Best Winter Jackets For Kids
The first snowfall just arrived and your little one is running around excited. Before they can go out and create some winter memories with their friends, you want to make sure they have the proper clothing to stay warm while having fun. One of the most important pieces of clothing that you want your child to have is the winter jacket. The winter jacket ensures your child is warm and protected while enjoying many of the activities the winter weather brings. To help you make the right decision, we’ve done the research and listed the top ten winter jackets for kids available on the market today, while also giving you some guidance points to help you make your purchase.
- The North Face ThermoBall
- Columbia Alpine Action
- Columbia Whirlibird Interchange
- The North Face Apex Elevation
- The North Face TriClimate
- Patagonia Insulated Torrentshell
- Columbia Bugaboo Interchange
- Patagonia Nano Puff
- The North Face Reversible Perrito
- The North Face Warm Storm
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. The North Face ThermoBall
Sleeves can fit baggy
Safety and protection from the elements are two major features of the North Face ThrmoBall Full-Zip Jacket, which offers enough insulation to keep your child warm through the cold winter months. Made from 100% nylon, this jacket has synthetic insulation go boost warmth no matter how cold it gets while you play outside.Read more
Made with PrimaLoft insulation, The North Face ThermoBall Full-Zip jacket is lightweight and compressible, meaning it’s easy to carry and won’t weigh your child down when he or she wears it, and it provides adequate warmth each time your child puts it on. Plus, it comes with its own hand pocket you can store it in, so it’s easy to break down and pack with you when it isn’t needed.
The zipper closure on this jacket helps to keep the warmth in, and the warm, quick-drying ThermoBall protection designed into this jacket also helps to repel water and keep the weather elements out. Plus, each cuff on the jacket has an elastic binding to help trap more warmth in around the arms.
The North Face ThermoBall Full-Zip Jacket is also made with a reflective zip polyurethane pull, so it’s easier for your child to be seen even when the light is low outside. With its weather-resistant features and thermal insulation, this jacket will keep your child comfy and cozy during your winter adventures.
2. Columbia Alpine Action
Excellent weather protection
Sizes can run small
Could offer more color options
Columbia’s Alpine Action Jacket II offers your child several cutting-edge technology features that are built right into this jacket to help you stay outside longer when the weather is cold. Made to be windproof, waterproof, and breathable, this jacket will keep your child going strong no matter how low the temperature drops.Read more
Columbia’s Alpine Action Jacket II is made with Columbia’s Omni-Heat Reflective fabric, which is a material designed to help with warmth and body temperature regulation. The small silver dots in the lining of this jacket also add an element of reflection in the jacket so that your child’s body heat is reflected into the jacket, allowing better warmth to be created and then retained.
While this jacket helps to boost your warmth, it’s also quite breathable and made to wick away moisture as your child sweats, keeping moisture out and warmth in so that your child stays dry. Plus, the seams on this jacket are sealed to help offer an extra element of protection, keeping warmth in and moisture out.
With the jacket comes an adjustable, snap back powder skirt, and silicone grippers are included on the powder skirt. This jacket also has great pocket features, including a ski pass pocket and zippered hand pockets.
3. Columbia Whirlibird Interchange
Good weather protection
Could add vents to underarms
Sizes can run small
Columbia’s Whirlibird Interchange Jacket is made to keep your child warm when the temperature gets chilly and features a performance fit design that’s made to move with your child as he or she moves. Plus, this jacket is made to be waterproof, windproof, and still breathable, so your child will stay protected from the elements even if you are both outdoors for a long period of time.Read more
The body and insulation of this jacket are made from polyester, while the lining is comprised of nylon. The nylon works alongside a reflective lining to keep your child warm.
Columbia’s Whirlibird Interchange Jacket also features Omni-Heat Reflective fabric technology to help regulate your child’s body temperature. Inside the interior lining of this jacket, you’ll find reflective silver dots meant to use your child’s body heat to help retain warmth.
The Columbia Whirlibird Interchange Jacket comes with an attached storm hood and a front zipper that includes an inner draft flap and outer storm flap for extra winter weather protection. Also, the jacket has zipped chest pockets and zipped hand pockets.
This jacket is also breathable, and wicks moisture and perspiration away, keeping water out and body temperature in. The Omni-Techy shell on this jacket comes with a two-layer design that helps offers a fully waterproof membrane with seam-sealed technology to boost warmth and protection.
4. The North Face Apex Elevation
Great at keeping wind out
Could have better water protection
Could have more thermal properties
The North Face Apex Elevation Jacket is made to be a wind-resistant soft-shell jacket with insulation to help with cool, breezy conditions. Made from a nylon, polyester, taffeta, and tricot combination of materials, this jacket limits how much air can penetrate the jacket to help your child combat the wind chill factor when the weather drops.Read more
The North Face Apex Elevation Jacket is made with WindWall technology, which is a fleece fabric that helps with flexibility, breathability, and the comfort level of the jacket. At the same time, the WindWall technology in this jacket also helps to keep out the wind chill and boost warmth, helping to cut out 80-95% of the wind.
Also designed for comfort, the North Face Apex Elevation Jacket is made with the qualities of down, but won’t respond to getting wet like down and still retains its shape and protection. Plus, the insulation built into this jacket helps to trap in the hot air and keep it in, so that your child won’t lose body heat while outside in the coal.
The North Face Boys Apex Elevation Jacket comes with a lifetime warranty, is machine washable, and also has zip hand pockets, a fixed hood, adjustable cuffs, and an ID label. With this jacket, your little one can stay warm and dry while playing outside for hours.
5. The North Face TriClimate
3-in 1 versatility
Sizes run small
Sleeves can run baggy
The North Face TriClimate Jacket is designed to give you all the protection they need from the wet, cold weather, offering a 3-in-1 jacket that combines with a waterproof shell and a warm, soft, fleece liner. This jacket can be worn snapped together or separately depending on the weather, providing your child with some nice options for cold days.Read more
The North Face TriClimate Jacket is made with Dryvent fabric technology implemented into the materials of the jacket, making the product totally waterproof, windproof, and still breathable. Also, the outer area of the jacket is also treated with a finish that helps repel water off the jacket’s surface.
Inside of this jacket, the textile system is made to let water vapor escape from the inside of the jacket to the outside, meaning your child won’t feel too warm even if he or she sweats, and the perspiration won’t be trapped in the jacket. This jacket is also very comfortable and cozy because of the fleece liner, and since you can remove parts of the jacket, it is versatile for a wide variety of weather conditions.
This jacket comes with North Face’s lifetime warranty, is fully machine washable, and has zip hand pockets to keep your child’s hands warm. With its versatility and warmth, you’ll have a great jacket that will keep your child warm for hours of winter fun.
6. Patagonia Insulated Torrentshell
Could come in more styles and colors
Could be more durable
For a nice, insulated water-resistant jacket made to handle incremental weather conditions, the Patagonia Insulated Torrentshell Jacket is a great, warm option to keep your child happy and outdoors even during cold winter days. Made with 60gThermogreen, a 100% polyester shell, and 90% recycled, synthetic insulation, this jacket is made to keep water out and warmth in for hours of play.Read more
Patagonia’s Insulated Torrentshell Jacket is made with the H2No Performance Standard Shell, which is a breathable, waterproof nylon fabric that boosts comfort and keeps water off the jacket. Along with this feature, the outer layer of the jacket is also coated with a water repellant finish to make the water resistance on this jacket even stronger.
Also made with Velcro storm flaps and cuffs, children can easily Velcro areas of the jacket to help prevent outside moisture from getting into the interior areas of their jacket. Plus, the hood also has an elastic gusset at the inside, so it can’t easily be blown off and away from your child when he or she is playing.
Patagonia also made this jacket with grow-fit sleeves, meaning you can adapt the arm length of the sleeves as your child grows to make the use of the jacket last longer. Plus, this jacket also comes with a full-zip feature that goes up through the collar so your child can easily keep his or her neck warm.
7. Columbia Bugaboo Interchange
Omni-Heat Reflective technology
Can run small
Could be more breathable
Columbia’s Bugaboo Interchange Jacket brings comfort plus an adjustable “Outgrown” system that means the jacket can adjust as your child grows, so you’ll get a lot of use out of the jacket. Plus, this jacket is made to be both waterproof and windproof, featuring Omni-Tech technology on the jacket and sealed seams for extra warmth and protection from the elements.Read more
Columbia’s Bugaboo Interchange Jacket provides full weather protection but is still very breathable with its three-layer, lightweight bonded design. This jacket is made to be easy-to-carry and pack down as well and doesn’t weigh much, so it’s easy to pack down when it’s not in use.
Also, the Omni-Heat Reflective technology present on the interior of this jacket helps to regulate the temperature inside the jacket via tiny silver reflective dots that reflect your child’s body heat back into the jacket. This reflective heat technology feature helps to increase your child’s warmth oh the inside of the jacket so he or she can play outside in the snow for many hours.
Columbia’s Bugaboo Interchange Jacket is also machine washable, has kangaroo hand pockets, and inner zip pockets to help keep your child’s important items safe. Also made with a drop tail hem and toggled drawcord, you can adjust this jacket to fit just right and keep your child warm.
8. Patagonia Nano Puff
Can run large
Sleeves can fit baggy
If you want a great jacket for boys or girls that offers great insulation and protection on the coldest winter days, then you might want to consider the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket for your child. This jacket is lightweight and packable, making it easy to carry and light to wear, and offers plenty of features to keep your child warm during the cold winter days.Read more
The polyester mini-ripstop shell on the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket is designed to have high-tear strength, meaning the jacket is very durable, and the outer shell is also treated with Deluge DWR (durable water repellent), making the jacket water-resistant.
Patagonia’s Nano Puff Jacket comes with a warm and lightweight insulation material, comprised of PrimaLoft One and polyester, made to keep warmth in and the cold elements out. Plus, the unique quilt pattern on the jacket helps to keep the insulation inside the jacket, right where it needs to be.
This jacket comes with two zippered handwarmer pockets and internal zippered chest pockets which doubles as a stuff sack for the jacket, making it easy to break down and bring along with you when you don’t need it. You also get a full-zip front and wind flap protection with the jacket.
9. The North Face Reversible Perrito
Lots of style and color choices
Could have better insulation
Could have better weather protection
The North Face Reversible Perrito Jacket brings your child a versatile option with varied insulation, water-repellent nylon, and comfort. You’ll be able to keep your child warm with this jacket, which also can be reversed from the water-repellent nylon side to a soft, quilted side, giving you versatility for a wide variety of weather conditions.Read more
This jacket is made from polyester taffeta and finished with a DWR treatment. The insulation is provided by Heat Seeker and this jacket features 200 G for the body, 150 G for the arms, and 100 G for the hood.
The North Face Reversible Perrito Jacket includes elastane binding on the cuffs and hood, making the jacket flexible and helping to trap the insulated warmth of the interior jacket into the inside of the jacket. Plus, the jacket includes an embroidered logo on the front and back, adapting to its reversible features.
With effective water protection, warmth, and reversible versatility, your child will have what he or she needs to stay warm while playing outside for long periods of time. Plus, this jacket also comes with the North Face lifetime warranty and is fully machine washable.
The North Face Reversible Perrito Jacket also comes in a wide variety of styles and colors, so your child can pick his or her favorite and look good while staying warm. Plus, the jacket also has side welt hand pockets, which allows your child to bring important items along, or to keep his or her hands warm during colder weather.
10. The North Face Warm Storm
Great weather protection
Can run small
Could have more styles and colors
The North Face’s Warm Storm Jacket is made to keep your child warm through the rain and snow with its waterproof and fully sealed seams. You won’t have to worry about your child staying warm and dry when the weather gets cold and wet with this jacket since it has an interior lining made to boost warmth which can be sealed in with the full front zipper closure.Read more
Made with Dryvent fabric technology, The North Face Warm Storm Jacket’s design is made to be totally waterproof, windproof, and breathable. Plus, the outer part of this jacket is treated with an extra layer of water repelling finish so that water drops will bead off the jacket.
On The North Face Warm Storm Jacket, there is also a fixed hood feature that gives your child’s head more protection from the water as well as helping to provide heat. Plus, this jacket also features two zip-hand warming pockets to help keep your child’s digits warm even when playing in very cold, very wet weather.
The Dryvent technology in the jacket also helps to keep water vapor pushed to the exterior of the jacket, meaning your child won’t feel wet or uncomfortable as he or she sweats. Plus, with front and back reflective logos, it will be easy for you to see your child even in low light conditions.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
High-quality outer shells on jackets can bring excellent weather protection to your child, keeping them warm and dry even when there is rain, snow, or sleet outside. Effective winter shells are usually made with some type of weatherproof material on them, like eVent, H2NO, or Gore-Tex, all of which do a great job of repelling wind and water on cold days.
The winter shell on the jacket, while designed to protect your child from the weather outside, doesn’t typically work to provide a lot of insulation or warmth on the inside. So, if your child’s jacket comes with a removable winter shell, remember you’ll want that shell on them with the insulation if the weather is very cold. Some jackets have removable shells options with the interior area of the jacket providing insulation, while other jackets function as one-piece models.
If you want a jacket that features a removable outer shell, you’ll get a lot more versatility and use out of the jacket. For instance, your child could wear just the shell on warmer, rainy days, getting the protection from the water he or she needs without burning up if the weather is warmer. While these types of jackets typically cost more, they offer a lot more versatility and can be used throughout the year.
You do want to make sure, regardless of what type of winter jacket you purchase for the child, that the jacket you select has water and weather repelling features on the shell. Some manufacturers coat their shells with two or three layers or use DWR, a durable water repellant, on the outer shell. DWR coatings work well when it’s snowing outside, but can wear off, and can make the outer shell-less breathable. Gore-Tex is another fabric used to help make outer shells water-repellant, and Gore-Tex is usually more breathable than some other fabrics used to keep water off your child’s jacket.
Deciding what types of water and weather protection you need on your child’s outer shell really depend on what you’ll be doing while your outside and the weather you will encounter. If you know it will be very cold, you might not want to purchase a jacket that’s extremely breathable. However, outer shells made with Gore-Tex tend to work better for year-round activities, although they also tend to be pricier. So, you need to weigh out your options, figure out exactly what you will be doing, and then you can make your decision about what might be best for your child’s outer shell.
When purchasing a winter jacket for your child, you’ll also want to take a look at the different types of insulation offered on the jacket. There are typically three types of insulation that manufacturers use in winter jackets: down feathers, synthetic fibers, pile fabric, and hybrid insulation.
Insulation, no matter what type you find on the jacket you buy, is designed to trap in your body heat and keep you warm during the cold, outdoor weather. Usually, the thicker the insulation is in the jacket, the warmer you’ll stay.
Down, historically, is the first insulator we ever used to keep us warm, and it’s still a very effective insulator. It compresses down so that the jacket is easy to pack and carry, and it can last a long time as well as long as you take care of the jacket.
Down does present a problem, however, for some winter jackets because it’s known to perform badly when the weather gets wet. When down gets wet, it’ll start balling up and clumping, and it also loses its ability to insulate when wet.
Some manufacturers still use down in their winter jackets and utilize creative ways to solve this problem with down. Since it is well-known that people buying winter jackets are probably going to get their jackets wet while outside, many manufacturers add an extra layer of weatherproofing in the foam area of the jacket, and also usually have some kind of waterproof coating on the outside of the jacket. Some even put a chemical treatment right into the down to make the down waterproof, which is known as hydrophobic down.
If you do decide to purchase a winter jacket that uses down as the insulator, then you’ll want to get acquainted with what “fill power” means with down. “Fill power” measures how good the quality of the down is when it’s filled in the jacket, and is used to measure the volume of down in the jacket. When a jacket has a higher fill-power, that means the down is better and warmer overall compared to a jacket with a lower fill-power down. Also, hither-fill-power down tends to compress better, making it easier to pack down and bring along with you when the jacket isn’t in use.
A jacket that uses synthetic insulation has plasticized gibers spun into the garment that works similar to the way down insulates, helping to keep your body warm. Many manufacturers that make winter jackets using synthetic insulation use excellent technology and high-quality materials that often make this type of filler more attractive than down for warmth and weather protection.
Synthetic insulation haws one attractive quality about it that makes it perform better than down on certain occasions, and that’s the fact that synthetic insulation won’t clump when it gets wet, although the insulation the jacket provides when the synthetic insulation gets wet can still falter.
However, the insulative properties used with synthetic materials are typically not as affected by water as down well, and still work to insulate. Also, synthetic materials used for insulation will dry out more quickly than down.
Synthetic insulation still has a downside to it. The more you compress and expand a winter jacket with synthetic insulation in it, the more the jacket will start to lose some of its insulative properties. Also, synthetic insulation tends not to provide as much warmth as down insulation.
Made to resemble the hide and wool of sheep, pile fabric comes as a woven fabric attached to one side of the jacket. The pile fabric on the jacket will look like a thick layer of fuzzy fibers, like a sheep’s wool looks, found on the inside of the jacket.
Pile is an affordable material that is both water-repellent like synthetic insulation, and durable like down. However, pile insulation only offers a certain amount of thickness, so it can’t insulate jackets as well as down or synthetic fibers can.
Jackets with hybrid insulation features tend to combine various materials used for insulation to focus insulation on your child’s torso. These jackets are usually made for better performance, and include an effective combination of insulative materials that help balance out all the positives with the negatives.
The specific features of a jacket can help to provide more warmth. For example, a hood will help to keep your child signifigantly warmer. Other features that a jacket may include are elastized wrist cuffs, storm flap zipper, inside pockets, fleece lined pockets, DWR finish, or removable layers.
While some features can drive up the price of a jacket, they are well worth it.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Investing in a winter jacket can feel like a waste because children grow so quickly. Some companies include something called a "double seam system" that allows you to cut out a few stitches to release more fabric, making the arms or torso fabric longer. If the jacket features this, they will be able to get many more years of use from the jacket.
Imagine how often your child will be putting on and taking off their winter jacket. Children also aren't always dainty and can easily break or alter a zipper. The durability of a zipper is an important thing to consider before purchasing. The most durable and well known brand of zippers is YKK.
Other Factors to Consider
Winter jackets for kids do come in many different forms and styles, but really, there are two categories you can fit almost any winter jacket into. Those categories are technical winter jackets and casual winter jackets.
Defining a winter jacket as technical means it will be a more athletic style jacket, made to move with your child and bring increased flexibility for more activity. Usually, the features that are combined into a technical winter jacket work to support the movement and athletic activities.
Technical winter jackets will have more athletic features designed into them when compared to casual winter jackets. For example, a technical winter jacket might have an inside pocket for a water bottle, a hood you can use with a helmet, zippers that work with climbing harnesses, and increased durability to make the material last longer.
Just because a jacket is made to be technical and cover activity, that doesn’t mean your child can’t wear that jacket I a more casual setting. In fact, most manufacturers that make technical winter jackets for children nowadays make sure they design the styles to fit daily wear as well.
Casual winter jackets aren’t usually made with a lot of activity in mind, so they don’t have lightweight features or packable options that come with them. With these types of jackets, however, there is still a huge focus on weather protection, warmth, comfort, and appearance.
Casual winter jackets still offer excellent weather protection for your child while he or she is outside, but will weigh more than a technical jacket and are made more for low-output activity, or to throw on when going somewhere. These jackets can still protect your child when he or she plays outside in the snow, but they typically aren’t as durable or made to be worn for longer winter outdoor trips.
Casual jackets come with a lot of innovative features as well, like pockets for devices, fur-lined hoods, longer fits, and removable hoods. If you do plan to do a lot of casual activities close to home while outdoors with your child, then a casual jacket could save you money.
However, if you and your child plan on doing intensive outdoor activities like hiking and camping for several days during the winter weather, you’ll probably want to opt for a technical winter jacket. Really, the final decision will be up to you and your plans, but if you do want to do more hardcore winter activities, you don’t want to skimp on price to leave your child with less protection.
Technical jackets do typically cost more than casual jackets, mostly because of the increased quality of material found in the jackets. If you know your child is going to be very active while wearing their winter jacket, a technical jacket might be worth the money, but if you know the activity level outside won’t be high, you might be able to save a bit of money and opt for a casual jacket.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best winter jackets for kids come with several features that focus on staying warm and comfortable during the winter weather. But, if you’re looking to shop on a budget and need to limit the features, which ones do you really need to help ensure your child will be protected when it’s cold?
One of the most important features on a winter jacket made for the child will be the hood since the hood can create extra warmth and weather resistance for your child. Some of the winter jackets on our list come with removable hoods, which is great when you want to make the jacket lighter when the weather is warmer.
The best types of hoods should be adjustable, have good volume, and create warmth around your child’s head. Since people lose much of their body heat through their heads when outside during colder weather, having a nice, warm hood to prevent that from happening to your child is something you certainly want to consider.
Another thing that will be important for keeping your child warm is the closure system on the jacket’s cuffs as well as the front zippers. Both the cuff closures and the zipper system on a jacket can influence how much warmth the jacket traps in, and how much it lets out.
Some jackets come with rib knit cuffs, but those types of cuffs don’t always work well with cloves. Other jackets have looser cuffs, but those can let in cold drafts. When trying to figure out how well the cuffs on the jackets close for warmth, it’s also a good idea to factor in the type of gloves your child will be wearing so you can make sure they fit well with the jacket’s cuff system.
Zippers and other devices used to close the jacket and keep you warm are also important to look at since the fabrics on the jacket might repel water and the insulation might keep you warm, but zippers don’t usually repel water and bad zipper systems will let the insulation out. Some jackets do use waterproof zippers, and others include storm flaps, which also are easy to get on and off the jacket when you use gloves. Some jackets also feature two-way zipper systems that prevent the jacket from bunching up.
A high-quality winter jacket made for children should help the child wearing the jacket withstand various cold weather conditions including wind, snow, and rain. The jacket needs to have thick and quality insulation to keep your child’s body warm whether he or she is moving around or not.
Also, the jacket needs to be able to keep both your child and the insulation inside of the jacket dry so that moisture doesn’t affect your child while outside. The insulation needs to be somewhat breathable so that your child’s sweat won’t build up inside of the jacket but instead can vaporize outside of the jacket.
So, weather resistance, insulation, and breathability are all important items to take a look at when looking for the best winter jacket for your child. Once you are able to determine how these features work best for your child, you should be able to buy an effective jacket for him or her.
Down is an incredibly effective insulator for any age. It’s a lightweight filler that keeps you warm, and it also can be packed down to be very small for traveling. While you will find that down jackets are a touch more expensive (if not a heck of a lot more expensive) than jackets with synthetic filling, they are also worth the expenditure. If you are looking for a premium quality coat that will keep your child warm, but will also be somewhat lightweight, it is a great option. With this in mind, down costs more, so it can be worth it to spend less on a jacket that is still warm, but that is filled with something less expensive than down. This is because children grow very fast, so if you find that you have spent a small little fortune on your little one’s coat, only to have her grow out of it a year later, it could be slightly heartbreaking. Keep in mind, it might be worth the investment in down if you have a kiddo to pass the down coat onto.