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $48.83 at REI$350 List$339.00 at Feathered Friends$318.10 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$169.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
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Pros Lightweight, inexpensiveGreat fit, warm, lightweight, packable900+ fill down, warm, lightweight, incredibly compressible, competitively pricedVery warm, super light, packs small, fits fantasticVery warm, water resistant hydrophobic down, great DWR coating, well thought out features
Cons Not very warm, no hood optionExpensive, more difficult to fit in its stowaway pocket than other modelsHood a little tight to fit over a helmetExpensive, draw cord performance not as great as other jackets750 fill-power down is good but not as light or lofty as others
Bottom Line Our budget option, this jacket performs well, complete with a DWR treatment and a stow-away pocket.This is our favorite jacket for when we need to be fast, light, and warm.A great choice for folks looking to go fast, light, and warm.A great warmth to weight ratio and excellent features make the Cerium a solid choice.Excellent for wet weather because it has all the features to ensure the down stays dry.
Rating Categories REI Co-op 650 Down Summit L3 Hoody Feathered Friends Eos Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody Rab Microlight Alpine
Warmth (30%)
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Weight (20%)
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Water Resistance (15%)
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Fit (15%)
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Specs REI Co-op 650 Down Summit L3 Hoody Feathered Friends... Arc'teryx Cerium... Rab Microlight...
Down Fill 650-fill down, certified to Responsible Down Standard 800-fill goose down 900+ goose down 850-fill 750-fill goose down
Total Weight (Men's size small tested) 10.6 oz 11.9 oz 11 oz 10.3 oz 14.1 oz
Baffle Construction Sewn-through baffles Sewn-through baffles Sewn-through baffles Sewn-through baffles Sewn-through baffles
Main Fabric Treated nylon 10D x 10D 25 g/m² 100% nylon with durable water-repellent (DWR) finish Pertex Quantum Arato 10 nylon Pertex Quantum
Compression Method Zips into its own pocket Zips into its own pocket with clip-in loop Stuff sack Zips into its own pocket with clip-in loop Stuff sack
Pockets 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest
Hoodless Option? Yes No No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Down 650's downfall is in the warm metric. While its respectable weight puts it neck and neck with some of our favorite models like the Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody and the Feathered Friends Eos, the Down 650 isn't as warm as these higher lofting (more expensive) models. The Mammut Tullus is the only other 600 fill duck own jacket in our review, and for those on a budget, the Down 650 is hands down a better choice.

Performance Comparsion


This jacket embodies the look and feel of more expensive models   but not the warmth.
This jacket embodies the look and feel of more expensive models, but not the warmth.

Warmth


We can't find a spec that tells us how many ounces of duck down are in the Down 650, but looking at the overall weight of the jacket, we'd say "not a lot".


Remember, it requires more down of a lower fill power to achieve the same insulating abilities as a higher fill power down, hence the advantage of shelling out the dough for a 850+ fill down jacket, like the Eos. However, do keep in mind that it offers up a similar warmth rating to that of the Ghost Whisperer, but at a much cheaper price. For a cheap, lightweight solution to breezy summertime belays in the High Sierra, the Down 650 fits the bill. For colder weather, we suggest looking for a warmer model.

Sewn-through baffles keep the duck down in place and minimize cold spots.
Sewn-through baffles keep the duck down in place and minimize cold spots.

Weight


The Down 650 tips our scales at a respectable 10.7 ounces. Not bad for the budget option, but keep in mind that this jacket doesn't have a hood, and it isn't very warm.


If these aren't concerns to you, you've found yourself a steal of a deal. The Arc'teryx Cerium LT is a touch lighter, much warmer, and it has a hood. The Cerium also cost more than times as much as the Down 650.

This jacket is impressively lightweight for a budget option.
This jacket is impressively lightweight for a budget option.

Water Resistance


DWR treatments are a make-or-break factor when it comes to water resistance; fortunately, this jacket fares well in light precip thanks to its treated DWR ripstop nylon fabric.


Other factors that make a down jacket more water resistant are the thickness of its shell material, and whether or not the down itself has a hydrophobic treatment. The Down 650 does not have a shell but doesn't soak through as quickly as the Outdoor Research Illuminate Down Hoody, which lacks a DWR treatment.

Without a DWR treatment  this jacket would soak through immediately. Fortunately  it has one.
Without a DWR treatment, this jacket would soak through immediately. Fortunately, it has one.

Fit


Compared to higher performing models, the Down 650 has a boxy fit, especially in the arms and shoulders. Predictably, our smaller, scrawnier testers didn't like what they feel is superfluous fabric, while bigger guys enjoyed the increased mobility.


We find the best fit in a lightweight down jacket give you plenty of mobility while being sleek enough to fit underneath a hardshell or an even bigger insulating layer, a la the Editors' Choice Award-winning The North Face Summit L3 Down Hoody.

Smaller testers feel this jacket has a boxy fit.
Smaller testers feel this jacket has a boxy fit.

Compressibility


This jacket is very compressible and stuffs into its left-hand zipper pocket, complete with a clip-in loop for attaching to a climbing harness.


We feel this is standard for a down jacket of this weight; no complaints here.

This jacket compresses down fairly small and includes a clip in loop so you can attach it to your climbing harness.
This jacket compresses down fairly small and includes a clip in loop so you can attach it to your climbing harness.

Features


The Down 650 keeps weight (and presumably cost) down by going light on the features. There are two zippered hand pockets for warming up your frigid mitts or securing small items, but that's about it. No chest pockets, hoods, or drawstrings here.


If two pockets are all you require and you can live without the hood, you've got a pretty good deal on your hands.

Two zippered hand warmer pockets round out the scant list of features on this jacket.
Two zippered hand warmer pockets round out the scant list of features on this jacket.

Best Applications


This jacket is a good choice for fair weather alpine climbing and hanging out in town or around the boulders on fall days. This is by no means the jacket for bundling up against mid-winter storms or watching the game in near freezing temps.

Value


This might be the least expensive thing you can buy with the word "down" in the name. For $99, it performs much better than expected.

Conclusion


With so many awesome models in the down jacket category, it's hard to be impressed with a budget model. While the Down 650 doesn't blow us away, if you feel like you have to have a black, baffled down jacket that looks a whole lot like that one from Patagonia, or you've only got $100, this jacket is our wallet-friendly option.


Matt Bento