A warm winter coat is the first line of defense between your body heat and the harsh, bitter cold. A quality winter coat should always keep wet weather away and prevent wind from whipping around and finding a way to steal your body heat. Wind is a thief of body heat and you want to do whatever you can to keep it away.
As outdoor survivalists always say, it’s easier to stay warm than it is to get warm. Staying warm starts with staying dry- and this is why your winter coat is so important. If a winter coat can keep you dry, you will most certainly be warm.
(Quick side note: If you are looking for the very best survival winter clothing that will keep you warm in sub-zero temperatures even if you get wet, see my article “Fortress Clothing – My Review!“)
In this article first I am going to give you a brief overview of what to look for when choosing the warmest winter coat. Then we will get right into my list of what I feel are the best of the best.
What To Look For When Choosing The Warmest Winter Coat
When shopping for a winter coat, you will quickly realize how many styles, and different materials are out there. You will want to stick to the best winter coat brands. Our goal is to answer all your questions in this article.
Your Activity Level
Choosing the warmest winter coat, will depend on your activity level when you will be wearing the coat. The more you will be moving, the more you will be sweating. And the coat needs to be able to deal with that moisture. In my list of the top warmest winter coats, I also indicate the type of activity this coat is designed for!
A lot goes into making a winter coat warm, right down to the zippers and seams. But insulation plays the biggest role in keeping you warm. There are two basic types of insulation in warm winter coats: down and synthetic insulation. Down is wonderful at keeping you warm, and it’s really lightweight. However, it’s more expensive than synthetic filled jackets, and it sometimes doesn’t hold up very well if it gets wet. So, if you choose a down insulated jacket make sure its waterproof preferably, or water-resistant at the very least.
Synthetic insulation is a great alternative to down. Some are just as warm. They can be bulkier than down, but hold really well up under wet weather. Synthetic insulation is also much more budget friendly.
Your Coat’s Outer Shell
While it’s important to have a well-insulated winter coat, the outer shell is also critical to how warm or cold you will feel! Okay let’s go through the things that are the most important when choosing your coat’s outer shell.
Water Proof vs. Water-Resistant
Things to keep in mind when considering a warm winter coat: is it waterproof or water-resistant. Be careful with this one. Waterproof is not the same as water-resistant. Waterproof means the jacket is rated for heavy rain and extreme snow fall. Water-resistant means the coat will keep you dry in a light drizzle, that’s about all.
Also, look for a coat that is breathable too. You don’t want to get too hot! A breathable coat will allow sweat to evaporate through the pore of the jacket- but keep body heat where it belongs. Kind of cool.
Zippers And Seams
If you are going to be in extreme weather, like on the top of Mount Rainier, pay attention to the seams of the jacket and the zippers. The last thing you want in extreme weather is to tear out your coat’s seams or break its zipper. Some brands make waterproof zippers to keep moisture out of those tiny spaces. This may be important depending on where you are going!
Proper Coat Sizing
People always ask the question “should I buy a bigger coat size so it fits over all my clothes?” When it comes to size, always go one size up if you can. The jacket alone won’t be enough to keep you warm, you need room for your basic winter layers. For more information on the art of layering, check out my other blog here: “How to Dress for Winter Survival“.
The Warmest Winter Coats Are:
This jacket is ranked number one because it provides the most warmth in extreme cold, for the money. It is also one of the most versatile, it doesn’t overheat you when you aren’t in super cold winter weather. It is very light weight, and very breathable. You really only need a base layer under this coat in most situations. This coat is amazingly affordable too at just $249.99 USD. Enter my discount code epguy18 they will give you an 15% discount!
The other amazing thing about this jacket is if you accidentally fell into water, or were sweating profusely, this jacket will still keep you warm and comfortable. To test these coats the manufacturers go up to frozen over lakes in sub zero temperatures and cut holes in the ice. Then they all jump in the water and climb out and then sit around and talk. It usually takes about a minute or two before each person is completely warm and comfortable again. And they never change out of their wet clothes. It is totally amazing. I show a video of this in my article “Fortress Clothing – My Review!“
- Patented AERIS™ 500 Insulation Technology in the body. (½” / 13mm of loft) & (1/4” 6mm of loft) insulation in the arms
- Maintains warmth when soaking wet or dry (-30˚F to 60˚F)
- Exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio
- 2 Insulated Hand Pockets and two large interior pockets located on the inside panel of the coat
- Adjustable and removable hood to keep you comfortable in any conditions
- Lower draw elastics to tighten the excess coat material to keep out the wind and moisture
- 100% Wind-Proof | 100% Water-Proof
This coat comes in red, navy and black, and is rated for -22 F weather. But this is perhaps one of the warmest jackets on the earth, literally. This coat is used by arctic explorers when they are headed to spend weeks, sometimes months in Antarctica. It’s the jacket of choice for those brave enough to make the journey to Nome, AK in the annual Iditarod sled dog race. This IS the jacket for ultimate warmth and protection from the harshest, coldest weather ever recorded. The jacket is down insulated with 675 fill white goose down.
Every inch of this jacket is well thought out and designed to keep you warm. Pros: fleece lined neck area for warmth, wind guard, reinforced elbows, 14 pockets, reflective fabric for added visibility in blizzards or other harsh working environments, built in snow skirt to keep wet weather away, side zippers for ventilation, fur lined hood molds around face to keep wind away and prevent frostbite. Cons: sells out quickly, expensive, limited to harsh weather and extreme temperatures. Cost: $1,525.50
The Canada Goose PBI Expedition Parka is their original extreme weather parka developed for scientists working at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. So this coat can keep you warm. Their websites says that it is good for expeditions across uncharted ice fields or just in our colder climates in urban America. These coats are used yearly by the National Science Foundation at the south pole.
The coat is rated for -22 degrees as well. It will keep you warm while walking the dog around the park or on your next trip the mountain. It’s longer length, covers your thighs, for added warmth and protection from the weather. Pros: fleece lined neck area for warmth, wind guard, reinforced elbows, 14 pockets, reflective fabric for added visibility in blizzards or other harsh working environments, built in snow skirt to keep wet weather away, side zippers for ventilation, fur lined hood molds around face to keep wind away and prevent frostbite. Cons: sells out quickly, expensive, limited to harsh weather and extreme temperatures. Cost: $1,525.50
If you are looking for a warm winter coat that will protect you in severe weather, this is the coat for you. It’s rated for -22 degrees F and below. The reputation of this parka is that it is the “industrial” parka of the North. It is currently worn at both poles by explorers on “trans-Antarctic expeditions”, as well as workers at “high-Arctic observatories”. This parka is designed to get you through some of the most extreme and challenging weather in the world.
Pros: fleece lined neck area for warmth, wind guard, reinforced elbows, 14 pockets, reflective fabric for added visibility in blizzards or other harsh working environments, built in snow skirt to keep wet weather away, side zippers for ventilation, fur lined hood molds around face to keep wind away and prevent frostbite. Cons: sells out quickly, expensive, limited to harsh weather and extreme temperatures. Cost: $1,215.00
Fortress is a Utah based company changing the way we think about warm coats. This jacket is rated to keep you warm in temperatures between -60 degrees F and 30 degrees F. How is that even possible? This jacket is made with Fortress’ patented AERIS insulation. This insulation is designed to keep you warm, even if you get wet. This jacket is designed as a mid layer and to be worn under any quality waterproof outer shell.
This is the ideal jacket for people working outside in the oil fields in North Dakota or Alaska. According to the company, this jacket has been tested in -60 degrees in Prudhoe Bay Alaska… and it worked! The jacket is lightweight too, so there’s no worry about restrictive movement. Pros: really warm, durable, lightweight and treated with a durable water-resistant material. It’s also wind resistant. Cons; currently on pre-order only. Price about about: $349 Enter my discount code epguy18 they will give you an 15% discount!
The Fortress Classic Jacket is a great choice if you want to stay warm while hunting, ice fishing or just working outside around the house in the winter months. This jacket can be worn alone, or you may need a top layer shell in certain weather conditions. The jacket is made with a polyester mesh lining that will wick away moisture and keep you warm. This jacket is designed as a mid layer and to be worn under any quality waterproof outer shell.
The jacket is also made with AERIS insulation. Even if you get soaked to the bone, this jacket will keep you warm. Pros: will keep you warm between -35 degrees F and 50 degrees F, warm, wicks away moisture, great for workers, outdoor survival situations, wind resistant. Cons: may need another shell in some weather. Price about about: $249. Enter my discount code epguy18 they will give you an 15% discount!
The North Face Gotham jacket has everything you want in a warm winter coat. It’s down, waterproof, breathable and it’s windproof. Does it get any better than that? The jacket is designed to move with your body, stretch with your arms as you hike, climb or grocery shop on a chilly day. This jacket is so versatile, you could also wear it skiing.
This style jacket is available in both men’s and women’s sizes. Pros: 550 fill down insulation, hood, waterproof, breathable, pockets where you need them, media pocket, cuffs for wrist protection. Cons: zippers may wear out faster than the coat. Price about about: $319.
This down insulated, water resistant winter coat will keep you nice and warm around town and on the slopes. It’s a great design, for a laid-back winter look. Marmot has a long history of making quality outdoor gear for every kind of adventure. This jacket ranks in at #7 on this list because it’s packed with 700 fill down insulation.
The outer shell is water-resistant and features a removable hood, zippered pockets, fleece cuffs for wrist warmth and protection and an adjustable hem. Pros: 700 down insulation, really warm, comfortable, water-resistant, fleece cuff. Cons: won’t hold up in a monsoon or heavy snowfall. Price about: $325
This is a great all-around winter coat to keep you warm on the coldest days. It’s a longer coat, hitting just above the thighs. This length will give you added protection in harsh weather. The jacket is insulated with 80% down and 20% feathers. This mixture of down and feathers gives you added comfort and warmth all around your body. The shell of the coat is made with the brand’s durable G-1000- designed to protect you against wind and water.
This jacket is designed for low-intensity activities such as a walk around the neighborhood or building a snowman with your kids. Pros: down and feather insulation, big pockets to hold cell phone and wallet, warm, water-resistant and windproof, synthetic fur hood for protection against snow. Cons: bulky, only for low intense activities. Price about: $600
Take a look outside your window? Is the snow swirling in all directions? Is it below freezing? With this coat on you’ll have no fear to venture outside into the craziest of winter weather. This jacket is sure to cure any case of cabin fever. It’s long-hitting just about the knees. This added protection is key to staying warm when Mother Nature is putting on a winter show!
The jacket is insulated with 90% down and 10% feathers. The quilting pattern on the jacket keeps the insulation evenly distributed throughout for consistent heat everywhere. The jacket is also treated with a durable water repellent material to protect you from the water and wind. Pros: super long, extra coverage, great for extreme cold, large pockets, hood, reinforced shoulders padded for comfort. Cons: may be too bulky for everyday use. Price about: $700.
Packed with 850 fill down, this jacket is the ultimate winter coat. The shell is made with a waterproof and breathable fabric that will keep wind, rain and heavy snow away from you and your body heat. Nothing is getting through this jacket! This jacket is the number one choice for guides on Mt. Rainier and other big peaks across the country. The wrap around hood that conforms to your face and chin/neck protection give makes this coat extra warm. Pros: well made, warm, 850 fill down, waterproof, breathable, great for winter camping, ice climbing or everyday use. Cons: shorter length. Price about: $429.
This jacket packs a punch when it comes to keeping you warm. Get this, it’s insulated with 900 fill down. Wowzah. I don’t think there’s a jacket on the market right now with this much down insulation.
The Seattle based company is dedicated to making down products from well treated animals. This jacket is lightweight and easy to pack. Pros: really warm, 900 fill down, quilted pattern for even heat distribution, well made, durable. Cons: isn’t waterproof, may need another shell in wet weather. Price about: $309
There isn’t a mountain peak this jacket hasn’t met. It’s the jacket of choice for backpackers, alpine adventure seekers and dog walkers around the world. With 900 fill down insulation, this jacket is ideal for peaks and valleys. It’s an all-around tough winter coat that will keep you warm no matter what Mother Nature has in store. Pros: well insulated, durable, high quality construction, warm, insulated hood, lycra hand pockets. Cons: make sure you measure before ordering, may be short. Price about: $359
The Glacier Guide Down Parka is a great jacket when you need warmth and protection from whipping winds and sub-zero temperatures. This jacket is made for mountaineering. But, you can also wear it around town if you live in a harsh winter climate. This jacket is insulated with 650 down fill, giving you exceptional warmth! You won’t have to worry about the shell of the coat getting wet!
This shell is made with a breathable, wind and water-resistant fabric. The zipper of the jacket is also covered with a windproof material to keep you protected- no matter where the wind is coming from. Big pockets and a nice hood, bring this jacket to #15 on the list of the top winter coats. Pros: 650 down, warm, covered zipper, wind proof and water resistant. Cons: not made for heavy rain. Price about: $400.
The big hood and neck cover, make this jacket a really warm choice for chilly days. This jacket can be equally warm at the top of a 13,000-foot peak and at a Saturday morning ski race. The shell of the jacket is designed to withstand the most extreme weather, for long periods of time. The shell is also made with GORE WINDSTOPPER, which is a trademarked product that literally stops wind in its tracks. The jacket is packed with 850 fill down insulation and synthetic insulation.
This jacket evenly distributes the insulation, so you’re shoulders or elbow aren’t chilly. The bright colors make it easy to spot you in a blizzard or on the ski hill. Overall, this is a high quality, well made warm winter coat. Pros: high insulation value, water resistant, windproof, breathable, awesome hood- full coverage around neck, ears and head, bright colors. Cons: may need another waterproof shell in extreme conditions. Price about: $849
This lightweight down jacket is great for dry, cold conditions. It’s packed with 850 fill down. Remember, in general the higher the fill-count the warmer the coat. At 850 fill, this jacket will keep you warm on days you may not otherwise venture outside. The is a basic, versatile jacket that will work well running errands and running to the top of a mountain. Okay, maybe not running up the mountain, but you get the idea.
The hood on this jacket is what makes it stand out from the rest. The hood forms around your head and covers your neck, almost all the way to your mouth. You’ll be glad you have this extra hood protection when the wind starts to pick up. Pros: lightweight, warm, 850 fill down, colorful, comfortable, full coverage hood. Cons: may need an outer shell to protect from wet weather. Price about: $525
It’s a jacket, but it looks and feels like your favorite hoody. It is very comfortable and very warm. It has very good reviews. It seems a lot of people really like this jacket that have tried it. This jacket is insulated with synthetic material, which means if it gets wet it will still keep you warm. It will also dry fast if you find yourself in the middle of a snow storm.
Pros: windproof, breathable, water-resistant, well insulated, waterproof seams, insulated hood and chin guard. Cons: may not be suitable for all activities. Price about: $425
Enter my discount code epguy18 they will give you an 15% discount!
The Fortress Hybrid Hoodie makes this list at #19. It’s like a jacket and a hoodie in one. This jacket is very comfortable, lightweight and you will literally live in it all year long. That’s right. This jacket is rated to keep you warm and comfortable from -5 degrees to 70 degrees F. This is the only jacket you will ever need to own. So, what makes it so special? It’s the AERIS insulation, developed and patented by Fortress that gives this hoodie the versatility.
The jacket also has a mesh lining that will wick away moisture if you sweat or become submerged. The jacket is designed to keep you warm, even if you do get wet. How cool is that? The hoodie also features raglan sleeves to allow you to move your arms with ease and comfort. Pros: rated for a wide range of temperatures, keeps you warm-even when wet, well designed hood, rib cuffs to keep weather away. Cons: May need a shell in inclement weather. Price about: $229
If the mountains are calling and you must go. Go. Right now. And take this jacket with you! The Topley Jacket by Patagonia is a packed with 600 fill-recycled down. The company is big on protecting the environment and keeping its waste to a minimum. This coat is not only warm, but its environmentally conscious as well. The outer shell is waterproof, breathable and moves with your body.
The jacket is designed for everyday wear and short expeditions into the wilderness. The insulated and removable hood keep your head warm and you can take it off, weather permitting. Oversized pockets with waterproof zippers make this an all around excellent warm winter coat. Pros: the jacket is insulated with 600 fill down, warm, waterproof, breathable, great oversized pockets for wallet and cell phone, waterproof zippers. Cons: may not be suitable for sub-zero temperatures. Price about: $399.
The Micro Puff Hoody is one of the warmest, lightweight jackets Patagonia has ever created. The jacket is made with a “revolutionary” synthetic insulation that mimics the warmth of down, but without the price about tag. The unique stitching on this jacket, mean you get an even distribution of warmth! Double plus! the shell of the jacket is water-resistant and windproof. It’s also treated with a durable water repellent finish. Pros: lightweight, left pocket doubles as a stuff sack, durable zippers, nice hood, warm. Cons: may need a shell for severe wet weather. Price about: $299
If you are looking for an affordable winter coat this is a great choice! This jacket is designed to be worn around town, a football game or working around the house in the fall. It’s made with a water-resistant and windproof outer shell. The coat is rated to keep you warm in 15 degrees F to -35 degrees F depending on your activity level.
The company ranks this jacket as a light activity coat. The jacket is longer than most winter coats-falling just about the knee. The inside of the jacket is insulted with special fleece lining for extra warmth and comfort. Pros: Really warm, comfort in a wide range of temperatures, water and wind resistant. Cons: not for high activity. Price about: $129
The Patagonia Men’s Hyper Puff Jacket is designed to keep you warm during the harshest winter weather conditions. Sleet, ice, rain and snow don’t stand a chance in this synthetic insulated jacket. The coat is lightweight and made with a water-resistant, windproof outer shell. The shell is also treated with a durable water repellent finish to keep wet weather from penetrating. Patagonia also uses special quilting patterns to maximize the warmth of the jacket.
Pros: warm, synthetic insulation, moves with body, weather resistant, keeps wind away, full coverage hood, elastic cuffs! Cons: May need another shell in severe weather. Price about: $149
REI is a national outdoor gear retailer with its own clothing line. The company started in Seattle decades ago and has since developed a cult like customer base. Cult, in a good way- not in a Kool-Aid kind of way. Back to the jacket. This puffy jacket is filled with 850 fill down. So, you know it’s going to be warm-really warm as a matter of fact. Plus, the jacket is waterproof and breathable. This special outer shell will prevent the down from getting wet- which means you will stay dry and warm at all times.
Not only is the shell waterproof, but the insulation itself has been treated with a durable water repellent finish to repel water, if it gets wet. The jacket also features vents in the arm pits to prevent overheating- no need to take your coat off, just unzip and you’re on your way! Pros: it’s lightweight, warmth evenly distributed, waterproof, breathable, adjustable cuffs, 850 fill. Cons: isn’t as breathable as some may like. Price about: $249
If you need a little more coverage for sitting in cold stadiums or a cold chair lift- the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Parka is all you’ll need to stay warm. This is a jacket you could literally wear 9 months out of the year, especially if you live in a climate where there are truly four seasons. The jacket is lightweight, yet still boosts an impressive 650 fill down count.
The shell of the coat is wind resistant and has been treated with a durable water repellent finish. An insulated hood keeps weather and wind at bay, while wrapping your hood in a soft sleeping bag like material. Pros: lightweight, really warm, hits just above the knees. Cons: won’t hold up in extreme wet weather. Price about: $139
The Columbia TurboDown jacket is designed to keep you warm on the most extreme mountain tops and while walking your dog in the park. The sleek fit, makes it an everyday jacket you will want to throw on while running out the door. At the same time, this is the coat to pack when you are headed into the mountains. The jacket is packed with 900 fill down power, plus a special proprietary synthetic Omni Heat Insulation as well. The jacket is also lined inside with special reflective material- like tiny silver dots, that are designed to reflect your body heat back to your body.
What will they think of next? The shell is also waterproof and breathable to keep wet weather away. Pros: really warm, well made, high quality material, waterproof and breathable. Cons: may be too bulky for some activities. Price about: $469
This jacket is for the outdoor enthusiast who wants to make a fashion statement without sacrificing warmth. The jacket is made with 550 fill down and a waterproof, breathable shell to keep weather away from you! This means you can enjoy walking in the snow, but you don’t have to feel it! The jacket hits right above the knees, keeping your legs and other areas covered and protected from the cold weather as well! The jacket is made to trap heat and keep it close to your body! Pros: lifetime guarantee, warm, high quality material, great for low intense activities, insulated faux fur hood. Cons: not suitable for extreme wet weather. Price about: $249
Rab is rad at making warm winter coats. The company is well known for making high quality outdoor gear that will withstand whatever Mother Nature has up her sleeves! This jacket is packed with 800 fill count goose down. The insulation is also treated with a special water-resistant material to keep it from getting soaked in the event you encounter extreme wet snow. The jacket is designed for light mountaineering and other alpine conditions. The zippers on this jacket are all waterproof- there’s no chance rain or snow are getting in there! Pros: warm, water-resistant, water repellent down insulation, waterproof zippers. Cons: too bulky for everyday wear. Price about: $375.