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Finding the perfect winter jacket is not an easy search: There are so many options out there for whatever climate and aesthetic you’re going for, from smart, fashion-forward minimalist coats to heavy-duty jackets built to ward off weather in even the most extreme conditions. There’s a fine line to strike with your pick of winter jacket, too: You shouldn’t shop for the warmest jacket possible if you live in a more mild climate — there is a such a thing as too much coat; likewise, if you live in a climate that varies wildly in temperature and precipitation during the winter months, you might want a three-in-one coat that gives you greater versatility and layering options.
To help you get started finding the right winter jacket, we at TripSavvy have done the hard work of finding the best budget, kids, and plus-size coats — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve rounded up the best below, with an emphasis on quality pieces that are built to last for this winter and many more to come. Read on to see what made the list.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Arc’teryx Atom Hoody
It’s hard to define what, exactly, the very best winter jacket is — after all, climate and weather, as well as aesthetics, can all play a huge part in what you need from a jacket and your experience of it. However, for a good all-rounder that’s not too much of a hit on the wallet, Arc’teryx’s Hoody is a great choice for wearers who keep active in the cold (so good, in fact, that everyone at the company’s head office owns one). The Coreloft insulation is tucked throughout the horse, arms, and hood, while under the arms there’s plenty of stretch with breathability built right into the Polartec fabric. The taffeta outer, even with its water-resistant finish, isn’t going to be great in heavy precipitation, but on lighter days or in dry weather, this jacket is fine as an outer later. However, it’s also designed to be thin enough to use as a midlayer if you need to throw a shell on over it — making this a great choice for mild winter days.
It's also available for men here.
Best Budget: The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket
This excellent lightweight winter jacket from The North Face is a strong contender for the best winter jacket money can buy — without spending all of it, that is. Winter jackets can run super-expensive for the best of the best, but this moderately priced water-resistant jacket holds up in wind, sleet, snow, and rain, and the 15D ripstop nylon means it will hold up for more than a few seasons of use. The ThermoBall in the jacket’s name refers to The North Face’s proprietary partnership with Primaloft: The fibers in this jacket are designed to mimic down, so you get all the warmth (one study says equal to 600 fill-power goose down) without all the bulk — and because it’s synthetic, even if the jacket gets damp, it’ll still retain its loft. It performs best in mild winter temperatures (around 40 degrees), but get a size up if you want to be able to add layers. P.S. It’s our favorite pick for little ones, too.
It's available for women here.
Best for Men Arc'teryx Camosun Parka
Called “near perfect” by top winter-gear reviewing sites, the Camosun from Arc’teryx — a company that leads the way when it comes to outdoor gear — is arguably one of the very best winter jackets out there for men. It has N150p-x GORE-TEX fabric with two layers of PacLite that keep the snow and rain out and the air circulating, while insulation is strategically bolstered in areas most likely to feel cold and lose heat: 750 fill-power goose down is placed in the core and sleeves, while synthetic fill is used where the body is most likely to hit some moisture (elbows, under the arms, hood). The jacket also does a great job holding up against the wind — even strong winter gusts won’t get through this. We like the fact that the hood is removable if you want to rock your own hat — and we also love the sleek minimalist styling that makes this jacket just as sharp for the office as it is technical for sportier settings.
Best for Women: Canada Goose Kensington Parka Coat
Yes, it’s expensive — but this is an investment jacket that will likely last you for more than a few winters to come. Canada Goose makes some incredibly warm jackets, and this one carries on the brand’s tradition with plush but light 625 fill-power duck down filling and a fleece-lined, down-filled hood that comes complete with a coyote-fur trim (which can be removed for a sportier look). Outdoor gear websites rate this jacket as the best a woman can buy and users rave that it’s warm enough for Moscow winters (that’s comfort in temps down to about -15 degrees Fahrenheit), and doesn’t flag in windy or wet weather. The adjustable tabs on the waist are a nice bonus feature that lets users cinch it tighter for extra close-to-the-body warmth. And if you really need more fodder for justifying this purchase, we like that the styling is rugged enough for the trail but more than chic enough for a night out on the town, thanks to its slimmer silhouette than most down jackets.
Best Plus Size: Columbia Women’s Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket
Columbia is one of the best — and most reasonably priced — winter jacket manufacturers out there, and their Heavenly jacket will have you feeling just that. It’s really warm, thanks to the brand’s proprietary Omni-Heat Thermal insulation with synthetic down lining, which will stay lofty even in damp weather — users report wearing it in below-freezing temps with a flannel shirt underneath and staying toasty. However, even with the synthetic insulation, it still packs down tightly, so if you’re heading to a colder destination from a warmer home, it won’t take up too much room in the suitcase. One of the best parts, however, is the length: The top-of-thigh hem keeps your hips and bum covered and warm, unlike shorter down jackets that are a little more common. We also like all the ways to adjust this jacket for protection against drafts: You can draw in the hem and cuffs for greater comfort and to keep cold from sneaking in.
Best for Extreme Cold: Canada Goose Expedition Parka
Canada Goose is one of the best names in the biz — and yep, it comes with a price tag. This, however, is the iconic brand’s warmest coat, made for temperatures -25 degrees Fahrenheit and below. Inside, the coat has 625 fill-power duck down to keep wearers warm, plus an incredible hood so that your head doesn’t lose heat. Wind, sleet, and snow is kept from permeating the jacket’s fabric thanks to the Arctic Tech outer shell. (We also like the 10 exterior pockets — plus one interior — that keep valuables safe thanks to zipper and velcro closures.) Just because it’s insanely warm doesn’t mean it’s meant for everyone, however — if you consistently live or work in below-freezing temps, then go for it; if you just need a winter coat for your commute, this might be a little too much jacket for you. Users rave about the coat but suggest going down a size — even two — as the coat tends to run large (even considering base layers).
It's also available for women here.
Best for Kids: North Face Thermoball
The full-zip version of this North Face synthetic down jacket (and no, there’s no reason girls couldn’t wear this) is toasty and breathable — two things you definitely want when you’re buying a winter jacket for your active kid. Independent gear reviewers love how light and compressible the PrimaLoft insulation is, as well as the brand’s proprietary ThermoBall technology, which is designed into the jacket to ward off water and, should rain or snow hit, dry extremely quickly. We like the drop-tail hem that provides extra protection when kids sit down and how it packs down into its own pocket, as well as the reflective strips that keep your kid spottable when the sun starts to set early in the day. And because aesthetics are important, we like how the modern quilting is both sporty and smart. It does run a bit small, so size up — especially if you want room for base layers.
It's also available for girls here.
Best for Travel: Canada Goose HyBridge Lite Down Jacket
Yes, it’s expensive — but it’s hard to beat the temptation of a down jacket at this slim of a silhouette — and a great bonus feature that’s great for travelers who frequently travel to and from colder climes. If you’re heading by plane or have a long car, train, or bus ride ahead of you, you can pack the jacket down into its own pocket, winding up with a bundle about the size of a grapefruit (you can even clip it onto your harness). The jacket is incredibly light — it weighs around 12 ounces — but it delivers enough warmth to ward off a chilly November day, thanks to 800 fill-power, responsibly sourced goose down. For super-cold climates, it’s easily layerable with a snug shirt underneath. The downside is it’s not great with wind or rain (which you think it would be, given the price tag), so if you’re spending time somewhere gusty or drizzly, this might not be the right jacket for you.
It's also available for women here.
Best Three-Season Jacket: Helly Hansen Squamish CIS (3-in-1) Rain Jacket
Helly Hansen is a Norwegian brand known for great coats and jackets made for the mountains and the ocean, so you can bet the company knows how to keep wearers dry and toasty. This rain jacket will do the job during chilly spring days, crisp fall ones, and cold winter ones — just add and remove the inner fleece lining from the outer weather-resistant shell as necessary. It’s also engineered with Helly Tech Protection, which is water- and windproof, but also plenty breathable to keep air circulating. Designed, like all Helly Hansen coats, for active usage, we appreciate the details that have gone into this coat’s design: For example, there’s velcro on the hood so you can adjust it to sit further forward or backward (this is especially helpful for those that tend to wear their hair up). You can actually expand on the jacket’s potential as the inner jacket is compatible and interchangeable with all mid-layers from the brand’s CIS line.
It's also available for men here.
Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular winter coats on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 32 different coats overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers and read over 60 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.