And some people find the hood to be a bit large and the pockets to be small for gloves.
See the Men's Montane Deep Heat. A waterproof winter parka. Pricey and fit can be a bit roomy. And some people find the hood to be a bit large and the pockets to be small for gloves. For a women's-specific model with a very similar overall design, see Arc'teryx's Patera Parka below. See the Men's Arc'teryx Therme. Super warm and great coverage. Design can be a bit polarizing. Most importantly, this jacket is super warm with 9. For protection from snow and rain, the jacket has wax and polyurethane coatings that will help moisture bead off.
And this parka offers great coverage: To be sure, the design of the Kuhl Arktik Down Parka can be polarizing. The zippers, buttons, and shoulder panels are meant to stand out, and particularly in the Raven colorway the Carbon is a bit more muted. Tough yet looks good. Not super warm and fit is a bit snug. This burly winter parka uses fill down, which is high for its category, has a super durable denier polyester shell, and reinforced elbows to help avoid wear and tear.
And although the Whitefish is not waterproof, it resists moisture and wind fairly well. It is, however, one of the toughest models around and great for those who plan on putting their jacket through the ringer. See the Men's Outdoor Research Whitefish. A decent value for a winter-worthy piece. Winter jackets are an expensive bunch, but budget-oriented brand Columbia offers some interesting options in this category. However, the Barlow Pass is far from perfect and you get what you pay for here.
In addition, Columbia tends to run a bit big and boxy and the Barlow Pass in no exception. But we do like the feature set, which includes plenty of pockets, a generous hood with a removable faux fur collar, and even some fleece lining on the interior around the back of the neck for added comfort. Synthetic insulation polyester Weight: By far the cheapest winter coat on this list. Heavy, stiff, and could be warmer. How is this jacket so inexpensive? The insulation and shell of the Caterpillar Insulated Parka are straight polyester—no lightweight insulation or modern waterproof fabrics here.
In addition, you get ample storage with four large front pockets and one on the sleeve. Is this jacket for climbing mountains? A little lacking in warmth; slim fit. Starting with design, it has an H2No Performance shell on the outside, along with a removable fill down liner on the inside.
Moreover, the outside is waterproof and seam taped, which results in excellent weather protection in wet snow and rain. And even the liner has a DWR treatment for use in light precipitation. What are the downsides of the Patagonia Tres Parka? In addition, the down insert is decently warm and the outer shell does a nice job at cutting wind, but in the coldest of conditions you still will want to add layers underneath. See the Women's Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka.
Super soft liner; premium look and feel. Arms are a bit short for some people. When shopping for a down winter parka, you have a number of similar looking options from respected outdoor brands. This jacket is warm with fill down, has good length, and a super cozy hood with a removable faux fur liner. The inside of the jacket has a fleece liner that is noticeably soft to the touch, and the outside has a DWR treatment to help with light precipitation.
Add in some classy colorways, and the Montreal is a really nice all-around parka for the cold. Coming back to the all-important fit factor, a number of people have complained that the arms on the Marmot Montreal are on the short end. But if you can get the fit dialed, the Montreal is a winner. Zipper and hood are subpar. Updated for last winter, this popular parka performs well in tough weather but also looks the part for everyday wear. Like the Tres, the Arctic II is fully waterproof to keep you dry in a range of winter weather conditions, yet also packs a decent punch in terms of warmth.
Along with the good value come a few compromises. And like other products from The North Face, fit is a bit boxier than we would prefer although this can be good for layering.
Clean design, easy to move in, and a good amount of down for the price. Less leg coverage than a parka. The Down With It from Patagonia is a good-looking and versatile jacket at a very reasonable price. We like the length, which works well for city wear but also can double down for light adventuring like winter hiking and snowshoeing. What do you sacrifice by going with a jacket instead of a parka?
The obvious answer is leg coverage—the Patagonia Tres and other options on this list end around the thigh, which can make a pretty big difference when wearing jeans or other non-insulated pants in cold weather if you want more length, Patagonia does offer a Down With It Parka version. Warm, waterproof, and looks great.
The sleek Patera is the whole package: The biggest hurdle in choosing the Patera Parka is price. However, you do get some serious return on your investment.
The full waterproofing is a very nice feature, and few casual pieces use best-in-class Gore-Tex. You also get a tough yet smooth denier shell, which can handle everyday wear and tear much better than the thinner options above. 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.
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