4 Tips to Choose the Best Winter Jacket

Thursday Nov. 5th, 2020

If you live somewhere more northerly and you experience cold, snowy winters each year, then you know how important it is to have a good winter jacket. And if you're a particularly outdoorsy individual, no doubt you'll need a jacket that can handle the challenges of intense outdoor winter activity. Today, we want to give you a few tips to help to figure out exactly what kind of jacket you'll need to help you get through the winter comfortably.

1. Choose the Type of Jacket for Your Needs

In general, there are three basic types of winter jackets that are available. Each type is designed to be suitable for certain conditions and certain activities, so make sure that whatever jacket you buy is going to work in the conditions you intend to wear it in. You wouldn't want to bring a casual parka on a winter camping expedition, for example. With that in mind, let's go over the three different types of winter jackets and see how they differ.

Technical Jackets
If you're looking for a jacket that's best suited for outdoor winter activities, then a technical jacket is best for you. Technical jackets are lightweight and designed to be much less bulky when compared to more standard winter jackets. Because technical jackets aren't very bulky, they allow you to move freely in them, unlike some heavily stuffed jackets that can potentially restrict your movement. This makes them excellent for activities like cross-country skiing, mountaineering, and rock/ice climbing. Technical jackets also tend to have features that make them more versatile for people who love getting out in the great outdoors during the cold times of the year. Some technical jackets come with pit zips, giving your body a little bit of extra airflow without making you too cold, or hoods designed to fit over climbing helmets.

Casual Jackets and Parkas
Casual winter jackets don't need to compromise on comfort or warmth in favor of size since they're just meant to be worn around town during regular day-to-day activity. It means that if you're just looking for something that's as warm as possible, then a casual jacket is probably your best option. Casual jackets and parkas are also designed more with style in mind, so you'll find these jackets in a range of styles. These jackets will also have features designed to help you keep warm and comfortable even in bad conditions, like oversized hoods and pockets for warming your hands in. You can find casual jackets in styles for both men and women, and there are plenty of options for each.

Do-It-All Jackets
If you want a jacket versatile enough to be decent in any situation, then you've still got a lot of options. There are plenty of jackets out there that look nice enough to wear around town but are also practical and functional enough for a variety of outdoor activities. Some jackets in this category come in two separate pieces that you can wear in layers or individually. These usually come with a puffy inner jacket and a rain-proof windbreaker. Combining the two gives you a solid all-around winter jacket, and the two individual jackets are suitable for a variety of milder weather conditions.

2. Consider Down vs. Synthetic Insulation

Down insulation works best in dry environments. The main drawback of down insulation is that if it gets wet, it loses most of its insulating capabilities, and down jackets also tend to be a bit more expensive than jackets with synthetic insulation. The upside, however, is that down is pretty lightweight and can be easily compressed, making it easier to fold up and store a down jacket. Jackets using synthetic insulation are bulkier in comparison, but they have the advantage of being much more effective in damp conditions.

3. Look for Solid Weatherproofing

No matter what type of winter jacket you get, it has to be able to hold up to the elements. To that end, you should look for a jacket with an outer shell that has been weatherproofed. You'll want to look for something with a GORE-TEX shell if you live in an area that is milder in the winter. If you live in a colder area where the winters aren't as moist, then a jacket with a more standard DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating will probably be fine.

4. The More Pockets, The Better

Having a jacket with plenty of pockets is always essential. A good winter jacket can help you keep any essentials you need within easy reach. Lots of winter jackets also have pockets on the interior to help you keep particularly important items like your phone or wallet extra secure. Technical jackets may also have pockets that are placed to make them as easy as possible to reach. A good technical jacket will also have plenty of pocket space so you can keep a lot of useful gear right at hand. 

You're All Set for Winter!

Having the right jacket for your needs is one of the most important things when it comes to making it through the winter safely and comfortably. Now that you have these tips, you should be ready to choose the perfect jacket for you.