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. It isn't the absolute warmest and doesn't quite qualify as formal attire, but it provided reliable performance in all of our test metrics, making it the jacket we reached for the most. To see which jacket a dot represents, hover over it with your mouse.
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.
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Layer for the campsite with this warm full-zip fleece that offers heavyweight warmth. Keep on trekking with the heavyweight warmth of this comfortable pullover fleece that's finished with a half-length front zipper for improved ventilation on steep trail sections. This iconic jacket is constructed with recycled fleece for unmatched warmth, comfort and durability on cool approaches.
Men's Retro Nuptse Vest. Built for mountain- and city-life, this retro Nuptse vest that has a boxy silhouette, original shiny ripstop fabric, iconic oversize baffles and stowable hood will keep you warm and dry when it gets cold and wet.
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.
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