At the end of the day, the Firebee AR above has a cleaner look and wider appeal, but the Khumbu Parka clearly wins on warmth and down fill. Since most of the jackets in this review have a similar ideal temperature range, using higher fill-power down tends to mean that the jacket will be lighter and also more expensive. The tall neck and burly hood do a great job at blocking wind and cold air.
Winter Jackets and Coats
Hooded Waterproof Wind Protection. Get complete coverage on the coldest days of fall with this fill goose down insulated parka featuring a water-repellent finish, removable hood, and bungee-cord-cinch waist for additional warmth when you need it. Insulated Recycled Content Hooded.
Standard fit Attached, adjustable hood zippered handwarmer pockets Ribbed cuffs and hem. For full-coverage during winter's worst, shield yourself in this weatherproof hooded parka that's insulated with responsibly sourced fill goose down insulation for reliable warmth.
When the rain just won't stop, don't let that keep you from hitting the trails. Layer up with a waterproof jacket that's lightly insulated for added warmth on cool, rainy days. Layer for the campsite with this warm full-zip fleece that offers heavyweight warmth. Keep on trekking with the heavyweight warmth of this comfortable pullover fleece that's finished with a half-length front zipper for improved ventilation on steep trail sections.
Cold fall hikes will be a thing of the past with this lightweight recycled polyester fleece featuring stylish colorblocking, and a full-length zip for easy on-off. Men's Retro Nuptse Vest. Built for mountain- and city-life, this retro Nuptse vest that has a boxy silhouette, original shiny ripstop fabric, iconic oversize baffles and stowable hood will keep you warm and dry when it gets cold and wet.
Men's Retro Seasonal Nuptse Vest. Men's Stretch Down Vest. Down vest for lightweight warmth that won't hold you back. Slim fit Exposed, reverse-coil, Zippered hand pockets Hem cinch-cord Stows in hand pocket. An ace layering piece for cold days, this Sherpa fleece vest keeps your core warm while leaving your arms free to pop tents and gather kindling. Layer with confidence on the near-frozen trails with our top-shelf, 3-in-1 jacket offers a suite of technical features. Its stylish looks are ready for chilly jaunts around town, and you'll look good no matter what harsh weather conditions come your way.
The Arc'teryx designers employ high-quality goose down in critical areas where warmth is paramount, and strategically placed synthetic fiber insulation where higher than average moisture exposure is expected, like on the hood, shoulders, and cuffs.
It isn't the absolute warmest and doesn't quite qualify as formal attire, but it provided reliable performance in all of our test metrics, making it the jacket we reached for the most. The Camosun is an expensive piece of equipment. For most winter conditions, this is perhaps the only drawback to this Editors' Choice winner. In the absolute coldest of conditions, the Camosun will be overwhelmed. The Expedition is like a sleeping bag with arms.
Low in price yet high quality in construction and materials, the Marmot Fordham earns our Best Buy Award. This stylish coat keeps you warm and dry via a waterproof exterior insulated with goose down. The Fordham has some features that impress us on such an inexpensive jacket, like a comfortable cut and an abundance of pockets. It is also available in a range of colors, which means you can decide what suits you best.
Comfy and cozy, the Fordham gets you through the winter and will last you a long time — all for a reasonable cost. Extended rain or wet snow overwhelms the shell, and the down insulation starts to take on water. This is a function of the budget price point of the jacket. If you want down insulation and a fully waterproof shell, you'll have to pay more than this.
If the weather protection compromise is ok with you, this is a great value. For better wet weather protection, the upgrade to the Arc Teryx Camosun is worth the extra cost. If your winters are hardcore, your jacket needs to be above average, too. At a third of the cost of the Canada Goose, but still incredibly insulating, this is a natural choice for a Best Buy Award. For northerly latitudes and the coldest days, the McMurdo's down insulation, long cut, and generous hood combine to protect you during day-to-day life.
This newest iteration makes improvements that have their pros and cons but don't alter the overall scoring and award ranking. This is something you'd expect of a budget piece of equipment. The McMurdo, while warmer than many jackets in our review, isn't nearly as insulating as the Expedition.
Again, this is what you'd expect at a budget price point. While bitter cold, feet of snow, and icy sidewalks may not describe winter for some, for those living in the northern latitudes in the Midwest, East Coast and Alaska, a winter-specific jacket that protects you from prolonged sub-freezing temperatures makes sense.
Enter the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. This model is the pinnacle of warmth, has abundant features, and is the coziest jacket reviewed. This is a parka for the coldest weather, designed with Arctic and Antarctic applications in mind.
A portion of the sales goes to PBI and their mission of saving the polar bears and their habitats. The primary drawbacks of the Canada Goose Expedition are weight, bulk, and price. This is a large jacket, in every way. The quality and performance are impeccable, but such specialized performance comes at a cost.
This is not your everyday winter jacket. Only those exposed to truly bitter cold will justify these drawbacks. But if you need the insulation, you won't do better than the Expedition Parka. This is the gold standard among polar researchers and adventurers for good reason.
Canada Goose Expedition Parka. The table above details the Overall Performance score of each winter jacket we reviewed. Read on for specifics about how the jackets faired in each metric that helped comprise this overall score. Additional details can be found in each contender's individual review. Every purchase is an exercise in value assessment. What am I getting for what I'm paying? With winter jackets, you consider your climactic needs, your metabolism, comfort and stylistic factors, how much you'll wear it, and your budget.
Thankfully, there is a vast range of options, in terms of price and value, on the market. See the chart below to compare each jacket's score with its price.
The best values have the highest scores and the lowest prices. They show up in the bottom right corner. To see which jacket a dot represents, hover over it with your mouse. As you assess your value needs, here are a few thoughts for your consideration. First, comfort in uncomfortable conditions is a rare blessing.
The right jacket turns the gnarliest of weather into a pleasant romp through a snow globe. Suitable materials will last longer, and you will get more bang for your buck. Insulation materials vary in both price and durability. Goose down insulation keeps its loft and insulating value much longer than synthetic insulation does. Within down insulation, the rating systems describe weight and insulation value, not durability. More expensive down is warmer per weight, but it won't necessarily last longer than less expensive down.
Finally, good weatherproofing is costly. Sealed seams, tight pockets, and protected zippers take effort, design, and pricy materials. If you really want and need to guard against wet and wind, you will pay for it. Warmth is the most important metric we used to rank each competitor and is a factor of how much insulation is in a jacket, regardless of if its down or synthetic insulation.
That said, down fill feels warmer than synthetic The more insulation a jacket contains, the warmer it is. We looked at the insulation quality fill weight and quantity fill weight of each jacket and then compared it to the jacket's cut and length to gauge how the insulation is distributed. If two jackets have an equal fill weight of 10 ounces, but one has a waist-length hem while the other has a mid-thigh length hem, they are not equally warm.
The most useful measurement for warmth is, of course, comparative testing in actual conditions. We spent a lot of outside comparatively test, swapping jackets among the test team and comparing notes. The top-scoring Arc'teryx Camosun features high-quality, fill down. Such lofty, efficient down keeps the jacket's weight down and its packable size small.
This low number should not dissuade shoppers though. Using heavier, lower quality down brings the cost down and a casual parka like this doesn't need to be as light and compressible as more technical options that need to fit in your backpack. The Canada Goose Expedition Parka is filled with average quality fill down , but it has so much of it that it's the warmest model reviewed.
It's also pretty bulky. The second warmest jacket earns a Best Buy award. The North Face McMurdo is nearly an expedition parka, with the price tag of a casual jacket.
It offers the best value in our test. The Patagonia Jackson Glacier also kept us warm in most wintry conditions.
The Woolrich Bitter Chill deserves mention for being on the warmer side of the fleet. The Woolrich is the warmest non-down insulated piece reviewed. Woolrich insulates the Bitter Chill with a lofted batting that blends wool and synthetic fibers. Overall, jackets with synthetic insulation are not as warm as the down models. The Arc'teryx Fission SV provides less insulation than most of the down models reviewed. This is likely because the garment has less insulation overall, though it did reinforce the idea that if you are looking for warmth, opt for down.
REI's jacket is a down-insulated layering piece that has insulating value a little below that of the Arc'teryx Fission. The fleece jackets are the least insulating products reviewed. Well-suited to more moderate climates, The North Face Arrowood Triclimate is durable, versatile, and affordable, but not incredibly warm. Insulated with synthetic fleece, it just doesn't stack up to the rest of the field, which may be just what you're looking for if you live in a warm climate.
When we talk about weather resistance, we're talking about wind and water. These jackets are thick enough to cut the wind, so you just need to look out for drafts. Longer jackets or those with ribbed hems will protect you from below.
Inner cuffs and hoods will also keep warm air in and cold out. That leaves us with water. Water-resistant outer fabric helps keep you and your jacket's insulation dry in wet winter weather. All of these models have some type of water resistance, from basic nylon with a durable water resistant DWR coating to a fully waterproof membrane layer with taped seams.
These strategies provide varying degrees of protection. If your winter precipitation tends to fall as rain or wet snow instead of the West's dry powder, consider a winter jacket with a waterproof outer shell, like The North Face Arrowood Triclimate with its DryVent fabric or the Arc'teryx Fission SV that uses Gore-Tex.
And we appreciate the non-puffy style of the Patera: See the Women's Arc'teryx Patera Parka. Better arm length than the Marmot Montreal. More expensive than the Montreal with inferior down fill.
Both share a similar design: And both weigh just a hair over 2 pounds. In terms of differences, the Montreal has a DWR coating while the Downtown does not, and we like the length of the sleeves on the Mountain Hardwear better, which are longer than the Marmot and can accommodate a wider variety of people. We have the Marmot ranked higher because it uses better down fill vs. Neither manufacturer provides the fill weight for these products, but given that the Montreal weighs 1 ounce more and uses better down, we can assume that the warmth of that piece is on par or slightly better than Downtown Coat the Downtown does have a little longer back length, however.
Perhaps the answer comes down to fit, but overall we give the nod to the Marmot. See the Women's Mountain Hardwear Downtown. A great value and a clean design overall. Not as warm or soft as a down jacket. The vast majority of jackets on this list use down fill, which is warmer and loftier than synthetic insulation.
But there is something to be said for the latter, which costs considerably less and continues to insulate when wet. What are the downsides of a jacket like the Columbia Snow Eclipse? The jacket does get reasonably high marks for being cozy in cold conditions, but you likely will want to layer up when the temperatures get truly frigid.
These issues aside, the jacket looks the part for both outdoor and urban use, comes in a variety of nice colorways, and given the price, remains popular year after year.
See the Women's Columbia Snow Eclipse. Perhaps the single most important factor when choosing a winter jacket is its intended use. Performance jackets, on the other hand, are more technical in nature and often lighter in weight due to the use of premium down and shell materials. These models are designed for mountaineering, climbing, and other cold-weather backcountry use.
To help clarify the best uses for each jacket, we list the category in the product specs and in our comparison table. Nearly all the jackets on this list have down fill, which is the warmest, lightest, and most compressible type of insulation. A few jackets—including the Patagonia Hyper Puff—are made with synthetic, which is heavier and not quite as lofty but does a superior job at insulating when wet. It's also cheaper than down, which is why you'll find it inside some of the budget-oriented designs above like the Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Jacket.
We love both types of insulation and each has its purposes, but down wins out in pure warmth and coziness for winter. For more background on this topic, see our article on down vs. Warmth is a function of many factors: But the two most important factors in determining the warmth of your jacket are fill power and fill weight. Fill Power Fill power is the most heavily marketed spec among winter jackets and parkas, and refers to down specifically nearly all the jackets on this list are down.
The higher the number fill, fill, fill, etc. Performance winter jackets usually are around fill or higher, and casual pieces run from fill to fill. Fill Weight Fill weight is often overlooked but just as relevant as fill power. Instead of measuring the quality of the down, fill weight is simply the total weight of the down inside the jacket. The calculation becomes more difficult as the fill power changes: Around half the jackets on this list provide fill weight, which is more helpful than not.
As discussed above, make sure to take both fill power and fill weight into account. In addition, the shell of the jacket matters, as do the layers underneath. By our best estimation, the majority of the jackets on this list are designed to go well below freezing for use in the heart of the winter months in cold climates like the Midwest and East Coast of the United States. For more lightweight and midweight jacket options, see our articles on the best down jackets and synthetic jackets.
A major contributor to warmth is the layers or lack thereof you wear underneath. Depending on the parka, when the temperature really drops think well below freezing you may want to add a lightweight down or synthetic jacket as a midlayer. The importance of weight in your winter jacket buying decision depends largely on the intended use.
For those looking in the performance category mountaineers, climbers, winter explorers, etc. The type and thickness of the shell fabric matters in overall weight as well.
Performance jackets tend to use technical fabrics that are light and thin, while casual pieces use more durable and heavier shells that add weight. On the upside, the thicker shells are much better at avoiding tears and small abrasions and therefore should last longer. Lightweight down jackets require quite a bit of care and attention. Down loses its ability to insulate when wet, and therefore all jackets on this list offer some protection against precipitation.
Most jackets are water resistant or water repellant, meaning they have a tightly woven face fabric and durable water repellant DWR coating that will bead up and shed light moisture.
If you combine that with treated or hydrophobic down a treatment added to the down itself that reduces water absorption and helps it dry faster , you have yourself a pretty effective system even in wet and heavy snow. Exposure to wind can make an otherwise freezing winter day even worse. In terms of the wind resistance of a parka, a number of factors come into play including the type and thickness of the shell, amount and distribution of the insulation, and fabric of the liner.
In particular, the shell itself matters most: The truth is that all of these jackets do a respectable job at keeping wind and the other elements at bay. Midweight and lightweight jackets are much less substantial and you run the risk of catching a cold breeze through the jacket itself, but this list is composed of heavyweights that all should be considered highly wind resistant. Perhaps more than any other type of jacket, the hood matters a lot with a winter coat. First, the hood almost always is going to have the same type of insulation as the rest of the jacket, so premium down in the body of the coat means excellent warmth for the weight in the hood.
Finally, many performance-oriented jackets have helmet-compatible hoods, which are necessary for mountaineering and climbing. For use on mild-weather days, some prefer the option to remove the hood from their winter coat altogether.
For the coldest winter months, these heavyweight jackets and parkas bring the warmth. Best Overall Winter Jacket 1. Performance Perhaps the single most important factor when choosing a winter jacket is its intended use.
Insulation Types Nearly all the jackets on this list have down fill, which is the warmest, lightest, and most compressible type of insulation. It's hard to beat the lofty warmth of down insulation Warmth Warmth is a function of many factors: Wearing the Marmot Montreal on a winter visit to Glacier National Park Fill Power Fill power is the most heavily marketed spec among winter jackets and parkas, and refers to down specifically nearly all the jackets on this list are down.
Wearing the Marmot Fordham on a subfreezing day By our best estimation, the majority of the jackets on this list are designed to go well below freezing for use in the heart of the winter months in cold climates like the Midwest and East Coast of the United States. Layering A major contributor to warmth is the layers or lack thereof you wear underneath. A plush lining is comfortable with or without a long-sleeve layer underneath Weight The importance of weight in your winter jacket buying decision depends largely on the intended use.
Weight isn't a major consideration for casual wear Water Resistant vs. Waterproof Down loses its ability to insulate when wet, and therefore all jackets on this list offer some protection against precipitation. The Pertex shell on Rab's Neutrino offers good water resistance Wind Protection Exposure to wind can make an otherwise freezing winter day even worse.
On a backcountry ski trip with the windproof Arc'teryx Firebee AR Hood Perhaps more than any other type of jacket, the hood matters a lot with a winter coat. Learn More About Outdoor Gear.
Winter boots are a timeless and charming piece of gear. They bring back memories of being a kid, when snow falling always meant the anticipation of stomping around for hours at a time As the cold weather approaches, that doesn't necessarily mean it's time to stay indoors and shut down for the winter.
Instead, with the proper gear, you can get outside and enjoy the crisp air and beautiful snowy landscapes. This winter parka is the whole package:
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