- 0.1 1 – The North Face Men’s Gotham Jacket III
- 0.2 2 – Arc’teryx Ceres SV Parka
- 0.3 3 – Mountain Equipment Lightline
- 0.4 4 – Patagonia Topley Jacket
- 0.5 5 – Canada Goose Langford Parka
- 0.6 6 – Rab Neutrino Endurance
- 0.7 7 – Marmot Fordham Jacket
- 0.8 8 – Fjallraven Singi Down Jacket
- 0.9 9 – Columbia Catacomb Crest Parka
- 0.10 10 – Outdoor Research Whitefish
- 0.11 11 – Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Parka
- 1 Women’s-Specific Winter Jackets
- 2 Winter Jacket Buying Advice
- 3 Winter Jackets Categories: Casual vs. Performance
- 4 Insulation Types
Approaching winter always presents a problem if you live in the higher altitudes. It translates to freezing temperatures, snow, sleet, rains, and chilling winds that always seem to find a way to send a shiver down your body.
And since humans are not hibernating by nature, you need to go about our daily business however unrelenting the cold may get. This is why you need a winter jacket.
A winter coat has a singular objective – to keep you warm. The perfect coat you need is entirely dependent on your individual preferences and requirements. It’s important to find a jacket that’s warm enough, without impeding your ability to move or drastically overestimating your need for insulation. Finding the right balance between flexibility, warmth, weight, weather resistance is important. With your right jacket, you can keep the cold at bay while working, and even look good doing it.
It might seem a complicated task, but that’s why we’re here to help you out with a lowdown of the best jackets in the market:
1 – The North Face Men’s Gotham Jacket III
The jacket is insulated with a warm 550-fill down insulation and comes with irresistible features like the adjustable hood, a stormflap, and ribbed trim that ensures complete coverage. The material is the waterproof, breathable, seam-sealed DryVent 2L shell. The fabric is entirely windproof.
The stormflap comes with snap closures, and the patch pockets on chest and biceps are added luxuries. The jacket also comes with rib-knit cuffs for additional protection against the winter chill. Stylistically, the Gotham III with its incredible functions makes a great style statement.
The all-around winter parka is solid, inexpensive, extremely stylish, but comes with minor fit issues and a limited wet weather performance. The Gotham III jacket is not meant for the alpine climber or a backcountry skier, but if you want to take a trip out to the local ski hill, or attend an outdoor concert in the evening, this jacket is just right.
2 – Arc’teryx Ceres SV Parka
Insulated with 850-fill European Grey Goose Down insulation along with the proprietary Coreloft synthetic insulation, the box wall construction enabling the down to reach maximum loft and Down Composite Mapping for insulation along condensation prone zones, you can comfortably camp in sub-zero temperatures. The shell is composed of a WindStopper membrane that seals out wind and oncoming snow from seeping in.
The helmet compatible StormHood seals out the wind and comes with a laminated brim and adjustments designed to be operable while wearing gloves or mittens. This jacket is the answer to frigid, bone chilling conditions. With multiple fits available, the Expedition fit allows for ample room in order to accomodate base layers without compromising movement.
The jacket is equipped with a drawcord around the waist, at the bottom hem, and around the hood to seal in heat properly. With a plethora of pockets and its own stuff sack, the Ceres SV Parka is, without a doubt, one of the finest belay jackets available in the market.
3 – Mountain Equipment Lightline
The DRILITE Loft 40D outer fabric is completely windproof and highly water resistant, with a hydrostatic head of 1500mm. While the Drilite provides a solid outer layer, a microporous polyurethane coating renders it extremely breathable. The Mountain Equipment Lightline jacket comes with a 700 down fill, with a maximum of 10% feathers.
To increase weather resistance, the Drilite Loft shell is coated in durable water repellent. The highlight of the jacket is the zip-off hood. Comprising of three separate panels that can be adjusted individually to the head and face without compromising the field of vision. The hood is entirely windproof, sealing the warmth and prevents any drafts from invading.
The Mountain Equipment Lightline is best suited for winter hiking, and remains more than durable to partake in more hand-on activities as well. The Lightlines comes as one of the best value for money winter jackets.
4 – Patagonia Topley Jacket
The jacket shell – made entirely out of recycled polyester – consists of two layers to ensure extra warmth, while providing a waterproof, breathable barrier. The lining is also made of 100% recycled polyester with a water repellent finish. The coat is insulated with 600-fill Recycled Down reclaimed from duck and goose down products.
The two-way adjustable hood comes with a laminated visor to increase visibility in bad conditions. One thing that the Patagonia Topley jacket has an abundance of is pockets. With a waterproof, headphone compatible left-chest pocket, top-entry patch pockets, side-entry hand-warmer pockets, the jacket leaves no stone unturned when it comes to utilising space. The 2-way center zipper with an external storm flap secures with a snap closure and works with the interior storm flap to create a chin guard.
The Patagonia, in its simplistic design and features, is one for cold weather cities enabling you to stay warm while still keeping the good looks.
5 – Canada Goose Langford Parka
The high collar and a coyote ruff fur lined hood, and 625-fill White Duck Down padding ensure that the jacket can brave upto -25 degrees Celsius. It is also equipped with an Arctic Tech shell, that is woven and coated with durable water repellent so as to reduce cold air penetration.
A storm flap restricts the cool air from entering through the front zipper. Rib-knit cuffs prevent snow from infiltrating the sleeves. All in all, the jacket provides warmth in the coldest latitudes and excellent protection from snow flurries, rain, and sleet.
The jacket has two hand-warmer pockets, and easily accessible interior zipper pockets. The pockets, however, are below par utility for their potential and not a lot of space is usable. What you lose in pocket utility, though, you gain in slim clean lines and a jacket that can keep you excellently warm.
6 – Rab Neutrino Endurance
It’s packed with premium 800-fill power goose down, making it one of the warmest performance oriented jackets. The Pertex Endurance shell fabric adds up some serious wind and water resistance enabling the jacket to hold its own in a light drizzle, or wet snow for extended periods of time. It also dries quickly for a down jacket.
The hood is undetachable but that is one less seem to leak, and nullifies the possibility of a misplaced hood. The wire-rimmed peak can be adjusted to make the hood conform to a certain shape. The zipper in the front rises high enough to cover the mouth, increasing comfort in windy conditions. The best part about the jacket is that it can be stuffed in a sack that packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle.
This packability is a major selling point for backcountry enthusiasts. The Rab Neutrino Endurance remains one of our favourite lightweight parka for when things get really chilly.
7 – Marmot Fordham Jacket
However, the jacket does not have the best weather resistance due to numerous unsecured seams. In extended wet snow or rain, the Fordham wets through. The velcro cuffs and a generous hood block the wind, but stitching is the first wall to fall prey. But the Fordham is not meant for that and for sprinting to the car or walking to the bus stop, the jacket is adequate.
The jacket is loaded with features that include the adjustable fleece cuffs, removable hood, numerous pockets, and fleece lined hand-warmers. The Marmot Fordham is neutral and casually styled, with a shorter than usual cut that brings the jacket’s aesthetic up a notch.
The jacket is an incredibly durable, all-purpose budget-friendly jacket. There are warmer jackets, more weather resistant jackets, and less expensive products, but in finding the perfect compromise – the Marmot Fordham tops as one of the best winter jackets.
8 – Fjallraven Singi Down Jacket
It is perfect for low-intensity winter activities, whether it be snowy commutes to work or a weekend ice-fishing trip. The jacket is insulated with 600-fill CUIN goose down, and is reinforced with synthetic padding over the shoulders and elbows as protection against moisture and abrasions. The shell is composed of hardwearing, wind and water resistant G-1000.
The hood is spacious and adjustable with removable synthetic fur edging that serves as extra protection from oncoming snow. The two-way zipper is covered with a wide protective flap. The jacket comes with two large chest pockets with zippers, and pockets on top with flaps. There are two extra top-loaded pockets lower down, an inner pocket, and a sleeve pocket. The waist and hem of the jacket are entirely adjustable with the use of drawcords.
The jacket works as a casual wear for mostly urban use, or on getaways that will not result in extreme conditions.
9 – Columbia Catacomb Crest Parka
The jacket has 80g of synthetic polyester insulation to keep a toasty atmosphere. The shell is composed of 100% nylon with the Omni-Tech coating that renders the jacket waterproof while being breathable, especially at the seams. Zipped vents located around the underarms help in regulating body temperature during activities.
The Catacomb Crest Parka comes loaded with ski-ready features like a powder skirt, a goggle pocket, and helmet compatible hood. The hood, as well as the powder skirt, is detachable and adjustable. The jacket is equipped with pockets so you never run out of storage space.
There’s a ski-pass pocket, interior security pockets, a goggle pocket, and dual entry hand-warming pockets.The lack of down, however, reduces the winter performance of this jacket. Down is significantly warmer than synthetic insulation, and this is the only point where this jacket loses out. However, for your everyday commute and your frequent outings around the city, this jacket might be the one for you.
10 – Outdoor Research Whitefish
The numerous unguarded seams, however, leave the shell vulnerable. The fabric wets out and leaks through the seams at instances. In the dry cold, the jacket will hold its ground, but not so much in wet conditions. The jacket’s design and style play heavily in its favour. The fit is soft and allows for ample movement.
The Whitefish has fully insulated, fleece lined hand-warmer pockets. The hood is removable, improving visual acuity and range of motion. Ribbed cuffs, along with a drawcord hem and a front zip with external and internal wind flap seal out cold gusts outside. Down insulation in a beefy shell presents a combination that will practically last forever. With probably, a zipper repair, the jacket can last well over a decade without any real problems.
For dry climates, the Whitefish is adequate to get you around town. But if it rains heavily, or snows with high moisture, you’re better off with a different jacket.
11 – Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Parka
The jacket is composed of multiple layers. The outer layer is 100% polyester Oxford to boost the weather resistance. Quilted, 100% polyester Taffeta acts as insulation. The detachable hood is microfleece, adjustable with drawcords. The two-way zipper is protected by internal and external storm flaps. A drawcord at the waist and bottom hold the lining according to the midsection, thus increasing insulation.
The Heavy Insulation Parka has adjustable cuffs with snap tabs to seal the sleeves over your gloves. The jacket is made for the everyday-man and has pockets galore. There is a chest pocket with zippers, a horizontal packet, zippers on sleeves and inside pockets.
The hand-warmer pockets are lined with microfleece and there’s a cell phone pocket with a hook closure. The jacket features a bright reflective stripe across the chest in order to be visible in dim lighting. Although the wet weather performance is not as exceptional, the jacket aces the test when it comes to practicality and durability.
Women’s-Specific Winter Jackets
1 – Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka
The Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka is an all purpose winter jacket that can be disassembled into a down sweater and a separate shell jacket. The Tres has unlimited utility. Even though other jackets might be warmer or more comfortable, it is this niche that Tres fills that is its selling point. The inner hoodless 600-fill duck down sweater is the main source of insulation.
Additional warmth is provided by the space between the sweater and the shell, as well as the multiple layers of the shell piece. The primary drawback is the hood that ends up uninsulated. It offers adequate protection against the rain and wind, but it lets warmth seep out.
The shell is a H2No Performance Standard, and guarantees to be water and windproof. The seams are all sealed and the zips are waterproof and guarded by stormflaps. The jacket is built to face the worst of wind and precipitation.
While the individual components are comfortable on their own, the combined jacket results in a confining construction. The three-in-one capability of the Patagonia Tres is its star feature. Wear just the inner on crisp days, just the shell when it’s raining but not freezing, and pair the two for the nasty weather.
2 – Marmot Montreal Down Coat
The Marmot Montreal Down Coat is more an everyday jacket than a ski jacket. It could be used on the slopes for a few runs, a few times a season, but it’s best used for the cold morning walks down to the station or evening strolls around the park.
The jacket is insulated by the 700-fill down, and the Down Defender treatment renders the down water resistant so the down remains insulating even in snow. But the jacket fails to defend against rain or heavy snow, even though the polyester shell is coated in durable water repellent. It isn’t intended for any high output activity as it is not as breathable.
The Marmot Montreal comes in an extra-long cut. The fit is true to size, comfortable, and pretty stylish for around town. However, it would be a little restrictive for skiing purposes. The jacket has a wrist gaiter, a hood, but it is not helmet compatible.
The Marmot Montreal is more of an apres jacket than a performance wear. This is great for everyone that wants a durable, sensible budgeted, stylish jacket that can get long and warm in chilly conditions.
3 – The North Face Arctic Down Parka II
North Face Arctic Parka II’s cornerstone is its dependability for its reasonable price. Insulated with 550-fill Goose down and coated in the waterproof DryVent exterior, this jacket can brave some sloppy winter weather, but it is not the warmest jacket on this list.
The jacket remains comfortable at temperatures near freezing but it starts to feel a little cold in the arms. It is not the ideal choice if you live in skin-chilling temperatures. The removable hood is lined with fashionable faux fur ruff, adding to the style points of the jacket by giving it a classic parka look. The hand-warmer pockets are lined with microfleece.
The interior nylon cuffs do their job of keeping the heat in and the cold air out. The exterior of the shell is extremely breathable. The DryVent exterior ensures that the water beads up and rolls off than a jacket with a simple durable water repellent finish. The jacket contains an interior pocket that can be used for storing keys or a phone.
The main zipper has double sided access for increased mobility. Given that you find the right size, the North Face Arctic Parka II can handle cold temperatures and a plethora of wet winter weather.
4 – Patagonia Down With It Jacket
The Patagonia Down With It is a jacket that means business. Insulated with plush 600-fill duck down, the jacket is meant for the coldest winter days. With a shell coated in durable water repellent finish, the jacket is highly water resistant, but not completely waterproof, but the down saturates in case of extended exposure to rain.
The Down With It can hold its ground at temperatures below freezing. Unlike the Patagonia Tres, the hood is well insulated and keeps you extremely snug. However, the jacket lacks any interior cuffs in the sleeves. The jacket keeps it simple and is not overloaded with stylish features. The matte satin appearance is a simplistic style choice.
The fit runs a little tight, so it can get a little restrictive in motion, or if you want to wear multiple layers underneath. The jacket has two exterior pockets, and an interior pocket with a zipper to store small objects. The pockets, lined with microfleece, are great at warming hands up. The main feature of this jacket is its extended durability and how warm it is. It is great for commuting to work, or going around town. The jacket can easily function in temperatures below freezing, but make sure to take cover in case it snows.
5 – Arc’teryx Sylva Parka
The mid-thigh length Arc’teryx Sylva Parka is warm, windproof, and fashionable. The jacket has a non-quilted external construction to reduce cold spots, and is insulated with 140 grams of Coreloft. It might not compare as well to jackets having down insulation but with reinforced windproofing this jacket can face bone chilling temperatures.
The shell is the GORE Windstopper shell with a nylon rip stop protection that greatly improves the jacket’s weather resistance. The jacket can survive in extended wet weather and also dries quickly. Cashing on the wind resistance, the insulated hood is adjustable and can fit a cap inside. The jacket contains an interior media pocket and an insulated suede collar.
The jacket, however, lacks a full front zipper. The zipper rests higher than mid-thigh and along with the pockets create spaces for cold air to enter. The Sylva Parka wears differently than other jackets owing to its synthetic insulation, low weight and increased breathability. Its plethora of pockets make it highly functional, and the fit allows for ample movement. The jacket makes for a sophisticated choice on cold days, as a everyday wear or if you need to dress to impress while being cozy.
6 – Mountain Hardwear Downtown
Insulated with lofty 650-fill Q Shield down, the Mountain Hardwear Downtown Coat is an ideal addition to your wardrobe if you’re looking to stay warm in style. The mid-thigh length is ideal to bundle up into when the weather drops to chilling temperatures. Owing to its weight and style, it is best suited for casual use.
The jacket comes equipped with a ripstop fabric shell that makes this jacket’s weather resistance impressive. The Q Shield down means it is hydrophobic and thus can survive in rains without getting saturated. The jacket comes with a detachable hood with a removable fur lining.
The Downtown Coat is designed for the everyday woman, and thus the fit is flattering and there is an internal pull cord to adjust the fit around the waist. Making comfort a priority, the inside of the jacket along with the pockets are lined with thick, high pile fleece. The jacket has a two-way zip for increased mobility.
The jacket is made of high quality materials that ensure it will stand the test of time. The Mountain Hardwear Downtown Parka, however, is not very compact and with the fur-lined hood and fleece-lined backing can get quite heavy. Thus, it is best suited for urban use without any extended strenuous activity.
Winter Jacket Buying Advice
Winter Jackets Categories: Casual vs. Performance
Casual jackets are meant and designed for everyday urban wear. They tend to place more emphasis on warmth, weather protection, comfort, and style than weight and packable size. The emphasis on weather resistance has resulted in companies developing proprietary materials or finding innovative solutions to enable the jacket to face the elements.
They work well for low intensity activities like commuting for work, or going on a walk. Since insulation is built-in the jacket, they tend to be a little heavier.
They are usually loaded with features that ease day-to-day life, that can include a headphone compatible pocket, removable hoods, and roomier fits.
Performance jackets are meant for outdoor activities – like mountaineering, climbing, and backcountry use – and are more technical and often lightweight in nature, due to premium down and shell materials.
Performance jackets prioritise on weighing light so they can be carried easily. They are primarily used as insulating middle layers, and thus do not have significant weather resistant qualities. However, it is ensured that they are breathable enough to be comfortable during strenuous activities.
Technical jackets feature a trim fit that permits energetic movements and carry features to supplement these activities. These include water bottle pockets, helmet-compatible hoods, durable materials, and harness-compatible zippers.
Down has been a standing favourite insulation type and easily sets the standard for how warm insulation should be. Down is composed of goose or duck plumage – it is the lofty layer underneath the feathers. It’s characteristically lighter, warmer, and more compressible than any other kind of insulation.
Synthetic insulation is made up of plastic fibers spun in an imitation of down. Although, it is not as warm as down, it has significantly better water resistant properties and stays warmer when wet. However, it is heavier than down.
A jacket is as good as how well insulated it is. Winter wear is not meant to manufacture heat, it is meant to trap and protect the body’s heat. Thus, a jacket’s warmth is an indication of how well it protects the body from losing heat, while keeping the external cold at bay. The factors that significantly affect a jacket’s warmth are:
- Fill Power
Fill power is indicative of down quality. Specifically, it is a measure of volume. The number that indicates fill power is the volume – in cubic inches – that one ounce of down occupies when placed in a graduated cylinder and compressed by standardised weight.
Simply put, the higher the fill power, the more volume one ounce of down would occupy, the loftier and more consequently, warmer it would be. It is the most marketed specification in a jacket.
Higher fill power also translates to higher compressibility of the jacket. Thus, two ounces of 700-fill are warmer and more compressible than 400-fill power. Higher quality, and premium down is also more expensive to obtain than low fill power down.
Performance jackets have higher fill power, starting from around 800-fill, while casual jackets can stay anywhere from 400-fill to 700-fill.
The choice for a higher or lower fill power is entirely dependent on the climates you are using the jacket in, and how warm it should be.
- Fill Weight
Fill power is not an entire summation of a jacket’s warmth. The fill weight is also important. The fill weight is the mass of the down insulation present in the jacket – this can be eyeballed by seeing how thick the jacket is.
If there is sufficient mass, a lower quality fill can be warmer than a higher quality fill. It is also a measure of the jacket’s compressibility.