The breathtaking view of the snow capped mountains makes you jump out of your camping bed. But the chill is killing. You instinctively spread your arm and reach out for your best hiking jacket for cold weather. It is such a relief and now you can comfortably start your hike. With this short story, you can understand, how important it is to have a good winter jacket.
They are specially made for the cold seasons and is designed by keeping different aspects in mind like performance, fill power, water resistance, weight, etc.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate and an affiliate for some reputed brands, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost you. If you want to know more check here.
Ok, now let’s proceed…
We found that Wantdo Mountain Jackets are the best in most of the aspects.
However, along with it, we have reviewed 4 more jackets so that you can take an informed decision.
Best Hiking Jackets For Cold Weather in 2020
|#||Product||Customer Rating||BPG Rating|
|1||Wantdo Mountain Waterproof Jacket (Women)||(1620 reviews)||Check Price!|
|2||Marmot Guides Down Hoody Winter Puffer Jacket (Men)||(35 reviews)||Check Price!|
|3||HENGJIA Alternative Outerwear (Women)||(92 reviews)||Check Price!|
|4||WEEN CHARM Faux Fur Lined Warm Coats (Men)||(9 reviews)||Check Price!|
|5||Camel Waterproof Warm Coat (Unisex)||(39 reviews)||Check Price!|
Before we dive into the detailed review of each jacket, let’s get some basics clear.
Why you should have a cold weather jacket?
Cold weather jackets, as the name suggest, is made specially for cold weather. The materials that are used to make these jackets are different.
These special material will help in retaining your body heat for a longer period of time.
Here two things work simultaneously to give you this effect.
Firstly , most of the jackets have a fleece lining. This lining is warm in itself.
Secondly, the outer layer or shell around this fleece lining will be some synthetic or down material.
Hence, there is a thin layer of air in between these two layers. As we know from physics, air is a bad conductor of heat.
So, the outside chill never reaches your body. Nor your body heat get dissipated through the jacket to the outer atmosphere.
What types of materials are used in these jackets?
You will basically get two types of jackets. One is synthetic and the other one is down jacket. (You also get the cotton kinds, but they are minimally used.)
Synthetic materials which sometimes can be Teflon Military grade materials provide you protection against water and wind.
On the other hand, Down jackets are made up of Duck or Geese’s feathers. That is why they are so soft and gives you the touch of skin.
These jackets provides the best insulation and are the lightest. Also, when folded up, some of them takes up incredibly less space.
What is down fill power?
Down fill power is a measure of the loft or ‘fluffiness’ of the down and its insulating properties.
The higher the fill power, the more air pockets in the down and the more insulating the jacket will be for its weight.
Down is not exactly feathers. They are the soft plume or clusters of material that reside right next to the bird’s skin.
It is fluffier than feathers and doesn’t have hard stems. A higher proportion of down clusters to feathers is ideal, however, it will make the jacket expensive.
A good jacket should have at-least 70% down, but 80% or more is common in more premium jackets.
Down Jacket Fill Power Rating:
|400 – 450||Warm|
|500 – 550||Warmer|
|550 – 750||Very Warm|
|750 – 900||Warmest|
How is fill power measured?
Fill power can be measured in laboratory and is measured in cubic inches per ounce.
To test fill power an ounce of down is compressed by a weight in a glass cylinder. It’s ability to bounce back is the measure of fill power.
Fill power also indicates if the down is good or not. The better the quality of down the higher the fill power.
Also, if the down is of good quality, less down is required to provide the same amount of warmth.
And in such cases, jackets with a higher fill power tend to be lighter and more compressible.
Fill power come in a wide range starting from 400 to 900. For winter wear the down power typically falls between 600 and 800.
However, it is very hard to make these down jackets, waterproof. This is because the baffles or the pockets needs to be sewn-in, to keep the down in place.
And if they get wet, they become completely useless.
On the other hand, Synthetic insulation is a bit different than down insulation.
Here the fabric is woven closely to create tiny holes. This effectively achieves the same effect as the down jackets.
Also, synthetic material provides better insulation against, moisture and wind.
This is very much essential, if you are venturing out at -40 degree Fahrenheit. Here due to the chill in wind, you can get frostbites in less than 5 min.
These kind of materials are manufactured with a hydrophobic coating like Gore-Tex.
This serves as a one way street where water-vapour can pass from inside to outside, but not from outside to inside.
Then which one is better?
This is a tough question to answer and is based on your requirement.
If you are venturing out in a bad weather, then you would need a Synthetic jacket.
Otherwise, you can use a down jacket.
Down Vs Synthetic insulation
|Excellent heat retention||Loses insulating ability when wet|
|Lightweight- better warmth to weight ratio||Takes a long time to dry out when wet and can get stinky|
|It is suitable for cold and warm temperatures||More expensive|
|Easier to compress and packs small||Requires special cleaning|
|Cheaper than down||Heavier|
|Easier to clean|
What qualities should you look for in a cold weather jacket?
Now that we know what is a synthetic jacket and a down jacket, let’s find out what are the essential of a winter jacket that you should check while picking one for yourself.
The outer layer of the jacket is called Shell. This is different for down and synthetic jackets. For the former, this layer is velvety soft, whereas, for synthetic jacket, they are more rigid.
Whatever it is, the material has to be durable. Unlike in warm climate, you cannot just do away with the jacket if it starts falling apart during hiking.
It is the only layer of protection you have against the harsher weather. So, see to it that the shell is durable.
Whether it is a synthetic or a down material, your body must be able to comfortably breath from inside it.
If you are feeling suffocated, then you should immediately look for some other option.
In this aspect, down jackets are more breathable due to their nature.
However, in a wetter climate, you will need a synthetic one.
To provide warmth, fibre of the synthetic jackets are woven very closely. The more fibre is present in per square inch, the more warmer it will be.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that this will increase the weight of the jacket. On the contrary, if the material is really good, the jacket will be very light.
Also, if you compare the weight of a synthetic jacket and a down jacket of equal warmth, the down jacket will be typically lighter.
Why do you care?
If you are going for a hike, you are mostly carrying only one backpack on your back. It has everything you need.
Let’s say, you did not consider the weight of the jackets and other materials and they are on the heavier side. Not too much, but just a tiny bit.
What will happen?
With every mile you travel, you will feel that the weight of the backpack is growing and the hike will become a torture.
So, keep your backpack as light as possible. A little precaution in selection will go a along way.
Number of pockets
More the number of pockets, better it is. During hiking, all the essentials should be at your fingertips.
There should be pockets to keep your hands warm. And at-least, two chest pockets to keep all your essentials
In that way, an ideal number of pockets should be at-least 4. If you have more than that, it is better.
When you will be hiking, your body will produce a lot of heat and carbon-dioxide.
To get this dissipated quickly, you need vents at key regions of the jackets like armpits.
This cools down the body and helps you to maintain a normal body temperature.
All the jackets may not have a vent. But it is a big plus, if they have one.
Hoods come in all shape and sizes. Some are bigger and helmet compatible.
They are good, if you are planning to use the jacket for both climbing and hiking.
If not, you can go for a jacket which has a smaller hood.
Another aspect to consider is detach-ability.
Some, like a hood that is detachable and some like it attached.
However, personally I like the attached kind. In any case, you can stuff it in the collar. (Sometimes, not always)
If you go for a good winter jacket, it will be expensive. There is no way around it.
But think of it in this way. If you take an ok ok jacket for a winter hike, first of all you will fall sick.
Moreover, there will be other issues like frost bite and you may not be able to complete the hike.
And, you have to come back early with all your hiking money spent unnecessarily, which is a total waste.
On top of that, you have to spend more money on getting treatment and they are darn expensive.
So, if you compare all these with the extra money, that you will be paying for the jacket, you will find that the jacket comes out to be cheaper.
If you take my advice, go for a premium jacket.
Size after packing
Let’s say you purchase a winter jacket. But when you fold it, it is not very compressible. It takes up a lot of space.
In hiking, you need things that take up less space. If your jacket only takes up a lot of space, then where will you fit in the other essentials?
So, compress-ability is a major criteria for any jacket you purchase for cold weather.
Now let’s check the detailed reviews of 5 top winter jackets
If you want to venture outside in snow, this jacket will be ideal for you.
It is warm with Fuzzy lining and coated with professional quality water repellent.
The durable fabric is 2400 polyester fibre and guarantees best heat retention.
The fit is relaxed and the material is quick-dry.
This water-repellent jacket can work under more than 10000 mm pressure head.
It is excellent in fighting bad rainy and misty weather keeping you always dry and comfortable.
It provides superior wind protection through adjustable cuffs, stretchable glove with thumb hole which helps in sealing the warmth.
Also, inside windproof snap powder skirt, internal draw-cord hem, detachable and adjustable storm hood help keep the wind out.
Along with this, the outer soft shell is highly wind resistant.
It has multiple pockets. 2 zippered hand pockets, 1 zippered chest pocket for carrying passports or cards.
Also, it has 1 internal pocket and 1 internal secure media pocket.
An earphone line fastening and supporting fixture available from inside the jacket.
This jacket comes in Standard US sizes and provides a comfortable fit as per the selected size.
It is very much suited for snowy conditions and is best for, Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowsports, Hiking and other winter outdoor Sports.
My Final Opinion
Wantdo Mountain Waterproof Jacket (Women) is a very good product. A lot of thought has gone into the design and it stand up-to its reputation.
It can withstand extreme conditions of rain, snow and mist and can still keep you warm and dry.
However, some of the users have faced durability issue but that is a very small percentage of users.
For the rest of them, this jacket has delivered on its promises.
This jacket is made up of Synthetic material and is manufactured in USA
This is a Softshell Jacket with 90% polyester with double weave and 10% stretch elastane.
The weight of this outer material is 7.0 oz/yd.
It comes in standard US regular fit and the lining is 100% polyester with 1.8 oz/yd.
It is a hooded down puffer jacket and is ideal for use under any mid-weight shell during snow sports and adventures in harsh wet, windy and snowy conditions.
This is a moisture resistant Down jacket with 700 fill power which keeps you warm in wet conditions.
The hand-warmer pockets are zippered and provides additional warmth.
The chest had zippered interior pockets and can serve as a convenient storage.
Velcro cuffs and draw-cord hems gives you an adjustable fit and temperature control.
My Final Opinion
Marmot Guides Down Hoody Winter Puffer Jacket (Men) protects you from harsh and wet conditions. They are very versatile and can be used under snowy conditions also.
Light weight causes them to be carried comfortably in any backpacking adventure to colder areas of the country.
However, for some users the size was a bit off so try it out before you buy it.
Other than that, this is a decent jacket at an affordable price.
This is a 100% nylon jacket with zipper closure.
With waterproof coating and quick-dry material, it is very breathable.
The jacket is static free and keeps you warm while protecting you from wind.
Due to the nature of the material, the jacket is very durable.
The fit is relaxed and is suitable for ice-sports, fishing, shooting, travelling, outing, hiking, climbing, driving, skating, camping and cycling.
The hood is windproof and is detachable and sits inside the stand collar.
The sleeves are adjustable by Velcro, the closure is zipped up and has multi-functional pockets with invisible zipper.
Washing this jacket is also very easy. You need to machine wash it and hang it for drying.
You can iron it at a low temperature, however, bleaching and hand-washing is not recommended by the company.
Also, the company recommends to use their size chart instead of Amazon’s. This product contains Asian size tag and the US size is typically bigger than Asian’s.
My Final Opinion
HENGJIA Alternative Outerwear (Women) is meant for ice-sports. So, it is perfectly suitable for your adventures in snow.
However, the size can be an issue as it is per Asian standards and is different from US standards. So, my recommendation will be to try before you buy.
Other than that, it is perfectly suited for hiking and fits perfectly in your backpack.
This is a unique jacket in this entire selection. It is made of 100% cotton and the lining material is Wool Polyester Blend.
In the front a zipper runs from top to bottom and acts as the closure.
For added protection, button enclosures are also there and have interior pockets.
This fabric is soft to touch and have a smooth finish.
The hood is detachable and at it’s base is the stand-up collar.
The fit of this jacket is relaxed and is suitable for ice-sports, fishing, shooting, traveling, outing, climbing, driving, skating, camping, cycling and hiking
Also, the company suggests that, you should machine wash it and hang to dry. Don’t bleach it and don’t hand wash it.
My Final Opinion
WEEN CHARM Faux Fur Lined Warm Coats (Men) is a good looking jacket. It is thin but warm.
However, some of the users faced some issue with size and it gets wet in snow. So, you cannot wear it in extreme conditions.
However, for cold weather hiking it is good, provided you don’t have to face rain
This jacket is a set of two jackets. One is an inner fleece jacket and the outer one is a waterproof coat.
The breathable fleece jacket can retain warmth for a longer period of time and can be worn together or separately.
The outer shell is made of Teflon Material, which effectively blocks the air.
The cuffs are Velcro adjusted and also can effectively blocks the wind.
The foam hood is insulated and detachable and the seamless zipper along with the stand collar, keeps the wind out.
These jackets are Military grade Teflon material and is completely waterproof and anti-fouling.
This jacket is perfect for any kind of outdoor activities like, rock climbing, hiking, mountaineering, skiing, etc.
My Final Opinion
Camel Waterproof Warm Coat (Unisex) is unique as it comes with a set of two jackets. The inner one is a fleece jacket for retaining the body heat, whereas the outer jacket is a Teflon material.
They are very durable and is completely waterproof and windproof.
However, the fit seems to be smaller than usual, hence the company recommends to order a size larger than usual
It is difficult to choose a decent winter jacket, with all the options available in the market.
However, now you have all the basics covered to help you take an informed decision.
You know the difference between synthetic and down jacket and what to use when.
You also, have information about 5 of the best jackets in the market.
Here is a closing video which provide you with some more information about choosing a jacket.
Best of luck on your next hike and have a safe journey!
According to you, which is the best Hiking Jackets For Cold Weather?
Let us know in the comment section below.
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