Sustainable and Colorful: Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket Review

Posted by
Emily Pennington
June 27, 2024
Updated June 26, 2024

Cotopaxi Fuego Down Jacket
The Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket is a can’t-miss, colorful staple in the wardrobes of hikers everywhere. 

You can’t throw a twig on a hiking trail without hitting one of those brightly colored, retro-striped puffy jackets that are everywhere in mountain towns around the country. Apart from serving fabulous 1980s throwback vibes, the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket is one of the best-selling and most sustainable puffies on the market.

As functional as it is fashionable, the Fuego jacket comes with zippered pockets, a drawcord waist, and water-resistant fabric to keep you dry and cozy, no matter the weather. After years of ogling them, I had to get my hands on one.

I recently brought my Cotopaxi Fuego along for an intense, 10-day hiking and backpacking trip in Chile’s ultra-remote Aysen Region. Perhaps most surprisingly, the jacket proved to be especially useful during the trip’s chilly nights, because I packed a sleeping bag that was rated for ten degrees warmer than what I needed in this far-flung corner of Patagonia. 

And you know what? It was comfortable, ultralight, warm, and supremely packable at every turn. Here’s  why the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket is a hiking and backpacking essential.

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Cotopaxi Fuego Jacket
The Cotopaxi Fuego is comfortable, ultralight, warm, and packable for any backcountry adventure. (Photo/Emily Pennington)

What works well on the Cotopaxi Fuego Jacket

There’s tons to love about the best-selling Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket. From its zippered pockets to its elastic hood and handy stuff sack, this is a packable down jacket that’s made for outdoor lovers of all stripes.

Lightweight and packable

Though it’s not the lightest down jacket on the market (the more fragile Ghost Whisperer has it beat at 7 ounces), the Cotopaxi Fuego certainly sits firmly on the spectrum of ultralight puffies. Weighing in at 14 ounces, this sub-one-pound wonder is stuffed with responsibly-sourced 800-fill down.

But, the real question: what does that fill power actually mean? Down is rated based on its ability to stay loft. Down resilient enough to stay fluffy for the long haul is given a higher fill-power rating. It’s a spectrum: 600-fill down is on the lower end while 900-fill down is about as good as it gets in the outdoor world. With its 800-fill power, the Fuego is excellent at insulating and boasts superior packability. This makes it perfect for backpacking trips or hiking trips when space is at a premium.

While trekking through Chilean Patagonia, I never thought twice about shoving my Fuego into my day pack. To be honest, I hardly noticed the extra weight in my bag next to my snacks and rain gear. On the one occasion where we got caught in a mellow rainstorm on the outskirts of Patagonia National Park, the raindrops seemed to bead up and easily roll off the water-repellent fabric, keeping me dry and warm until I could find a suitable stopping place and don my rain shell.

Cotopaxi Fuego Jacket
Cotopaxi decks out all their gear with classic, retro colors while also keeping sustainability at the forefront of its mission. (Photo/Emily Pennington)

Fun, retro colors

Last I counted, the Fuego comes in a whopping ten different colors, with an additional five currently on sale. Whether your hiker style is sleek, ninja-style black or neon orange, Cotopaxi likely has a jacket for you. 

Plus, the Fuego’s signature color stripes make it more memorable than solid-toned puffers. It’s likely why I see my fellow Boulder residents rocking these out to nearly every brewery in town. On my Patagonia trek, I also noticed that its bright colors made it easy for my fellow hikers to spot me from a distance, adding a layer of safety to my kit.

Awesome brand sustainability

Apart from using sustainably-sourced down in its products, Cotopaxi is also a member of 1% For the Planet, promising to donate at least one percent of its annual revenue towards a healthier Earth. The Cotopaxi Foundation specifically focuses on education, clean water, and gender equality in Central and South America. Cotopaxi has also pledged to use sustainable or recycled materials in 100% of its products by the year 2025.

There’s more: Cotopaxi has been a certified B-corp since 2015. According to their 2023 Impact Report, Cotopaxi has offset 9,900 pounds of landfill waste within the first two months of the brand’s Guarantee for Good program, contributed 1,100 paid volunteer hours through employee volunteerism, and aided 4.25 million people fighting poverty through the Cotopaxi Foundation.

Cotopaxi Fuego Jacket
Its ultralight down makes the Cotopaxi Fuego Down Jacket one of the lightest on the market. (Photo/Emily Pennington)

What we don’t like

If I’m being totally honest, almost nothing! Though the Cotopaxi Fuego isn’t the absolute lightest or warmest down jacket you’ll find in stores, its 14-ounce weight and 800-fill-power down make it ultralight and incredibly packable. For these reasons, it’s a fantastic, three-season down jacket for day hikers and trekking weekend warriors alike.

The only thing I’d like to see changed is its high price tag. At $295, the Cotopaxi Fuego is definitely an investment.

The competitors

If you’re looking for an awesome, more affordable down puffy, look no further than the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket ($129). It wasn’t quite as warm as the Fuego in my testing, but it was uber-soft and insulated. Another great option is the Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie($289). It’s equally pricey but it’s filled with Primaloft Gold synthetic polyester, so it could be a better bet in wetter environments like any of the Pacific Northwest national parks.

Cotopaxi Fuego Jacket
Perfect for chilly nights on a multi-day trek that won’t break your back. (Photo/Emily Pennington)

Bottom line

With its cinchable waist, zippered hand pockets, elastic hood and integrated stuff sack, the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket is great for chilly nights on a multi-day trek, as well as on day hikes when you might need some extra insulation for security. At 14 ounces, it’s lightweight and amazingly packable — it squishes down into almost any backpack. Happy trails!

Seen in: Apparel, Backpacking Gear, Camping Gear, Gear, Hiking Gear, Sustainability

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