Battle: Down Vs. Synthetic Jackets

Which is better? Well that depends on how you're using it. For active days on the slopes, these jackets, packed with down-alternative insulation, are giving the goose a breather.

1. Under Armour ColdGear Reactor Hooded Jacket
Technology: Reactor

Featuring Under Amour’s new ColdGear Reactor insulation, the Reactor uses an active insulation layer that adapts to your internal temperature. Its water resistance despite high breathability helps keep you dry both inside and out. It’s soft to the touch and comfy to wear both skiing and around town. Bonus: Under Armour offers far more color and pattern options than other brands. $225

2. REI Stratocloud Hoodie
Technology: PrimaLoft Silver Blend

Down purists, listen up. The Stratocloud is packed with PrimaLoft Silver Blend, a 60/40 mix of synthetic PrimaLoft fibers bolstered by water-repellent down. The resulting jacket is warm—equivalent to 750-fill—but also water-resistant, unlike pure down jackets. Win-win, yes? $169

3. Scott Insuloft Explorair Hybrid Plus Jacket
Technology: VX Active 

Another candidate for skiers seeking breathe-with-you insulation for high-energy pursuits, Scott’s new Hybrid Plus jacket mobilizes VX Active technology, promising you’ll never have to shed layers again. And the hand-warmer pockets, adjustable hem, and thumb holes are thoughtful touches. $170

4. Trew Gear Kooshin Jacket
Technology: 3DeFX+

Incredibly stretchy and warm and with a price tag that won’t make you balk, the new Kooshin employs a sandwich construction to make the magic happen. In the middle is a super-lightweight insulation called 3DEFX+, which is among the stretchiest, most forgiving synthetic insulations available and which provides impressive warmth along with the ability to ventilate as needed. And the poppy contrast zipper is a visual plus. $199

5. Flylow Coldsmith Jacket
Technology: Spaceloft

When lightweight warmth is at the top of your list, this jacket should be on that list. The Coldsmith—like the women’s version, the Tamara—utilizes Spaceloft, a practically weightless micropuff insulation designed to add warmth without bulk. The face fabric, a water-resistant polyester ripstop, keeps moisture out. Six-inch pit zips and an oversize, helmet-compatible hood round out the minimalist offerings. $225