The REI Co-op 650 Down Hoodie is a great basic down jacket for the price. It feels like a much more expensive jacket than its price may suggest, but it is missing a few important features that keep it from being a top performer next to many of the other jackets in our test group. REI branded jackets have been impressing our testers with their high quality, features, and unmatched affordability. If this jacket incorporated a hem cinch and a hood adjustment, it would have scored higher in our test, but again, for the price, it doesn't get any better.
REI Co-op 650 Down Hoodie 2.0 Review
Cons: No hood cinch, no hem cinch, loses feathers
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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Our Analysis and Test Results
REI knows a thing or two about outdoor gear. Over the years, the in-house REI brand has typically offered fair performance, but recently the Co-op line has been impressing our testers. We have mixed feelings about this jacket, but it does have its place.
The Down 650 Hoodie is a down jacket for moderate temps. This isn't the jacket to take on a winter expedition, but for a lightweight jacket with only 650 fill-power, it does a good job of insulating in crisp fall temps or warmer sunny winter days.
Had this jacket included a hem cinch and a hood adjustment, it would have been more effective at holding heat in, but even so, the lack of fill means the jacket just can't insulate like many of the other options in the review.
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 higher-end jacket with 800+ fill power. However, do keep in mind that it offers up a similar warmth rating to that of the "ultralight" style down jackets, but at a much lower 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.
The Down 650 Hoodie tips our scales at 11.9 ounces for a size large, which is pretty respectable for a light-weight hooded down jacket. The 650 fill-power used in this jacket is one reason this jacket doesn't score as well in the weight metric as some of the other ultralight style jackets in the roundup, but it also helps explain why REI was able to keep the price as low as they did.
The majority of us wouldn't bat an eye at an extra ounce or two of weight in a warm jacket, but when you are loading up a backpack, every ounce adds up pretty quickly. While this jacket could have been a bit lighter with a thinner face fabric or better quality down fill, the fact that there is no hood adjustment or hem cinch helps keep the weight down significantly.
It's a fairly well-known fact that down is the best insulation for its weight, but its also well known that when down gets soaked, it flattens out and loses its warmth almost entirely. A good DWR treatment is the first line of defense to keeping the down fill dry.
We are happy to say, the 650 Down Hoodie has a great DWR. Steady rain will make its way in through the stitches over time, but we were pleased to see rain droplets sit on the surface of the face fabric for long periods without wetting out or soaking into the nylon.
Compared to higher performing models, the Down 650 has a boxy fit, especially in the arms and shoulders. Predictably, our smaller testers didn't like what they feel is superfluous fabric, while bigger guys enjoyed the increased mobility.
If you plan to wear this jacket over a light or mid-weight fleece, this jacket works just fine. However, trying to get this jacket under a rain shell can be difficult. While there will be room for it under many winter hard shells, the extra fabric and lose cut makes it feel bulky in the sleeves and shoulders.
Despite the lower 650 fill-power, this jacket is quite compressible and stuffs well into its left-hand zipper pocket. The last model had a loop in the stash pocket to clip it to a harness or backpack, but in the new model, this feature is missing. If you plan to clip this to a harness, you will need to bring along an extra stuff sack for that purpose.
The 650 Down Hoodie keeps the weight and costs down by going light on features. There are two zippered hand pockets for warming up your frigid mitts or securing small items, and two massive internal drop-in stash pockets, but that's about it. No chest pockets or drawstrings here.
The lack of drawstrings on the waist and the hood is unfortunate. Our testers found themselves reaching for those missing drawstrings over and over as it got colder and colder. The waist felt drafty in windy conditions, and the hood didn't lock in the much-needed warmth around the face.
We appreciated the recycled nylon face fabric on the Co-op 650 Hoodie. We were amazed by how soft it was even compared to much more expensive jackets with thinner nylon materials, but we wouldn't call this fabric, or construction, downproof. Tiny down feathers were commonly found floating through the air when we wore this jacket. Even though we had more feather loss in this jacket than any other in our test, the rate of loss wasn't alarming, and the performance of the jacket won't be affected, even after a few years of use. We just find that it reflects the overall quality of the jacket.
This might be the least expensive thing you can buy with the word "down" in the name. Even though it's not the warmest jacket, nor does it have the best fit or feature set, for the price, it performs much better than expected.
With so many incredible models in the down jacket category, we didn't expect to be too impressed with this budget model. But after wearing it, we learned to appreciate it. While the REI Co-op 650 Down Hoodie doesn't blow us away, it certainly reigns supreme when it comes to bang for the buck. If you want a decent puffy for cool but not super cold temperatures and you have limited funds to spend, this jacket is our first choice.
— Adam Paashaus