A good winter coat is a necessity here in Vermont as well as many other places in the world. While we love a good technical ski jacket, we can’t discount the benefits of a winter parka or everyday coat. Everyday coats and parkas don’t have the technical features of ski/snowboard jackets such as powder skirts but they are generally warmer and more stylish which is ideal for commuting and everyday life.
If you’re in the market for an everyday winter coat or parka, here are some great starting points to help narrow your search!
1. Identify your Warmth Needs
Do you need the warmest winter coat possible for days of negative temps or are you looking for a transitional piece that you can wear on days where it’s both fall and winter at once? Identifying how warm you want your jacket to be will inform the rest of the selection and can help you with the next question, which is below.
2. Decide on Insulation
Do you want down or synthetic insulation? Both options have pros and cons. Synthetic insulation is usually less expensive and can still function while wet whereas down is more compressible and has a better warmth to weight ratio.
3. What Kind of Durability do You Need
Beyond just the insulation in a parka, you should also consider what kind of outer shell you will need. Do you want to wear this jacket in a lot of adverse weather conditions like rain and snow? Do you need a lot of abrasion-resistance for your everyday activities? Features like full water-proofness and durability will come with tradeoffs such as heavier, stiffer fabrics.
How long do you want your parka to be? Generally parkas hit mid-thigh to right above the knee for women’s styles and a little shorter for men. However, you can find parkas that end right below the knee or go down to the ankle. These longer styles will offer more warmth for your legs and are great for commuters, dog walkers or anyone who is spending more time outside without much movement. Most longer parkas will also have mobility features such as a two-way front zipper to allow for normal range of motion while walking and sitting.
Need some suggestions? Check out these staff favorites for every parka category.
1. Best for Cool and Dry Conditions
- Jack Wolfskin Marienplatz Vest: This parka-length vest features 700-fill down, weather-resistant outer fabric and an insulated hood to keep you cozy in the shoulder season when a full parka is just too much.
- Stio Pinion Down Parka: This lightweight parka from Stio has 800-fill down but is light enough to wear on chilly fall days. The contoured fit and smaller baffles create a flattering silhouette for everyday style. Available in-store only.
2. Best for Cold and Dry Conditions
- Patagonia Down With It Parka: This parka is a great entry price-point for a 650-fill down jacket with a weather-resistant polyester outer fabric. The removable hood, slim fit and two-way front zipper allow this jacket to adapt to a myriad of lifestyles.
- Marmot Montreal Parka: A 700-fill parka with weather-resistant outer fabric and a removable hood with faux fur. This amazing women’s entry price-point jacket will hit at the upper thigh.
- Swix Horizon Down Parka: Filled with 90/10 Responsible Down Standard duck down & feathers with a fill power of 700. Perfect for colder days, where the waterproof and breathable fabric in the hood and over the shoulders and in the upper back makes it perfect for irregular days.
3. Best for Cold and Wet Conditions
- The North Face Arctic Parka: A down, waterproof parka in a budget-friendly option. The waterproof 2L outer shell will keep you dry while 550-fill down will keep you warm. The women’s version goes to the mid-thigh and features a two-way front zipper.
- Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka: A waterproof H2NO shell can be worn with the down insulation underlayer or by itself giving you three season coverage. It hits at the mid-thigh and has a two-way front zipper to facilitate mobility.
4. Best for Very Cold and Very Wet Conditions
- Patagonia Stormshadow Parka: A Gore-Tex waterproof outer layer and 700-fill recycled down make this one of Patagonia’s warmest parkas. Features include a two-way zipper and multiple pockets. This men’s parka will hit right above mid-thigh.
- Arc’teryx Patera Parka: This fitted parka has a sleek silhouette even with the Gore-tex waterproof outer layer and 750-fill down. It will land right above the knee and features a two-way front zipper.