Canada Goose Kensington Parka. 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. Small, Medium, Large, X-Large. For the second year in a row, the Canada Goose Kensington has scored the highest in all of our rating metrics.
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. While we only tested this jacket for two months, we can tell you that if too much down escapes, the loft and warmth will start to diminish, which will affect your winter investment.
If a jacket has a lot of stitching on the outer shell, there is potential for a snag to occur. The Patagonia Tres had a sturdy, durable outer shell that was ready to withstand anything that we threw at it. Finicky zippers seem to be a common issue with some of the jackets we tested; for example, the primary zipper on the Arc'teryx Darrah gave us problems when we tried to zip it up.
The Arc'teryx Patera is highly durable, despite its finicky zipper. The outer shell is 2-layer Gore-Tex, 75D polyester with DWR treatment and is waterproof, windproof, and breathable fabric. We found the outer shell to be very durable against snags, due to the lack of exterior stitching.
When tested in high winds and heavy rain, this jacket was comparable to the Patagonia Tres Down Parka regarding their level of durability. One of the most overlooked but crucial features when buying a winter jacket is the hood. A thickly insulated hood makes a huge difference in cold weather, as opposed to a thin non-insulated hood. For someone living in a climate that gets heavy snow and cold temps, a hood with thick insulation and faux or real fur will protect your face and keep you warm.
We understand that the real fur can be controversial and not for everyone. Feel free to read more about this in our Sourcing Ethics section of our buying advice.
The Canada Goose Shelburne Parka offers an oversized adjustable hood for an even tighter fit on those extra windy days. Detachable hoods are common, and offer versatility, but what if you get caught outside in a storm without it? There were certain features we loved, like fleece-lined pockets.
Whether the exterior pockets were lined on one-sided or both, fleece pockets are a stand-out feature that attributed to additional warmth and comfort on super cold days. Not everyone carries gloves with them at all times; because of this, the fleece-lined pockets are super practical. Fleece also was a theme with collars and cuffs. We loved the fleece-lined torso of the Marmot Montreaux , and the nylon cuffs on the Rab Deep Cover Parka were also plush and super warm. Double-sided zippers were almost a mandatory requirement on all the winter jackets; we found this especially true with the knee-length parkas.
While somewhat restricting, we gained a significant amount of mobility with the double-sided zipper when walking. Secured by button snaps, we could feel the cold air leaking in, and the snaps were noticeably uncomfortable when we were sitting on hard surfaces; we honestly didn't find this feature that useful.
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