REI Magma 850 Down Hoodie Review 2023 Edition
Value meets performance in this warm, light, and affordable puffy jacket.
The Fall 2023 version of the REI Magma 850 Down Hoodie (shop now) exemplifies the notion of premium-basics-done-well. This is a durable workhorse puffy with good quality, ethically sourced materials for a fair price. Similar models from most mainstream outdoor brands cost $50-100 more. Our hands-on testing indicates that Magma is a bit warmer than average.
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- Price: $249
- Weight: 12.3 oz
- Fabric: Recycled Ripstop Nylon (20D estimate)
- Fill Power: 850| Fill Weight: unlisted, (3.5 oz estimate)
- Percent Down Weight: 28%
- Uncompressed Down Volume: 2975 in3
- Down Volume/Jacket Weight: 241 in3/oz
- Pros: Warm. Lightweight. Full set of pockets. Good value. Adjustable hood. Durable. Sustainable.
- Cons: Not ultralight. Fill weight not disclosed. Fabric is unnecessarily heavy. Some use of diagonal baffles.
Testing For REI Magma 850 Down Jacket Review 2023
We’ve taken this hoody out on a few summer hikes, wearing it on chilly summits and around camp. So far it has held up marvelously, keeping our tester warm and comfortable. From fabric thickness, to seams, to zipper pulls, we note that Magma 850 feels like one heckuva sturdy puffy. It is unlikely to fail or sustain serious damage when used for hiking and backpacking purposes. This jacket it is in for the long haul.
Features & Construction
We begin by discussing the chassis of the REI Magma 850 Down Hoodie, which is nearly as ordinary as it gets. But that’s okay because the recipe works well; don’t fix it if it ain’t broke. Magma is built with mostly horizontal baffles with a flair transition to diagonal on the upper front chest. The fit is loose and boxy, as it meant to be layered over top of a shirt and a fleece.
Addressing its features, two large hand pockets and one large napoleon chest pocket offer more than adequate storage. Whatever you store in your puffy pockets, these are likely going to be more than large enough. An adjustable shock cord hood and hem are present to seal out wind and lock the hood in to prevent it from blowing off.
We strongly applaud REI for their materials selection. The entire garment is fair trade certified and its face fabric is made from 100% bluesign approved recycled ripstop nylon. That said, why not make the liner out of recycled nylon too? Strange that it isn’t.
The Co-op has stuffed Magma’s baffles with the namesake 850 fill power down. The baffles feel nice and plump, and donning this jacket gives you a warmer than average feel. REI has not provided the fill weight, but we estimate to be around 3.5 based on the size of the baffles, which is a bit better than average. In terms of fill quality, 850 fill power down is good-not-great and as much as we’d expect or more in a jacket costing only $250. But we’re very glad to see REI gave it a DWR treatment for light duty dampness resistance.
What Could Be Better
You can tell the designers wanted to add a bit of flair to what would otherwise be a completely standard puffy jacket aesthetic. This is certainly how why it’s two-tone, and definitely how we ended up with diagonal baffling on the upper front torso. The previous edition of Magma 850 also had diagonal front chest baffles, but they were less steep. We agree that these looks good, and improve the aesthetic of the garment overall. However, it is a minor downside from a technical perspective. Down plumes are prone to drifting around inside their baffles, and they are especially prone to drift downward when the baffles allow, given the effects of the laws of gravity.
Thus, the steep diagonal slant will encourage down plumes to cluster at mid-chest, creating cold spots just below the upper seams where the chest baffle intersects the shoulder baffle. Horizontal baffling all of the way throughout the upper torso would have yielded marginally superior performance in the long term.
That said, at time of publication the down plumes are still properly filling out the front upper torso baffles nicely with no apparent cold spots. This is likely to be the case until the jacket enters its midlife, when the down plumes have degraded slightly. And even still, it’s only a minor issue. And to many folks, it will be a worthwhile exchange for the aesthetically pleasing diagonal baffles. In short, don’t worry too much about it.
As this is an ultralight backpacking gear website, and everything we review is considered from that perspective, it also worth noting that its fabric is a bit overkill in terms of denier/thickness. While REI has not provided denier info, it feels like 20d, and the jacket’s weight backs up this hypothesis. For hiking and backpacking purposes, puffy jackets simply don’t need to be this durable, and all of that durable equates to carrying a few extra ounces of weight around. While we would have preferred a thinner, lighter, less durable 10d, we understand that this is meant to be an all-purpose puffy jacket, and is not a dedicated ultralight garment. So we’ll bite the bullet.
REI Magma 850 Down Hoody Review 2023 Edition Verdict
The REI Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2023 Edition is probably more than we deserve in $250 puffy jacket. It punches above its weight class in terms of materials quality and warmth-to-weight ratio. In this case, the co-op focused on perfecting a basic instead of innovating, and we think it paid dividends. Despite being a tad heavier than we prefer, this is a really nice puffy jacket overall, warmer than average, and offers lots of bang for your buck. Pick up the Magma 850 and you won’t be disappointed unless you’re a gram-counter.
Compare this to more great options in our guide to the best down jackets for backpacking.