At less than 7 ounces total, the SL is an ultralight jacket for fair-weather spring, summer, and fall backpacking trips, as well as a midlayer for winter sports. The Patagonia Tres Down Parka offers a 3-in-1 option and is the only jacket like it in our review. The quality construction of the Kensington Parka is apparent across the board.
We also think that the Nina is one of the better-looking jackets we've tested and like its bold color combinations, although this year's pink and orange combo was less cute than in years passed. We love the stretchy shell material and integrated wrist gaiters of this jacket, it makes it very comfortable and you don't even notice you're wearing it out on the slopes. The Nina has added helpful features like the "snow phone cord" and all the pockets you could want including a mesh goggle pocket, pass pocket, and an interior zipper pocket for keys or electronics.
All this for a super reasonable price tag. The updated Flylow Billie Coat came on to the scene this season with a splash. All of our tester ladies wanted to be the one wearing this jacket in our photos!
Flylow has updated this coat's shell materials to be softer and more supple this year which makes it feel great when wearing it and moving around. The Billie Coat's long and somewhat relaxed cut look super steezy and yet form fitting. We understand why all the ladies wanted to wear this jacket. You'll feel like a pro skier when wearing this jacket - even if you're not.
If you're into riding the lifts from the first chair till last, you'll want a ski jacket that will keep you warm, dry, and functioning well all day. We also think that style is a huge factor when choosing your outfit for riding.
That outfit will become your on-hill identity that people will recognize. Are you a fair weather skier who likes cruising the groomers and then having happy hour on the deck? Or do you want to slay the pow on a storm day and work hard all day doing it? We have broken down what to look for if you want to do either of these things in our evaluation below. To help you visualize where each jacket falls in relation to the rest in terms of value, we created the table below.
Hover over each dot to see which jacket it represents. Blue dots indicate award winners, with high-value jackets such as the Flylow Billie Coat and Orage Nina falling further to the right and lower.
The shell jackets like the Patagonia Untracked - Women's and the Arc'Teryx Sentinel scored the highest in this category because of their super durable and water resistant shell materials and large storm hoods. Depending on the time of year and the climate you're skiing in, this category can be the most essential feature of a ski jacket. Ski areas in a maritime environment tend to have wetter, heavier snow that can easily soak through a jacket without decent water resistance.
This is important because the more water that absorbs into your jacket, the heavier and more uncomfortable it becomes. And the wetter you get, the colder you become, meaning less skiing for a cold and wet you. Also, everything we tested was given added water resistance with the application of each manufacturer's proprietary DWR Durable Water Repellent coating, but some jackets repelled water better than others.
We discuss waterproof materials in greater detail in the individual reviews. Along with field testing, we sprayed each jacket with water to carefully evaluate how well water beaded off of the surface, and how long it took the water to soak into the material.
The spray test assessed the DWR coatings on these jackets, not the overall waterproofness of the materials. It is important to note that DWR coatings will wear off over time from washing and use, but garments can be re-treated. To learn more about DWR coatings and how to choose the right waterproof material for your outerwear, we recommend checking out the Hardshell Buying Advice Article.
Other factors we considered in this category are how wind resistant the jacket's construction is — do we feel drafts through zippers or seams? We also evaluate if hoods are adjustable, insulated, and will fit all the way over a helmet to protect you from winds and precipitation while sitting still on the chairlift or skiing down in stormy weather.
All of the shells and 3-in-1 jackets have non-insulated hoods, while the fully insulated jackets all had insulation in the hood. We especially love the Sentinel and Patagonia Snowbelle's huge hoods.
When you're working hard making turns in deep powder, you can work up a sweat. You don't want to feel clammy and sweaty under your jacket, which will leave you chilled when sitting still on the lift, so you want your jacket to be somewhat breathable or have the ability to ventilate.
The materials it is made of, as well as the ventilation features incorporated in the jacket, are both effective ways to release heat and moisture. With an easy-to-open pit-zip like on the Untracked Jacket you can immediately get airflow to your body, allowing you to regulate your temperature quickly.
Since most of the contenders in this review are thick and insulated, meaning not very breathable, the ventilation features are essential for staying comfortable in varying conditions on the ski hill. The three un-insulated shells we tested had the best ventilation of the bunch, all with gaping pit-zips and somewhat breathable materials.
All of the jackets in this test have some pit-zip feature for venting, allowing for air to circulate inside the jacket on warmer days, some allowing more air in than others. Some of the jacket's pit-zips were mesh backed to keep the snow out, like on the Arc'teryx Tiya , whereas some had no mesh like the Mountain Hardwear Barnsie. Without mesh, the pit-zips can open up wider for maximum ventilation, but also can allow snow inside the jacket if you happen to tumble. All of the 3-in-1 styles, like the Columbia Whirlibird Interchange, have pit-zips on the exterior shell, but not on the interior insulating layer, which makes them much less useful.
The first thing most people think about when heading out for a ski is "Will I be warm enough? We skied fast and sat on windy chairlifts to find out if there were any drafts in strange places and tried out all the special features designed to help retain heat. The Patagonia Primo Down - Women's is by far the warmest in the review, using high quality down insulation.
The Arc'teryx Tiya was a distant second in the warmth department, filled with warm synthetic insulation. The Columbia Whirlibird uses a foil-like lining Columbia calls Omni-Heat that is designed to reflect heat back towards your body. This, in combination with synthetic insulation, keeps you warm. We were skeptical about this flashy material but found that the Whirlibird was one of the warmer jackets in the review. We like the lightweight Thermal. Q Elite insulation in the Mountain Hardwear Barnsie.
This jacket is not as warm as some of the others, but its warmth-to-weight ratio is very high. We did not evaluate the shell jackets in the warmth department as none of them are insulated, and so we rated them all the same in this category.
Other design factors that contribute to warmth are wrist gaiters that keep the drafts out of your sleeves, chin guards that can zip up over a neck gaiter, and baffles around your neck to keep drafts from creeping down your spine. Each item in this review has different ski-specific features that make spending a day on the ski hill easier and more comfortable. Most ski specific jackets have powder skirts, designed to keep snow from going up your back on a powder day or from going down the pants when falling.
We love the powder skirts on the Billie Coat , and Primo Down because they are removable for times when they aren't needed,m like wearing the jacket around town. Many brand's powder skirts are compatible with the same brand's ski pants, and you can attach them so they become impenetrable to snow.
This is the most efficient way to wear a powder skirt. There are many convenient and unique features on all the different models on our test. Features we look for in our favorites are:. We need lots of places to stash our stuff. We particularly like it when jackets have media pockets with headphone ports like in the Orage Nina so we can listen to our tunes while we shred. We noticed this year that more jackets than ever have this feature. We also like big mesh goggle pockets and fleece lined hand warmer pockets like in the Tiya as well as interior zippered pockets for keeping the important things like credit cards and car keys.
The Flylow Billie Coat had a great variety of pockets. These help keep the drafts out of your sleeves and keep your hands warmer when you don't have your gloves on. Wrist gaiters made out of thin, sleek materials are better for wearing underneath gloves, like in the Mountain Hardwear Barnsie. Fewer models came with wrist gaiters or "thumb holes" this year. This feature seems to be a growing trend and is becoming an industry standard for all ski jackets.
The RECCO system will potentially aid ski patrol in finding you more quickly if you are caught up in an in-bounds avalanche. Other unique features that we came across this year were a cord to attach your cell phone to your jacket, so it doesn't fall when you're on the chairlift in the Orage Nina.
We think that having good style is super important when you ski at the resort often. People begin to recognize you by what you wear every day, and your outfit essentially becomes your identity when your head and face is otherwise cloaked in a helmet and goggles. Your friends can no longer see your face or hair, but will certainly notice your jacket.
Selecting one that represents your style and personality is just as important as finding one with properly placed vents and warm enough insulation. The latest trends in women's ski jackets for are jackets with extra long cuts to cover your backside and two-tone designs with different colored hoods and sleeves — we didn't see as many flashy patterns this year.
This could be because there is a trend towards brightly colored ski pants, so having a more understated, solid color jacket can better match a bright pair of bottoms. Bright, contrasting colored zippers are still a favorite in women's jackets, like on the Untracked jacket.
What makes it even better, is that it's half the price of the Editors' Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka. Finding a winter jacket that's warm and waterproof and won't break the bank is hard. Insulated with fill goose down, this model kept us warm and dry when we were shoveling the driveway.
The outer shell is highly durable and windproof; despite being such a burly winter jacket, it was also quite stylish and less than half the price of our Editors' Choice Award Winner. The Arctic Parka II offers a classic winter parka look with its faux fur ruff around the hood and a smooth exterior appearance. For this price, you'll be warm and fashionable, and it won't break the bank. Depending on where you live, winter can be messy.
Sleet, snow, freezing rain, the whole nine yards. If you live in a wet climate, having a dependable jacket for the winter is crucial; the Patagonia Tres Down Parka is the perfect winter parka to tackle any weather condition. Three jackets in one allow you to be ready for anything that mother nature throws your way; this contender is perfect for a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest, as the outer shell is Patagonia's signature H2No Performance Standard Fabric.
A great lightweight option for clear and cold days, this jacket has been treated with a DWR coating. It's water-resistant but not fully waterproof; when all layers are worn together, we felt protected in sloppy wet weather better than any other jacket we tested. Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka - Women's.
We gauged our winter jackets based on five criteria: The table above displays the Overall Performance score of each jacket in our review, ranking from highest to lowest.
All the jackets we tested delivered some degree of warmth. When buying a winter jacket, one of the most important features is the level of warmth being offered. It's also important to look at the climate you experience on a regular basis and think about what you intend on using the jacket for.
Choosing the right jacket is crucial for staying comfortable and warm and enjoying the great outdoors during the winter. A jacket's warmth is based on the loft or fill-power of the insulation, along with the fill-weight. Lucky for you, we tested each one side-by-side in snow, rain, wind, and frigid temperatures - all in our effort to find out which ones were the warmest for various climates. We went hiking in each model and braved windy storms. We also wore them in varying degrees of temperatures and stood in place for extended periods.
You name it, we did it. The warmest jacket we tested was our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Montreaux , which earned a perfect 10 out of Loaded with fill-power down from hood to knee, we stayed toasty on some seriously cold days. The loft of the down performed extraordinarily, trapping heat and keeping the wind out. Our Editors' Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka , was close in warmth and was filled with fill white duck down. The durable shell on the Kensington Parka kept cold air out and warm air in, scoring a near perfect 9 out of 10 in the warmth metric.
Also scoring a 9 out of 10, cue the Patagonia Down With It Parka, which is insulated with fill-power recycled down. Both are insulated with plush, thick down from the hood to above our knee and did an excellent job keeping cold air out and heat trapped inside.
Most of the jackets offered specific features, which helped improve our warmth on cold days - the main one being fleece-lined pockets!
What a lovely, cozy feature on a supremely cold day. Thickly insulated hoods, like the Canada Goose Shelburne Parka and the Marmot Montreaux kept us toasty and secure in stormy weather. The extra protection and down insulation made a difference when it came to staying warm in frigid weather 10F and below. If you are someone that is always cold, or you just like to stay toasty warm, we'd recommend considering a knee-length parka.
A common misconception is that because a jacket or parka has a higher fill, it will be the warmest. The Arc'teryx Patera Parka has fill European goose down, but is not the warmest contender; in fact, it ranks towards the bottom in regards to keeping us toasty on a cold winter day, scoring a 6 out of While it is not as lofty as the Montreaux or the Kensington Parka , the Patera uses Coreloft synthetic fill in high moisture spots - inner arms, hem, and collar.
We could feel the cold air on our arms and shoulders in cold weather because of this. In a milder climate of F, however, we appreciated the Coreloft synthetic fill while out on a short hike, especially when we started to get hot and sweaty.
If you're seeking a jacket that handles breathability and ventilation, we like the Arc'teryx Darrah Coat. We generally found that synthetic and insulated models with low fill powers lacked considerable warmth and were among the lowest, in regards to warmth, in our testing. The Arc'teryx Patera Parka is a synthetically insulated winter option, complete with g of Coreloft synthetic insulation.
It's not the best parka for weather below 25F or super cold snow storms, but we were impressed with how well it performed while blocking wind and keeping our core warm. While they were both surprisingly warm, they were not as toasty as the jackets that are insulated with thick down and high fill powers, such as the Rab Deep Cover Parka or the Marmot Montreaux.
The Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket is insulated with an unknown amount of Omni-Heat synthetic fill, while Arc'teryx Darrah Coat has grams of synthetic insulation which is equivalent to fill goose down.
Despite being insulated with the equivalent of fill goose down, the Arc'teryx Darrah Coat was warmer in windy and stormy conditions. We'd believe that warmth and water resistance almost go hand in hand. Winter weather can range from snow, sleet, wind, freezing rain, or just plain old heavy rain. All the models we tested offered some level of protection from the elements, from DWR durable water repellent coated nylon or polyester shell to full-blown waterproof fabric.
Before buying a winter jacket, it's important to consider the climate you live in and the purpose of the jacket. If you are living in a wet climate like Seattle, having a jacket that is waterproof and warm is important. If cold temperatures and snow are your typical winter conditions, a DWR coating should suffice.
To figure out each jacket's degree of Weather Resistance, we put them through an array of tests. We went on walks on snow days, stood in place for an extended period in windy conditions, braved blizzards in the middle of the night, and we even brought the two-layer waterproof models in the shower. The durable exterior shells kept us toasty and warm in windy weather, as did the thick down of Patagonia Down With It Parka and the Marmot Montreaux.
Whether you're holiday shopping in New York City on a blustery day, or running errands around town in light snow, why not look stylish and warm? The models we tested ranged in length, fit and function. Some had a smooth, sleek outer shell like the Arc'teryx Patera Parka , while others had beautiful chevron baffling, like the Marmot Montreaux.
Everyone has their own preference, but what stood out the most concerning style was the fit. If your jacket doesn't fit you correctly, chances are you won't like wearing it, which sounds like a waste of money. With that said, make sure to know your size and how the jacket fits before buying one, or brace yourself for the impact of reordering and returning until you figure out the best fit.
If you're someone that likes to layer up, a jacket that offers more room in the arms and torso will be perfect for fitting a heavy layer or sweater underneath.
While everyone has their own opinion when it comes to style and how a jacket fits, the jackets we found to be the most appealing over our two months of testing were the form-fitting ones, like the Canada Goose Kensington Parka and the Rab Deep Cover Parka ; both scored a perfect 10 out of Oozing with style from head to toe, this knee-length contender is a show stopper.
From the smooth, sleek, water-resistant outer shell to the adjustable cinched-waist, no detail has been left out. The quality construction of the Kensington Parka is apparent across the board. Canada Goose continues to impress and the Camp Hooded was no exception. Compared to The Legendary Whitetails Anchorage Parka , which has many stylish features, the Canada Goose Kensington offers a heavy-duty option that's going to last longer.
Military grade buttons and zippers add a durable touch without jeopardizing the classy look of the jacket. The coyote fur ruff is highly functional in cold weather, as well as super stylish. The Kensington is comparable to armor, but it's also attractive, form-fitting, and feminine. In cold weather and stormy conditions, if your jacket isn't keeping you warm, your level of comfort might also suffer.
For some, fashion is more important than practicality, but for this review, we focused on both. We tested a range of contenders with various kinds and levels of insulation, like the knee-length Marmot Montreaux , insulated with plush fill-power down, or the lightweight synthetic Arc'teryx Darrah.
The models we tested delivered varying levels of comfort. Specific comfort features that attributed to high scores were thick and insulating hoods like on the Marmot Montreaux and the Canada Goose Kensington Parka. Plush down that was warm and not restricting was also taken into consideration, such as the down found on the Rab Deep Cover Parka. The Marmot Montreaux was exceptionally comfortable, despite being insulated with plush down from our head to above the knee; it's also very cozy and warm, which allowed us to be content in the frigid outside elements.
The torso, cuffs, pockets, and collar are also lined with fleece; these subtle, but vital features, add a cozy and warm touch. Last but certainly not least, the Canada Goose Camp Hooded earned a perfect score in this metric, provided us with enough comfort to sail through the winter. You may not realize how important a warm hood is until you try on a contender that doesn't have any insulation at all, like the Patagonia Tres Down Parka ; however, there is enough room underneath the hood for a beanie.
Our head to be noticeably colder in stormy or freezing conditions, versus when we were wearing a model that had a toasty hood. Another factor that was important in measuring comfort was mobility. Jackets that ran small, or were tight on the shoulders, like the Arc'teryx Darrah , weren't as comfortable to wear because they were restricting and hard to fit another layer underneath. Alternatively, a jacket that is too tight or too loose may be restricting, distracting, and not as comfortable as it could and should be.
If it's too big for your body, it may not be trapping heat properly. We encourage you to take the time to make sure you are buying a jacket that fits your body type. A durable jacket has the potential to last you multiple seasons.
Often that means having to dish out extra money for better quality construction, but at least you'll know you are getting your monies worth. So what makes a jacket durable? To us, durability means that the jacket can handle what it is intended to do, plus some, with quality construction that will last for years to come.
We tested jackets that had soft, polyester or nylon DWR shells, as well as thick, burly two-layer waterproof fabrics. Obviously, in most cases, the heavy duty waterproof fabric is going to be more durable and will protect against snags and tears more than the DWR shells. If you are someone that plans on adventuring to new levels in their winter jacket, a heavy duty durable coat will be right up your alley.
The equivalent of snow bunny armor, the Canada Goose Kensington is highly durable and attractive and is the only jacket to score a perfect 10 out of 10 in the durability metric. The water-resistant polyester fabric almost feels impenetrable to snags and tears.
The lack of stitching on the outer shell helps make this jacket more durable, and this is a model that will last you for years to come. In fact, we'd venture to say it's a solid investment. We loved the Patagonia Tres Down Parka ; however, when we were zipping the outer shell into the down layer, the down kept getting caught in the zipper, and we had to take our time. There's potential to snag the down on the zipper, compromising the down layer.
Fortunately, if you take your time, you can avoid this issue. The two-layer waterproof fabric on the outer shell is what makes this jacket very durable. Patagonia's signature H2No breathable, waterproof, and stretchy fabric seems almost impenetrable and doesn't have much exterior stitching; because of this, we don't see much room for snags occurring.
We tested this jacket in the shower, and the outer shell did a stand-up job repelling water, earning it a near perfect 9 out of We noticed minimal down feathers escaping from the Patagonia Tres Parka's down layer. While we only tested this jacket for two months, we can tell you that if too much down escapes, the loft and warmth will start to diminish, which will affect your winter investment. If a jacket has a lot of stitching on the outer shell, there is potential for a snag to occur.
The Patagonia Tres had a sturdy, durable outer shell that was ready to withstand anything that we threw at it. Finicky zippers seem to be a common issue with some of the jackets we tested; for example, the primary zipper on the Arc'teryx Darrah gave us problems when we tried to zip it up.
The Arc'teryx Patera is highly durable, despite its finicky zipper. The outer shell is 2-layer Gore-Tex, 75D polyester with DWR treatment and is waterproof, windproof, and breathable fabric. We found the outer shell to be very durable against snags, due to the lack of exterior stitching.
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