Cabela’s GORE-TEX Barrier Jacket & Down Puffy Jacket Review

December 8, 2023

This is a combined review for the Cabela’s Instinct GORE-TEX Barrier Jacket and the Cabela’s Instinct Super-Warm Puffy Jacket. I have found these two jackets to be special ops style hunting gear. What I mean by that is they are each super light, packable, specialized gear that you can pull out of your pocket at critical moments to enable you to hunt deer, ducks, turkeys, elk and more in conditions that would have otherwise sent you running out of the woods for shelter.

The Barrier Jacket in particular enables you to stay dry in the heaviest pouring rain and keeps you warm from the harshest bitter cold winds. It is a perfect barrier against the elements that you can throw overtop of almost any gear setup for instant wind and rain protection. The Puffy Jacket weighs almost nothing and fits into a pocket. It instantly springs back to full size with a duck down and PrimaLoft blend that provides incredible warmth in the coldest conditions. 

These types of products are not unique to Cabela’s, but I looked at similar products made by SITKA Gear, First Lite, Kuiu, and others and ultimately felt that the Cabela’s product provided the best intersection of price and performance. I have worn these hunting in rough weather conditions and also in the neighborhood, just enjoying the perks of this specialized gear. Does every hunter need these? No. But they would benefit every hunter by enabling them to hunt in weather that is volatile, unpredictable, or just plain miserable.

Cabela’s GORE-TEX Barrier Jacket Overview

The Cabela’s Instinct GORE-TEX Barrier Jacket is designed to be a shell layer that fits over whatever gear you are wearing. It is designed to adapt to any weather conditions from 70 degrees and raining to 35 degrees and storming to below zero with gale-force winds.  It is not insulated so you can wear it when it’s hot and it has plenty of room so you can wear it over a warm parka. I got a size large, and I typically wear large in everything, and it fits over all of my outer layers with plenty of room.

It is a three-layer jacket with a nice textured inner material, the GORE-TEX membrane and a durable outer layer. Is it really waterproof? Yes, absolutely. And it is certainly wind proof. It has a nice adjustable hood along with several pockets guarded by waterproof zippers. The zippers themselves are noteworthy in their rugged quality and seem like they will last a long time. Overall, the jacket is more durable and robust than I was expecting. I have pushed it through brush and been harder on it than I recommend you be, but it has survived unscathed so far. The best part of course is how the jacket rolls up so small and fits in a backpack or large pocket.

It is fairly light and gives you the perfect layer you can just pull out in case of foul weather. I am impressed with its performance. The only downside is the jacket is a bit loud. However, every jacket in this category is a bit loud. It is the nature of a rugged barrier layer. But what you must keep in mind is you would only wear this jacket if it was raining or windy. And in those conditions, the noise being made by the weather would hide all the sound being made by the jacket. Case in point, I was able to sneak up on ducks in the marsh, within about 30 yards, in the rain, while wearing this jacket. On a quiet crisp morning, it would be loud enough to spook game, but you would only wear it when the weather would hide all the noise. 

If you are interested in some super warm insulated Cabela’s GORE-TEX gear, check my Cabela’s MT050 Whitetail Extreme GORE-TEX Bibs & Parka Review and my Cabela’s GORE-TEX Wind Stopper Glomitt Review.

Barrier Pros & Cons


  • Totally waterproof GORE-TEX layer
  • Totally windproof as well
  • Waterproof zippers and pockets
  • Rugged external layer
  • Packs up very small
  • Breathable for long hunts
  • Fits well over outer layers
  • Cheaper than the comparable layers from competing brands like SITKA Gear, First Lite, KUIU, and others.
  • Great Instinct camo pattern


  • Relatively loud material
  • Not an inexpensive piece 
  • would benefit from an inside pocket

Cabela’s Puffy Jacket Overview

The Cabela’s Instinct Super-Warm Puffy Jacket lives up to its name brilliantly, it is super warm. I am not sure how you could pack more warmth into such a lightweight package. It is a combination of duck down and PrimaLoft insulation that is fully packable and rolls up into something small enough to fit inside of a pocket. Combined, the insulation has a 650-fill power equivalent with a durable DWR treatment to help repel initial moisture. This has become one of my favorite jackets that I now wear for much more than hunting, because it is so lightweight and warm.

What really makes this jacket useful is the different inside and outside material. It is more rugged than your regular puffy style jacket and it has the right texture to be worn as a mid-layer. Heavy outer layers will not slide around on the face of the material and the inside of the jacket has a different lining that fits nicely overtop of other layers. So, you can wear this as mid layer or an outer layer. The hood is also very warm, surprisingly so, and makes a great addition along with several external pockets.  

The insulation is sown into baffles keeping it from bunching up in the bottom of the jacket and the pockets have a different texture than the jacket face which aids in hand warming and gear storage without being too slippery. The zippers are also very nice. The downsides include a lack of internal pockets, and it is a little too loud and fragile for sneaking around in. I recently went duck hunting with this and drug in my gear and set it all up on a very cold day. I left this in my pack until I finished all the work and finally began to cool down, then I added the puffy jacket and was instantly toasty warm.  Without this I would have likely under or overdressed. But the versatility this jacket provides is really nice. 

Puffy Pros & Cons


  • Super warm
  • Exceptionally light weight
  • Can pack up into a cargo pocket
  • Good inside and outside texture
  • Great zippers
  • Versatile as a mid-layer or outer layer
  • Great Instinct camo pattern
  • Less expensive than comparable jackets from competing brands like SITKA Gear, First Lite, and KUIU


  • Lack of internal pockets
  • Too loud for sneaking
  • Too fragile to break brush in

When Each Jacket Shines Brightest

The greatest strength of each of these jackets is their versatility. The barrier jacket is obviously well suited to unpredictable weather and even extreme weather. You can take it with you on uncertain days and pull it out whenever is needed. This could enable you to hunt in weather conditions that were too problematic otherwise. And it is useful for all temperatures, as well as for fishing. Whether you are hunting turkeys, ducks, deer, elk, or anything else, this GORE-TEX jacket fills a very important role, helping you hunt in conditions that would have sent you home or kept you at home.

The down puffy jacket provides the same crucial type of versatility but with fluctuating temperatures. On days when the activity level and hunting style are uncertain, this jacket enables you to adapt. Perhaps you wear it under your coat on a frosty morning and then pack it away for the warm afternoon. Or maybe you hike in hot and sweaty with minimal layers and then sit down and add this puffy jacket after an hour or two once you have cooled down. Maybe you are going away for a weekend and need options to adapt to a wide range of conditions, this small lightweight layer is perfect.

Both of these jackets also function very well together. Having both at your disposal empowers you to brave all kinds of weather, conditions, and hunting styles. You can go further, stay longer, and have more confidence now that you are prepared for the elements. 

Recommendations & Conclusions

These are not the kind of specialized gear that all hunters need. But they are the type of gear that would benefit all hunters. They are not cheap, but they are significantly cheaper than the comparable jackets produced by large high end hunting brands and provide great quality.  I think that is one of the chief advantages of Cabela’s gear. It often gives you more for the money and still competes with the highest end brands. I would recommend the Cabela’s Instinct GORE-TEX Barrier Jacket and the Cabela’s Instinct Super-Warm Puffy Jacket to anyone looking for a jacket that fills these roles. 

What is better still is they do go on sale, and Cabela’s regularly provides various discounts, club points programs, and coupons that can help you further defray the cost of great pieces of gear like these. 

Be sure to listen to The New Hunters Guide Podcast and check us out on YouTube

Till next time. God bless you, and go get em in the woods!

George Konetes Ph.D. – Founder and Host of the New Hunters Guide.

The New Hunters Guide is simply what George wishes he would have had when learning how to hunt; a single place to get practical hands on knowledge about different kinds of hunting, gear, strategy, and tips that can improve your comfort and fun factor in the woods.

As a note, Cabela’s gave me these jackets at my request to use and do this review, thanks to them for their support.