An absolute essential for cold days or higher-up adventures, an insulated jacket can be worn on its own or as a mid-layer underneath a waterproof shell. The two main types of insulation are down and synthetic, and the one you choose will depend on the type of weather you’re expecting. Down insulated jackets tend to be slightly warmer than synthetic jackets, however, they’re not at all water-resistant and should only be worn on their own when there’s no chance of rain. Wetted-out down loses all its insulating capability and is very difficult to dry out, meaning that in many cases, the jacket will be ruined.
Synthetic insulated jackets, on the other hand, use man-made fibres to mimic the pattern of down, and are slightly less warm than their counterparts (although, in many cases, if you’re out for a walk at ground level you won’t notice the difference). The main benefit of synthetic insulation is that they are water-resistant, meaning that if you do end up caught in a shower without a waterproof shell, your jacket won’t be ruined – although we would always recommend putting on a waterproof when the rain comes in.
Read our full insulation buying guide here.