The best winter jackets for 2023

A solid winter jacket will help you get the most out of your favorite cold-weather activities.

Best men's overall

The North Face McMurdo Parka

The North Face McMurdo Parka

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Best stylish for women

Rossclair Parka Heritage

Canada Goose Women's Rossclair Parka

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Best budget

A man wearing a long thick winter jacket in a light grey color and posing with it.

Columbia Horizons Pine Interchange Jacket

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It’s always winter in some hemisphere, so it’s a good idea to supply yourself with a fantastic jacket to keep you warm wherever and whenever you might need it. An absolute essential for anyone who lives in or travels to a colder climate, the best winter jacket will mesh well with your personal style while providing top-notch protection from wind, rain, sleet, and snow. Whether you are looking for a lightweight running jacket, a simple, stylish parka jacket for errands, or a down-filled design perfect for vacations exploring the backcountry, you want to find the best blend of form and function. Plenty of options are available, so we’ve curated this selection to help you find the best winter coats to add to your wardrobe.

How we chose the best winter jackets

When choosing the best winter jacket for you, the most important thing to consider is climate, followed closely by activity. You’ll likely have to choose between a casual or performance coat. Casual winter clothing is designed for errands, walks about town, or keeping warm during your commute to work. These coats might be a bit heavier, but they are super warm and crafted with style and silhouette in mind. A performance jacket is designed for athletic activities like hiking, running, or cycling. They are lightweight and will provide increased mobility while protecting for long periods in the cold. For example, if you live in a super snowy place and need a jacket suitable for a long hike, you’ll need a well-insulated waterproof model with a lightweight fill to keep you warm without dragging you down. If you live in a city with cold winds, a versatile jacket with a sleek shell and fur-lined hood is a stylish way to stay warm and keep the wind out of your eyes. 

The fill material and its effect on price is the next thing to consider. Winter jackets can be quite expensive, for a reason. They are your first line of defense for brutally cold days, offering excellent insulation and heat retention. Pricing can depend on many things, but one of the most common structures correlates to the fill material and power. A jacket’s fill is the material stuffed between the outer and inner layers, directly responsible for trapping heat and keeping out the cold. The most popular fill is down, which is the light undercoating that lies beneath the feathers of ducks and geese. Synthetic down is also available, typically made from ultrafine polyester fibers that perform well even when wet. Each jacket is given a fill-power number to reflect the loftiness of the down. The higher the fill power, the better the down will be at trapping air, generating an effective warmth-to-weight ratio, and quickly compressing when it’s time for summer storage. 

The best winter jackets: Reviews & Recommendations

Now that you’re prepped with the logistics, let’s dive deeper into our favorite picks and a few more tips for selecting the best winter jackets. We’ve also covered other winter gear—like the best heated gloves, socks, and insoles—so we know something about staying cozy in frigid situations.

Best men’s overall: The North Face McMurdo Parka

Warm and Waterproof

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Why it made the cut: A loose fit and 600-fill goose down makes for a warm and stylish jacket.

Specs

  • Material: Polyester
  • Insulation: 600-fill recycled down
  • Weather-proofing: Waterproof,
  • Machine washable: No, dry clean only

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Down fill for light warmth
  • Light

Cons

  • Dry clean only

The North Face McMurdo winter jacket will help you brave the elements during quick trips to the supermarket or longer excursions outdoors. It has a two-layer DryVent waterproof shell, 600-fill-power recycled down, and weighs a little over 3 pounds. The hood has an emergency gaiter to prevent any snow from sneaking in, plus the faux-fur trim is removable, so you can even customize your coat a bit. While North Face doesn’t have a women’s winter jacket that’s the exact same model, The North Face Arctic Parka II, shares many of the features of the men’s winter jacket, including fill power and DryVent technology.

Best women’s overall: The North Face Metropolis Parka III

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Why it made the cut: A fitted silhouette and 550-fill goose down make for a warm and stylish jacket.

Specs

  • Material: 100% recycled polyester plain weave with non-PFC durable water-repellent finish
  • Insulation: 550-fill goose-down
  • Weather-proofing: Water-repellent
  • Machine washable: No

Pros

  • Long design keeps you warmer
  • Removable hood
  • Collar lining is soft brushed-tricot
  • Very warm

Cons

  • Hood detaches too easily

A long jacket is the way to go if you want ultimate warmth. The North Face Women’s Metropolis offers an ideal length that keeps your tush and waist warm even as you move around. It helps keep the drafty, biting wind at bay as well. But it isn’t so long that it’s difficult to walk or move around in, which is ideal for your winter commutes or playing outside with your kids. 

This winter jacket uses 550-fill goose down for ultimate warmth. The down is certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which we like to see. The exterior is made with a water-repellent finish and 100 percent recycled materials. It will keep you dry and comfortable even during a strong snowstorm. The North Face lined the collar with a soft brushed-tricot material, which keeps your neck, chin, and cheeks from getting stretched or rubbed even when you have it zipped all the way up. 

There’s not much to dislike about this puffy. The main complaint is that the hood comes off too easily, which makes it liable to get lost. But if you want an all-around excellent winter jacket for those extra cold days, you can’t go wrong with this one. 

Best lightweight: Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie

Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie

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Why it made the cut: This super-lightweight jacket is insulated with merino wool that adjusts to your body temperature to keep you warm.

Specs

  • Material: Nylon, polyester
  • Insulation: Merino wool
  • Weather-proofing: Waterproof and wind-resistant
  • Machine-washable: Yes

Pros

  • Ultra lightweight
  • Insulation adjusts to body temperature
  • Comes in its own bag
  • Easy to pack

Cons

  • Not designed for super-cold conditions
  • Doesn’t cover lower body

Layering is one of the secrets of keeping warm in the winter, and the Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie is designed for just that. This extremely lightweight nylon jacket weighs just 10 ounces but is insulated with merino wool that adjusts to your body temperature to keep the heat in. The materials also make the jacket breathable and help wick moisture away. 

Designed with a hood you can pull tight around your face, this jacket is also water- and wind-resistant. Zipped pockets on the side and the interior help you keep your hands warm and your keys and phone safe from the elements. This jacket is comfortable to wear throughout the year, but keep in mind that it runs small, so you may want to go a size up if you plan to wear it over layers. 

The Aire hoodie comes in a cute bag that makes it easy to pack, and it’s available in seven colors: Aqua Blue, Black, Bloodstone, Midnight Navy, Deep Ocean Orange, Dark Green, and Evergreen.

Best for warmth: Nobis Supra Men’s Performance Puffer 

Best for warmth

Nobis Supra Men's Performance Puffer

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Why it made the cut: This jacket withstands temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring you’ll feel cozy in even the iciest of conditions.

Specs

  • Material: Polyester
  • Insulation: Duck down insulation
  • Weather-proofing: Windproof, waterproof
  • Machine washable: Yes

Pros

  • Underarm vent system
  • Performs in incredibly low temperature
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Hood is non-removable

The Supra Men’s Performance Puffer makes a great winter statement. Filled with premium Canadian Origin White Duck Down, down-filled hood and ribbed cuffs that seal in heat, this men’s winter jacket will keep you warm in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. The waterproof material will keep you dry during a snowstorm, and its seam seal tape beefs up its ability to protect you from the elements. Plus, a 10,000mm windproof laminated membrane fends off gusts and gales.

You can protect your phone or keys in its flap pockets at the waist or the zipped pocket on the left bicep. And there’s no need to spend extra money to maintain the jacket—just toss it in the washing machine. The men’s winter jacket is available in a variety of colorways so that you can find your perfect match. 

Best outdoor performance: Arc’teryx Gamma Lightweight Hoody

Trail Ready

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Why it made the cut: You don’t need a thick, bulky jacket to stay snug while hiking or running outdoors.

Specs

  • Material: Fortius DW 1.0 87% nylon/13% elastane
  • Insulation: None (soft shell)
  • Weather-proofing: Wind-resistant, water-repellent, UPF 50+
  • Machine washable: Yes

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Fabric is breathable and moves well
  • Durable materials
  • UPF 50+ protection

Cons

  • More water resistance would be ideal

If you’re moving around in the mountains, you won’t want a bulky winter jacket. Instead, layers are key. That’s where a shell like the Arc’teryx Gamma Lightweight Hoody comes in handy. This softshell jacket is breathable and lightweight for those warm, sunny winter days in the mountains. Then, when the temperature drops, the regular fit allows you to layer underneath for added warmth. 

The Gamma Lightweight Hoody is made of 43 percent recycled content. It stretches nicely, allowing you to move freely even when you have layers underneath. The Fortiu 1.0 softshell fabric is highly durable, making this a good choice for technical hikes on rugged terrain. It is wind resistant and provides UPF 50+ protection, an important feature for high alpine environments. The main downside is that this jacket is only water-repellent, not waterproof. You won’t want to get caught in extremely wet conditions with this one. But for treks that would benefit from layering, the Gamma Lightweight Hoody definitely fits the bill.

In general, if you’re off on an alpine adventure, Arc’Teyrx has protective, packable layers that have got your back (literally) from pavement to peak. For instance, the Alpha Lightweight Parka has RDS-certified 850-fill goose down warmth and a windproof, weather-resistant, breathable GORE-TEX INFINIUM with an abrasion-resistant Hadron face—perfect for base camp at upper elevations. You can layer underneath it and put a shell on top—like the Gamma if traveling light or the thermally insulated GORE-TEX Beta Insulated jacket or minimalist but rugged Alpha SV GORE-TEX PRO shell in colder climbing conditions—if the weather turns severe. While the brand’s jackets are an investment, they can be relied on no matter the environment.

Best stylish for women: Canada Goose Women’s Rossclair Parka

Functional and Fashionable

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Why it made the cut: With a tailored fit and finish, this women’s winter jacket combats harsh winds and offers many comforts.

Specs

  • Material: Company’s Arctic Tech fabric, a blend of polyester and cotton
  • Insulation: 625-fill duck down
  • Weather-proofing: Water resistant
  • Machine washable: No, dry clean only

Pros

  • Fusion fit great for more petite bodies
  • Not boxy
  • Adjustable waist for A-line silhouette

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Dry clean only

Canada Goose is known for producing the best winter coats with Arctic Tech fabric, a blend of 83% Polyester and 17% Cotton with a water-repellent finish that will hold up in the freezing cold. The Rossclair parka is a Canada Goose jacket that delivers 650 fill power in a streamlined, slim fit that eliminates any boxiness, plus adjustable exterior waist straps mean you can get a sleek cinch. Available in nine colors, each with a two-way adjustable hood with removable fur ruff, plus recessed rib-knit cuffs, this women’s winter jacket combats harsh winds and offers many comforts.

Best budget: Columbia Horizons Pine Interchange Jacket

Three-in-One Solution(s)

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Why it made the cut: A quality winter jacket doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg—and this one from Columbia is proof.

Specs

  • Material: Nylon and polyester
  • Insulation: Thermal insulation
  • Weather-proofing: Waterproof
  • Machine washable: Yes

Pros

  • Removable hood
  • Interchangeable layers mean you can customize it depending on temperature
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not windproof
  • Runs large

An interchangeable jacket that won’t break the bank, this model from Columbia utilizes a combination of heat-reflective and air-permeable waterproof technology to dissipate moisture while keeping the heat in and the cold out. As it gets warmer, you can settle on just the shell, or if it’s still quite cold, but the snow has stopped, you can comfortably get away with the inner layer alone. 

What to consider when buying the best winter jackets

Looking for an everyday, casual jacket that will keep you toasty at all times?

A truly great winter jacket is comfortable, and cozy, and can last for seasons to come. It should stand up to snow and sleet without weighing you down, protect and insulate without any Achilles heel, and have a stylish yet neutral design to pair with any outfit you own. If you’re not looking for a thin, lightweight outdoor activity jacket, you might find it comforting to buy a model with a little more weight and slightly lower fill power. You’ll know for sure that you won’t get cold, plus you’ll feel more protected. A fill power of 500 and above should be perfectly adequate for walks about town, taking the train to work, or heading out to dinner with friends on a below-freezing winter evening. 

If you live in a place that gets a fair amount of snow or winter rain, ensure your winter jacket is waterproof or has a waterproof shell. We recommend selecting a coat that will fall at or around the upper/mid-thigh for maximum coverage without any extra bulk. It also doesn’t hurt to wear a hood for additional shielding around the face. Once you’ve found an option with the right amount of fill for your locale’s weather, all you need to do is decide on the color and—bam—you’ll have the best winter coat around town.

Do you want something that will be on-trend without sacrificing warmth?

Winter coats are known to be boxy, bulky, or simply uncool. But that doesn’t have to be the case. While you can undoubtedly find a sleek, streamlined wool coat, hip bomber jacket, or trendy oversized teddy designs, you may find yourself shaking if things get too frigid. If you live in a freezing climate, we recommend having at least one really well-insulated coat to keep on hand when your other options just won’t cut it. A long parka jacket with a fur-lined hood is one of our favorite popular styles (there’s a reason, say, a Canada Goose jacket is coveted). If you select a top-notch jacket from a reputable brand, you won’t need to invest in a new coat for years to come. They will give you the look of winter royalty and ensure you stay protected against the elements.

Want a jacket that can transition from the sidewalk to the hiking trail?

While some prefer to have two different jackets for outdoor pastimes—one for, say, trail walking, and one for shorter excursions like running to the store or walking the dog—there are many great options for those looking to have it all. A combination casual/performance winter coat is the way to go if you want maximum flexibility. For an easy transition from snowshoeing to a drink slopeside, go for a jacket with a high fill power: something around the 700 mark should do the trick. This will ensure your jacket is light enough to keep you moving without overheating, with a bit of puff to provide maximum coziness and comfort when you’re not exercising. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the shell is water and wind-resistant, so you’re not soaked through or chilled to the bone if the weather suddenly changes. Unlike a purely casual jacket, we recommend lifting the hemline a bit so that it rests at or around your hips. This length will still keep you warm, but it will free up your lower half and increase mobility. A combination casual and performance jacket will set you up nicely for anything the colder months can throw at you.

Do you need a winter jacket for running and other outdoor exercises?

Cold weather doesn’t mean you must stop enjoying the great outdoors and everything it offers. If you’re lucky enough to live in or visit a place where winter running and cycling are available to you, make sure you’re equipped with the best winter jacket available. A winter running jacket made for running outdoors will rely less on down fill and more on a thin yet insulated design to ensure you don’t overheat. The key to outdoor exercise is layering. You’ll notice that many winter jackets are significantly thinner than their casual or even trekking counterparts; this is because they are designed to fit over other pieces of moisture-wicking clothing, like long-sleeve shirts or lightweight fleece. Having the option to shed or add a layer can be a game-changer when it comes to a challenging run. If you know your first few layers can be quite thick, think about sizing up your jacket. You can also opt for a heated vest if you don’t need a full jacket, but would still like some warmth.

As with all our favorite jackets, it’s important to find a waterproof hooded model, but you’ll also need to think about breathability. While you can still consider a high fill power (something around 750 will do nicely), you should pay even more attention to the construction and material. A material like Gore-Tex repels water without trapping in sweat, making it great for all-weather use and ensuring your cool down won’t leave you shivering. 

So, what’s the best winter jacket I can get for under $200?

An excellent winter jacket is certainly an investment and can set you back more than just a pretty penny. However, you can definitely find a few more reasonably priced winter jackets if you’re not ready to shell out a grand for a Canada Goose jacket quite yet. Ultimately, you’ll want your winter coat to last for more than one season, which can help explain the price. If you want an outer layer that costs under $100, there is a good chance you’ll find yourself looking for a replacement within a year or two. However, if you pay apt attention to the fill quality (synthetic or natural) and overall construction, you may be able to find a great quality jacket for less.

FAQs

Q: How do you wash a winter jacket?

When it comes time to wash a winter jacket, many can be loaded into your washing machine and tumble-dried on low for a quick and easy clean. However, we don’t recommend doing this more than a few times per season. If you get dirt, salt, or other schmutz on the outer shell, you should be able to simply wipe away debris with a cloth towel and warm water. Read the fabric care labels before washing for the first time, as some coats require dry cleaning.

Q: How should a winter jacket fit?

A winter jacket should fit snugly without being too tight. If the coat is too small, the down might become compressed and less effective, plus your mobility will be restricted. You’ll know it’s too tight if you can’t easily give yourself a hug, arms touching your shoulder blades. The jacket should never rise above your belly, and the shoulder seams should not be resting mid-bicep. Feel free to size up in winter jackets, especially if you plan on layering, but make sure you can still perform daily activities without the bulk of the coat getting in the way.

Q: What are other types of winter jackets?

There are many other types of winter jackets to choose from, especially if you don’t need a waterproof jacket. Lined leather jackets, wool peacoats, and fleeces are a great way to supplement your waterproof, down-filled staple. You can find a ton of styles and colors suitable for various weather conditions to maximize outfit options. 

Related: Need a warm, comfortable hat? Head on over to this winter accessories guide.

Final thoughts on the best winter jackets

The best winter coats and jackets are wardrobe essentials for anyone who will experience cold weather. The best winter jacket for you will suit your climate and won’t prohibit you from participating in your favorite outdoor activities. Water and wind resistance are certainly must-have features, and we recommend never saying no to a removable hood. Choose a casual coat for everyday wear and a performance coat for more demanding activities like trail running, or select a combination for a great winter jacket that will keep you cozy during the winter seasons to come.

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Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

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Carsen Joenk

Contributor, Reviews

Carsen is a sound designer and freelance writer focusing on music and technology. She has been writing for Popular Science since early 2020, contributing product reviews and recommendations, with an emphasis on great sound you can take with you on the go. She lives in Brooklyn amongst a growing vinyl collection, exactly three plants, and a fridge full of popsicles.