The hearty fur hood ruff and knit waist and cuffs of this jacket present a bit of a throwback look. We don't have any of these jackets in our selections at the moment. Men's The Trucker Jacket.
Men's Journeyman Rugged Shirt Jacket. Mens Classic Rain Jacket S Men's Steens Mountain Full Zip 2. Men's Ascender Softshell Jacket. Men's Maplewood Hooded Shirt Jacket. Men's Resolve 2 Jacket.
Men's Apex Bionic Jacket. Men's Denim Trucker Jacket. Men's Quarter Zip Sweater Fleece. Men's Classic Hooded Puffer Jacket.
Men's Venture 2 Jacket. Men's The Trucker Jacket. Men's Water-Resistant Softshell Jacket. Men's Original Iconic Racer Jacket.
Men's Pouration Waterproof Rain Jacket. Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket. Men's Heavy Insulated Parka. Men's Casual Cotton Military Jacket.
Men's Frost Fighter Insulated Jacket. Down feathers ball and clump when wet, losing a lot of their insulating qualities. They also require a mechanical clothes dryer to restore the loft fully. Since winter jacket manufacturers know we have to go outdoors when it might be wet, they add a weatherproofing layer.
This takes the form of either an exterior fabric DWR coating or a chemical treatment directly to the down feathers hydrophobic down. This helps the down hold up to damp environments, but you should still be cautious with down in genuinely wet locales. Throughout our reviews, you will see references to each jacket's fill power.
This is also a spec noted in our comparison table, allowing you to compare the fill powers of all the parkas side-by-side. Fill power is an indicator of down quality. Specifically, it is a measurement of volume. Think of plucking a duck and placing all the little feathers into a bucket.
After a thorough shaking, all the heavy feathers, with burrs and bits of fiber, will sink to the bottom, leaving the softest lightest feathers on top, which become the down that is rated higher. The number you see, for example, is the number of cubic inches one ounce of down occupies when placed in a graduated cylinder and compressed by a standardized weight.
Simply put, higher fill power down is loftier, and therefore warmer for its weight relative to a lower fill power down. Six ounces of fill down is warmer and more compressible than six ounces of fill down. Many factors collectively affect a parka's warmth. Fill power is only part of the story. Down fill weight is also critically important. The fill weight is the mass of down insulation used in the parka often observed by how thick the jacket is.
Thus, a jacket with eight ounces of fill is warmer than a jacket with two ounces of fill, even though it uses lower quality down. These two numbers, the fill power, and fill weight together can give you a reasonable idea of how warm a particular product is. Down parkas usually constructed with sewn-through or box baffles. Occasionally, a single product will be a combination of both. Refer to our Down Jacket Buying Advice article for more information on down jacket construction.
Synthetic insulation is made up of plasticized fibers that are spun to mimic the insulation properties of down. Companies such as PrimaLoft and Polarguard and individual manufacturers have made great leaps in synthetic material quality in recent years. The advantage of using synthetic insulation is that it does not clump up when wet. Although the insulative properties are also compromised by moisture, the effect is not as severe as it is with down, and it will dry out faster.
The drawback to synthetic insulation is that, as it is compressed and expanded over its lifetime, it will begin to pack down and lose its ability to keep you warm. We tested three synthetic jackets in this review and found that they were less warm overall, but as in the case of the Arc'teryx Fission SV, provided a slimmer fit and adequate insulation for temperate climates.
Pile or fleece is a fabric meant to replicate the hide and wool of a sheep. It is a woven fabric with a fuzzy, thick layer of fibers that looks quite like the wool of a sheep. Pile combines the inexpensive nature and water-readiness of synthetic insulation with the durability of down insulation. The main disadvantage of pile insulation is that it's not that thick, so it's not that warm. Over the years we have tested thick pile jackets like the Patagonia Isthmus and Fjallraven Greenland.
All of these are among the least insulating winter jackets around. On the upside, contenders like this are low-maintenance and will last a long time. Hybrid pieces maximize performance by matching the benefits of an insulation type to the needs of your body.
In our review, almost half of the jackets now feature some hybrid insulation. The pile-insulated jackets, for instance, feature synthetic puff insulated sleeves to keep your arms warm. The Arc'teryx Camosun features both down and synthetic insulation mapped to the user's body and to perspiration hot spots. The hybrid nature of these jackets doesn't seem to change their performance much. If we split hairs, we could probably find subtle differences.
However, we didn't see any obvious pros or cons to hybrid designs. We also tested the Bitter Chill Parka from Woolrich. This jacket uses a combination of synthetic fibers and natural sheep's wool for insulation.
It works primarily like synthetic insulation. A good winter parka offers a variety of amenities to make winter living more comfortable. There are simple jackets like the REI Down Hoody that offer few features in the name of simplicity and cost, and there are jackets that have so many extra features that it is tough to decide what is needed and what is not.
At the top of our list of important features is a hood. A hood adds warmth and weather resistance. A removable hood is a nice touch, as this gives the wearer another option for style and for reducing bulk when the weather is nicer. Depending on what kind of activity you are using your winter jacket for, such as an occasional ski jacket for trips to the slopes, you may also find the spacious sizing of helmet-compatible hoods to be useful.
The absolute best hoods, in our experience, are very adjustable with a large volume, removable fur, and an integrated, optional face mask. We didn't test any hoods like this in our test, but some came close. The closure systems on cuffs and front zippers are also something to look closely at, as they will influence weather resistance and warmth. Rib-knit cuffs like those featured on the Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber are ideal but only allow for over the top, gauntlet style gloves if you don't want to stretch the fabric out.
On the other hand, stylishly loose cuffs, like those on the Woolrich Bitter Chill , tend to let in cold drafts. Which gloves will work comfortably with each jacket depends on those cuffs. Also, look at our How to Choose the Best Ski Gloves article for more information on glove fit and style.
Zippers deserve a careful look since the fabrics may be waterproof, but the zippers are often not. Specific models, like the Arc'teryx Fission SV , use waterproof zippers, while others use storm flaps to keep rain and wind drafts out. Storm flaps are a nice touch, as long as they are easy to snap on and off with gloves and durability made. Two-way zippers are another great addition to a parka longer than waist length. It allows the wearer to sit down more comfortably without feeling like they're bunched up in a sleeping bag.
Finally, there are some features, like a variety of pockets, fur-trimmed hoods or headphones channels, that are important to some of us and irrelevant to others. With so many types of winter jackets out there, you're sure to find the one that has all the elements you need to survive the cold months in style. Curious how we rate products? Read our How We Test article to find out. How to Choose the Best Winter Jacket.
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