Winter Jacket Buying Guide
Trying to choose a jacket for your next adventure can be a challenge! There are so many men’s and women’s ski jackets as well as casual jacket options, that it can be hard to decide which one works best for you.
When it comes to the best winter coats, there are a lot of things to consider. Before you make your way to our upcoming Winter + Ski Sale to grab your gear, check out our breakdown of the different types to help you make the best choice for this winter:
A hardshell is an uninsulated and usually hooded jacket that is arguably the most versatile jacket for any activity that might include snow or possible rain. Usually these will be waterproof and wind resistant to make them a comfortable choice for sports during the mild winter. The level of waterproofing and seam taping (which keeps moisture out) will help determine the pricing of the jacket. For example, a Gore-Tex material, which is awesome for keeping you dry, is going to run higher price wise. Regardless of what level of waterproofing you decide, we recommend choosing a shell that has room to layer a half-zip or even a filled jacket underneath to make it work for colder days.
A softshell jacket is going to be the more breathable option, but usually will be water resistant as opposed to waterproof like a hardshell. The easy way to tell the difference between the two is the sound. A hardshell will typically be crinkly and more stiff, while a softshell will be quieter since the fabric is softer. A softshell jacket is designed to be stretchier and keep you cooler when you’re being active. Usually a softshell will also include a soft inner lining or fleece lining to keep you warmer. We recommend these for a mid-layer for cold winter activities or for just winter everyday wear. Although these are a great option for any dry weather outdoor activity, they are less packable, lightweight and waterproof than a hardshell.
Fleece is a soft material made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a hydrophobic fiber that repels water. It’s breathable, lightweight and quick-drying, making it a great choice for outdoor activities. Some downsides to fleece is that the hydrophobic material can hold in odors and the fabric can pill eventually with washing. We recommend fleece for casual wear for hiking, biking or other cool-weather activities.
If you’re looking to go on some serious cold-weather adventures like skiing Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, you’ll probably want an insulated jacket. This type of jacket will usually have a waterproof outer later with an insulated inner layer to keep you warmer in extreme temperatures. There are two basic types of insulation—down or synthetic—and there are also different levels of insulation depending on your needs. Synthetic is the less expensive option, and because it works even when it’s wet, it makes for a good choice for snowy conditions. However, down is lighter and lasts longer than synthetic insulation.
The 3-in-1 jacket is a great option to cover all of the bases you might need for cold-weather activities. Usually these jackets include an outer shell jacket and an inner fleece or insulated layer that zips into the shell. If you don’t need the extra warmth of the inner layer, it can zip out in order for you to just wear the outer shell. You can also just wear the inner layer if it’s a warmer day that doesn’t call for rain.
Casual Winter Jacket
If you’ve seen some technical looking jackets with added flair like a fur hood, this is what we’d consider a casual winter jacket. The aesthetic is more of the goal here than function, and there are so many style options to choose from. Try a bomber, pea coat or down parka to express yourself while still staying warm this winter.