Updated to 2.0
REI updated their 650 Down Jacket to the 2.0. The update to our Best Buy winning down jacket includes a recycled nylon shell and a new baffle pattern, and the pockets are now cut on a bias. Compare the two jackets below. The 650 Down 2.0 is shown first, followed by the model we tested.
We're linking to the updated version, but until we can test out this latest jacket, the review below still refers to the previous model.
Hands-On Review of the 650 Down Jacket
The REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket is an amazingly affordable contender that can be worn for a relatively broad range of uses. It has its limits, but for everything but the most advanced applications, this is an excellent choice.
Not the warmest jacket, but a good entry level down jacket.
The 650 Down is far from the warmest in this review. It uses lower quality 650 fill down and is very lightweight. This means much less loft, and lower quality loft—so while it is still super lightweight, this comes at a significant cost to the warmth of the jacket.
Show here is the Down Jacket's simple design with some internal flair. The Down Jacket is available in various colors and designs, so there's one that's sure to suit your tastes.
This model is impressively light, weighing only 6 ounces. This comes at a cost to the warmth and compressibility metrics though, because the jacket uses lower quality 650 fill down. We prefer the Ghost Whisperer if weight is your top priority, as it weighs only 4.5 ounces and is a top scorer.
Similar to the issues with warmth, this jacket is less compressible than it could be due to the use of 650 fill down. This is a less compressible quality down, so while this jacket looks thin and feels light, it does not pack as small as a jacket with 850 fill down.
This jacket was relatively light and compressible, in part because it just didn't have a lot of down.
This 650 Down Jacket from REI does not have a hood, which is always a favorite feature among our reviewers, as it adds a tremendous amount of warmth and protection from the elements.
Handy hidden internal pocket.
It does, however, pack into the left-hand pocket so you can clip it to the back of your harness to take with you on longer climbs. We love this feature, as it keeps so many options open. This model from REI does not have a chest pocket, but it does have a deep inside pocket which is excellent for stashing gloves, snacks, or your phone to keep them warm while climbing in cold places, or just to keep them accessible.
A comfortable cuff design.
The jacket uses Bluesign approved nylon, indicating that the material is produced sustainably, and it features down certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), both excellent features. Overall, this is a very simple jacket, and there is always something to be said for that. This jacket is simple, with minimal features. If you like pockets and hoods, like we do, you might love our award winner, the Rab Microlight. And then there is the poster child of well-balanced, streamlined, and useful features in the overall winner, the Arc'teryx Cerium.
We had no durability issues come up with this jacket during our testing period. The fabric is relatively average when compared to the rest of the models in this review: it is soft and supple, which tends to detract from a jacket's durability (especially around sharp or catchy and scratchy objects), but it is not as soft and supple as the lightest jackets in this review. If this is your top metric, and the other categories don't matter too much to you, The North Face Aconcagua and the Canada Goose Hybridge Perren might fit the bill.
The 650Down Jacket fell below average for its lack of water resistance, wetting out and saturating the down fill quickly under wet conditions. This was particularly noticeable at the wrist cuffs which often get dripped on, even when wearing a high-quality hardshell jacket. The North Face Aconcagua Jacket and Arc'teryx Cerium were our top scorers when it came to water resistance tests. A down jacket is not a rain jacket, but we like it to have a little water resistance for those mid-downpour dashes into the coffee shop. A better option in this category and one we enjoyed is the Kuhl Spyfire.
The 650 Down Jacket from REI is a simple, straightforward, down contender. It has a casual, outdoorsy look to it that is hard to dress up when going out on the town. We thought the forest pattern on the inside was too busy, but this is certainly a personal taste thing.
The 650 Down Jacket is an affordable competitor. It is not the highest quality, but it is a great option for someone who needs an acceptably lightweight down jacket for summer camping trips and can't justify the cost of a higher-end jacket. With that in mind, this is a great "entry-level" down jacket.
The price of this jacket is stunning—$100 for a down jacket seems impossible. This does come at great cost to some important features, notably warmth, compressibility, and water resistance. If you don't use a down jacket often and this one is adequate, then it will be a great value. But if you are an avid outdoors person, this jacket would be a waste of money.
The REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket is a great entry-level down jacket for someone curious about camping and backpacking but doesn't want to spend a lot of money on a down jacket. This contender is adequate for midsummer, low elevation camping, and backpacking trips.
The Co-Op Down Jacket from REI is a simple model that won't break the bank. And it's lightweight, to boot!