Best Winter Jackets
When the temperatures drop and the first snowfall hits, you’ll want to make sure you’ve purchased one of the best winter jackets to keep you warm so that you can still be active while outdoors in the cold. You do not only want to make sure you are ready to fight the cold that the winter can bring but that you also look stylish while doing it.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Offers great weather protection
- Mountain Equipment Lightline
- Caterpillar Insulated Parka
- Canada Goose Langford Parka
- Rab Neutrino Endurance
- Mountain Hardwear Glacier Guide Down Parka
- Arc'Teryx Therme Parka
- Arctyerx Ceres SV Parka
- The North Face Gotham III
- Patagonia Nano Puff
- Marmot Fordham
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Winter Jackets
1. Mountain Equipment Lightline
Offers great weather protection
Not as durable as some other jackets on the list
The Mountain Equipment Lightline Winter jacket is a very warm down puffy jacket that offers several nice features and benefits at an affordable price for those outdoor enthusiasts shopping for a good winter jacket on a budget. The Lightline jacket is stuffed with 10.4 ounces of 700 fill down, which means it has a lot of insulation and weather protection features.Read more
The Mountain Equipment Lightline Winter Jacket is designed to give you excellent protection from the weather, and includes windproof and water-resistant features made from the jacket’s Drilite shell. Also, this jacket is very stylish and offers several color options, and works well from everything like high activity to casual wear.
This jacket’s affordable price range and versatility make it a real steal, since it comes with enough insulation to keep you warm while still giving you great weather protection. Plus, it also comes with stitched-through construction throughout the jacket, keeping you even warmer on the inside even when temperatures drop significantly outside.
With the Mountain Equipment Lightline Winter Jacket, you’ll get an adjustable zip-off hood with three panels that help the jacket fit better and boost protection. Plus, there is a molded center front zipper with a rear insulated area, and the jacket features two hand warmer pockets.
2. Caterpillar Insulated Parka
Reflective webbing for increased visibility in the dark
Inner & outer pockets for storage
Windproof & waterproof
Not as stylish as other jackets on the list
Caterpillar, as a brand, is known for making heavy duty products and their insulated parka is no exception. This jacket is for the individuals that will find themselves out in the snow most of the winter or in harsh conditions. Stylish yet durable, this jacket from Caterpillar is one to check out. This winter jacket being waterproof, windproof, having a removable hood, and numerous pockets for storage are some of the major features this jacket offers.Read more
Caterpillars Insulated Parka has a quilted insulated lining to ensure that your body heat stays within the jacket keeping you warm and dry as you go about your day. Plus, is coated with a windproof fabric to give yo that extra protection if you have to fight some harsher weather.
This parka also has multiple pockets to help secure your belongings and also protect them from the weather the winter can bring. A little extra bonus this jacket has is a reflective webbing on the front and back yokes to give you more visibility in the dark, may take away from the style of this jacket, but increases the safety if you will find yourself out at night.
The Caterpillar insulated parka has a removable hood, as well as secure zipper and double snap placket to ensure that no water or snow can penetrate the jacket and keep you warm throughout the winter months. Another benefit of this jacket is that it has adjustable cuffs and waistband to give you even more protection against the winter elements.
3. Canada Goose Langford Parka
The Canada Goose Langford Parka is a high-end, high-quality jacket that’s made to be very warm, is well built, and is also stylish in appearance. Made with 625-fill duck down and featuring a thick, strong Artic Tech shell, the manufacturers of this jacket say this jacket can keep you warm even if the weather is around -15 to -25 degrees outside.Read more
The Canada Goose Langford Parka is designed to give you a lot of warmth, and is probably one of the warmest jackets featured on our list. So, if you know it’s going to be very cold outside and need that extra insulation for heat, this could be the jacket for you.
The Canada Goose Langford Parka is made with 85% polyester and 15% cotton materials, and includes natural coyote fur styles into the jacket. The coyote fur ruff around the hood is removable, as is the adjustable tunnel hood itself.
The jacket also provides two high fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets, and its boost in fill makes it extremely warm. Even if the weather gets to Arctic conditions outside, you’ll be able to do whatever you want to do when you wear this jacket.
4. Rab Neutrino Endurance
Good weather protection< Lightweight Good warmth
Shell is thin
The Rab Neutrino Endurance Winter Jacket comes with lightweight features and the jacket itself weighs in at only 8.8 ounces. However, this jacket still provides plenty of insulation, with 800 fill goose down that is comparable to some higher-priced jackets in this range.Read more
With the Rab Neutrino Endurance Winter Jacket, you also get a burly hood tall neck to help you handle the cold air and the wind. Plus, the jacket is also stylish but focuses on active performance in the outdoors, as it is easy to compress and carry along with you when you aren’t using it.
The outer layer of this jacket is made to shed snow and protect you from the wind, with the Pertex fabrics in the jacket to help it keep it lighter while it still provides excellent insulation. Plus, the jacket features AquaGuard zipped hand-warmer pockets and one zipped internal pocket so you can effectively organize your items and bring them along with you.
The Rab Neutrino Endurance Winter Jacket also comes with a down-filled helmet-compatible hood and a wired peak for better protection. Plus, you get a Velcro free hood roll down system for more easy use with this jacket.
5. Mountain Hardwear Glacier Guide Down Parka
Great wind protection
Not fully waterproof
If you know you’ll be out and about when the weather is freezing and frigid, then you’ll want a more heavy-duty jacket like the Mountain Hardwear Glacier Guide Down Parka Winter Jacket. Comprised out of 650 fill down, this jacket is compressible and comes with an AirShield windproof shell to protect you from the wind when it gets out of control.Read more
In fact, the Mountain Hardwear Glacier Guide Down Parka Winter Jacket is so warm and offers such great thermal insulation, some users have worn it for Antarctic trips and found it keeps them warm even in that type of climate. While this jacket is windproof, it isn’t waterproof, but the down fill is treated and can soak up the moisture effectively, keeping you dry on all of your cold weather outings.
Also, while this jacket is made for heavy-duty weather, it’s not easy to pack down and won’t give you the bonus of easy-carrying that some other lightweight jackets offer. However, it is made to keep you warm and has a strong, durable body, so it is also long-lasting.
This jacket comes with an adjustable, helmet-compatible hood that also comes off when you don’t need it, two hand warmer pockets that are pack-combatable, and two vertical entry chest pockets. You get a lot of excellent wind and water protection with this jacket, and great insulation features as well.
6. Arc'Teryx Therme Parka
The Arctyerx Therme Parka Winter Jacket is made with high-quality Gore-Tex waterproof fabrics on the outer area of the jacket, giving you ample protection from the wind and water you might encounter when you are outdoors. Also, the jacket is very breathable, and made with 750-fill goose down in the core area plus good synthetic insulation in other areas of the jacket, making it very warm.Read more
This jacket is also very stylish, and looks great when you wear it, but fits a bit roomier than some of this brand’s standard jackets. It also features a roomy hood and smaller pockets, while packing a punch with warmth and weather protection, which accounts for its popularity increase.
The Arctyerx Therme Parka Winter Jacket also comes with Down Moisture Mapping Technologies which help to better insulate the jacket, and there are also vents in the jacket’s underarms and side panels so the jacket is breathable. Plus, the jacket is made with Coreloft technology to help reduce the jacket’s overall bulk when you pack it down.
The Arctyerx Therme Parka Winter Jacket comes with an insulated hood and storm collar, as well as internal wrist cuff gaskets. Plus, it has two insulated hand pockets, one internal pocket, and internal chest pocket, so it is easy to bring along what you need and organize it with this jacket.
7. Arctyerx Ceres SV Parka
Easy to pack
If you are more of a hardcore outdoor enthusiast during the winter, then the Arctyerx Ceres SV offers a bit more to match your needs. The Ceres SV Parka is lightweight and tips the scales at just 8.4 ounces, and is also made with 850 goose down and some synthetic filler insulation, making it very warm and comfortable even when the temperature dips below freezing.Read more
The Ceres SV is very light and easy to pack, so if you want a jacket that’s easy to carry along with you when you don’t need it, this jacket might be right for you. It packs down to less than two pounds total, and is also very small after you compress it.
Although the Ceres SV jacket is lightweight and packable, it’s still very warm, which means this is a high-quality jacket manufactured to do it all. The Ceres SV is also made with a great design that can look good even if you use it for daily wear, so you’ll both feel good and look good in this jacket.
Plus, this jacket is very durable and made to last, and comes with a helmet compatible storm hood and a Cohesive cord lock for easy adjustment with gloves. You’ll also get two insulated hand pockets, an external chest pocket, an internal chest pocket, and two internal pockets—meaning there is plenty of room to organize your necessities while you are outdoors.
8. The North Face Gotham III
Good value for what it offers
Heavier than some other jackets on the list
The North Face Gotham III Winter Jacket offers an average-priced option for the amount of quality, features, and benefits the jacket packs. With the North Face Gotham III Winter Jacket, you’ll get many benefits and features that are important to have like warmth, weather-resistance, wind protection, and ventilation.Read more
The North Face Gotham III Winter Jacket is an all-around versatile jacket that runs at a more affordable price range than other jackets that offer comparable features. You’ll get a nice, casual feel and look, and still a lightweight, compressible jacket that can be packed down easily.
Also, this jacket comes with a faux fur collar to add some attractiveness to it, but if you don’t like that feature, the collar can be removed. Also, the shell does repel water and is advertised as waterproof, but it’s more along the lines of being water-resistant than fully waterproof.
The North Face Gotham III Winter Jacket is made with 550-fill down insulation and has an adjustable hood, a storm flap, and a nice, ribbed trim to fully cover your body. While it’s not as light in weight as some other options on our list, for its price it offers just what you need if you are shopping for a winter jacket on a budget.
9. Patagonia Nano Puff
Good weather protection
Expensive compared to similar jackets that offer similar features
Patagonia’s Nano Puff winter jacket is made to be a cold-weather jacket that can insulate you, keep you from getting wet, and block out the wind. If you need to stay warm and want to make sure you can handle the outdoors with ease in something that offers all-around protection, then this might be the jacket for you.Read more
If you live in an area where the weather gets very cold, and can drop below freezing temperatures, then you’ll want the type of weather protection and warmth offered by this jacket. Made with 600 fill goose and duck down, it gives you great insulation properties in a decently lightweight jacket that tips the scales at around 2.5 pounds.
The Patagonia Nano Puff is made to pack down into its own pocket so that it’s easy to carry along, and also compresses well if you want to fit it in a backpack when you aren’t using it. Plus, the fabric on the outside of the jacket is treated with weather protective features, making the jacket easily lock moisture out so you don’t get wet because of the water-repellant Primaloft Gold Eco insulation.
The fabric in this jacket is certified as blue sign approved, and is made with 1.4oz 22-denier, and 100% recycled polyester that features a DWR (durable water repellant) finish. Plus, this jacket comes with an adjustable drawcord at the hem so you can secure the jacket easily.
10. Marmot Fordham
Slim fit makes it hard to layer
Another affordable jacket that works well for all-around use is the Marmot Fordham Winter Jacket, made to protect you and keep you warm while you are outside. This jacket includes a 700-fill down, which is high in quality, and also features a waterproof shell with 2 layers.Read more
Designed with removable hood that you can use as you see fit, this jacket offers a lot of protection from the elements, and is also stylish in appearance while featuring several pockets. It fits snugly, so you might not be able to layer great with it unless you buy a size up, but it does offer a lot of warmth and insulation.
The Marmot Fordham Winter jacket is made with 100% Polyester on the outside and includes a MemBrain 100% Polyester Herringbone Twill Fabric. Plus, the down that insulates the interior of the jacket is made with Down Defender to help the down last longer and stay drier.
Plus, this jacket features several pockets you’ll love using when you’re on-the-go. There is a flapped chest pocket, zippered hand pockets, and an internal zippered media pocket so you can carry along your phone or MP3 player and listen to your music while you are active.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When you’re trying to decide on your winter jacket’s style, you want to consider what you’ll be doing when you are using your jacket. When you know where you’ll be at, what you’ll be doing, and how you’ll be using the jacket, you’ll be able to find a jacket that can fit your needs.
There are a few different categories of winter jacket styles, including technical parkas, casual parkas, and crossover parkas. Comparing the best winter jackets brands is as important as checking the specs on their products. We’ll discuss each style and what these categories of jackets can typically offer you.
Technical parkas are winter jackets designed more for outdoor athletic activities, like hiking, running, and skiing, during the cold weather. Technical parkas focus on performance features that are made to help you with your athletic activities, like helmet-compatible hoods, or adjustable sleeve cuffs.
Most technical parkas will come as lightweight models that are compressible when compared to casual parkas. Typically, they do cost more as well, since jackets that are more lightweight and packable run more expensive. Technical parkas do offer more uses since you can wear them for winter sports outdoors, and also to run errands or go out with friends at night.
Casual parkas are designed more for everyday activities, like going to work or grabbing some food when it’s cold outside. Most casual parkas are also warm and flexible so they move with you well, but don’t give you full coverage if you plan on scaling a mountain in the middle of winter. While they can sometimes offer the benefits and features of technical parkas and work for some outdoor sporting activities, they are designed more for comfort than activity, and style is usually a focus of these jackets.
Crossover parkas do a better job of combining features of both technical parkas and casual parkas, offering you something that looks good and can also keep you warm when you hit the slopes. Most crossover jackets have plenty of features that will help your performance when you are doing active sports outside in the winter, and still appear very stylish. With a crossover parka, you are more likely to get the best of both worlds.
Most people purchasing a winter jacket for active sports during the cold weather prefer to buy a technical parka or a crossover parka, because both of these jacket categories are made to help boost performance. So, when you are making your decision, make sure you check out the jacket style, and make your decision depending on what you know you’ll be using the jacket for when you are outside in the cold weather.
The type of insulation used by the winter jacket should be something you take a look at as well when you purchase one. The two usual options you’ll find in winter jackets are down insulation and synthetic insulation, although the types of down insulation and synthetic insulation used can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Jackets made with synthetic insulation feature man-made-materials that are developed to create warmth by trapping air between the fabric’s fibers. With synthetic insulation, you wind up with several ultra-thin fibers, usually made of polyester or polyester combined with something else, made to create warmth by trapping hot air inside of its air pockets.
Synthetic insulation isn’t always as reliable with warmth as down is, but it can keep its shape better than a down jacket, even if the jacket is used often. One benefit you get with synthetic insulation also is that it can take in a lot of moisture without losing its ability to keep you warm, which is great if you know you’ll be outside often when the weather is wet.
Also, when compared to down insulation, jackets with synthetic insulation are easier to wash, and far less expensive. They don’t typically offer you the same insulation and warmth qualities of down, and do pack down heavier, but still perform well in the winter weather.
If you decide you want a more affordable option than down, and don’t mind the extra weight and bulk when you pack, synthetic insulation might work for you. Also, you know you won’t have to worry about how water affects your insulation, and you’ll also save a bit of money if you buy a jacket with synthetic down insulation.
When you start researching what the best winter jackets might be for you, you’ll want to think about where you live, the type of weather you’ll encounter, what you’re going to be doing in the jacket, and how much money you can spend on the jacket. Once you consider these factors, you’ll be able to narrow down what you need when you decide to select your winter jacket.
After doing some research to come up with a list of possible winter jacket options, make sure to go down to your local store to try them on and experience how they feel. Make sure you find one that fits you well and gives you the warmth and weather protection you need to help you in all of your winter activities.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking to invest in a good winter jacket to last your years to come, make sure that the jacket is breathable. If it's not, your body heat will remain in your jacket which can make you overheat constantly and ruin your day. If you have a breathable jacket, the extra body heat will be released and keep you at a constant warmth so you can hit the slopes all day in comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What do I need to think about when I buy my winter jacket?
If you are willing to drop a bit of money on a high-quality, good winter jacket from some of the top jacket brands, then you’ll wind up with a jacket that meets all your needs. Rather than having a lot of jackets that don’t really cover you in all areas, try to focus on just getting one or two good jackets that will work well for you when the weather gets cold.
You do need to factor in quality when selecting your winter jacket, especially if you’ll be outside often when the weather is very cold. While good winter jackets don’t typically come cheap, if you get a good one that lasts several seasons and is versatile, then you’ve probably saved yourself a good deal of money over the long run.
Remember when purchasing your winter jacket to make sure you have a good lining in the jacket that is thin but not overly bulky. Also, look at the length choice on your jacket and make sure it works well for the activities you plan to perform.
q: What do I need to know about weatherproofing when I buy my winter jacket?
Style is important for some when selecting a high-quality winter jacket, but performance is really the most important thing to consider. You might like the way a jacket looks, but if you don’t stay warm and dry when you wear it outside, you are far less likely to use it, and could have just wasted your money.
To get a good winter jacket that will work well in a bevy of weather conditions, you want to make sure you buy a winter jacket that has a weatherproof outer shell, with some water-resistant technology, like DWR coating. The outer shell area of the jacket is where you’ll find features embedded into the jacket to help protect you from poor weather conditions.
Some winter jackets are made with a Gore-Tex outer shell, and that’s the most weatherproof type of material a jacket can use. Gore-Tex is very water-resistant, so if you know you will be outside often in wet winter weather, a jacket with Gore-Tex technology could be an excellent purchase for you.
Another type of water-resistant technology often used in winter jackets is called DWR coating. This type of coating helps to repel water and works well to keep water out, but doesn’t perform as well overall as a jacket with Gore-Tex technology. However, if you experience a lot of cold and snow in your area during the winter and not as much rain, then you probably will be just fine with a jacket that has DWR technology.
q: What are some features a great winter jacket comes with?
Now, let’s take a look at some of the other features usually offered by winter jackets that you’ll want to consider before you buy your jacket. The jacket’s outer shell, hood, pockets, and fit are all things you’ll want to look into.
-Winter Jacket Outer Shell. The outer shell of a winter jacket will provide you with protection against wind and moisture. If you know you live in an area where the winter will include a lot of rain, then you might need a fully waterproof jacket, like a jacket that is lined with Gore-Tex. However, if you know you’ll see more snow and aren’t as worried about rain, something that offers some level of water resistance, like a DWR finish, would be fine for your winter activities.
-Winter Jacket Hood. The hood of a winter jacket will offer you more than just rain and snow protection, but also works to keep your head warm. While you’ll probably want to take a hat with you if you’re out hiking in the cold weather, you’ll still want a jacket with an insulated hood to keep your head warm and protected. Typically, the jackets that offer the best hoods make their hoods adjustable, so that you can put the hood over a helmet or hate if you want to, and then adjust the hood to fit snugly around your face.
-Winter Jacket Pockets. Pockets could be an important factor in your decision because some people like having a lot of room to access and carry items. Also, the types of activities you are likely to perform will dictate much about a number of pockets you need. Depending on what you plan to do and what you plan to take with you, figuring out how many pockets you need is a matter of personal preference.
-Winter Jacket Fit. Remember, not all winter jacket brands, even if made in the exact same size, really fit the same. You need to try on different sizes of the same jacket and figure out the brand-specific sizing chart for the jacket. Also, you need to decide whether you’ll be wearing layers or not underneath your jacket. So, think about what you really need, and try some jackets on. Just make sure that if you raise your hands above your head and reach upwards, the jacket still covers your stomach area.
q: What is down insulation and why is it important?
If getting a lightweight jacket to handle to cold weather is a major concern, then you might wind up settling on a jacket with down insulation. Down jackets typically give you a lot of warmth while saving weight, and also are more compressible jackets overall. So, if you know you will likely pack and carry along your jacket and need something lightweight and compressible, you’ll probably want to think about purchasing a jacket with down insulation.
Down does provide a few issues you’ll need to consider as well. First, when compared to synthetic filling, down doesn’t insulate well when it gets wet, can be easy to wash incorrectly, and typically will cost you more. Because most down jackets come as lightweight, compressible jackets, they aren’t as affordable as some other jacket options.
A lot of manufacturers nowadays combat down’s poor performance with insulation when wet by using an outer membrane on the jacket that has an effective water-resistant coating or material on it. Some down even comes with water repellant features combined into the down, making the down less prone to issues when it gets wet. However, if you know you’ll be out when the weather is very cold and the air is dry, then a jacket that has down with some kind of water-repelling membrane is probably going to be your best bet.
When manufacturers advertise their down insulation, they usually discuss what is known as fill power and fill weight. Fill power tells you how high-quality the down in the jacket actually is, and it works to measure the volume of down. The number the brand will usually give you for fill weight, like 750 or 800, lets you know how many cubic inches one ounce of down occupies when put inside a graduated cylinder and then compressed and weighed. The higher the fill power of the down, the lighter, loftier, and warmer the down will be. So, a jacket with a 900-down fill will be warmer and more easy to compress than one with 600-down fill.
When a manufacturer discusses the fill weight of a jacket, that means the amount of down insulation that’s being used to fill the jacket—which tells you how thick your jacket is going to be. A jacket with 7 ounces of 750 fill will be warmer and thicker than a jacket with 3 ounces of 800 fill, although the jacket uses a down that’s not as high in quality. So, when you know how to read the fill power and fill weight of the down in the jacket, you should be able to distinguish how warm your jacket will be.
So, if you do decide to purchase a jacket with down insulation, you need to determine whether or not you need a lightweight jacket that compresses easily. You also need to think about how cold and dry the conditions outside will be, and how water-repellant you need the jacket to be. Also, since down filling tends to cost more, you need to figure out whether or not you want to spend the money. Once you factor in those considerations, you should be able to figure out whether you want a down jacket, or one with a synthetic insulation filling.
q: What other features of a winter jacket will help keep me warm?
One thing to remember about how our bodies work is that when we encounter cold weather, we lose a lot of our body heat through our heads. So, if you want to make sure you’ll stay warm everywhere in a good winter jacket, you’ll want a jacket that also comes with an excellent hood—unless you already have a great hat you want to throw on all winter long.
Hoods do a great job also of protecting you from the elements, like keeping you dry when it rains, and also will insulate your head to keep that part of your body warm. Winter jackets with adjustable hoods are probably the best types to purchase because you can adjust them to fit hats and helmets, then cinch them up tightly to trap heat in.