OUR TAKE Yes, this jacket costs twice as much as most puffies, but here’s why some hikers might want to splurge: Stretchy sections on the shoulders and under the arms prevent baffles from compressing during reaches, keeping warm air in. “The stretch also gives this jacket a bespoke feel,” says one tester who wore it while hiking in northern France. A full menu of pockets fits everything from snacks to skins. Tacky rubber prevents the waistband from riding up, and an insulated brim on the hood did well to keep precip out of our eyes.
THE DETAILS Hybrid construction—750-fill goose down with polyester fill across the shoulders and triceps, the areas most exposed to weather—works with DWR to fend off light precip. The Niata packs down to the size of a honeydew.
TRAIL CRED “While stargazing near Crested Butte, Colorado, I stayed warm with only a heavyweight baselayer underneath in 5°F weather,” one tester says. $600; 1 lb. 5 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; blackyak.com