Perhaps more than any other type of jacket, the hood matters a lot with a winter coat. Our personalities show through our clothing choices, winter jackets included. A notable exception is our Best Buy Marmot Fordham.
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From stylish winter jackets that looked exceptional but may not offer as much warmth to heavy duty parkas meant to handle whatever mother nature throws your way, we've found something for everyone. Hitting above the knee, the Kensington is the epitome of a winter jacket.
It has it all: This feature-loaded jacket has everything you need. A detachable coyote fur ruff on the removable hood adds a classic parka feel while offering extra protection from cold winds and snow. The smooth, but thick, durable polyester material on the outer shell repels water well, despite only being billed as water-resistant, not waterproof. Insulated with fill-power down, this wasn't the warmest jacket we tested, but we never felt cold in this contender.
The above-the-knee cut allowed for movement without being restrictive, and the microfleece-lined pockets, thick knit cuffs, and an adjustable cinched waist proved Canada Goose's attention to detail.
No matter what mother nature has in store this winter, the Kensington Parka can handle it. Canada Goose Kensington Parka. Who says winter has to be cold and miserable?
Why not look fabulous and stay warm? The Marmot Montreaux kept us looking stylish and incredibly warm all winter long. Insulated with plush Down Defender fill power down, we had no problem being outside in F degree weather, as the down insulation is thicker and loftier than any other model we tested. Treated with a durable water repellent DWR coating, the polyester fabric is water-resistant, but not waterproof. When we tested this jacket in the elements, water initially beaded up and rolled off, but the Montreaux eventually became saturated in heavy rain.
We were impressed by how it performed in snowy conditions and we didn't have any issues with penetrating wind, thanks to its thick down. We wore this contender in snowy weather for an extended period and came out with a dry core keep in mind that down insulation doesn't like getting wet and after an extended period in the rain, down can lose its loftiness AKA its warmth.
Besides being incredibly warm, the Montreaux is also very stylish. If you are in the market for a long, knee-length style parka with a form-fitting look and sleek faux fur hood, this is the jacket for you. What makes it even better, is that it's half the price of the Editors' Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka.
Finding a winter jacket that's warm and waterproof and won't break the bank is hard. Insulated with fill goose down, this model kept us warm and dry when we were shoveling the driveway.
The outer shell is highly durable and windproof; despite being such a burly winter jacket, it was also quite stylish and less than half the price of our Editors' Choice Award Winner. The Arctic Parka II offers a classic winter parka look with its faux fur ruff around the hood and a smooth exterior appearance.
For this price, you'll be warm and fashionable, and it won't break the bank. Depending on where you live, winter can be messy. Sleet, snow, freezing rain, the whole nine yards. If you live in a wet climate, having a dependable jacket for the winter is crucial; the Patagonia Tres Down Parka is the perfect winter parka to tackle any weather condition. Three jackets in one allow you to be ready for anything that mother nature throws your way; this contender is perfect for a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest, as the outer shell is Patagonia's signature H2No Performance Standard Fabric.
A great lightweight option for clear and cold days, this jacket has been treated with a DWR coating. It's water-resistant but not fully waterproof; when all layers are worn together, we felt protected in sloppy wet weather better than any other jacket we tested. Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka - Women's. We gauged our winter jackets based on five criteria: The table above displays the Overall Performance score of each jacket in our review, ranking from highest to lowest.
All the jackets we tested delivered some degree of warmth. When buying a winter jacket, one of the most important features is the level of warmth being offered. It's also important to look at the climate you experience on a regular basis and think about what you intend on using the jacket for. Choosing the right jacket is crucial for staying comfortable and warm and enjoying the great outdoors during the winter.
A jacket's warmth is based on the loft or fill-power of the insulation, along with the fill-weight. Lucky for you, we tested each one side-by-side in snow, rain, wind, and frigid temperatures - all in our effort to find out which ones were the warmest for various climates. We went hiking in each model and braved windy storms. We also wore them in varying degrees of temperatures and stood in place for extended periods. You name it, we did it. The warmest jacket we tested was our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Montreaux , which earned a perfect 10 out of Loaded with fill-power down from hood to knee, we stayed toasty on some seriously cold days.
The loft of the down performed extraordinarily, trapping heat and keeping the wind out. Our Editors' Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka , was close in warmth and was filled with fill white duck down. The durable shell on the Kensington Parka kept cold air out and warm air in, scoring a near perfect 9 out of 10 in the warmth metric. Also scoring a 9 out of 10, cue the Patagonia Down With It Parka, which is insulated with fill-power recycled down.
Both are insulated with plush, thick down from the hood to above our knee and did an excellent job keeping cold air out and heat trapped inside. Most of the jackets offered specific features, which helped improve our warmth on cold days - the main one being fleece-lined pockets! What a lovely, cozy feature on a supremely cold day. Thickly insulated hoods, like the Canada Goose Shelburne Parka and the Marmot Montreaux kept us toasty and secure in stormy weather.
The extra protection and down insulation made a difference when it came to staying warm in frigid weather 10F and below. If you are someone that is always cold, or you just like to stay toasty warm, we'd recommend considering a knee-length parka. A common misconception is that because a jacket or parka has a higher fill, it will be the warmest. The Arc'teryx Patera Parka has fill European goose down, but is not the warmest contender; in fact, it ranks towards the bottom in regards to keeping us toasty on a cold winter day, scoring a 6 out of While it is not as lofty as the Montreaux or the Kensington Parka , the Patera uses Coreloft synthetic fill in high moisture spots - inner arms, hem, and collar.
We could feel the cold air on our arms and shoulders in cold weather because of this. In a milder climate of F, however, we appreciated the Coreloft synthetic fill while out on a short hike, especially when we started to get hot and sweaty. If you're seeking a jacket that handles breathability and ventilation, we like the Arc'teryx Darrah Coat. We generally found that synthetic and insulated models with low fill powers lacked considerable warmth and were among the lowest, in regards to warmth, in our testing.
The Arc'teryx Patera Parka is a synthetically insulated winter option, complete with g of Coreloft synthetic insulation. It's not the best parka for weather below 25F or super cold snow storms, but we were impressed with how well it performed while blocking wind and keeping our core warm. While they were both surprisingly warm, they were not as toasty as the jackets that are insulated with thick down and high fill powers, such as the Rab Deep Cover Parka or the Marmot Montreaux.
The Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket is insulated with an unknown amount of Omni-Heat synthetic fill, while Arc'teryx Darrah Coat has grams of synthetic insulation which is equivalent to fill goose down. Despite being insulated with the equivalent of fill goose down, the Arc'teryx Darrah Coat was warmer in windy and stormy conditions. We'd believe that warmth and water resistance almost go hand in hand. Winter weather can range from snow, sleet, wind, freezing rain, or just plain old heavy rain.
All the models we tested offered some level of protection from the elements, from DWR durable water repellent coated nylon or polyester shell to full-blown waterproof fabric.
Before buying a winter jacket, it's important to consider the climate you live in and the purpose of the jacket. If you are living in a wet climate like Seattle, having a jacket that is waterproof and warm is important. If cold temperatures and snow are your typical winter conditions, a DWR coating should suffice. To figure out each jacket's degree of Weather Resistance, we put them through an array of tests. We went on walks on snow days, stood in place for an extended period in windy conditions, braved blizzards in the middle of the night, and we even brought the two-layer waterproof models in the shower.
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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.
These waterproof and breathable fabrics shed water faster and for much longer than a DWR treatment alone. If a jacket has an inner waterproof membrane, you can be sure the outer face fabric is treated with DWR.
This knocked the jacket down in the ratings. If you wear your jacket in lower temperatures where it tends to snow instead of rain, and if that snow is relatively dry you know who you are , then the competitors with DWR treatments such as the Canada Goose Expedition Parka , Patagonia Jackson Glacier , or the REI Co-op Down Hoodie are adequately protected.
It's not incredibly water-resistance due to its untaped seams, but it's warm enough to excel in genuinely sub-freezing conditions. Luckily, in those temperatures, precipitation is always solid, and the compromised weather protection isn't a problem. However, in our testing, the outer fabric to soaked in more snow and water than the others, making it a bit heavy and uncomfortable. This is the cost of style. The external material is attractive, but not as weather-proof as the smooth face of something like the Marmot Fordham or the Editors' Choice Arc'teryx Camosun.
We dig the Haglofs Torsang Parka's weather protection. This is a fully waterproof, taped-seams rain shell with light insulation. It isn't warm enough for many winter climates, but the wet and sleety corners of North America are just the place for it. In terms of weather protection, it is similar to the Editors Choice and the Patagonia Tres. Wintertime is uncomfortable enough. Don't put on an uncomfortable winter parka, too. Most of the models we reviewed work hard to make braving the cold and wind more forgiving.
We found a general correlation between cost and comfort. More expensive jackets use softer materials and more thoughtful tailoring to achieve maximum comfort. A parka's cut has a significant impact on its comfort.
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