When the trees are bare and the wind turns icy cold, it's time for a more than serious jacket. Finding a winter coat that will keep you warm even when temperatures dip way below zero is a difficult task. However, that shouldn't stop you from braving the great outdoors, even if it's just to have dinner at a quaint restaurant around the corner or a quick clearing of the latest snow on the drive!
At A Glance: Our Top 6 Picks for Winter Coats
That is why we've rounded up great winter coats that will not only keep you warm in extreme cold, they're also stylish and relatively affordable.
There are many options available if all you really need is something to keep you warm, but we know you need more than that. We've found some of the best winter coats for men and women that you'll be proud to be seen in without shivering in the snow.
OUR TOP PICKS
Arc'teryx Therme Parka
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Canada Goose Expedition Parka
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North Face McMurdo Parka III
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Canada Goose Kensington Parka
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North Face Metropolis III Parka
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Marmot Montreaux Down Coat
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Arc'teryx is a well-known brand for creating technical and innovative jackets, but the Therme Parka is perfectly urban. This coat will surely keep any man not only warm and toasty, but sleek and stylish on any occasion.
It has a high-end Gore-Tex waterproof membrane and fully taped seams, making this jacket breathable and long lasting. It is insulated with 750-fill goose down around the core for utmost comfort. It is also fitted with quality synthetic insulation in high-use areas such as the sleeves, the hood, and the collar. It has insulated pockets as well and a zippered passport pocket on the front for convenience and ease of use.
The Therme Parka is the perfect jacket for winter in places prone to wet snow. The materials are windproof and waterproof.
The sizing is a bit off as it tends to run slightly larger than regular athletic sizes. When purchasing online, make sure to ask for exact measurements to ensure proper fit.
The almost iconic Canada Goose Expedition Parka is more on the heavy and bulky side, but for good reason. It keeps wearers warm with 625-fill-power duck down and keeps harsh weather at bay with heavy-duty Arctic Tech outer shell material. For those in search of a hard-hitting jacket, this burly parka performs exceptionally well in severe conditions, polar expeditions, and long commutes in cold weather.
Functionality is not overlooked either. It has a total of 10 exterior pockets, with both zipper and velcro closures, and one interior zippered pocket. It also features a snow skirt and one of the best hoods in the market.
This is one of the most niche winter coats that won't run you over $1,000, but it can be too much jacket for the average person. If below zero temperature is your everyday life, the Expedition Parka is the best option.
Note: Another option that is similarly warm is the Canada Goose Langford
When it comes to warmth, the North Face McMurdo Parka III is hard to beat. At a third of the price of the Canada Goose Parka, this is definitely one of the best budget parkas that will perform well in cold weather.
The McMurdo III is made with DryVent™ 2L, which is a durable material that's weatherproof, breathable, and sealed with taped seams.
With 550 down fill, the parka is insulated adequately. The hood is robust, large, and well-sealed to trap heat around the head. The hem is long to cover the thighs, but a front zipper from below makes the jacket less constricting.
It also comes with several storage options. There are four pockets with exposed zippers on the front of the jacket and a back sleeve pocket.
While the McMurdo III provides adequate weatherproofing, there are some options that will perform better in wet conditions. However, for the affordable price of this jacket, it provides adequate protection from the cold, the snow, and other weather conditions.
The Kensington Parka is where function meets style. Its sleek and smooth exterior fabric and flattering feminine silhouette is uncommon for winter coats, but this one will keep you warm even through harsh conditions.
The Kensignton Parka rests just above the knee and stands out with the coyote fur ruff around the hood. The fur and the hood are removable, making this jacket versatile even for above zero temperatures. The waist has an adjustable cinch tab to better conform to the body.
Insulated with 625-fill-power white duck down, this jacket is both warm and comfortable. The cold air is kept out even from the sleeves thanks to the thick, rib-knit cuffs. The knitted collar completely keeps air out when zipped up. While it's effective, it does wear tight and can be quite constricting.
The jacket closes with buttons. This makes securing the jacket a little more cumbersome than a full zip. There are also kick pleats on the back of the jacket that allowed for better mobility and ventilation.
City-dwellers will find the North Face Metropolis Parka as a stylish and affordable option for cold weather. It's loaded with plush 550 fill down and designed to follow feminine contours.
The Metropolis III Parka goes down to the knees without being too heavy or constricting. The front zipper closure stops just above the knee, while a button at the bottom of the parka helps keep the cold air out and trap the warmth. It's equipped with subtle and cozy features like fleece-lined pockets to quickly warm cold hands.
The parka is water-resistant as it's coated with DWR, but it's not waterproof. So, although you will stay warm and dry on snowy days, it does not do well in heavy rain or wet snow.
Colombia have been making outdoor gear for decades and with this winter jacket it shows. It has all the features you would expect from a jacket designed for extreme cold.
First off, it's long, so will cover all those places shorter jackets leave to get cold. Second, it's got long sleeves with thumb holes to keep your hands warm (or leave no gap with gloves). There is also a slightly oversized hood with a ruffle, like the eskimos wear. (side story: I used such a hood in a harsh, windy Yukon winter, and trust me - ruffles make all the difference). However, if you don't like the look or having it get in the way - it's removable too.
Inside, there is a decent amount of down, but the kicker is Columbia's own Omni Heat. It's a silver layer on the inside of the jacket that reflects your own body heat back (instead of letting it out). This adds an extra layer of warmth that most jackets just don't have.
Downsides? Well, there are always a few things to watch out for. One, this "black" model featured here is more of a dark grey. Second, these jackets tend to run large, so if you want more room, and longer arms, that's great. Otherwise, have a think about taking a smaller model.
Overall, if you are looking for something to allow you to stay warm in those very cold and snowy situations, then this is a great option.
With the faux fur ruff and knee length form, the Marmot Montreaux Down Coat keeps wearers warm, toasty, and stylish whether indoor or outdoor.
While this parka can weigh heavy, it wears light thanks to its 100% Polyester/700 Fill Power Down material. The down is evenly distributed and does not bulk up in inconvenient areas. This also helps in keeping the feminine shape of the coat intact. The hood is insulated with plush down that does an excellent job in terms of trapping heat. The fleece-lined torso makes for a very comfortable fit as well. Micro-fleece also lines the exterior pockets, collar, and the cuffs.
The down coat is sufficiently water-resistant with its durable water repellent coating. However, extended periods of time in the rain will saturate the jacket.
What to look for
Winter coats are not always the most stylish item you will wear, but there are some good finds that keep you looking great despite the cold. Just be aware of putting fashion over function when it comes to super-cold temperatures. After all, it's no good looking great if you can only last 10 minutes outside!
Winter coats also come in different lengths, so make sure it falls on the right parts of your legs or knees. Any shorter and the cold can seep in, and any longer and it will feel restricting and uncomfortable.
A hood with a ruff (like a fur lining) can also come in handy when the winds pick up. When I was in -40 in the Yukon last year, I was very surprised at what a difference they make. There is a reason all the huskie sledders use them!
Fit is important to ensure that there are no gaps for cold air to get into. But, you also want some room to layer beneath it too. Layers make all the difference in the end. So, if you plan on really cold temperatures, leave room for thermal underwear, a shirt/top of some kind, then a sweater, then last comes the jacket. I was wearing 7 layers in -40, albeit most of them were thin.
Another thing to look at is how how the sleeves close up (to keep the wind out) and the hem. A nice high neck and fleecy liner in that area can also be a real bonus when you are standing for a long time in the col.
Fill power and material dictates how warm the coat will be. While there will be complementing elements like fleece lining or fur ruffs, consider the climate and assess the appropriate fill power.
When it comes to fill, nothing beats pure goose down. The higher the fill number the better.
Some synthetics do a decent job, and they have the added bonus of coping with being wet (down just becomes a soggy mess and completely useless). But, with super-cold temperatures, getting wet is usually not an issue. It's just damn freezing outside :>
Not all winter coats can double as rain coats. For the most part, winter coats can handle light snow or rain, but areas prone to wet snow should find waterproof coats. When the coat gets saturated, both the water and the cold will be trapped and defeat the purpose of the winter coat.
So, if you are planning on using this jacket in temperatures around or above freezing, then make sure it can handle the rain as well. A wet down jacket is not something you want to be wearing, I can tell you from experience!