Best Winter Jackets
There’s only so long that you can hide from the cold weather. One of these winter days, you’ll have to leave the warmth of your house and brave the outdoors. One of the most important articles of clothing that you’ll need to keep you warm is a great winter jacket. While, of course, we want the best winter jackets that will keep us warm, fit well, and have great features, we also want a jacket that looks great. We have constructed this list with both sides in mind. We are confident that you will be able to find a great mix of function and fashion for your winter wardrobe here.
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Offers great weather protection
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. It is also, one of the best winter jackets brands you will find on the market today.Read more
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, this best cold weather jacket also comes with stitched-through construction throughout the jacket, keeping you even warmer on the inside even when temperatures drop significantly outside.
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.
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.
This best winter jacket is available in sizes small to XXL. Most reviewers agree that this jacket fits true to size. If you already know that you’ll be adding a lot of layers underneath, you may want to size up. The jacket falls about mid-butt length, providing great warmth and fit. You could also check out our guide about the best 3 in 1 jacket.
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 is one of the best cold weather 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
The style of this jacket has the style of a workman’s jacket. It is available in three color, black, graphite, and army moss. All three colors have a reflective strip of webbing across the upper chest and back.
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.
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.
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.
Additionally, this jacket is coated with a windproof fabric to give you that extra protection if you have to fight some harsher weather.
For the most part, this jacket seems to fit as expected. If anything, there have been a few complaints about it running a bit large. If needed, you will be able to add a few layers underneath this jacket, for example, you could try with best fleece vest. These good winter jackets are available in a wide array of sizes, from Small to 4XL.
3. Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka
Warm down to about -30 degrees Fahrenheit
Water repellant and windproof
Can fit tightly around the chest
The hood snaps are unreliable
This parka from Eddie Bauer is a great winter jacket that can be used for a walk in the park, on the ski lift, or even for going out at night. It is slightly iridescent and is available in eight different neutral colors. It offers a classic fit that is not tight enough to be uncomfortable and not loose enough to look sloppy. This is the best winter parka with a below-freezing temperature rating.Read more
This long parka-style jacket is a great looking jacket that can be worn with anything. It is available in eight different neutral colors, including navy, white, cocoa, driftwood, and others. The jacket had a slight iridescence from a special metallic cross dying process. It is a great choice for walking through the park, running errands, or even going to a party.
Eddie Bauer has rated this jacket to be comfortable in temperatures down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit with moderate activity. The nylon/polyester/cotton blend boasts responsibly sourced 650 down fill. For added warmth, depending on the color, the back is lined with either short-pile fleece or high-pile Sherpa fleece. Unfortunately, the arms are not lined with fleece, but at least your core will be kept warm. Additional warmth is offered by the hood, which can be snapped on or off, depending on your preference.
The Sun Valley Down Parka offers decent pockets. We would have appreciated an inside pocket but we are pleased with the four pockets it has. There are two fleece-lined hand pockets, a vertical zip chest pocket, and a snap-closure arm pocket with a D-ring below for hanging your ski pass.
The parka offers a few customizations, including the ability to fully remove the hood, or also to just remove the fur lining. Additionally, the cuffs of the jacket are adjustable and storm sealed. In the event of poor weather, the jacket is windproof and water repellent.
The Sun Valley Parka offers a classic fit that is not overly fitted, nor too relaxed. There is a decent amount of room to add a couple of layers underneath the jacket if needed. However, some reviewers have noted that the jacket fits tightly in the chest area, so thick layers may not fit well underneath.
It is available in petite, regular, and tall sizes ranging from XS to XXL. In our opinion, this is indeed one of the best jackets for cold weather.
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. The Rab Neutrino Endurance Winter Jacket also comes with a down-filled helmet-compatible hood and a wired peak for better protection.
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. Also, you get a Velcro-free hood roll down system for more easy use with this jacket.
This puffy jacket features stretch fabric through and through, giving you a flexible fit. It is available in numerical sizes, ensuring a great fit for everyone.
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
This durable down jacket is available in two different colors, one that is gray-based and one that is black-based. It boasts a stylish design that will look great on any mountain top.
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.
This winter jacket comes with an adjustable, helmet-compatible hood that also comes off when you don’t need it, two handwarmer pockets that are pack-compatible, 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.
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 is available in sizes Small to XXL. Most reviewers agree that it runs slightly large and it is best to order a size down.
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, this gore tex 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
The style of this jacket is very demure. It doesn’t feature anything flashy or puffy. It is available in five different colors and has a comfortable fit.
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.
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.
7. Arc'teryx Ceres SV Parka
Easy to pack
If you are more of a hardcore outdoor enthusiast during the winter, then the Arcteryx 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
This jacket gives you the feel and warmth of a puffy jacket, but not the look. There is nothing shiny or show-stopping about it, it is just a simple warm winter jacket. It manages to maintain a light weight without affecting warmth.
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.
The Ceres SV is very light and easy to pack, so if you want the best travel 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.
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.
This jacket is available in Small, Medium, and Large. Customers agree that it fits true to size. Some have mentioned that the hood is large, but it can be adjusted easily.
8. The North Face Gotham III
Good value for what it offers
Heavier than some other jackets on the list
The north face gotham 3 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.
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 or a great insulated jacket on a budget.
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.
This jacket is available in many sizes, ranging from Small to XXXL. Reviewers say that the jacket can feel a bit bulky, but that’s the price you pay for ultimate warmth. Also, some feel like their normal size was tailored to fit them, while others think it runs slightly large. If you are in-between sizes, sizing down would probably be your best bet.
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 good winter coat brand might be perfect for you.Read more
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.
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 which makes it a great rain jacket.
We don’t know how Patagonia did it, but it seems as though this jacket fits almost perfect for everyone! With your typical size, you’ll still be able to fit a long sleeve shirt or light sweater underneath. You can check our guide about other Patagonia jackets.
10. Marmot Fordham
The 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 a 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.
The Marmot Fordham Winter jacket is made with 100% Polyester on the outside and includes a membrane 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.
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 which makes it one of the best insulated jacket.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When you’re trying to decide on your winter jacket’s style and winter jacket brands, 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 like canada goose 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 the best lightweight 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 winter 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. If you want a jacket to use for skiing, you should check our guide about best ski jackets.
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.
Down insulation is one of the warmest and most lightweight insulation systems today. It uses the layer underneath the feather of geese or ducks that acts as a thermal barrier. Similar to synthetic, it has plenty of good and bad attributes.
To start off a good note, down is a comfortable and warm insulator. It is also durable and resilient. With proper care, a down jacket will last you for many years. It makes for a great travel jacket as well, because it is easily compressed and packable. The 3D structure of the "feathers" traps warm air and creates heat pockets that work together to keep your body warm.
On the other hand, one of the less desirable features of down fill is the fact that it doesn't insulate when wet. For this reason, down jackets are best for predictable weather, where you aren't in danger of encountering snowfall or rain. Some people also have issues with the down filling clumping up in one spot, but if the jacket is sewn well, this won't be an issue.
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 the 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.
Remember, not all winter jacket brands like columbia jackets, 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 base layers or not underneath your jacket. So, think about what you really need, and try some winter or windbreaker jackets on. Just make sure that if you raise your hands above your head and reach upwards, the jacket still covers your stomach area.
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.
Other Factors to Consider
The value of an item is something that is always on our minds. When determining the value of an item, it is important to look at more than just the price. You should also take into consideration the overall durability, if there is a warranty included, the craftsmanship, the warmth rating, and you feel when wearing it. A jacket that is warm gives you confidence, and has great features is a worthy investment. Now, yes, of course, we also consider the price. We consider the price against all of these to determine the value of a jacket. The moral of the story here is to not immediately write off or choose a winter jacket strictly based on price.
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, best winter jackets for extreme cold from some of the top jacket brands, then you’ll wind up with the 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. Pay attention to these things when you are purchasing a jacket for your child. Check out ou guide about the best winter jackets for kids.
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 is down insulation and why is it important?
If getting a lightweight jacket to handle 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 with your jacket and need something lightweight and compressible, you’ll probably want to think about purchasing one 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 putting 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 the 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.