Looking for a different style of winter white coat? Stumped on which model will best suit your needs?
1. Best Mid-Length Trench Coat: Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Double Breasted Classic Wool Coat
The LT is designed for more mild temperatures and is, therefore, lighter weight with less down insulation overall. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer was one of the most compressible. It's thin and light to begin with, like the Cerium LT , and the high quality down allows it to get super small. A small compressed size is ideal for climbing, backpacking, or even bike commuting where pack space is a commodity.
If compressibility is not as important to you as some of the other metrics in our test, we'd suggest taking a look at the Rab Microlight Alpine or Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody. This category is a catch-all for the little things we liked or didn't like about the jackets, from pockets and hoods, to draw cords and well-placed soft fleece patches.
In general, we like models with durable plastic zippers that don't bend or kink over time counter-intuitive, but plastic zippers are much more durable than metal ones.
Hem drawcord cinches are key to keeping cold drafts out. A little fleece or creative baffling in the right place goes a long way in promoting freedom of movement.
But a jacket didn't have to have a lot of features to score highly in this category. The Ghost Whisperer has very few features, but Mountain Hardwear kept the ones that count for a high functioning climbing layer.
It got high marks for careful selection of key features. In general, we love hoods because they add warmth. We also appreciate chest pockets for ease of access while climbing—and because it helps keep essential items, like snacks or electronics, warm and accessible. The streamlined design also makes the jacket look sleek, easily sliding with you into Happy Hour or your favorite Apres Ski venue.
Arc'teryx stole the show again in this category with details such as a separate stuff sack girth hitched into the chest pocket. This feature meant we could cram it into our luggage or carry it on the back of our harness without fear of snagging the jacket's material while chimneying up a long rock route.
And when wearing the jacket, if we unzipped that chest pocket to retrieve our phone or snacks, the stuff sack wouldn't fall out. The Cerium was the highest scorer in the bunch with the Rab Microlight placing second. Fabrics are, in general, very durable these days, but there are a few things to pay attention to.
Lower denier ratings typically translate to lower weight but less durability, but fabric is not the only durability concern. In our tests, the lightest fabrics ended up being the most fragile. If it is important to you to have a lightweight jacket, it might be worth sacrificing a little durability.
The North Face Aconcagua topped our charts and provided an incredibly durable fabric made of 50D nylon; the Aconcagua is tough. The Canada Goose Perren is another top-notch model that offers rugged material that will hold up to some serious abuse. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is an impressively durable jacket for the weight—the fabric resisted snagging and abrasion while climbing. Alternatively, the Rab Microlight Alpine performed very well and earned our Top Pick award for its durability and reliability in combination with weather resistance.
The most durable jackets in this review were not our overall top scoring jackets. This is largely because extremely durable fabrics tend to be heavier. If weight and compressibility are less an issue for you, however, and you want a great around-town jacket that will stand up to years of use, check out the Canada Goose Hybridge Perren , a very stylish urban use down jacket, or the super durable The North Face Aconcagua.
Down is one of the best insulators on the planet. No man-made fiber has managed to replace it for its impressive warmth to weight ratio. However, down has one critical Achilles heel—it cannot get wet. When it does, the feathers get matted together and the jacket, sleeping bag, vest, or whatever the item is, loses its warmth. This is because down traps heat in the air pockets between the down feathers.
Most outdoor enthusiasts accept this risk and choose to take good care to keep their down items dry on their adventures, but if you spend a lot of time out in wet climates, you might consider synthetic insulation, at least for some of your insulation pieces—the synthetic fibers have more structure and retain warmth even when wet. Another way to manage the risk of down getting wet is to encase it in waterproof fabric, or at least materials coated with a durable water repellent finish DWR.
Arc'teryx uses a clever Down Composite Mapping technology where they integrate Coreloft synthetic insulation in high-risk areas such as cuffs, shoulders, armpits, and hoods. In previous reviews, these jackets stayed wetter longer because the synthetic insulation would absorb water which would then leak into the down and the shell fabric.
In this round of testing, however, even dripping ice climbs couldn't manage to get the Cerium's cuffs wet which is one of the areas most prone to moisture. Most of the jackets in this review are treated with a DWR durable water repellent coating on the exterior fabric to prevent water from soaking through the material and dampening the down.
It is important to note, however, that these jackets are not designed to be remotely waterproof, so if you will be out in the rain, be sure you can fit your rain or hardshell jacket over your down jacket to ensure those feathers stay dry and lofted. The KUHL Spyfire took an interesting approach using DWR coated soft shell over the shoulders, which we found very effective for beading up and shedding light rain. The North Face Aconcagua was a top performer when it came to water resistance. Not batting an eye, it has an oily feel that allows water to bead up and roll right off.
We appreciated this when we got caught in storms, and the chill started to creep in. The Arc'teryx Cerium SV and LT both earned the same score when it came to water resistance, and did a spectacular job of protecting us from the elements. It was our favorite model to wear on winter vacations to our favorite snowy wonderlands—especially great for those traveling from warmer climates and who therefore are not as acclimated to the cold.
We especially liked the Cerium SV for ice climbing, winter backpacking, and long backcountry ski tours. One of the most intriguing aspects of this review was the continued opportunity to test out some jackets with treated hydrophobic down: Water repellent fabrics still seem to make the most difference in a down jacket's water resistance.
We took all of these jackets ice climbing and ski touring to test the water resistance. Dripping ice climbs offered an excellent real-world opportunity to observe the jackets' water repelling abilities. In the end, most jackets performed to our expectations, with the Marmot Quasar Nova falling behind significantly with how easily the shell material wet out and soaked through to the down. The jackets in this review use sewn-through baffle construction instead of box-baffles, which are usually reserved for expedition parkas.
The sewn-through design is less expensive to produce, lighter and improves ease of movement. Several companies vary the sizes of its baffles to maximize mobility and insulation. We were very impressed with this solution. Under the arms, they place smaller baffles which eases movement of the arms and torso.
Smaller baffles, however, also means more stitches, and therefore reduces its warmth. Since these smaller baffles are only under the arms, the area is often protected from the wind and otherwise covered by the arms themselves. Overall we felt that the fit and the design of the sewn baffles are the primary components of style.
No matter what, puffy down jackets make a woman look, well… puffy. But some look better than others. The shape of the jacket also contributes to Style points. But style cannot trump function, in our reviewers' opinions. In this review, we appreciated the style of the KUHL Spyfire which was an impressive blend of style while remaining adequately "mountain ready".
However, as you know, style is subjective - and if you don't like the look of a particular jacket, you might not be inclined to wear it. The Patagonia Down Sweater comes both with and without a hood as well as a sleeveless vest. Patagonia Down Sweater Also available at:. The Marmot Jena jacket features slightly slanted baffles, similar to the Mountain Hardwear down jacket above, which gives a more slim and streamlined silhouette. Its back length is slightly shorter than the other down jackets on this list which might be an advantage depending on your height and preferred length of jacket.
The Marmot Jena Down jacket comes in numerous colors and both with and without a hood as well as a sleeveless west. Marmot Women's Jena Jacket Also available at:. The Aria down jacket is super compressible and comes with a stuff sack, which makes it even easier to pack the jacket when you are not using it. For the Aria down jacket, Outdoor Research chose to do something different than the usual rectangular baffles by creating a unique pattern of perforated arcs.
The Aria down jacket comes both with and without a hood as well as a vest and a knee-length parka. If you are looking for something even warmer, the well-designed Outdoor Research Placid model g, fill-power with a removable hood might be something for you. You can say what you want about the North Face, but they sure do know how to make some good-looking clothes — and their down jackets are no exception.
However, the vast majority of their models only include down with a fill power of which is fine for city-use, but provides too little warmth for its weight when it comes to hiking. The North Face Nuptse II down jacket made it to this list as it uses ample fill goose down inside a shell made of very durable 65D recycled polyester. The thicker and more durable shell fabric is also part of the reason why the Nuptse II is almost twice as heavy as the down jackets above which only use 20D materials for the shell.
If you are looking for lighter but still warm jacket from the North Face, you might want to check out the Tonnerro jacket — but it is not as good-looking as the Nuptse II which indeed is a redesigned and more streamlined version of the original Nuptse down jacket. Average rating out of 5. Your email address will not be published.
Best Down Jackets for Women. Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Down Jacket. Hydrophobic down Flattering baffle pattern. Share your opinion and help others! Big price jump between model with and without a hood. Marmot Jena Down Jacket. Hooded version is a lot heavier than the hoodless model. We tested jackets that had soft, polyester or nylon DWR shells, as well as thick, burly two-layer waterproof fabrics.
Obviously, in most cases, the heavy duty waterproof fabric is going to be more durable and will protect against snags and tears more than the DWR shells. If you are someone that plans on adventuring to new levels in their winter jacket, a heavy duty durable coat will be right up your alley.
The equivalent of snow bunny armor, the Canada Goose Kensington is highly durable and attractive and is the only jacket to score a perfect 10 out of 10 in the durability metric.
The water-resistant polyester fabric almost feels impenetrable to snags and tears. The lack of stitching on the outer shell helps make this jacket more durable, and this is a model that will last you for years to come. In fact, we'd venture to say it's a solid investment. We loved the Patagonia Tres Down Parka ; however, when we were zipping the outer shell into the down layer, the down kept getting caught in the zipper, and we had to take our time.
There's potential to snag the down on the zipper, compromising the down layer. Fortunately, if you take your time, you can avoid this issue. The two-layer waterproof fabric on the outer shell is what makes this jacket very durable. Patagonia's signature H2No breathable, waterproof, and stretchy fabric seems almost impenetrable and doesn't have much exterior stitching; because of this, we don't see much room for snags occurring.
We tested this jacket in the shower, and the outer shell did a stand-up job repelling water, earning it a near perfect 9 out of We noticed minimal down feathers escaping from the Patagonia Tres Parka's down layer. While we only tested this jacket for two months, we can tell you that if too much down escapes, the loft and warmth will start to diminish, which will affect your winter investment.
If a jacket has a lot of stitching on the outer shell, there is potential for a snag to occur. The Patagonia Tres had a sturdy, durable outer shell that was ready to withstand anything that we threw at it. Finicky zippers seem to be a common issue with some of the jackets we tested; for example, the primary zipper on the Arc'teryx Darrah gave us problems when we tried to zip it up.
The Arc'teryx Patera is highly durable, despite its finicky zipper. The outer shell is 2-layer Gore-Tex, 75D polyester with DWR treatment and is waterproof, windproof, and breathable fabric. We found the outer shell to be very durable against snags, due to the lack of exterior stitching. When tested in high winds and heavy rain, this jacket was comparable to the Patagonia Tres Down Parka regarding their level of durability. One of the most overlooked but crucial features when buying a winter jacket is the hood.
A thickly insulated hood makes a huge difference in cold weather, as opposed to a thin non-insulated hood. For someone living in a climate that gets heavy snow and cold temps, a hood with thick insulation and faux or real fur will protect your face and keep you warm. We understand that the real fur can be controversial and not for everyone. Feel free to read more about this in our Sourcing Ethics section of our buying advice.
The Canada Goose Shelburne Parka offers an oversized adjustable hood for an even tighter fit on those extra windy days. Detachable hoods are common, and offer versatility, but what if you get caught outside in a storm without it? There were certain features we loved, like fleece-lined pockets. Whether the exterior pockets were lined on one-sided or both, fleece pockets are a stand-out feature that attributed to additional warmth and comfort on super cold days. Not everyone carries gloves with them at all times; because of this, the fleece-lined pockets are super practical.
Fleece also was a theme with collars and cuffs. We loved the fleece-lined torso of the Marmot Montreaux , and the nylon cuffs on the Rab Deep Cover Parka were also plush and super warm.
Double-sided zippers were almost a mandatory requirement on all the winter jackets; we found this especially true with the knee-length parkas. While somewhat restricting, we gained a significant amount of mobility with the double-sided zipper when walking. Secured by button snaps, we could feel the cold air leaking in, and the snaps were noticeably uncomfortable when we were sitting on hard surfaces; we honestly didn't find this feature that useful.
Even though both offered a tailored look, the cinched waist on the Kensington Parka was more robust than the waist on the Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket. Another interesting feature that the Kensington Parka offered was internal carrying straps. We didn't find ourselves utilizing the straps all that often, but for the weight close to nothing , it's a good option to include - especially if you are living in a mild climate.
The Patagonia Tres Down Parka offers a 3-in-1 option and is the only jacket like it in our review. If you are in the market for a raincoat, a puffy jacket, and a winter jacket, the Tres may be the jacket for you! We hope that we've been able to help you decide what type of winter jacket is the right style and fit for your life. If you're still wavering between a few contenders and need help narrowing down your selections, consider reading or re-reading the Buying Advice in your quest to determine which model will best suit your needs.
The Best Winter Jackets for Women of Displaying 1 - 5 of Updated January From sunny days where temperatures reach 50F to colder days where the highs are only F, winter weather can be unpredictable. When it's time to buy a winter jacket, it's important that it's the right one for the environment you live in so you can be sure you've covered all of your bases. For the second year in a row, the Canada Goose Kensington has scored the highest in all of our rating metrics.
See all prices 3 found. See all prices 4 found. We wore these jackets every day for months, everywhere we went. Some days we would load the car up with jackets and drive out into the mountains to get a feel for how they handled in even colder weather.
Often, the fit of a winter jacket is what jeopardizes its warmth and style. When taking the time to buy a winter jacket, you want to make sure it fits properly. If you are buying a jacket online, make sure to look at the size guide to ensure the best fit. Winter weather isn't predictable. We wore each model in a variety of environments, from daily city life to mountain adventures, and rated them based on their Warmth, Weather Resistance, Style, Comfort, Features, and Durability.
The Metropolis, pictured here, scored towards the middle of the fleet when it came to warmth. Being outside in cold weather wasn't an issue in the Editors' Choice-winning Kensington Parka. The Marmot Montreaux is packed with fill-power down, keeping us comfortable and warm even when outside for an extended period of time in frigid temps.
This was the warmest jacket in our line-up, earning a perfect 10 out of 10 score. Down insulation has a high warmth-to-weight ratio. Lightweight and highly compressible, down is a great choice for cold climates, but not a super wet climate. Pictured here is the lead tester wearing the Canada Goose Camp, which scores a 10 out of 10 for comfort and an 8 out of 10 for warmth!
Adding internal nylon cuffs to a winter jacket really makes a difference in cold weather. Jackets that lacked cuffs had a hard time keeping warm air in and cold air out.
We also noticed in stormy weather internal cuffs did a great job at keeping precipitation out. The Shelburne is loaded with features. These adjustable straps at the cuffs allowed for a tighter fit when it was colder outside or when we were caught out in precipitation.
In snowy conditions, our face remained warm and protected, thanks to the coyote fur ruff around the hood. Unlike the faux-fur ruff of the Marmot Montreaux, the coyote fur ruff of the Kensington, shown here, is intended to do a better job at trapping heat. The coyote fur ruff will do a better job at retaining its loft in wet weather, and it will last longer than a faux fur ruff.
The Deep Cover Parka by Rab was one of the more stylish winter parkas we tested, scoring a 9 out 10 on the style scale. Though not mega warm, we loved the look of the lightweight and sleek Fiona Parka and granted it a 9 out 10 on our style scale. The adjustable cinched waist on the Kensington Parka allows you to tailor the fit, and scored some high style points.
The best jackets were those with the highest quality fill power down ( and above), which also overlaps with our next rating metric. The Ghost Whisperer was the most compressible jacket in this review. Following closely behind, the Marmot Montreaux is our Best Buy, and is the warmest jacket in the review, at a cool $, as well as Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka - Women's, which wins a Top Pick for those residing in wet climates. Weight can play a major role in finding the best down jacket. And it should. If you plan to use your jacket for climbing, backpacking, mountaineering, ski touring, or any other sport that you have to carry all of your gear, you’ll want a jacket that’s as lightweight as possible.