Insulated Recycled Content Hooded. Its stylish looks are ready for chilly jaunts around town, and you'll look good no matter what harsh weather conditions come your way. Manufacturers usually advertise a jacket's fill power but not its fill weight.
Wintertime is uncomfortable enough. Don't put on an uncomfortable winter parka, too. Most of the models we reviewed work hard to make braving the cold and wind more forgiving. We found a general correlation between cost and comfort. More expensive jackets use softer materials and more thoughtful tailoring to achieve maximum comfort. A parka's cut has a significant impact on its comfort. A meticulously designed jacket like the Arc'teryx Camosun Parka fits most bodies better than a generic square-cut design.
A longer hem, which many of these parkas use, also keeps the waist from riding up and exposing you to drafts.
A notable exception is our Best Buy Marmot Fordham. Despite its bargain price, every tester who tried on the Fordham was impressed to find that it's more comfortable than the competition. There is also something of a correlation between comfort and warmth.
The biggest jackets we tested are the warmest, but they are also the most confining. Lots of insulation and an extended cut keep the heat in and make for a large package.
This bulky package limits your range of motion, also impeding your comfort. The more comfortable parkas reviewed, like the Arc'teryx Camosun , also have elastic rib knit cuffs, which seal out drafts and snow. Unless you cinch them down around your gloves, velcro-closed cuffs aren't as protective and comfortable as the elastic versions. The rest employ velcro cuffs. We love the cozy feel of fleece lining, especially when it lines pockets and chin covers.
When cinched tight, it works as intended to hold in warmth, making you feel like you're at home in front of the fire, albeit with some tickles to your cheeks. The soft, down-sweater style construction of the OR Whitefish is far more comfortable than it appears.
It looks like a rigid "barn coat" style jacket. However, the construction is tailored and materials selected such that you have all the range of motion you need and a light feeling sort of insulation. Hoods, multiple hand warmer pockets, two-way zippers, and cuff closures work together to protect you from frigid environments. A hood is mandatory in nasty winter weather, and while it is not a substitute for a warm hat, it certainly makes life a lot nicer. Ideally, these hoods will be highly adjustable to allow for a customizable and secure fit.
The best hood in our test is found on the chart-topping Canada Goose Expedition. The hood is warm, large, and can be cinched down securely and comfortably. The stiff brim also keeps the hood almost out of your field of view. This is unfortunate, as the latest hood is compromised enough that warmth and weather protection suffers.
If you leave the removable fur ruff on and don't have to move your head much, the McMurdo's hood effectively seals out the weather. Otherwise, the more sophisticated hoods of the Arc'teryx and Patagonia jackets are at the head of the pack, literally. The Woolrich Bitter Chill has a roomy and cozy hood. Only the interior layers of the 3-in-1 jackets do not come with any hood, meaning that a warm hat is necessary. Insulated handwarmer pockets are an excellent place to keep cold hands or gloves, and most have a fleece-like liner.
The Arc'teryx jackets have the best hand warmers. All of these feature wrap-around fleece lining. This not only means that your hand is insulated while in the pocket, but that there is no draft when the pocket is open. The next best hand warmer pockets, like those on the REI Down Hoody , put the user's hand between the outer insulation and the wearer's body. The pockets are uninsulated, but they are fleece-lined, and there are four of them! With a set at chest level and waist level, there is a hand warming option for every posture.
The latest version still has four fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, but the upper, chest-level ones are now situated further from the center zipper. This means that you have to contort your shoulders and elbows to get your hands into them.
So much so, that these pockets aren't comfortably usable. Nonetheless, the jacket is incredibly worthy. We wish that the jackets featuring a single layer of fabric protecting the hands in a warming pocket had a more sophisticated design. The Canada Goose models, for instance, both have uninsulated hand pockets. When wearing a trench-coat-length parka, the need for two-way zippers becomes apparent.
The extended length can inhibit stride, and wearing a long coat while seated can be awkward and uncomfortable without this feature. The Haglofs Torsang Parka is a long coat with a separating zipper on the bottom.
Getting this zipper started is annoying, but once rigged it runs smoothly. Cuff closures can be simple elastic closures, a snap closure, or Velcro, but a good winter parka needs them. They seal out the snow and cold and integrate well with gloves. Open cuffs with internal gaskets, like those on the Arc'teryx Camosun and Woolrich Bitter Chill , combine fashion and function.
The Haglofs Torsang has soft inner gaskets with velcro closed outer cuffs. This is perhaps the best of both worlds.
Other features that may be important to you include internal phone pockets with headphone ports, skirts to seal out the cold, or built-in face warmers.
We liked the feature set on the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. It has almost a dozen pockets, a snow skirt, and a drawcord waist, not to mention a fur-trimmed hood. Both come with an array of pockets, including an internal Napoleon pocket referencing the famous pose that has a headphone channel, so your electronics stay dry.
Other jackets, like the REI Co-op Down , are bare-bones models with little more than two hand pockets. Our personalities show through our clothing choices, winter jackets included. This review includes parkas that could be worn to a nice restaurant and a Broadway show, and others that are clean and simple but are more at home walking the dog.
While technical jackets might be at home in the mountains, they are easily worn in urban settings and can let some of your outdoorsy personality show through.
Casual urban parkas don't usually work the other way. They are likely missing crucial elements for safe winter adventurings, think hoods or full waterproofing. Most of the models reviewed have an extended cut, which adds warmth and weather resistance.
It also gives them a different look than the waist-length athletic cuts that most backcountry-inspired jackets have. We liked the style of the Patagonia Jackson Glacier and Arc'teryx Camosun , which are both stylish enough to dress up but also perform well while snowshoeing or ice skating. The dapper Woolrich Bitter Chill scores well in this category as well. Across the board, we tested different "looks" to find something for everyone.
Our newest jackets are polarizing in terms of fashion. Except for the OR Whitefish. Its subtle style is unanimously appreciated. Our most fashion-conscious tester roundly approves of the look of the Whitefish. This same tester did not like the look of the Haglofs Torsang. This tester's summary of the Torsang was as follows — "It looks like a tube. You look like a blood sausage". Not all testers are so disapproving of the Torsang's style, but this opinion is strong enough to be worth noting.
With few exceptions, quality winter outerwear is expensive. For a quality winter parka, expect to invest. On the upside, that investment will pay off for a few years of consistent use, depending on your activity levels. Are you going to be in contact with razor-sharp winter climbing gear, like ice axes? Or will you only be using the parka to get from home to the bus stop all winter? After investing a large sum of money in a winter jacket, we want to feel like our investment is protected, so we like the lifetime guarantees offered by companies like Canada Goose and Patagonia , who stand by the craftsmanship and materials of their products.
One of the most critical durability considerations is a jacket's outer fabric. Solid, heavy-duty, canvas-like exterior materials can withstand more abuse than the thinner shell of, say, the REI Co-op Down Hood. Zippers, snaps, and Velcro get a lot of use, so we looked at these closures to make sure they are durable enough. We gave our highest score in this category to the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. The large zippers, durable outer material, and quality construction make this jacket last.
Similarly, the Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber is quite rugged. We are concerned about the durability of the technical models tested.
These are frequently around sharp ice climbing tools, and the thin shell on the REI Co-op Hooded won't hold up well to a wayward ice screw or axe. Quality options like the Arc'terxy Camosun are less worrisome. It didn't scuff or abraid when loading wood or tossing skis over the shoulder. A winter jacket needs to do a lot of things. And it needs to do them well. For all around, day-to-day wear, comfort, fashion, and protection need to align in a the whole is greater than the sum of its parts kind of way.
The search is difficult. We hope that our efforts here help you. We know that many will take our initial recommendations and purchase an award winner. We also know that many are digging deeper into the information. We are happy to oblige readers on every level, as well as to take your feedback on how we can better help you make your choices.
Select a good winter jacket, hunker down, and enjoy the changing seasons. The Best Winter Jackets for Men of Displaying 1 - 5 of Updated September We justed revisited our selection and added in some familiar old products and some new gear.
Currently, we're on the hunt for a synthetic Editors Choice counterpart. We purchased the Haglofs Torsang with this in mind, following up on exciting online reviews.
What we found was excellent wet weather performance, but a style, warmth rating, and fit that just didn't light our fire. We're holding off on granting this second Editors Choice award, but we're out there looking.
Patience is a virtue in pursuit of the best gear on the planet. See all prices 4 found. See all prices 2 found. A selection of tested jackets. From time to time we add in new jackets and reconfirm our impressions of older ones. Clockwise from upper left: The Canada Goose coyote fur hood lining is controversial, it's also really warm.
Down Fill Power and Fill Weight — As we discuss more in our Buying Advice article, higher down fill power numbers denote higher quality down feathers. This translates into lighter, warmer down fill that is also more compressible. Ultimately though the amount of insulation, not the quality , is what determines a jacket's warmth. The amount used, usually measured in ounces, is described by a jacket's fill weight. Manufacturers usually advertise a jacket's fill power but not its fill weight.
To get a jump on winter jacket testing we took evening motorcycle rides in mountainous autumnal temperatures to simulate colder, more rugged conditions. We eventually got into some rain and snow as well. Removable faux fur lining and an integrated facemask help you stay toasty when wearing the McMurdo III.
Despite its slim appearance, the Editors' Choice-winning Arc'teryx Camosun Parka is very warm, thanks to body-mapped down and synthetic insulation. Wheather you choose a DWR treated jacket or a layered shell with a waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex and a DWR coating on the outer fabric, you have to take good care of it to keep it waterproof.
Detergents strip DWR treatments from the fabric but letting the jacket's get dirty makes the waterproofing less effective. When you DWR finish wears off they all will , use a wash-in or spray-on waterproofing to restore your winter jacket's weather resistance. A large, comfortable and adjustable hood does a great job of keeping you out of the weather. If a jacket claims to be waterproof, make sure that the seams are fully taped.
Stitches punch tiny holes in the fabric. If they are not taped, they become an easy entry for moisture.
The ski skirt on the Canada Goose Expedition Down Parka seems odd since you wouldn't want to hit the slopes in this sleeping bag of a jacket. But it works wonders to keep drafts at bay. Fleece linings are comfortable, but can be binding.
Haglofs mitigates the issue by lining the lower hem and the sleeves with smooth, light nylon. Comfortable knit cuffs keep snow out and your wrists warm. Even if you aren't "working out" in a winter jacket, some range of motion is helpful. Here, lead test editor watching elk in Yellowstone National Park.
If you lose anything while wearing the Expedition, it's not the jacket's fault. Men's Retro Seasonal Nuptse Vest. Men's Stretch Down Vest. Down vest for lightweight warmth that won't hold you back. Slim fit Exposed, reverse-coil, Zippered hand pockets Hem cinch-cord Stows in hand pocket. An ace layering piece for cold days, this Sherpa fleece vest keeps your core warm while leaving your arms free to pop tents and gather kindling.
Layer with confidence on the near-frozen trails with our top-shelf, 3-in-1 jacket offers a suite of technical features. Avg Weight g 37 oz Center Back For unparalleled versatility on the trails, this 3-in-1 jacket system pairs a textured, waterproof, lined shell with a zip-out midweight hardface fleece for customizable insulation. Wear both jackets together in cold, wet conditions or wear them separately as weather permits.
Durable, lightweight three-in-one jacket for excellent range of motion and protection from the elements. Wintertime treks are a blast with the customized coverage of this 3-in-1 jacket that combines a durable, waterproof outer shell with a removable, fill down insulated inner jacket. The exterior shell jacket features plenty of secure-zip pockets hold trail permits and pocket knives. Underarm vents make sure you never overheat, and large front cargo pockets mean you can have ample chairlift snacks and a second pair of gloves readily available at all times.
Avg Weight g 3 lbs 4. Beat your buddies down the hill in this lightweight and durable ski jacket crafted from two-layer Apex Flex material for nimble protection.
A removable, helmet-compatible hood offers customizable warmth, and a snap-away powder skirt keeps your base layers dry when you carve it up off-piste. Insulated Waterproof Wind Protection Hooded.
Standard fit jacket with a removable, helmet-compatible hood Snap-away powder skirt with gripper elastic Two secure-zip chest pockets Secure-zip hand pockets Internal media pocket with media port Internal goggle pocket Underarm vents Secure-zip wrist pocket with goggle wipe Waterproof, exposed zips Wrist gaiters with thumbholes. Avg Weight g 1 lb Your go-to jacket all season long, this versatile jacket system pairs a breathable, waterproof shell with a warm, insulated liner jacket.
Waterproof, insulated three-in-one ski jacket Standard Fit Removable, helmet-compatible hood Secure-zip chest and hand pockets Internal goggle pocket Underarm vents for added breathability Secure-zip wrist pocket with goggle wipe Zip-in integration [Inner] Secure-zip hand pockets. Water-resistant, breathable, stretchy and ready to rock. For windy, cold weather activities, this coveted soft shell keeps you warm and windchill-free beneath its windproof exterior and comfortable fleece backer. Windproof stretch soft-shell jacket for cool-weather activities Relaxed fit Center front zipper, zip chest pocket and zip hand pockets Hem cinch-cord Raised logos.
Designed for ultimate versatility in unpredictable conditions, an adjustable hood and pit-zip vents allow added ventilation in warmer weather. Take on whatever spring weather throws at you with this highly wind-resistant, hooded anorak featuring a unique, zippered top-entry pocket. Avg Weight g 7.
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