When temperatures drop, a dependable winter coat is the ultimate bit of outdoor kit. There’s nothing like hunkering down in the enveloping warmth of a down parka in the freezing cold. Or battening down the hatches in a fully-stormproof technical hardshell jacket when foul weather blows in. Those kind of conditions are when you really need one of the best winter coats around.
Luckily, whether you’re after a cosy belay jacket for winter climbing adventures or a warm yet stylish overcoat for the morning commute, we’ve got you covered. These outer layers will protect you from biting wind and lashing rain or snow, as well as any other kind of brutal winter weather. In fact, if you’re wearing one of these jackets, there’s really no excuse not to get out there.
The Best Winter Coats in Our Team’s Tests
Outdoor brands generally know one or two things about protecting you from the elements. After all, would you rather trust a company who have spent years fitting out mountaineers and outdoors types, or leave it to some high-end Italian fashion house? Yeah, thought so. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best winter coats from the leading outdoor brands for your consideration. This is kit that has been used and abused in some of the wildest, coldest and wettest places on earth.
- Best Overall Winter Coat: Rab Neutrino Pro
- Best Value Winter Coat: Craghoppers Pember Insulated
- Best for Performance Use: Salomon Elixir Ultra Down
- Best Expedition Jacket: Haglöfs Nordic Expedition Down
- Best Parka for Everyday Wear: Fjällräven Vidda Pro Wool Padded
I’ve been reviewing outdoor gear for various outdoor magazines for over 10 years now and in that time I’ve served on juries for the ISPO Awards, the OIA Awards and the Scandinavian Outdoor Awards. When I’m not writing reviews, I’m out testing the gear. Long distance hiking is my passion and I’m always looking for new multi-day or even multi-weeks trails to take on.
How They Were Tested
I personally tested the majority of the gear that’s featured here and I curated the list out of the many jackets I’ve tried over the last couple of seasons. It’s only the women’s jackets that I didn’t try out and I left those to the members of our test team who you can see in the pictures on this page.
For me, a winter coat isn’t really something that I’d carry on one of my long distance walks as they tend to be heavy. Instead they tend to be worn from A to B, or for wearing all day in cold conditions. As such, that’s the context in which I’ve tested and assessed these jackets. Most of them were tested out during cold photoshoots in Bannau Brycheiniog, the Scottish Highlands and in North Wales, but they also saw plenty of use during autumn and winter dog walks and were worn on the walk to the pub and back.
Things I considered when I was making my choices for this list included the level of warmth, the material and build quality, the features and details and also things like value and sustainability.
Best Overall Winter Coat
1. Rab Neutrino Pro
Best for: Climbing, mountaineering, alpinism
Key attributes: Warm, water-resistant
Warm, refined and versatile, the Rab Neutrino Pro is a well-built and reliable down jacket that’ll do pretty much everything in sub-zero conditions. Or as OM gear tester Jon put it in his review, it’s a “whopping great dose of portable warmth that you can take out wherever you are in anything short of seriously cold conditions, and rely on to keep you comfortably toasty”.
It packs a punch in the heat stakes thanks to plenty of 800-fill power goose down stuffed inside its roomy baffles. That gives reassuring, near-instant warmth when you put it on, making it ideal for everything from cold, exposed belay stances to winter nights in a remote Scottish bothy. It would even be suitable for grander adventures in the world’s great ranges.
Though it’s obviously not as toasty as an expedition box-wall down jacket, the Neutrino Pro does exactly what it was designed to do, and does it extremely well. All in all, this is a cracking all-rounder for all sorts of winter pursuits at home and abroad.
Men’s XS-XXL, women’s UK 8-16 / 800 FP RDS-certified hydrophobic goose down / Pertex Quantum Pro Shell
Read our full Rab Neutrino Pro Jacket review.
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Best Value Winter Coat
2. Craghoppers Pember Insulated
Best for: Winter walking, general everyday use
Key attributes: Warm, eco-friendly
Craghoppers have pulled out all of the stops with their new Pember jacket. First up it’s super, super warm and comfortable and it’s waterproof as well, then there are a whole bunch of eco-driven efforts on show as well. Not only is the DWR on the outer fabric free from any nasty chemicals but they’ve also made sure that most of the materials they’ve used here are from recycled sources, that includes the textured face fabric, the polyester lining, the fill and even the zip tapes. On top of all that, the full bluesign approval gives that extra reassurance that Craghoppers have considered the ethical and environmental impact of their product.
All in all, the Pember is a cosy, eco-friendly jacket that will keep you warm on country walks or national park excursions and without too eye-watering a price tag either.
Men’s S-XXL, women’s n/a / Aquadry Membrane (waterproof 12,000mm HH, Breathable 15,000g/m2/24hrs) / Thermo Pro polyester fill / 10 pockets: 2 bellowed button fastening lower with zipped handwarmers,2 bellowed button fastening chest ,1 zipped inner chest, 1 zipped map and 2 elasticated accessory pockets
Selected for our 2021 Green Gear Guide. Read the full Craghoppers Pember Insulated Jacket review.
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Best Winter Coat for Performance Use
3. Salomon Elixir Ultra Down
Best for: hiking, winter sports
Key attributes: good warmth-to-weight, sustainable efforts in design
Our team tested this down-filled jacket out during a wintry trip to the Cairngorms National Park. During our tests, it proved to be very warm and cosy but also lightweight too. One thing that stood out on the women’s model was its length; it has a slightly longer cut than you tend to see on most down jackets and this, we found, brought that extra bit of warmth and protection.
Another thing that brought a bit of extra warmth is the internal lining. This is designed to reflect heat back to your body and is concealed within the baffles so you can’t see it, but you can certainly feel its effects.
Credit should also go to Salomon for using recycled materials throughout this and down that’s been ethically sourced too. We also liked some of the smaller details, including the gaskets on the cuffs that keep draughts out and warm air in, and the adjustment on the hood.
Available in men’s and women’s versions / 800 fill power RDS down / adjustable hood / 2 handwarmer pockets / 2 zipped chest pockets / PFC-free DWR / water repellent zips.
Selected for our Outdoor 100 23/24. Read our full Salomon Elixir Ultra Down Jacket review.
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Best Expedition Jacket
4. Haglöfs Nordic Expedition Down Jacket
Best for: Winter climbing
Key attributes: Premium 800 fill goose down, bluesign approved fabrics, award-winning climbing-friendly design
Haglöfs’ new Nordic Expedition Down Jacket doesn’t disappoint, thanks to its mix of the brand’s own Mimic synthetic insulation and premium 800 fill power goose down. This fill is also hydrophobic and the face fabric utilises a three-layer waterproof construction across the shoulders, torso and arms, with a moisture vapour transmission rate of 10,000g/m2/24hrs. Put simply, this means that although the jacket is well insulated, it shouldn’t get too stuffy in those winter months when trapped moisture vapour can be dangerous.
We’re particularly impressed by the eco credentials of the Nordic Expedition as it’s made from bluesign approved fabrics, the down fill is certified by the Responsible Down Standard and the DWR treatment is PFC-free. What’s more, Haglöfs as a brand is a leading member of the Fair Wear Foundation and is a certified climate-neutral company.
The most striking element of the jacket’s design, however, are the straps placed across the front panel. Designed to help improve ventilation, these straps let you open up the main zipper without sacrificing too much in terms of rain and wind protection. You’ll also find a unique (and very handy) waterproof drop seat in the rear, a helmet-compatible hood and a two-way main zip.
Bluesign approved fabrics / Responsible Down Standard approved / PFC-free DWR treatment / premium 800 Fill Power goose down / Mimic Platinum insulation / 3-layer zoned waterproof-breathable face fabrics / hydrostatic head: 15,000mm / moisture vapour transmission rate: 10,000g/m2/24hrs / front panel straps / helmet-compatible hood / two-way main zip / ISPO gold winner / Scandinavian Outdoor Award winner / climate neutral-company.
Read our full Haglöfs Nordic Expedition Down Jacket review.
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Best Parka For Everyday Wear
5. Fjällräven Vidda Pro Wool Padded Jacket
Best for: Winter walking, general everyday use
Key attributes: Warm, eco-friendly
The Vidda Pro Wool Padded Jacket is one serious bit of kit that you could imagine would be right at home in the wild depths of a Swedish winter. It’s a jacket that’s really impressed us here at Outdoors Magic, not just because of its performance but because of the range of eco-friendly materials that have Fjällräven have used for it.
Out of the 30 items selected for our 2021 Green Gear Guide, this is perhaps one of the most qualified products. You’ve got the shell that’s made from G-1000 Lite Eco, a mix of recycled polyester and organic cotton that’s treated with Greenland Wax for eco-friendly water resistance. Then there’s the insulating fill which is made from a blend of Fjällräven’s Recovered Wool (wool from the meat industry that had been headed for landfill) and a bioplastic made from corn starch. Perhaps best of all though, you’ve got that incredibly snug hood that’s lined with a flannel made from recycled wool.
It’s seriously cosy and excellent at keeping the wind off you, thanks to an adjustable hem and a generously padded hood that is particularly snug.
Men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL / Wind- and water-resistant G-1000 Lite Eco / Sustainable padding in Swedish wool and PLA from corn starch / Two-way front zipper with protective flap and buttons / Adjustable hood with lining in recycled wool / Drawcord adjustments at hem and buttons at sleeve cuffs.
Selected for our 2021 Green Gear Guide. Read our full Fjällräven Viida Pro Wool Padded Jacket review.
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