Every traveler needs one great down jacket in their wardrobe. Down jackets or ‘puffer jackets’ pack down small, are lightweight to wear, move with the body, and keep you extremely warm in chilly temperatures. Recently, I tested the Outdoor Research Illuminate down hoody, which comes in a men’s and women’s version in a lot of fun colors and color blocks.
The womens’ version is classified as a midweight insulating layer, but I have used it as an outer layer as long as the weather is clear (remember, down is not your friend in rain or heavy snow…you’ll want an outer shell). The 800-fill down in the Illuminate is thicker and warmer than most down puffer jackets I’ve tried, and can be worn with just a base layer or wool layer underneath. As noted above, it’s certainly possible to pair it with a shell, too, when needed.
The weight of the jacket is only 11 ounces, and it’s made with responsibly sourced down. Even though it has a generous hood, it’s so compact, it will stuff down into its own left-hand pocket…ideal for storing this jacket away while on the plane or in the car. You get light weather resistence in the nylon shell and lining, and the brushed tricot interior and zip chest media pocket ensure hands and valuables stay warm, dry, and safe. I always appreciate elastic cuffs and while it took me a few wearings to discover, the Illumiate also has a drawcord hem to trap in warmth.
Pick up the women’s version of the Illuminate in XS-XL in nine color options, both solid and duo-tone blocking. It will set you back $269, a great value for a jacket of this quality and durability.