15 Best Winter Jackets – 2021 Edition
That’s why we selected some of the very best winter coats that work to keep you warm without weighing you down too much. We made sure to select designs that are made from waterproof materials, and are filled with insulation to help maintain body heat, even when outdoors all day long. In this guide, you will find some of the very best winter jackets, whether you are on a budget or willing to spare no expense!
- Marmot Montreal
- The North Face Metropolis Insulated Parka III
- Mountain Equipment Lightline
- Caterpillar Insulated Parka
- Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka
- Alpine North Vegan
- Columbia Peak to Park
- Arc'Teryx Therme Parka
- Arc'teryx Ceres SV Parka
- The North Face Arctic Parka
- The North Face Gotham III
- Carhartt Traditional Jacket
- Camel Crown Winter Cotton Jacket
- Marmot Fordham
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 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 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.
The jacket’s outer shell, hood, pockets, and fit are all things you’ll want to look into.
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.
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 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.
Top 15 Winter Jackets
1. Marmot Montreal
Can’t give up your classic puffer coat? This design from Marmot provides users with just enough puff without feeling like a marshmallow! It is composed of high-end materials that work to wick away moisture and hold in the heat that is effective enough to wear all day long. Plus, it boasts a longer cut to keep your rear end warm as well!Read more
What we love most about this design is that it is incredibly lightweight and easy to wear all day long without feeling weighed down. The exterior shell is treated with waterproof materials that allow for rains or snow to pill and roll off of the fabrics and won’t absorb into the coat. It even has insulated and lined hand warmers in the large pockets!
The interior shell is fortified with 700 fill power down that works to hold in heat in super chilly conditions. The design of the quilted puffer works to maintain heat in important parts of your body, and also helps to distribute weight so that it doesn’t weigh your down as the day presses on.
If you are in the market for something that boasts a puffer design that isn’t over heavy or bulky, this design from Marmot is a great option. It is important to note that this design is quite expensive, but for those that need something that is durable to last multiple seasons, this option is worth every penny!
This design from Orolay is quickly gaining a cult following this winter. Users love that it boasts a roomy frame that feels like you are wearing a cozy throw blanket while facing the elements. It has a sleek and modern design that is both frame-flattering and effective at trapping in heat while out on the trails or running errands around town. If you live in a particularly cold climate, this design is worth checking out.Read more
The exterior shell of this design is packed with pockets that are large enough to store your more important outdoor gear safely and discreetly. It is composed of 100 percent polyester that is completely water-resistant, and a cinch to wipe down if you accidentally spill your hot cocoa. The cut falls down over your behind, but it is designed in such a way that it doesn’t look overly bulky.
Inside, it is made from a blend of 90 percent duck down and 10 percent duck feather that works to really trap in the heat without feeling overly heavy and bulky. It has smart features such as ribbed cuffs that hold in heat while offering a full range of motion, and a cozy hood that feels like your favorite pair of slippers!
This is a great option for users that want something that is stylish and comfortable. If heading outdoors in freezing temperatures sends a shiver down your spine, this roomy and cozy option for Orolay is worth every penny!
3. The North Face Metropolis Insulated Parka III
Sometimes, simple designs are the most effective at keeping your warm and comfortable. This insulated parka from The North Face boasts a long cut that keeps your thighs and behind warms as well. It may not offer the last range of motion as a more sporty design, but it is hard to find an option that will keep you as warm!Read more
What we love most about this design is that it uses real 550-fill down that works to block hot air from escaping, and cool air from reaching your body. The puffer design works to keep the down evenly spaced from your neck to your thighs, and it also helps to evenly distribute the weight of the down for a more lightweight and easy fit.
One of the most notable features of this design is the cut. It has a high zippered neckline that sits just below your chin, and a long curved cut at the base that covers your behind and the tops of your thighs. A rounded edge in the back works to accommodate a wide array of sizes and helps to promote a full range of motion throughout the day. Plus, despite its size, users found that this design is deceptively lightweight and easy to wear!
It’s important to note that this design packs a pretty steep price point. However, if you are in the market for a simple design that won’t go out of style any time soon, and comes from a brand known for quality and longevity, this option is worth every penny to keep you, and your rear end, nice and warm this winter!
4. Mountain Equipment Lightline
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. Its 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.
It's designed to give you excellent protection from the weather and includes windproof and water-resistant features made from the jacket’s Drilite shell.
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 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.
5. Caterpillar Insulated Parka
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 jackets from Caterpillar. 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
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. Caterpillar's 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.
It features a removable hood, as well as a 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 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 is a reflective webbing on the front and back yokes to give you more visibility in the dark. 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, it 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 you could try with a fleece vest.
6. Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka
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 baggy. 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.
It offers a few customizations, including the ability to fully remove the hood or 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.
This option 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.
7. Alpine North Vegan
Want to give the ducks a break? This option from Alpine North is a great option for those that want the warmth from down insulation that is composed solely of vegan materials. It boasts a longer cut to keep your rear warm and comes in a few different colors that are sure to match your personal style. Plus, it comes in at a more affordable price when compared to similar parkas.Read more
The most notable feature of this design is that it boasts a synthetic down construction that keeps you just as warm as duck down. The best part of this synthetic down is that it allows users to toss it into the washing machine without affecting the performance of the materials over time. Even if the down becomes wet, it still works to retain heat to keep you warm.
The exterior shell is composed of a waterproof polyester that allows for a full range of motion. It boasts ample pockets to store all of your important gear in waterproofed lined pockets. A super high neckline lifts up over the chin to help hold in heat and protect your face from the elements.
If you are in the market for a vegan option that performs just as well as duck down, this option from Alpine North is one of your best options on our list. It boasts smart design features that won’t hinder your full range of motion and allows users to toss it into the washing machine at the end of the season. Plus, it clocks in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
8. Columbia Peak to Park
Looking for something that is easy-going yet effective? The Peak to Park option from Columbia is a great option for those that need something that can transition from casual wear to extreme outdoor adventures. It is composed of easy and lightweight materials that won’t weigh you down and boasts a sleek design that will never go out of style.Read more
The lightweight exterior shell is composed of 100 percent polyester Storm-Lite DP II that works to wick away water and moisture to keep you high and dry in rain or snow. We love that this material is incredibly pliable so it won’t restrict your full range of motion, and it is super lightweight as well.
Inside, it is built with layers of insulating materials to keep you warm. It is composed of 100 percent nylon 210T taffeta which is incredibly lightweight and easy to wear. The most important feature of this design is that it is much lighter than some of the other options we have seen, but works just as hard to keep you warm.
If you are in the market for something that comes from a trusted brand that is just a little more affordable than most, this design from Columbia is a great choice. The lightweight design makes it ideal for running errands or long hikes in the woods on cold days. Plus, it comes in unique color choices that are unlike anything else out there on the market.
9. Arc'Teryx Therme Parka
The Arctyerx Therme Parka 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.
It 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. Plus, it's made with Coreloft technology to help reduce the jacket’s overall bulk when you pack it down.
This option comes with an insulated hood and storm collar, as well as internal wrist cuff gaskets. It has two insulated hand pockets, one internal pocket, and internal chest pocket.
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.
10. Arc'teryx Ceres SV Parka
If you are more of a hardcore outdoor enthusiast during the winter, then the Arcteryx Ceres SV offers everything that you need. The This is lightweight since it 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 be 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. 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.
It's 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 option 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.
11. The North Face Arctic Parka
Do you need something that is able to withstand some pretty tough temperatures? This Arctic Parka from The North Face is made with materials that will keep you nice and toasty from sunup to sundown. If you need something that comes from a trusted brand with an approachable price point, this option from the North Face is worth checking out.Read more
What makes this design unique is that the insulation is composed of 100 percent goose down. While some down compresses over time and becomes less effective, this option is tested to hold up quite well over the years. It is also Responsible Down Standard certified, so you can feel good about the source of the down.
The exterior shell is made from durable polyester that is treated with waterproof materials that work to wick away rain and snow. The high collar helps to retain heat, and the faux fur lined hood helps to keep your head warm and cozy. Don’t like the hood? Users love that it is easily able to be detached as needed.
If you are in the market for something that comes from a trusted brand, you can’t go wrong with the Arctic Parka. It is composed of tough and durable materials that work to keep you warm all day. Plus, it has smart design features that allow for a full range of motion from sun up to sun down without feeling too bulky.
12. The North Face Gotham III
This winter jacket offers an average-priced option for the amount of quality, features, and benefits the jacket packs. You’ll get many benefits and features such as warmth, weather-resistance, wind protection, and ventilation. 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.Read more
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. 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.
13. Carhartt Traditional Jacket
If you hate the feel of a big and puffy coat, keep reading! This design from Carhartt works to keep you nice and warm without the extra bulk. It offers wearers a lot of extra room in the arms and through the torso to accommodate a full range of motion which is perfect for working or playing in the great outdoors this winter. Plus, it utilizes smart features to keep you organized.Read more
Who doesn’t love pockets? This option boasts the traditional two exterior pockets for your hands, as well as two flip-top breast pockets. Inside, there are four zippered pockets to protect your gadgets from the harsh weather outside. Heavy-duty zippers are impervious to snagging and a stylish suede collar holds in heat.
The waterproof exterior shell is composed of a tight-knit 100 percent ring-spun cotton duck that works to wick away water and moisture. If you need something waterproof, it doesn’t get much better than this exterior shell! Inside, it boasts a quilted polyester lining with lightweight polyester insulation to effectively hold in heat.
If you are in the market for something slim that works to really hold in the heat, you can’t go wrong with this traditional style from Carhartt. We love that it is made from tough materials that are ideal for work and play, and boasts a wide frame that allows for a full range of motion.
14. Camel Crown Winter Cotton Jacket
If you want something that is insanely warm, stylish, and lightweight, this design from Camel Crown is a great choice. This brand may not have immediate brand recognition as Columbia or Carhartt, but they are worth checking out. It is composed of premium materials that work to keep you toasty without draining your bank account. In fact, this is one of the most affordable parkas found on our list!Read more
The cut of this coat is what makes it stand out from the rest. It boasts a long cut that fits over your behind and lands in the middle of your thigh. We love that it doesn’t skimp on the pockets! The exterior shell boasts four large pockets that provide ample rooms for gloves, hats, and extra gear you need on your outdoor adventures.
The exterior shell is composed of waterproof and windproof materials that wick away rain and snow, even when outdoors for long periods of time. The polyester lining helps to retain heat and isn’t as bulky and heavy as some of the other puffer designs out there on the market.
The most important feature of this design is that it comes in at an incredibly affordable price point. While it may not have the same level of durability as some of the other options out there, we feel that it is a fantastic option if you are in a pinch and money is tight this winter.
15. Marmot Fordham
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 it last longer and stay drier.
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 jackets.