What are insulated jackets?


When a hoodie or fleece isn’t warm enough for cold outdoor weather, insulated jackets offer the protection you need. It’s important to identify where and when you will need your insulated jacket. This will determine whether you need a down-, synthetic- or hybrid-insulated jacket. 

What are insulated jackets?

Insulated jackets reduce the amount of heat your body loses to the atmosphere in cold conditions. They may or may not be waterproof; some people prefer to carry a light waterproof jacket in their backpack and only wear it when it rains or snows.

We’ve already covered the technical aspects of insulated jackets in another article. It covers the structural and performance differences of natural down and synthetic insulation, and it’s well worth a read if you’re looking to learn about which fill is best for you.

As a quick recap, however, both our men's insulated jackets and women's insulated jackets have a choice of three fillings: natural down, synthetic down or a hybrid of the two. Weight for weight, natural down is a better insulator, but synthetic down dries more quickly. As you’ve probably gathered, that means natural down suits colder, drier activities, whereas synthetic down would be more suitable if it’s relatively cold but likely to be wet.

Some of The North Face’s more technical insulated jackets are body-mapped, meaning the insulation is strategically positioned throughout the coat to ensure maximum protection around the core parts of the body. The majority have uniform insulation throughout, however. For most outdoor activities or living and working in a cold environment, a standard North Face insulated jacket will be perfect.

Which is the best insulated jacket?

Your choice of insulated jacket comes down to how you intend to wear it, how heavy you want it to be, and how packable it is. Obviously the choice of style, colour and price range are down to you, but there are plenty of options, whatever your activity.


Light, packable and water-resistant


For a light, packable jacket, the Thermoball Eco hooded jacket is always a good fit. It’s available in men’s and women’s styles and will protect you against humid air and light showers, with a decent amount of insulation. A handy feature is that you can pack it into its own pocket and it weighs about half a kilo, perfect for space and energy conservation when you hit the trail.

If you want lightness but don’t care about scrunching it into a ball, consider a stretch down parka, a full-length insulated jacket that’s down-filled and will protect you against a light shower. A stretch down vest will give you a welcome boost in warmth, and can be worn under a waterproof coat when it’s raining, or as an outer layer when it’s not.


Warmth in cold climates


When the temperature plunges, you’re going to need the reassurance of a good natural down fill. Because you get more insulation per gram of fill, it comes into its own with larger coats and jackets, keeping the weight manageable without sacrificing warmth. Breathability is important here, too, because you’ll be zipped up most of the time and you want your sweat to dissipate.

A parka is a great solution to this need. Whether you choose a men’s parka or a women’s parka, it’s a snug jacket that will protect you against the elements, keeping you dry from the outside as well as the inside.

When it’s pouring


If you spend a lot of time out and about when it’s both cold and wet, you’re doubly dependent on your jacket to keep out the elements. Fortunately, we’ve got that (and you) covered. 

The Men’s Flight Series FUTURELIGHT™ Packable Jacket will keep you dry and cosy whatever the weather throws at you. Its waterproof outer fabric won’t let a drop through, but because it’s Gore-Tex®️, you won’t find your own sweat making you wet either.

The Suzanne Triclimate Jacket is one of our most popular women’s coats, for obvious reasons. First up, it’s 100% waterproof and breathable, for total dryness. Second, it has a detachable inner coat for extra warmth when you need it, and coolness when you don’t. And finally, its tailored cut makes it equally at home in the city or in the wilderness.

The North Face insulated jackets, whether down, synthetic or hybrid, include a range of features for additional comfort and convenience: large pockets, removable hoods, vents, adjustable cuffs, brushed collar linings, and drawstring waists for additional warmth. Other features include Velcro® storm flaps for high-level rain protection

Use the “Technical features” filters on every category page to focus on your specific needs, then you can zero in on the colours, styles and lengths you prefer.