These six new insulated jackets are the greatest cold buffers of the 2014 season.
Outdoor Research Floodlight
BEST FOR: Unadulterated Warmth
Extremely thin but waterproof and tough Pertex Shield fabric covers the Floodlight’s ($375) top-shelf 800-fill down, affording it the best warmth-to-weight ratio here. Oversize pockets with zippered closures are great for stashing gloves, skins, and goggles. 1.4 lbs.
BEST FOR: Moving Quickly
Employing Polartec’s new Alpha insulation, which can be stitched in porous panels rather than traditional tubular baffles, the Isotherm ($200) offers exceptional breathability. It’s a good midlayer, but wind and water resistance make it an effective outer layer, too. 14 oz.
Patagonia Bivy Down Vest
BEST FOR: Everyday Flair
The Bivy Down Vest is the perfect marriage of warmth—with 600-fill down hugging your core—and retro, with quilted fabric inside and out. Remember to take it off at least once a week. 1.4 lbs.
Millet Belay Hybrid
BEST FOR: Versatility
In the Belay Hybrid's ($219) torso, synthetic insulation and a breathable Pertex shell keep you warm while allowing you to dump excess heat. In the arms and shoulders, high-loft fleece is covered by soft-shell fabric, which offers protection from the elements. Pit zips add extra venting power. 1.6 lbs.
The North Face ThermoBall
BEST FOR: Layering
ThermoBall ($199) is the North Face’s new foray into synthetic insulation. Rather than fibers, it’s made of millions of minuscule polyester balls encased in tiny pockets—more like down. It’s a smart idea, and it works well. The ThermoBall jacket is light, warm, and water resistant; its stuffing is nearly as compressible as goose fill but dries quickly and wicks moisture like a synthetic. 12 oz.
Fjällräven Greenland Down
BEST FOR: Urban Environs
This svelte parka ($500) is warmer than it looks, thanks to 500-fill down, a burly hood, and a tightly woven cotton-poly exterior, which is coated with Fjällräven’s water-shedding Greenland Wax. Like Geraldo, it looks better with age. 2.8 lbs.
Next Up: The Best New Insulated Jackets