The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

How We Tested Winter Jacket for Women

Thursday February 18, 2021
Part of our test team mucking around at Mount Baker.
Part of our test team mucking around at Mount Baker.
Photo: Austin Trigg

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, in the Pacific Northwest around Mount Baker, and around Jay Peak in Vermont.

Testing Process


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.

We hung out by the tailgate much longer in this snowstorm thanks to...
We hung out by the tailgate much longer in this snowstorm thanks to these protective coats.
Photo: Clark Tate

Warmth


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.

For one test, we stood outside in below freezing temps for 10 minutes and took surface temperatures around the jacket with a laser thermometer to look for leaking warmth.

Nothing like standing in the shower for half an hour and taking...
Nothing like standing in the shower for half an hour and taking notes on it. Fun times!
Photo: Clark Tate

Weather Resistance


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 weren't afraid to get soaked in these jackets to really determine...
We weren't afraid to get soaked in these jackets to really determine which ones were the most waterproof.
Photo: Bevan Waite

We hopped in the shower in each one for two and a half 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.

Comfort


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.

Style arguments can get ugly.
Style arguments can get ugly.
Photo: Austin Trigg

Style


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.

Durability


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.

Photo: Clark Tate