For years now, we have tested synthetic insulated jackets side by side. We've worn them under shells, over base layers, as belay jackets, and as insulating mid-layers.
The Eastern Sierra is our testing playground, although recently we have also been testing these jackets in the high desert and Cascades of Oregon. We put each of these jackets through the wringer so we can rate them by warmth, weight, comfort, weather resistance, breathability, and style. We took them climbing and scrambling. We climbed multi-pitches with a rack of jackets, cycling through them at belays, and stuffing and un-stuffing them into their pockets. We used them to bundle up in the boulders and then wore them to the bars.
We pushed ourselves hard uphill to see how sweaty the jackets get inside, and we stood out in the rain too long to test water resistance. After all the fun, we took the jackets inside for more testing. We stood under a cold shower for side-by-side comparisons of how well the different water repellents worked. We looked at how long it took for the jackets to soak through (some never did!). We weighed the jackets, compared how long it took to stuff away each jacket, and set them side by side for loft comparison.
We've climbed, skied, hiked, camped, slept, and gone out on the town in all these jackets to find the very best.