The Best Men's Winter Jackets of 2017

We loved the burly shell fabric of the Canada Goose for hard-working chores in brutal cold temps.
Time to replace your winter jacket? Our review team surveyed the vast market options, considering 70+ popular models before testing the 14 best products side by side in the cold for three months. From clearing snow-filled driveways to heading to work in soggy storms to collecting firewood, we wore these jackets all winter. In addition to field experiences, our experts designed tests to find the limits of each model. We checked which jackets offer the most protection from the bitter elements wet or dry, abused them to find durability issues, and took opinion polls on their style. Whether you're looking for casual or technical, a great bargain, or protection in wet and dreary conditions, this review guides you to the ideal jacket for warmth in the cold.

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Test Results and Ratings

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Analysis and Award Winners


Review by:
Jediah Porter
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Wednesday
July 12, 2017

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Updated July 2017
With summertime upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, winter might be the last thing on your mind. However, if you foresee yourself needing a new winter jacket this year, now is a great time to buy. Most manufacturers and retailers offer their winter collections at large discounts this time of year with savings up to $100 or more for some jackets. The purchase links provided in this review help you find the lowest prices across multiple online retailers.

The Best Overall


Arc'teryx Camosun Parka


camosun parka Editors' Choice Award

$421.85
at Backcountry
See It

Long-lasting
Good looks
Great protection from inclement weather
Noisy, stiff shell
Beating out the competition in 2017 is the Arc'teryx Camosun Parka. In all winter conditions, from hard sleet to snow to assaulting winds to bitter cold, this model keeps you well-protected. Its stylish looks are ready for chilly jaunts around town, too. With this model, you'll look good no matter what harsh weather conditions you find yourself in. The Arc'teryx designers employed high-quality goose down in key areas where warmth is paramount, and strategically placed synthetic fiber insulation where higher than average moisture exposure is expected, such as on the hood, shoulders, and cuffs. It wasn't the absolute warmest and doesn't qualify as formal attire, but the overall solid performance of the Camosun in all of our test metrics that it became the model we reached for the most.

Read full review: Arc'teryx Camosun Parka

Best Bang for the Buck, Overall


Marmot Fordham


Marmot Fordham Down Jacket Best Buy Award

$161.83
at Backcountry
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Solid construction
Awesome comfort
Sufficiently warm
Not our wet-weather favorite
Low in price yet high quality in construction and materials, the Marmot Fordham earns a Best Buy Award. It delivers a fashionable coat that keeps you warm and dry using a waterproof exterior insulated with goose down. The Fordham has some features that impressed us for such an inexpensive jacket, like a comfortable cut and abundance of pockets. It's available in a range of colors so you can decide what suits you best. Comfortable and cozy, the Marmot Fordham gets you through the winter and last you for a long time at a reasonable cost. At a nice price of $200, the Marmot Fordham Vest may make for an excellent layering piece.

Read full review: Marmot Fordham

Best Bang for the Buck, Coldest Conditions


The North Face McMurdo II Parka


The North Face McMurdo II Down Parka Best Buy Award

$230.99
at MooseJaw
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Toasty
Extended hem
Cumbersome
If your winters aren't "normal," your jacket needs to be above average, too. We can't all afford the $1000 Top Pick for Extreme Cold, the Canada Goose Expedition Parka, but the price of The North Face McMurdo II is reasonable. At a third of the cost of the Canada Goose, but almost as warm, this is an easy choice for a second Best Buy Award. For northerly latitudes, and the coldest days, the McMurdo's down insulation, long cut, and generous hood combine to protect in day-to-day life; all under a competitive price tag.

Read full review: The North Face McMurdo II

Top Pick for Extreme Cold


Canada Goose Expedition Parka


Canada Goose Expedition Down Parka Top Pick Award

$925.00
at Backcountry
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Brings the heat!
Nice organization
Useful features
Large
Overkill for some climates
High price tag
While bitter cold, feet of snow, and icy sidewalks may not describe winter for some, for those living in the northern latitudes in the Midwest, East Coast and Alaska, there is a need for a winter-specific jacket that protects you from prolonged sub-freezing temperatures. Enter the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. This parka is the pinnacle of warmth, has abundant features, and is the coziest jacket reviewed. All these traits come at a cost though, and besides being the bulkiest and heaviest parka reviewed, it is also the most expensive. This is a parka for the specific needs of the coldest weather, designed with Arctic and Antarctic applications in mind. On that note, a special Polar Bears International (PBI) edition is available called the Canada Goose PBI Expedition Parka. This jacket comes in a special royal blue color, has a polar bear patch on the shoulder and is an extra $50. A portion of the sales goes to PBI and their mission of saving the polar bears and their habitats.

Read full review: Canada Goose Expedition Parka

Top Pick for Wet and Dreary Weather


Arcteryx Fission SV


Arcteryx Men's Fission SV Top Pick Award

$421.99
at MooseJaw
See It

Stellar in soggy, cold conditions
Keeps hands warm
Synthetic insulation lacks durability
Extreme weather isn't just the lowest temperatures. Sometimes it's bone-chilling rain and sleet. In shoulder seasons and moderate latitudes, this version of winter is all too common. We want to remember the crisp cold, but it is the drearier days that often dominate in certain locales. For those conditions, the waterproof shell, bomber design and seals, and synthetic insulation of the Arc'teryx Fission SV is just the ticket. There are warmer jackets in our review, but there are none as well-suited to cold, wet weather. For a lightweight ski jacket with similar qualities, check out our review of the Arc'teryx Fission SL.

Read full review: Arc'teryx Fission SV

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
82
$649
Editors' Choice Award
Crème de la crème of winter coats -- This model outperformed the others overall.
80
$995
Top Pick Award
If you want the best jacket for the worst winter conditions, this is the one.
79
$330
Best Buy Award
Extreme cold weather protection with a relatively affordable price tag.
79
$649
Top Pick Award
If your winters are cool and wet, this expert in wet weather protection is a superb choice.
77
$325
Best Buy Award
A quality option at a reasonable price for general winter coat needs.
77
$549
Due to its removable two-layer system, this versatile model is great for changing temps, conditions, and activities.
74
$249
A casual, affordable jacket for mild winters and shoulder seasons.
71
$300
Not the warmest of the bunch, this jacket is suited for mild winters.
69
$299
A handsome model with a fair price tag, this jacket isn't built for extreme cold.
68
$375
Our favorite technical winter jacket is for alpine climbers and backcountry touring.
65
$350
If you want a winter coat to double as your skiing/snowboarding jacket, it's this one.
62
$169
Use it alone in cool conditions, or use it as an insulating layer when the temps plummet.
61
$260
A nice fit and slim look make this winter coat a solid option for city dwellers.
56
$165
Budget-friendly and athletic, this model covers the basics but nothing more.

Analysis and Test Results


The above table details the Overall Performance score of each winter jacket reviewed. Read on for specifics on each metric that helped comprise this overall score.

We tested these jackets in winter conditions and then rated them on the following criteria: warmth  weather resistance  comfort  features  style  and durability.
We tested these jackets in winter conditions and then rated them on the following criteria: warmth, weather resistance, comfort, features, style, and durability.

Warmth


Warmth is the most important metric we used to rank these winter jackets. Warmth is determined by the amount of insulation, no matter if it is down or synthetic insulation. The more insulation a jacket contains, the more loft it provides. We looked at the fill weight to determine how much insulation each winter jacket had, and then compared that weight to the cut and length to see how that insulation was distributed. If we have two jackets with an equal fill weight of 10 ounces, but one has a waist length hem while the other has a mid-thigh length hem, these two jackets are not equally warm.


As we discuss more in our Buying Advice article, the higher the down's fill power number, the higher the quality of the down feathers. This translates into lighter down and more compression. The amount of insulation, not the quality, is what determines a jacket's warmth. The Rab Neutrino Endurance features high quality, 800-fill down to keep the weight down and packable size small. The rest of the down insulated parkas feature down below 750 all the way down to 550-fill for The North Face Gotham II Jacket.

This number should not dissuade shoppers, though, as the casual parka can get away with using a heavier down product than a technical parka that you might be carrying in your backpack with you. The Canada Goose Expedition Parka has an average quality 625-fill down, but it has so much that it was the warmest model reviewed. The [[Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka also kept us warm, as did the Arc'teryx Camosun Parka. Competing with the warmest jackets in our review, the Mountain Hardwear Therminator deserves mention. It is the warmest synthetic insulated piece reviewed. After the Canada Goose jacket, the next warmest earned a Best Buy award. The North Face McMurdo** is nearly an expedition parka, with the price tag of a casual jacket.

On the whole, except for the Mountain Hardwear version, the synthetically insulated models tested were not as warm as the down models. The Arc'teryx Fission SV and Helly Hansen Dubliner were less warm than the down models reviewed. This is likely due to less insulation in the garments overall rather than a fault of the synthetic fibers, though it did reinforce the idea for us that if you are looking for warmth, opt for down. Some parkas reviewed feature a combination of down and synthetic insulation.

The Editors' Choice winning Arc'teryx Camosun uses a synthetic material in areas exposed to moisture, such as the shoulders and hood, and down in the core. The Columbia Gold 650 TurboDown Hooded Jacket contains a mixture of 550-fill down and an additional 100 grams of synthetic fiber. Columbia used its proprietary OmniHeat fabric to line the inside of the parka, which gives it an emergency blanket feel. This fabric may add warmth without much weight, but we have not independently tested it. We do feel as though the TurboDown Jacket was warmer than other, similar thickness jackets, in a given temperature range.

Our Editors' Choice winner  Arc'teryx Camosun Parka  is very warm despite its slim appearance  thanks to body-mapped down and synthetic insulation.
Our Editors' Choice winner, Arc'teryx Camosun Parka, is very warm despite its slim appearance, thanks to body-mapped down and synthetic insulation.

Finally, regarding warmth, the pile insulated jackets are the least insulating products reviewed. Well-suited to more moderate climates, the Patagonia Isthmus and Fjallraven Greenland are durable and stylish, insulated with synthetic fleece, that just don't stack up to the rest of the field in terms of warmth.

Weather Resistance


Since all of the parkas feature insulation, and 8 out of 13 use at least some down fill, we need a weather-resistant outer fabric to protect ourselves from winter weather but also to protect the insulation from becoming wet. All of the parkas have some resistant fabric, from basic durable water resistant (DWR) coated nylon to a fully waterproof membrane with taped seams, but they have a wide degree of resistance to soaking through, depending on the weather.


No matter if you choose a DWR treated material or a layered shell like Gore-Tex, proper care is essential for it to stay waterproof. Use of detergents strip the waterproof treatment from the fabric, so go for a DWR or Gore-Tex specific cleaner, then a wash-in or spray-on waterproofing to restore your winter jacket's weather resistance.

If you live in a low elevation or low latitude area where the winter precipitation tends to fall as rain rather than snow, look at a parka with a waterproof outer shell, such as the Patagonia Tres with its H2NO fabric, or the Arc'teryx Fission SV that uses Gore-Tex. These waterproof/breathable fabrics shed water quicker and for a longer duration than a typical DWR treatment. But, if you wear your jacket in lower temperatures where it tends to snow, then the parkas with DWR treatments such as the Canada Goose Expedition Parka, or the Rab Neutrino Endurance are more than adequately protected.

The Rab Neutrino Endurance  and other DWR coated parkas  shed water well  though not as well as two- and three-layer membranes.
The Rab Neutrino Endurance, and other DWR coated parkas, shed water well, though not as well as two- and three-layer membranes.

Special mention must be made here of the shell fabric of the Fjallraven Greenland jacket. The cotton/poly blend is a traditional shell material that requires more maintenance than the nylon shell materials on the other jackets. Fjallraven sells a special "Greenland Wax" that is used to treat the fabric for water resistance and durability. You can modulate the amount of treatment applied in the interest of tailoring your protection.

The Rab Neutrino Endurance uses hydrophobic, coated down feathers, which will not save the jacket from soaking through in the event of a downpour, but can add a bit more latitude in going out in wetter weather.

Even though a jacket might claim to be waterproof, make sure that the seams are fully taped. Why? When a shell jacket is put together, it is stitched through (or in some cases welded together using high-frequency microwave technology). This stitching leaves small holes in the fabric, and if they are not taped, they become an easy entry for moisture.

Comfort


Wintertime is uncomfortable enough for many, so don't put on an uncomfortable winter parka, too. Most of the models reviewed have added in extra ways to make braving the cold and wind more forgiving.


Fleece lining on the inside of the pockets and where the chin flap meets the face add coziness to the parka. The North Face Gotham and McMurdo parkas, as well as Helly Hansen Dubliner Parka and the Canada Goose Expedition, include a fur (or faux fur) hood trim. When cinched tight it makes you feel like you are at home in front of the fire. The cut of the parka also keeps comfort in mind. A meticulously designed jacket like the Arc'teryx Camosun Parka is going to fit your body better than some of the other square-cut designs, and the longer hem, which many of these parkas use, keeps the waist from riding up and exposing you to drafts.

The more comfortable parkas reviewed, like the Arc'teryx Camosun, also have elastic rib knit cuffs, which seal out drafts and snow the best. In assessing the comfort of various products, we found a general correlation between cost and comfort. More expensive jackets use softer materials and tailoring to achieve maximum comfort. A notable exception, however, is our Best Buy Marmot Fordham. At a bargain price, every tester who tried on the Fordham was impressed to find its basic, initial comfort to exceed that of the competition. The only more comfortable jacket was the REI Stratocloud Hoodie, which is more of a specific function "down sweater" than it is a full-featured winter jacket. The Stratocloud is comfy, but it requires a separate shell layer for full protection.

The integrated stretchy liner that is sewn to the sleeve on the Camosun prevents any air or moisture from sneaking inside. This feature greatly adds to the comfort of this jacket.
The integrated stretchy liner that is sewn to the sleeve on the Camosun prevents any air or moisture from sneaking inside. This feature greatly adds to the comfort of this jacket.

Features


It is the addition of winter-specific features that have already set the jackets in this review apart from the rest. Features such as a hood, multiple hand pockets, two-way zippers, and thought out cuff closures are important attributes of a good winter jacket. A hood is mandatory during nasty winter weather, and while it is not a substitute for a warm hat, a hood makes life a lot nicer.


Only the non-hooded version of the Columbia Turbo Down (we have, over the years, tested both hooded and non-hooded versions) does not come with any hood, meaning that a warm hat is necessary. Additional hood adjustments to get a customizable and secure fit are necessary for a well-rounded parka. The best hood in our test is on the chart-topping Canada Goose. The hood is warm - it's also large, but can be cinched down securely and comfortably, and the stiffness of the brim keeps it all but out of your view.

A salient attribute of the McMurdo is the integrated neck gaiter. This flap of fabric lives unobtrusively against the hood until you need it. Then  it is indispensable.
A salient attribute of the McMurdo is the integrated neck gaiter. This flap of fabric lives unobtrusively against the hood until you need it. Then, it is indispensable.

Handwarmer pockets are a good place to keep cold hands or to keep gloves, and most have a fleecy liner. The best hand-warmers are on the Arc'teryx jackets. Both of these award winners feature fully insulated hand warmer pockets with fleece lining the fabric the back of your hand touches. There is insulation between your hand and body, and between your hand and the outdoors. This not only means that your hand is insulated while in the pocket, but that there is no draft when the pocket is open. The next best hand warmer pockets, like those on the Therminator, put the user's hand between the insulation and the wearer's body.

Finally, while better than nothing, we wish for a more sophisticated design than the jackets that feature a single layer of fabric protecting the hands in a warming pocket. The Canada Goose and Patagonia Tres, for instance, both have uninsulated hand pockets. Special mention must be made of the hand warmer pockets on our Best Buy, The North Face McMurdo II. The pockets are uninsulated, but they are fleece-lined and there are four of them! With a set at chest level and waist level, there is a hand warming option for every posture.

When wearing a trench-coat-length parka, the need for two-way zippers becomes apparent as the long length can inhibit stride, and wearing a long coat while seated can be awkward and uncomfortable without this feature. Cuff closures can be simple elastic closures, a snap closure, or Velcro, but a good winter parka needs to allow you to seal out the snow and cold and to enable you to use gloves. Open cuffs with interior gaskets, like on the Patagonia Wanaka Down, combine fashion and function.

Other features that may be important to you are internal phone pockets with headphone ports, snow skirts to seal out the cold, or built-in face warmers. We liked the features on the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. It has almost a dozen pockets, a snow skirt, and a drawcord waist, not to mention a fur trimmed hood. We also liked the features on both The North Face Gotham II Jacket and our Best Buy Marmot Fordham. Both come with an array of pockets, including an internal Napoleon pocket that has a headphone channel so your electronics stay dry. The Gotham and McMurdo jackets add removable fur hood lining and unique integrated face mask/neck gaiter. Other jackets, like the Columbia Gold 650 TurboDown and REI Stratocloud, were bare-bones models with little more than two hand pockets.
The McMurdo has both chest mounted hand warmers  as used here  and waist level ones.
The McMurdo has both chest mounted hand warmers, as used here, and waist level ones.

The Mountain Hardwear Therminator leads the pack in features. With a full suite of pockets, great hood and cuff seals, and an integrated powder skirt, we can't ask for any more features.

Style


Style is personal, and we allow our personalities to show through some of our clothing choices, including a winter jacket. This review includes parkas that could be worn from a nice restaurant to a Broadway show, and ones that look clean and simple, but are more at home walking the dog or taking the gondola. We have already talked about the differences between technical and casual parkas, and while technical jackets might be at home in the mountains, they are easily worn in urban settings and can let some of your outdoorsy personality show through. Casual urban parkas don't usually work the other way, though, as they may be missing crucial elements for safe winter adventuring, such as hoods or waterproofing.


Most of the models reviewed have a longer cut, which adds warmth and weather resistance, giving a different look than the waist-length athletic cuts that most of the backcountry-inspired jackets have. We liked the style of the Patagonia Isthmus and Arc'teryx Camosun, which are both stylish enough to dress up with but can be worn while snowshoeing or ice skating and still perform well.

In the wild or around town  the look of the Camosun is smooth and clean.
In the wild or around town, the look of the Camosun is smooth and clean.

The technical Rab Neutrino is a different style than the city cut of the Fjallraven Greenland. The snowboarder-inspired Mountain Hardwear Therminator contrasts with the practical bulk of the Canada Goose. The Marmot Fordham and Patagonia Tres are neutral products. Across the board, we tested different "looks" to find something for everyone.

One reviewer commented that the form fitting cut of the Dubliner appeared a bit feminine.
One reviewer commented that the form fitting cut of the Dubliner appeared a bit feminine.

Durability


With few exceptions, quality winter outerwear is not inexpensive. For a quality winter parka, expect to make an investment, but expect that investment to pay off for a few years of consistent use, depending on the activity. Are you going to be in contact with razor sharp winter climbing gear, like ice axes, or will you only be using the parka to get from home to the bus stop during the winter? After investing a large sum of money in a winter jacket, we want to feel like our investment is protected, so we like the lifetime guarantees of companies like Canada Goose and Patagonia, who stand by the craftsmanship and materials of their products.


One of the most important things we looked at is outer fabric. The heavier duty, canvas-like outer material of The North Face Gotham II withstands more abuse than the thinner Pertex shell of the Rab Neutrino or the whisper thin shell of the REI Stratocloud. Zippers, snaps, and Velcro receive a lot of wear as well, so we looked at these closures to make sure they were durable enough. We gave our highest score in this category to the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. The large zippers, durable outer material, and solid construction make this jacket last. We were concerned about the durability of the technical models tested. These are used around sharp ice climbing tools, and the thin shells on the Rab Neutrino Endurance and Columbia Turbo Down don't hold up well to a wayward ice screw or axe.

We loved the burly shell fabric of the Canada Goose for hard-working chores in brutal cold temps.
We loved the burly shell fabric of the Canada Goose for hard-working chores in brutal cold temps.

Accessories


Even with a hood and insulated pockets, a pair of gloves and a hat may be a good idea. Consider the Bird Head Toque and the Outdoor Research Sueno Beanie to prevent heat loss.

For gloves, check out our review of The Best Ski Gloves.

Conclusion


We put 14 top rated winter jackets to the test to help you find the best one  whether you're commuting to work  hanging in a mountain town or heading out into the backcountry. We rated each model on its warmth  weather resistance  comfort  features  style  and durability.
We put 14 top rated winter jackets to the test to help you find the best one, whether you're commuting to work, hanging in a mountain town or heading out into the backcountry. We rated each model on its warmth, weather resistance, comfort, features, style, and durability.
A good jacket in this category protects you from winter's harsh elements by keeping you warm and dry. The challenge is finding the right type of jacket for your individual needs. Depending on your location and lifestyle, you may be in the market for something casual and stylish to keep you warm when going outside, or you may be looking for something more technical with features designed for an athletic lifestyle. Regardless of your preference, we hope that this review has helped you find the best for you. Check out our Buying Advice article for more detailed advice on sorting through the different types of jackets available.
Jediah Porter

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