When winter approaches and days start getting colder, you want your little one to be warm and cozy on their outdoor activities. When it comes to warmth and comfort, down jackets do a fantastic job. The best children down jackets are lightweight, soft and incredibly efficient in keeping your child warm.
Considering that down is the best natural insulation you can get, these jackets don’t require several layers of clothing underneath. Of course, their versatility allows you to use them when layering too, so your child can stay warm even in freezing temperatures.
To help you find the warmest and most comfortable down jacket for your kid, we’ve compiled a buying guide that answers all of the questions regarding down type, jacket construction, additional features, and many more. But before we get to the guide, take a look at the awesome down jackets we’ve picked out for you.
How To Choose A Down Jacket For Kids – Buying Guide
Buying a children’s jacket may be even trickier than buying a jacket for yourself. In addition to standard considerations like warmth, shell material, and extra features, you need to pay extra attention to find a jacket that will allow your child to be active and explore while staying warm. Children down jackets have gained such popularity because they are able to offer excellent warmth without feeling bulky when wearing. Take a look.
While down determines the overall warmth, it’s the materials used for the shell and the lining that are responsible for durability and comfort. The shell of down jackets is usually made of polyester or nylon. These two materials are good choices because they are very light, but can also give a good degree of protection.
Some of the down jackets for kids are treated with DWR (durable water repellent) that allows water to roll off the shell and prevents the jacket from soaking. This is very important for the efficiency of the jacket because down loses its insulation properties if it gets wet. An additional plus is if the jacket is made of ripstop material – it prevents the jacket from completely tearing open if your child brushes it on a sharp object. This way you can quickly and easily repair the down jacket if something happens.
As for the lining, it should feel nice and comfy when you put the jacket on. Most puffer jackets are lined with polyester fleece which feels really soft to the touch. Some are lined with taffeta which makes the jacket very easy to put on and take off. We want to add that it’s a plus if the hood is lined too. Also, it’s a great thing if the materials are breathable because this will prevent your child from getting sweaty.
Down Type and Fill Rating
Down is the natural undercoat found in birds, with the function of keeping them warm. These fine feathers are lofty and have the ability to trap air in the small pockets between them. In turn, this trapped air works as an insulator and helps retain warmth.
Down-filled clothing is usually made from goose or duck down. Goose down offers better quality and can be found in many of the best children down jackets available on the market. However, it also costs more, which is why many manufacturers combine it (or completely replace it) with duck down. When comparing duck and goose down, duck down usually has a lower fill rating and isn’t as good of an insulator.
A fill rating shows you down quality (how lofty the down is). A higher rating means that down is more efficient in retaining heat and that less of it is needed to keep you warm. This also means that the jacket is lighter and more packable, making it easier to take with you when camping and hiking with kids. Unfortunately, this also makes the jacket more expensive, so many people opt for a lower fill rating for this reason.
If you want the jacket to do its job and keep your child warm, getting the right size is crucial. Because children grow very fast, you may be tempted to go with a larger size that can last for a few seasons. While this is a good idea budget-wise, a large jacket won’t be as effective.
A down jacket relies on keeping the warmth close to the body, but if there’s too much space inside the heat will escape and your child will feel cold. However, if you plan to layer for skiing or other activities, getting a slightly larger jacket will be fine.
When choosing the size, don’t use your child’s age as the only guideline. Some kids grow faster, others are skinnier, and manufacturers don’t exactly have a universal standard when it comes to size. However, most of them provide size charts with exact measurements. Whether you’re looking for toddlers down jackets or youth down jackets, you can always measure your child and compare the results with the charts so you get the perfect fit.
While all the jackets we featured come with a hood, you’ll also come across kids down jackets that don’t have one. Whether you’ll get a jacket with or without a hood mostly comes down to preference. However, we feel that the best down jacket for kids should have a hood because it gives your child additional head protection (especially if he or she doesn’t like wearing a hat).
Furthermore, it’s a plus if the hood is removable because it will sometimes be more convenient and compact when packing. In addition, some hoods are helmet-compatible, meaning that your child can wear a ski helmet under it.
One of the things we like to see on every jacket is an abundance of pockets. Most kids’ jackets come with two zippered hand pockets, but some models come with extra external and internal pockets that can be very useful.
Since down jackets are lightweight and packable, it’s nice if the manufacturer provides a carry sack so you can easily bring the jacket with you and have it ready when your child feels cold. Furthermore, some jackets (like the Rokka&Rolla jacket we featured) have a separate pocket in the collar where you can stuff the jacket.
Some of the features on the jacket are designed to improve the warmth, for example elastic cuffs or an adjustable hem. Elastic cuffs keep the sleeves tight around the wrist and prevent cold air from coming in. Some models even have thumb loops that prevent the sleeves from moving up and down.
While an adjustable hem isn’t very common, it allows you to tighten the jacket and prevent the heat from getting out. Also, well-placed baffles and a raised collar can improve overall warmth too.
Q: Are Down Jackets Good For Kids?
Yes, down jackets are great for kids. They provide an unparalleled level of warmth and feel very comfortable to wear. They are great for packing and bringing with you, so your kids have something warm to wear when it gets colder.
However, a child down jacket has its limitations and can get torn more easily than other types of jackets. Because of this, a kids' ski jacket might be a better choice for high-intensity winter activities.Related Review: Ski Jackets For Kids
Q: How To Clean And Care For Down Jacket?
This usually depends on the particular jacket so we advise you to always look at the instructions provided by the manufacturer. While some of the best children down jackets are safe for machine washing (on a cold and gentle cycle), others might get damaged that way so you should only wash them by hand.
Similarly, some are safe for machine drying while others are not. One thing in common for all of these is that you should avoid washing them too often. If you want to learn more, be sure to read our article on how to wash a down jacket.
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A good down jacket might become your child’s favorite clothing piece. It offers top-level warmth and comfort, and has the ability to keep up with your kid on any activity. We hope that our buying guide has helped you narrow down your choice, so you can find a model that your child will enjoy wearing every day.
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