Are duvet coats worth it? Five cold-weather experts try them out

Leah Harper
·5-min read
<span>Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

Ollie Olanipekun, 36, birdwatcher, London

Which coat are you wearing? The Puffer Jacket Kamppi from Napapijri (£395).

How warm is it? Very. This coat is for extremely cold weather – when you want to step out but feel like you’re still in your bed. I slightly contradict my own love for birds by having a down coat in my existing wardrobe, but this is actually much better. It has “recycled down-free Thermo-Fibre™ insulation” – and it’s way warmer than down. It’s slightly heavier, but it’s still breathable. The two-way zip also gives you the option of wearing it more like a cape if you get too warm.

Is it practical? It’s perfect for birdwatching because it’s quite good camouflage. I was worried it might be too long but the double drawstrings – at the waist and at the hip – allow for more mobility. I’d like to see a breast pocket, but that’s the only downside, really.

How stylish does it make you feel? This is actually a stylish jacket. It’s definitely a coat that could last you for ever, and it would keep that “duvet” feeling, so I’d say it’s worth splashing out on. The detachable hood is an incredible feature, although the branding on the back is a little bit unnecessary.

How much is it secondhand? We found a good vintage Napapijri match on Depop for £74.99.

Andrew Mills, 30, area conservation ranger, Lancashire

Which coat are you wearing? The (04) Puffer from Maium (£270).

How warm is it? I felt nice and snug and it would certainly keep you warm on a cold, crisp day. I really like that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles, too.

Is it practical? I’m not sure this would be very practical for me. I work on the sand dunes for Fylde council and, in winter, I tend to wear a rain mac over layers – otherwise your coat can snag on thorns. It has two pockets, which are fleece-lined, but they are quite small and it’s also a bit too long to work in.

How stylish does it make you feel? It’s not my personal style. It has two side zips, which turn the coat into more of a poncho, which would be useful for cyclists. I’d feel a bit daft wearing it like that!

How much is it secondhand? We found a Champion technical poncho for £34.99 on eBay.

Laura Poole, 34, dog walker, Oxfordshire

Which coat are you wearing? The Long Puffer Coat from Monki (£95).

How warm is it? Very warm, very cosy – and it would keep the wind out, too.

Is it practical? Length-wise, there’s a bit too much material going on. I had it unzipped, otherwise it might have been tricky to move around in. I get hot on my hour-long dog walks and, in between, I am driving a van to pick up and drop off – so a shorter jacket is better for hopping in and out of a car.

How stylish does it make you feel? It is stylish – but with it being so padded, there’s not much shape. I wouldn’t wear this “out out” – it would be more for if I was standing around outside. I’ve spent a fortune on coats – quilted and down – and I think this recycled polyester one is good value. It definitely keeps you warm and I love the colour.

How much is it secondhand? There are eBay options aplenty, from £6 to £20.

Galia Beech, 46, Scout leader, Buckinghamshire

Which coat are you wearing? The Cocoon Down Puffer Wrap Coat by Sweaty Betty (£345).

How warm is it? A bit too warm, to be honest. It was like having a sleeping bag around me. You can sit down and almost curl up inside.

Is it practical? At Scout camp, we always have someone on the nightwatch, where a coat like this would be invaluable. You could probably get it in a sleeping bag sack for travelling, too. It’s also brilliant for watching kids play football. The pockets are fleece-lined and quite deep. The only thing is, it’s not waterproof – when I wear a shorter jacket, it’s easier to put a waterproof over the top. I also felt like the bottom might get muddy.

How stylish does it make you feel? I thought I looked ridiculous – it drowned me. Somebody with longer legs might look more stylish. I do think £345 is a lot, even for a down coat – I usually buy one from a mountaineering shop and pay about £150 – but this did seem a lot warmer and thicker, so I’m not surprised at the price.

How much is it secondhand? A similar style, with good technical credentials, is this North Face Puffer Coat, currently at £49 on eBay.

Alan Beech, 44, director of photography, Buckinghamshire

Which coat are you wearing? The Faux-Down Puffer Jacket from Scotch & Soda (£369.95).

How warm is it? It’s warm but lightweight and not too thick. I usually wear a down version, but this coat [made from recycled plastic bottles] is probably warmer – although that might be due to the length.

Is it practical? I’m often working on location and it can get chilly, but I also need a coat that allows me to contort myself into the positions required of a cameraman. When I worked at the Winter Olympics the uniform was similar to this and it was -45C! The only downfall would be if it was raining – I think it would turn into a massive sponge.

How stylish does it make you feel? When I wore this to work, all the wardrobe ladies perked up and said: “Ooh, what’s that? You look very stylish!” – which no one has ever said about me. I usually spend about £350 on an expedition jacket, which you can wear on the top of a mountain at -30C. I wouldn’t do that in this. But then I wouldn’t go shopping in an expedition jacket – you’d look like a pillock – whereas you could wear this to the pub.

How much is it secondhand? This is a new model but past Scotch & Soda hits go for around £100 on Depop – and we found this one for £28 on eBay.