Warm, waterproof, and looks great.
Insulated with plush Down Defender fill power down, we had no problem being outside in F degree weather, as the down insulation is thicker and loftier than any other model we tested. Treated with a durable water repellent DWR coating, the polyester fabric is water-resistant, but not waterproof.
When we tested this jacket in the elements, water initially beaded up and rolled off, but the Montreaux eventually became saturated in heavy rain. We were impressed by how it performed in snowy conditions and we didn't have any issues with penetrating wind, thanks to its thick down.
We wore this contender in snowy weather for an extended period and came out with a dry core keep in mind that down insulation doesn't like getting wet and after an extended period in the rain, down can lose its loftiness AKA its warmth. Besides being incredibly warm, the Montreaux is also very stylish.
If you are in the market for a long, knee-length style parka with a form-fitting look and sleek faux fur hood, this is the jacket for you. What makes it even better, is that it's half the price of the Editors' Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka. Finding a winter jacket that's warm and waterproof and won't break the bank is hard. Insulated with fill goose down, this model kept us warm and dry when we were shoveling the driveway. The outer shell is highly durable and windproof; despite being such a burly winter jacket, it was also quite stylish and less than half the price of our Editors' Choice Award Winner.
The Arctic Parka II offers a classic winter parka look with its faux fur ruff around the hood and a smooth exterior appearance. For this price, you'll be warm and fashionable, and it won't break the bank. Depending on where you live, winter can be messy. Sleet, snow, freezing rain, the whole nine yards. If you live in a wet climate, having a dependable jacket for the winter is crucial; the Patagonia Tres Down Parka is the perfect winter parka to tackle any weather condition.
Three jackets in one allow you to be ready for anything that mother nature throws your way; this contender is perfect for a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest, as the outer shell is Patagonia's signature H2No Performance Standard Fabric.
A great lightweight option for clear and cold days, this jacket has been treated with a DWR coating. It's water-resistant but not fully waterproof; when all layers are worn together, we felt protected in sloppy wet weather better than any other jacket we tested. Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka - Women's. We gauged our winter jackets based on five criteria: The table above displays the Overall Performance score of each jacket in our review, ranking from highest to lowest.
All the jackets we tested delivered some degree of warmth. When buying a winter jacket, one of the most important features is the level of warmth being offered. It's also important to look at the climate you experience on a regular basis and think about what you intend on using the jacket for. Choosing the right jacket is crucial for staying comfortable and warm and enjoying the great outdoors during the winter. A jacket's warmth is based on the loft or fill-power of the insulation, along with the fill-weight.
Lucky for you, we tested each one side-by-side in snow, rain, wind, and frigid temperatures - all in our effort to find out which ones were the warmest for various climates. We went hiking in each model and braved windy storms. We also wore them in varying degrees of temperatures and stood in place for extended periods. You name it, we did it. The warmest jacket we tested was our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Montreaux , which earned a perfect 10 out of Loaded with fill-power down from hood to knee, we stayed toasty on some seriously cold days.
The loft of the down performed extraordinarily, trapping heat and keeping the wind out. Our Editors' Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka , was close in warmth and was filled with fill white duck down.
The durable shell on the Kensington Parka kept cold air out and warm air in, scoring a near perfect 9 out of 10 in the warmth metric. Also scoring a 9 out of 10, cue the Patagonia Down With It Parka, which is insulated with fill-power recycled down. Both are insulated with plush, thick down from the hood to above our knee and did an excellent job keeping cold air out and heat trapped inside.
Most of the jackets offered specific features, which helped improve our warmth on cold days - the main one being fleece-lined pockets! What a lovely, cozy feature on a supremely cold day. Thickly insulated hoods, like the Canada Goose Shelburne Parka and the Marmot Montreaux kept us toasty and secure in stormy weather. The extra protection and down insulation made a difference when it came to staying warm in frigid weather 10F and below.
If you are someone that is always cold, or you just like to stay toasty warm, we'd recommend considering a knee-length parka. A common misconception is that because a jacket or parka has a higher fill, it will be the warmest. The Arc'teryx Patera Parka has fill European goose down, but is not the warmest contender; in fact, it ranks towards the bottom in regards to keeping us toasty on a cold winter day, scoring a 6 out of While it is not as lofty as the Montreaux or the Kensington Parka , the Patera uses Coreloft synthetic fill in high moisture spots - inner arms, hem, and collar.
We could feel the cold air on our arms and shoulders in cold weather because of this. In a milder climate of F, however, we appreciated the Coreloft synthetic fill while out on a short hike, especially when we started to get hot and sweaty.
If you're seeking a jacket that handles breathability and ventilation, we like the Arc'teryx Darrah Coat. We generally found that synthetic and insulated models with low fill powers lacked considerable warmth and were among the lowest, in regards to warmth, in our testing.
The Arc'teryx Patera Parka is a synthetically insulated winter option, complete with g of Coreloft synthetic insulation. It's not the best parka for weather below 25F or super cold snow storms, but we were impressed with how well it performed while blocking wind and keeping our core warm. While they were both surprisingly warm, they were not as toasty as the jackets that are insulated with thick down and high fill powers, such as the Rab Deep Cover Parka or the Marmot Montreaux.
The Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket is insulated with an unknown amount of Omni-Heat synthetic fill, while Arc'teryx Darrah Coat has grams of synthetic insulation which is equivalent to fill goose down. Despite being insulated with the equivalent of fill goose down, the Arc'teryx Darrah Coat was warmer in windy and stormy conditions. We'd believe that warmth and water resistance almost go hand in hand. Winter weather can range from snow, sleet, wind, freezing rain, or just plain old heavy rain.
All the models we tested offered some level of protection from the elements, from DWR durable water repellent coated nylon or polyester shell to full-blown waterproof fabric. Before buying a winter jacket, it's important to consider the climate you live in and the purpose of the jacket.
If you are living in a wet climate like Seattle, having a jacket that is waterproof and warm is important. If cold temperatures and snow are your typical winter conditions, a DWR coating should suffice. To figure out each jacket's degree of Weather Resistance, we put them through an array of tests. We went on walks on snow days, stood in place for an extended period in windy conditions, braved blizzards in the middle of the night, and we even brought the two-layer waterproof models in the shower.
The durable exterior shells kept us toasty and warm in windy weather, as did the thick down of Patagonia Down With It Parka and the Marmot Montreaux.
Whether you're holiday shopping in New York City on a blustery day, or running errands around town in light snow, why not look stylish and warm? The models we tested ranged in length, fit and function. Some had a smooth, sleek outer shell like the Arc'teryx Patera Parka , while others had beautiful chevron baffling, like the Marmot Montreaux. Everyone has their own preference, but what stood out the most concerning style was the fit. If your jacket doesn't fit you correctly, chances are you won't like wearing it, which sounds like a waste of money.
With that said, make sure to know your size and how the jacket fits before buying one, or brace yourself for the impact of reordering and returning until you figure out the best fit. If you're someone that likes to layer up, a jacket that offers more room in the arms and torso will be perfect for fitting a heavy layer or sweater underneath.
While everyone has their own opinion when it comes to style and how a jacket fits, the jackets we found to be the most appealing over our two months of testing were the form-fitting ones, like the Canada Goose Kensington Parka and the Rab Deep Cover Parka ; both scored a perfect 10 out of Oozing with style from head to toe, this knee-length contender is a show stopper.
From the smooth, sleek, water-resistant outer shell to the adjustable cinched-waist, no detail has been left out. The quality construction of the Kensington Parka is apparent across the board. Canada Goose continues to impress and the Camp Hooded was no exception. Compared to The Legendary Whitetails Anchorage Parka , which has many stylish features, the Canada Goose Kensington offers a heavy-duty option that's going to last longer.
Military grade buttons and zippers add a durable touch without jeopardizing the classy look of the jacket. The coyote fur ruff is highly functional in cold weather, as well as super stylish. The Kensington is comparable to armor, but it's also attractive, form-fitting, and feminine. In cold weather and stormy conditions, if your jacket isn't keeping you warm, your level of comfort might also suffer.
For some, fashion is more important than practicality, but for this review, we focused on both. We tested a range of contenders with various kinds and levels of insulation, like the knee-length Marmot Montreaux , insulated with plush fill-power down, or the lightweight synthetic Arc'teryx Darrah. The models we tested delivered varying levels of comfort.
Specific comfort features that attributed to high scores were thick and insulating hoods like on the Marmot Montreaux and the Canada Goose Kensington Parka. Plush down that was warm and not restricting was also taken into consideration, such as the down found on the Rab Deep Cover Parka.
The Marmot Montreaux was exceptionally comfortable, despite being insulated with plush down from our head to above the knee; it's also very cozy and warm, which allowed us to be content in the frigid outside elements.
The torso, cuffs, pockets, and collar are also lined with fleece; these subtle, but vital features, add a cozy and warm touch. Last but certainly not least, the Canada Goose Camp Hooded earned a perfect score in this metric, provided us with enough comfort to sail through the winter.
You may not realize how important a warm hood is until you try on a contender that doesn't have any insulation at all, like the Patagonia Tres Down Parka ; however, there is enough room underneath the hood for a beanie. Our head to be noticeably colder in stormy or freezing conditions, versus when we were wearing a model that had a toasty hood. Another factor that was important in measuring comfort was mobility. Jackets that ran small, or were tight on the shoulders, like the Arc'teryx Darrah , weren't as comfortable to wear because they were restricting and hard to fit another layer underneath.
Alternatively, a jacket that is too tight or too loose may be restricting, distracting, and not as comfortable as it could and should be. If it's too big for your body, it may not be trapping heat properly. We encourage you to take the time to make sure you are buying a jacket that fits your body type.
A durable jacket has the potential to last you multiple seasons. Often that means having to dish out extra money for better quality construction, but at least you'll know you are getting your monies worth. So what makes a jacket durable? To us, durability means that the jacket can handle what it is intended to do, plus some, with quality construction that will last for years to come.
We tested jackets that had soft, polyester or nylon DWR shells, as well as thick, burly two-layer waterproof fabrics. Obviously, in most cases, the heavy duty waterproof fabric is going to be more durable and will protect against snags and tears more than the DWR shells.
If you are someone that plans on adventuring to new levels in their winter jacket, a heavy duty durable coat will be right up your alley. The equivalent of snow bunny armor, the Canada Goose Kensington is highly durable and attractive and is the only jacket to score a perfect 10 out of 10 in the durability metric. The water-resistant polyester fabric almost feels impenetrable to snags and tears. The lack of stitching on the outer shell helps make this jacket more durable, and this is a model that will last you for years to come.
In fact, we'd venture to say it's a solid investment. We loved the Patagonia Tres Down Parka ; however, when we were zipping the outer shell into the down layer, the down kept getting caught in the zipper, and we had to take our time. There's potential to snag the down on the zipper, compromising the down layer.
Fortunately, if you take your time, you can avoid this issue. The two-layer waterproof fabric on the outer shell is what makes this jacket very durable. Patagonia's signature H2No breathable, waterproof, and stretchy fabric seems almost impenetrable and doesn't have much exterior stitching; because of this, we don't see much room for snags occurring. We tested this jacket in the shower, and the outer shell did a stand-up job repelling water, earning it a near perfect 9 out of We noticed minimal down feathers escaping from the Patagonia Tres Parka's down layer.
The best values have the highest scores and the lowest prices. They show up in the bottom right corner. To see which jacket a dot represents, hover over it with your mouse.
As you assess your value needs, here are a few thoughts for your consideration. First, comfort in uncomfortable conditions is a rare blessing.
The right jacket turns the gnarliest of weather into a pleasant romp through a snow globe. Suitable materials will last longer, and you will get more bang for your buck.
Insulation materials vary in both price and durability. Goose down insulation keeps its loft and insulating value much longer than synthetic insulation does. Within down insulation, the rating systems describe weight and insulation value, not durability. More expensive down is warmer per weight, but it won't necessarily last longer than less expensive down.
Finally, good weatherproofing is costly. Sealed seams, tight pockets, and protected zippers take effort, design, and pricy materials. If you really want and need to guard against wet and wind, you will pay for it. Warmth is the most important metric we used to rank each competitor and is a factor of how much insulation is in a jacket, regardless of if its down or synthetic insulation. That said, down fill feels warmer than synthetic The more insulation a jacket contains, the warmer it is.
We looked at the insulation quality fill weight and quantity fill weight of each jacket and then compared it to the jacket's cut and length to gauge how the insulation is distributed. If two jackets have an equal fill weight of 10 ounces, but one has a waist-length hem while the other has a mid-thigh length hem, they are not equally warm. The most useful measurement for warmth is, of course, comparative testing in actual conditions. We spent a lot of outside comparatively test, swapping jackets among the test team and comparing notes.
The top-scoring Arc'teryx Camosun features high-quality, fill down. Such lofty, efficient down keeps the jacket's weight down and its packable size small. This low number should not dissuade shoppers though. Using heavier, lower quality down brings the cost down and a casual parka like this doesn't need to be as light and compressible as more technical options that need to fit in your backpack. The Canada Goose Expedition Parka is filled with average quality fill down , but it has so much of it that it's the warmest model reviewed.
It's also pretty bulky. The second warmest jacket earns a Best Buy award. The North Face McMurdo is nearly an expedition parka, with the price tag of a casual jacket. It offers the best value in our test. The Patagonia Jackson Glacier also kept us warm in most wintry conditions.
The Woolrich Bitter Chill deserves mention for being on the warmer side of the fleet. The Woolrich is the warmest non-down insulated piece reviewed. Woolrich insulates the Bitter Chill with a lofted batting that blends wool and synthetic fibers.
Overall, jackets with synthetic insulation are not as warm as the down models. The Arc'teryx Fission SV provides less insulation than most of the down models reviewed. This is likely because the garment has less insulation overall, though it did reinforce the idea that if you are looking for warmth, opt for down. REI's jacket is a down-insulated layering piece that has insulating value a little below that of the Arc'teryx Fission.
The fleece jackets are the least insulating products reviewed. Well-suited to more moderate climates, The North Face Arrowood Triclimate is durable, versatile, and affordable, but not incredibly warm. Insulated with synthetic fleece, it just doesn't stack up to the rest of the field, which may be just what you're looking for if you live in a warm climate.
When we talk about weather resistance, we're talking about wind and water. These jackets are thick enough to cut the wind, so you just need to look out for drafts. Longer jackets or those with ribbed hems will protect you from below. Inner cuffs and hoods will also keep warm air in and cold out.
That leaves us with water. Water-resistant outer fabric helps keep you and your jacket's insulation dry in wet winter weather. All of these models have some type of water resistance, from basic nylon with a durable water resistant DWR coating to a fully waterproof membrane layer with taped seams. These strategies provide varying degrees of protection. If your winter precipitation tends to fall as rain or wet snow instead of the West's dry powder, consider a winter jacket with a waterproof outer shell, like The North Face Arrowood Triclimate with its DryVent fabric or the Arc'teryx Fission SV that uses Gore-Tex.
These waterproof and breathable fabrics shed water faster and for much longer than a DWR treatment alone. If a jacket has an inner waterproof membrane, you can be sure the outer face fabric is treated with DWR. This knocked the jacket down in the ratings.
If you wear your jacket in lower temperatures where it tends to snow instead of rain, and if that snow is relatively dry you know who you are , then the competitors with DWR treatments such as the Canada Goose Expedition Parka , Patagonia Jackson Glacier , or the REI Co-op Down Hoodie are adequately protected.
It's not incredibly water-resistance due to its untaped seams, but it's warm enough to excel in genuinely sub-freezing conditions. Luckily, in those temperatures, precipitation is always solid, and the compromised weather protection isn't a problem. However, in our testing, the outer fabric to soaked in more snow and water than the others, making it a bit heavy and uncomfortable.
This is the cost of style. The external material is attractive, but not as weather-proof as the smooth face of something like the Marmot Fordham or the Editors' Choice Arc'teryx Camosun.
We dig the Haglofs Torsang Parka's weather protection. This is a fully waterproof, taped-seams rain shell with light insulation. It isn't warm enough for many winter climates, but the wet and sleety corners of North America are just the place for it.
In terms of weather protection, it is similar to the Editors Choice and the Patagonia Tres. 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.
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