Where We Tested
We tested each of these winter jackets in stormy winter weather, wet and rainy days, and out in the bluebird sun. We wandered around Lake Tahoe, California, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at large, and the Pacific Northwest around Mount Baker.
Whenever we left the house, we wore a different jacket and often carried a few extra. We switched them out in the same conditions to get more direct comparisons. From early morning commutes to bitterly cold walks with friends, we wore these jackets regularly for months.
To get a sense of how these jackets worked in the worst conditions, we test late at night and early in the morning. Storms, below-freezing temperatures, and wintery mixes helped us test every aspect of these coats. We also wore different layers, from t-shirts to fleeces and long-underwear to test warmth. We also laid in a snowbank for five minutes in each coat to see how much cold seeps through. It's not a perfect test, since compressed down doesn't work well, but it gave us some useful information. We walked around to warm up between jackets.
We wore these jackets in wet and sloppy weather and switched between them on windy days to see which block the most wind. While we spent time in each coat outside in stormy weather, we wanted to see how each model performed in a torrential downpour.
We hopped in the shower in each one for four minutes. We noted when the fabric started saturating and if any water made it all the way through. We changed our t-shirts between rounds so we could see exactly where the water infiltrated.
We tested each winter jacket with various layers to examine the fit and mobility of each one. We took notes every time we wore one about how comfortable it felt and if we had any issues wearing it.
We had all our friends pull these on to get a sense of their fit across body types and to get more opinions on their style. We compared notes about any compliments we got and how we felt wearing the jacket to determine style rankings.
We also examined each jacket's small details — from zippers to fabrics to pockets liners and ruff quality. We also read reviews to help us determine our durability scores.