WINTER-READY JACKETS

What is a Winter Jacket? A winter jacket is a garment that can help you withstand the cold, wind, and snow or rain. It should contain thick insulation your body stays warm even when not in motion. It should also protect from wind and precipitation. A good winter jacket needs to keep you and its insulation dry and should have a waterproof/breathable outer shell.

To find the best, we researched 82 options, picking 11 top performers to Throughout our reviews, you will see references to each jacket's fill power.

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Analysis and Test Results

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A notable exception is our Best Buy Marmot Fordham. Despite its bargain price, every tester who tried on the Fordham was impressed to find that it's more comfortable than the competition. There is also something of a correlation between comfort and warmth. The biggest jackets we tested are the warmest, but they are also the most confining.

Lots of insulation and an extended cut keep the heat in and make for a large package. This bulky package limits your range of motion, also impeding your comfort. The more comfortable parkas reviewed, like the Arc'teryx Camosun , also have elastic rib knit cuffs, which seal out drafts and snow. Unless you cinch them down around your gloves, velcro-closed cuffs aren't as protective and comfortable as the elastic versions.

The rest employ velcro cuffs. We love the cozy feel of fleece lining, especially when it lines pockets and chin covers. When cinched tight, it works as intended to hold in warmth, making you feel like you're at home in front of the fire, albeit with some tickles to your cheeks. The soft, down-sweater style construction of the OR Whitefish is far more comfortable than it appears. It looks like a rigid "barn coat" style jacket.

However, the construction is tailored and materials selected such that you have all the range of motion you need and a light feeling sort of insulation. Hoods, multiple hand warmer pockets, two-way zippers, and cuff closures work together to protect you from frigid environments. A hood is mandatory in nasty winter weather, and while it is not a substitute for a warm hat, it certainly makes life a lot nicer. Ideally, these hoods will be highly adjustable to allow for a customizable and secure fit.

The best hood in our test is found on the chart-topping Canada Goose Expedition. The hood is warm, large, and can be cinched down securely and comfortably. The stiff brim also keeps the hood almost out of your field of view. This is unfortunate, as the latest hood is compromised enough that warmth and weather protection suffers. If you leave the removable fur ruff on and don't have to move your head much, the McMurdo's hood effectively seals out the weather.

Otherwise, the more sophisticated hoods of the Arc'teryx and Patagonia jackets are at the head of the pack, literally.

The Woolrich Bitter Chill has a roomy and cozy hood. Only the interior layers of the 3-in-1 jackets do not come with any hood, meaning that a warm hat is necessary. Insulated handwarmer pockets are an excellent place to keep cold hands or gloves, and most have a fleece-like liner. The Arc'teryx jackets have the best hand warmers. All of these feature wrap-around fleece lining. This not only means that your hand is insulated while in the pocket, but that there is no draft when the pocket is open.

The next best hand warmer pockets, like those on the REI Down Hoody , put the user's hand between the outer insulation and the wearer's body. The pockets are uninsulated, but they are fleece-lined, and there are four of them! With a set at chest level and waist level, there is a hand warming option for every posture.

The latest version still has four fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, but the upper, chest-level ones are now situated further from the center zipper. This means that you have to contort your shoulders and elbows to get your hands into them.

So much so, that these pockets aren't comfortably usable. Nonetheless, the jacket is incredibly worthy. We wish that the jackets featuring a single layer of fabric protecting the hands in a warming pocket had a more sophisticated design. The Canada Goose models, for instance, both have uninsulated hand pockets. When wearing a trench-coat-length parka, the need for two-way zippers becomes apparent. The extended length can inhibit stride, and wearing a long coat while seated can be awkward and uncomfortable without this feature.

The Haglofs Torsang Parka is a long coat with a separating zipper on the bottom. Getting this zipper started is annoying, but once rigged it runs smoothly.

Cuff closures can be simple elastic closures, a snap closure, or Velcro, but a good winter parka needs them. They seal out the snow and cold and integrate well with gloves. Open cuffs with internal gaskets, like those on the Arc'teryx Camosun and Woolrich Bitter Chill , combine fashion and function. The Haglofs Torsang has soft inner gaskets with velcro closed outer cuffs. This is perhaps the best of both worlds.

Other features that may be important to you include internal phone pockets with headphone ports, skirts to seal out the cold, or built-in face warmers. We liked the feature set on the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. It has almost a dozen pockets, a snow skirt, and a drawcord waist, not to mention a fur-trimmed hood. Both come with an array of pockets, including an internal Napoleon pocket referencing the famous pose that has a headphone channel, so your electronics stay dry. Other jackets, like the REI Co-op Down , are bare-bones models with little more than two hand pockets.

Our personalities show through our clothing choices, winter jackets included. This review includes parkas that could be worn to a nice restaurant and a Broadway show, and others that are clean and simple but are more at home walking the dog. While technical jackets might be at home in the mountains, they are easily worn in urban settings and can let some of your outdoorsy personality show through.

Casual urban parkas don't usually work the other way. They are likely missing crucial elements for safe winter adventurings, think hoods or full waterproofing.

Most of the models reviewed have an extended cut, which adds warmth and weather resistance. It also gives them a different look than the waist-length athletic cuts that most backcountry-inspired jackets have. We liked the style of the Patagonia Jackson Glacier and Arc'teryx Camosun , which are both stylish enough to dress up but also perform well while snowshoeing or ice skating. The dapper Woolrich Bitter Chill scores well in this category as well. Across the board, we tested different "looks" to find something for everyone.

Our newest jackets are polarizing in terms of fashion. Except for the OR Whitefish. Its subtle style is unanimously appreciated. Our most fashion-conscious tester roundly approves of the look of the Whitefish. This same tester did not like the look of the Haglofs Torsang. This tester's summary of the Torsang was as follows — "It looks like a tube. You look like a blood sausage". Not all testers are so disapproving of the Torsang's style, but this opinion is strong enough to be worth noting.

With few exceptions, quality winter outerwear is expensive. For a quality winter parka, expect to invest. On the upside, that investment will pay off for a few years of consistent use, depending on your activity levels. Are you going to be in contact with razor-sharp winter climbing gear, like ice axes?

Or will you only be using the parka to get from home to the bus stop all winter? After investing a large sum of money in a winter jacket, we want to feel like our investment is protected, so we like the lifetime guarantees offered by companies like Canada Goose and Patagonia , who stand by the craftsmanship and materials of their products.

One of the most critical durability considerations is a jacket's outer fabric. Solid, heavy-duty, canvas-like exterior materials can withstand more abuse than the thinner shell of, say, the REI Co-op Down Hood.

Zippers, snaps, and Velcro get a lot of use, so we looked at these closures to make sure they are durable enough. We gave our highest score in this category to the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. The large zippers, durable outer material, and quality construction make this jacket last.

Similarly, the Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber is quite rugged. We are concerned about the durability of the technical models tested.

These are frequently around sharp ice climbing tools, and the thin shell on the REI Co-op Hooded won't hold up well to a wayward ice screw or axe. Quality options like the Arc'terxy Camosun are less worrisome. It didn't scuff or abraid when loading wood or tossing skis over the shoulder. A winter jacket needs to do a lot of things. And it needs to do them well.

For all around, day-to-day wear, comfort, fashion, and protection need to align in a the whole is greater than the sum of its parts kind of way. The search is difficult. We hope that our efforts here help you. We know that many will take our initial recommendations and purchase an award winner. We also know that many are digging deeper into the information. We are happy to oblige readers on every level, as well as to take your feedback on how we can better help you make your choices.

The trendiest styles of classic coats at the moment are double breasted, slim cut, and a prominent collar. Shorter styles will still work too. Uniqlo Cashmere Chesterfield Coat. Bonobos Italian Wool Topcoat. The Duffle coat is that coat that looks like the child of the classic winter coat and the parka. Its look is iconic and easy to spot, usually with a hood, square pockets, wooden buttons and a unique cut and design. The parka has surged in popularity as of late.

It is a woven fabric with a fuzzy, thick layer of fibers that looks quite like the wool of a sheep. Pile combines the inexpensive nature and water-readiness of synthetic insulation with the durability of down insulation. The main disadvantage of pile insulation is that it's not that thick, so it's not that warm.

Over the years we have tested thick pile jackets like the Patagonia Isthmus and Fjallraven Greenland. All of these are among the least insulating winter jackets around. On the upside, contenders like this are low-maintenance and will last a long time.

Hybrid pieces maximize performance by matching the benefits of an insulation type to the needs of your body. In our review, almost half of the jackets now feature some hybrid insulation. The pile-insulated jackets, for instance, feature synthetic puff insulated sleeves to keep your arms warm. The Arc'teryx Camosun features both down and synthetic insulation mapped to the user's body and to perspiration hot spots.

The hybrid nature of these jackets doesn't seem to change their performance much. If we split hairs, we could probably find subtle differences. However, we didn't see any obvious pros or cons to hybrid designs. We also tested the Bitter Chill Parka from Woolrich. This jacket uses a combination of synthetic fibers and natural sheep's wool for insulation. It works primarily like synthetic insulation. A good winter parka offers a variety of amenities to make winter living more comfortable.

There are simple jackets like the REI Down Hoody that offer few features in the name of simplicity and cost, and there are jackets that have so many extra features that it is tough to decide what is needed and what is not.

At the top of our list of important features is a hood. A hood adds warmth and weather resistance. A removable hood is a nice touch, as this gives the wearer another option for style and for reducing bulk when the weather is nicer. Depending on what kind of activity you are using your winter jacket for, such as an occasional ski jacket for trips to the slopes, you may also find the spacious sizing of helmet-compatible hoods to be useful.

The absolute best hoods, in our experience, are very adjustable with a large volume, removable fur, and an integrated, optional face mask. We didn't test any hoods like this in our test, but some came close. The closure systems on cuffs and front zippers are also something to look closely at, as they will influence weather resistance and warmth. Rib-knit cuffs like those featured on the Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber are ideal but only allow for over the top, gauntlet style gloves if you don't want to stretch the fabric out.

On the other hand, stylishly loose cuffs, like those on the Woolrich Bitter Chill , tend to let in cold drafts. Which gloves will work comfortably with each jacket depends on those cuffs. Also, look at our How to Choose the Best Ski Gloves article for more information on glove fit and style. Zippers deserve a careful look since the fabrics may be waterproof, but the zippers are often not. Specific models, like the Arc'teryx Fission SV , use waterproof zippers, while others use storm flaps to keep rain and wind drafts out.

Storm flaps are a nice touch, as long as they are easy to snap on and off with gloves and durability made. Two-way zippers are another great addition to a parka longer than waist length. It allows the wearer to sit down more comfortably without feeling like they're bunched up in a sleeping bag. Finally, there are some features, like a variety of pockets, fur-trimmed hoods or headphones channels, that are important to some of us and irrelevant to others.

With so many types of winter jackets out there, you're sure to find the one that has all the elements you need to survive the cold months in style. Curious how we rate products? Read our How We Test article to find out. How to Choose the Best Winter Jacket. What is a Winter Jacket? For cold weather outdoor activities, you need a warm jacket. If your outdoor time involves wet or windy weather at a reasonable temperature, something like the Arc'teryx Fission SV is especially well prepared.

Technical jackets have purpose-driven designs to help them perform in the winter environments for which they are meant. The hearty fur hood ruff and knit waist and cuffs of this jacket present a bit of a throwback look. The Arc'teryx Camosun Parka is a top-of-the-line option. The shell of your jacket keeps the rain or snow away from your insulation.

Shop for Insulated Jackets at REI - FREE SHIPPING With $50 minimum purchase. Top quality, great selection and expert advice you can trust. % Satisfaction Guarantee. The Best Winter Jackets For Men When it comes to men’s coats, there is so much diversity and choice that it can get a little confusing. When looking to purchase a brand new jacket, you want to focus on functionality first, style second. of over 70, results for "winter jackets" Men's fashion for $10 and under with free shipping Shop the highest rated and newest selection, updated hourly.