Hybrid Jackets – what are those you might ask? Well, combine down or synthetic insulation with stretch panels for extra freedom of movement and there you have it. It’s a great innovation that adds even more versatility to the traditional puffy, and I’ve been enamored with the category since I saw my first in the wild last year.

Columbia and Mountain Hardwear have two contenders in the category. Here’s a quick rundown:

Columbia Reach the Peak Hybrid Jacket – This hybrid combines 700 fill-power down with Columbia’s Omni-Heat reflective lining. Stretch panels and cuff extensions (with thumb holes) complete the package. See review.

Mountain Hardwear Zonal Jacket – In contrast to the Reach the Peak, Mountain Hardwear chose synthetic Thermic Micro insulation for the Zonal. They placed it where you need it most – at the core, back and arms – and added stretch panels at the side and rear. See review.

If you’re looking for a new insulating layer this year, definitely keep an eye out for the hybrid jacket. We found them to be extremely comfortable and warm. Depending on your preference for down or synthetic insulation, either the Reach the Peak or Zonal should meet your needs.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Columbia, and Mountain Hardwear for providing product for these reviews. Written by Matt K.