Oi Polloi’s Guide to Down Jackets

Our good friends at Oi Polloi know what they’re talking about, which is why we get on, so in the spirit of information sharing, here’s their handy guide to the best down jackets across the board.

We’re not trying to replicate the macabre timbre of Donald Pleasence narrating a creepy 70s public service announcement here, but as we plummet deeper into the depths of winter, it’s worth keeping in mind a hard-wearing, heat-hoarding jacket is often the only thing between you and an icy grave.

Not many jackets fit this bill better than the ones that’ve been stuffed to the gills with down, so here’s a particularly-stacked roster of down-insulated outerwear that should lead you to toasty salvation.

The Patagonia Downdrift Jacket

Up first we’ve got this choice cut from Patagonia – the Downdrift Jacket. It’s basically an ultra-wearable, zero-fuss, DWR-doused down jacket that’ll get its proverbial head down in most situations, with a heaped tablespoon of 70s outerwear spice mix thrown in to help things go down even smoother.

And considering this has been made from salvaged fishing nets and recycled down from unsold products, we’ll doff our caps to Patagonia and their eco-commitments too.

The Tretorn Puffer Jacket

Second on the list we’ve got this zestily-hued specimen from Tretorn. This lot are mainly known for their superb rain-dodging garb, but in a plot twist no one suspected, they’re actually dab hands at heat-hoarders as well.

And yeah, that azure blue paint job is quite the retina tonic too.

The Fjällräven Expedition Lite Jacket

Fjällräven have been making variations of the Expedition Down Jacket since 1974, and almost three decades later it’s still a mighty fine way to stay warm in even the harshest conditions.

This version here is the Expedition Down Lite. The basic recipe remains unchanged, it’s just been toned down a bit to better suit civilian excursions. Unless your daily commute takes you through some perilous Arctic tundra (and even then), this will be more than enough.

The Gramicci x Nanga UL Portable Down Zip Parka

Meanwhile, this UL Portable Down Zip Parka from Gramicci and Nanga is most definitely designed for serious outdoor skirmishes.

We’re not sure how they’ve swung this (a shady backroom deal with Lucifer seems like the only viable explanation), but these two have managed to make this packable while still retaining the heat-hoarding qualities of a burly mountain parka, meaning that if you theoretically can’t stand the heat, you can actually get out of the kitchen.

Does that analogy make sense? We hope so.

The FrizmWORKS Karakoram Down Parka

This FrizmWORKS Karakoram Down Parka is quite special.

It’s massive, it’s shaded exactly like the American, banned-in-Europe variation of Fanta, and – dare we say it – it looks just as good as the jacket it’s based on (although we can’t be sure the Eddie Bauer legal team shares our enthusiasm).

The Battenwear Down Deck Jacket

Next up we’ve got the distinctly dope American flavour of Battenwear and their Down Deck Jacket.

Picture a film where a weather-beaten Robert Mitchum (or Christopher George, if the budget’s tight) plays an ageing stevedore who’s strong-armed into ratting on his union pals by a pair of seedy DEA agents in exchange for a reduced jail sentence – our world-weary protagonist would be wearing this during the scene where he tearily confesses his snitching to his closest compatriot.

If that doesn’t sell it to you, God knows what will.

The Stone Island Crinkle Rep Hooded Jacket

Stone Island’s down wares are always something else, and this Crinkle Rep Hooded Jacket is no exception.

We’ve had a few of these over the years, but the top-billed Crinkle Rep stuff – and the eye-catching, uneven hues it produces– never fails to floor us with its crispy texture and waterproof/windproof properties.

This one here comes in that unmistakable shade of pink made famous by perfectly-mixed strawberry Müller Corners.

The Ten c Alpine Down Jacket

Rounding things off we’ve got this luxurious beauty from acronym argonauts Ten c.

If all the other jackets on this list were widely-available confectionary treats, then this Alpine Down Jacket is a Hotel Chocolat share box – a comparison spurred on by that buttery brown paintjob.

It’s not just a pretty face either… with white duck down-insulated fabric concocted under stringent specifications, it should keep you warm for plenty of winters to come.

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