The 14 Best Winter Jackets for Extreme Cold, So You Won’t Be Left Shivering

Comfy, cozy and oh-so chic

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There’s cold and then there’s cold. We’re talking single-digit temperatures—or possibly even lower—with gusts of frigid wind and Jack Frost chomping on your nose rather than just nipping at it. The kind of cold that makes you want to curl up in head-to-toe cashmere and sit by a fire with a piping hot cup of cocoa. Unfortunately, our schedules don’t always allow for such indulgences and sometimes we’re forced to endure the bitter winter air. For such occasions, you’ll definitely want to be sporting one of these ultra-warm coats. These high-tech toppers are the absolute best winter jackets for extreme cold, to give you that “warmed by a fire” feeling while you’re still getting things done outdoors. Plus, we’ve got some expert tips on what to look for to ensure maximum warmth from the winter coat of your choosing. Now all that’s left to do is accessorize with some cozy mittens, don a wool cap and slip into some fabulous snow boots.

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The Best Jackets for Extreme Cold at a Glance


Best Maxi-Length Option

L.L.Bean Ultrawarm Coat Long

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Best for *Truly* Extreme Cold

66° North Jökla Parka

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Meet the Expert

Ingrid Johnson is a Product Information Specialist at REI. She has worked for the co-op for nearly 14 years and has been working and playing outdoors in all of the weather her whole life.

11 Tips for Layering Your Winter Clothes Without Adding Bulk

Best Overall

1. Triple F.A.T. Goose Sophie Puffer Down Jacket

  • What We Love: flattering fit, timeless design, inclusive size range
  • What We Don’t Love: high price point, few color options
  • Insulation Materials: 750 fill-power duck down
  • Size Range: XS to 3X

This coat checks all our boxes—super warm, waterproof, windproof, stylish—and is made from high-quality materials that feel incredibly luxe to the touch (like the plush fleece-lined pockets, for example). The hood is also removeable and comes with multiple adjustable cords and an extended visor to keep snow or rain out of your eyes. Yes, it is expensive, but there is a lot of technology that’s gone into making such a supremely cozy and chic design, so if you live someplace that regularly hits single digit temperatures (or lower), it’s definitely worth checking out.


Best Under $200

2. REI Co-Op Norseland Insulated Parka

  • What We Love: inclusive size range, water repellant, covers the hips, made from eco-friendly materials
  • What We Don’t Love: hood is not detachable
  • Insulation Materials: 650 fill-power duck down
  • Size Range: XS to 3X

You don’t need to break the bank to find an ultra-warm winter coat. This REI design is long enough to cover your hips and bum, and the insulated hood is lined with cozy fleece for extra comfort around your face. It’s also made from recycled polyester, as an eco-friendly bonus. The materials have been treated with a water-repellant finish to help maintain that intense warmth even in rain and snow. And while the overall look may be simple, the Norseland has a flattering silhouette that’s neither too puffy nor too cinched and works well on a number of different body types. Reviews suggest it runs a hair large, but if you plan to layer thicker sweaters underneath we say stick with your usual size. Per one Minnesota-based reviewer, “Great for the cold northern winters in Minnesota, this coat is warm and stylish at the same time. I walk my older dog four time a day. Since it is a slow walk, I have difficulty staying warm but this coat does exactly what I need! I also like where the pockets are located—other long coats make you bend down just to put your hands in but the pockets are higher up on this one.”

Best Maxi-Length Option

3. L.L.Bean Ultrawarm Coat Long

  • What We Love: available in petite and plus sizes, machine washable (minus the removable faux-fur trim), comes with a removable hood
  • What We Don’t Love: no side zippers at the hem
  • Insulation Materials: 650 fill-power down
  • Size Range: XS to 3X, also Petite

Insulated pants make sense for ski vacations and outdoor adventures, but for simply strolling around the city (or quickly shuffling from your car to the front door to avoid the cold) you’re unlikely to sport such a bulky item. This does not, however, mean your legs must be forced to endure the wrath of Jack Frost. L.L.Bean’s Ultrawarm coat goes all the way down to mid-calf, right about where your cozy shearling-lined winter boots would end, and is rated for temperatures as low as -50° F. A double zipper allows you to adjust the fit to accommodate your stride, and both the hood and the faux-fur trim are removable, giving you multiple stylish (and warm) options to wear. It also comes in petite lengths so those under 5’4” won’t feel like they’re sporting a literal sleeping bag. That said, there is also a three-quarters length style available if you prefer.

Most Splurge-Worthy

4. Canada Goose Expedition Parka Fusion Fit

Canada Goose is the outerwear of choice for explorers and scientists working in Antarctica, as well as film crews the world over, oddly enough. The brand makes some of the absolute warmest winter puffers and parkas, with multiple options rated to keep you warm at temperatures below -22° F. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive brands on this list. This is definitely an investment piece, however it does come with a lifetime warranty and a bevy of rave reviews. The Fusion Fit parka comes with an impressively high neck (plus a detachable hood) to ensure no gusts of cold air sneak down your collar, and an inner drawstring that gives you the option to cinch the waist if you like.

Best for *Truly* Extreme Cold

5. 66° North Jökla Parka

  • What We Love: adjustments at the hood, waist, hem and sleeves allow for a more personalized fit, made from sustainable and ethically sourced materials, comes with reflective panels
  • What We Don’t Love: high price point
  • Insulation Materials: 90 percent German VET certified 800 fill-power down, 10 percent feathers
  • Size Range: XS to 2XL

This Icelandic outdoor brand is one of the absolute best and most popular options for serious mountaineers, guides, explorers and researchers, so you can bet it will hold up to anything Mother Nature might have in store for you this winter. As the website explains, “Around the solstice, northern Iceland experiences near 24-hour darkness, with temperatures falling as low as -30°C (-22°F). The Jökla was created because it had to be.” It even warns that locations with temperatures that can still produce rain are likely too hot for the incredible warmth this coat provides. Of course, such an advanced and technical item of clothing does not come cheap, but if you live somewhere as cold as northern Iceland, it is definitely worth the splurge.

Best for Skiing or Snowboarding

6. The North Face ThermoBall Triclimate 3-in-1 Jacket

  • What We Love: three-in-one design gives you lots of layering options, made from recycled materials, inclusive size range
  • What We Don’t Like: limited color options
  • Insulation Materials: ThermoBall Eco insulation
  • Size Range: XS to 3XL

When hitting the slopes in the Northeast, you run the risk of skiing through sub-zero temperatures and nasty winds. And while we don’t recommend risking frostbite just to score another run, this jacket should keep you toasty warm throughout the day without trapping in moisture. It has a three-in-one design, with an inner puffer layer that can be zipped in or out, giving you greater flexibility regulating your temperature. The outer shell is fully waterproof, to keep you dry even when it’s raining sideways, but there are also pit zips should you decide you need a little extra ventilation if it warms up. Reviews suggest it does run small so we highly suggest going up one (or maybe even two) from your usual size, especially so you can layer even more warm pieces underneath should you want them. Per one review, “Loved this jacket and that it comes with a removeable outer shell. It was warm but did not feel bulky. The size runs a bit small and I like to layer up with multiple sweaters and warm weather gear. I typically wear between a small and medium but returned the small and went with a large.”

Best for Layering

7. Eddie Bauer Microtherm 2.0 Down Jacket

  • What We Love: available in petite, tall and plus sizes, made from recycled materials, packs into its own chest pocket
  • What We Don’t Like: short length doesn’t cover the hips
  • Insulation Materials: 800 fill-power goose down
  • Size Range: XS to 3X, also Petite and Tall

This compact zip-up is rated for temperatures as low as -5 °F and comes with a water-resistant finish. While it would certainly work well on its own for most scenarios, we love how compact and thin the down is, making it an ideal layering piece that can be worn under your favorite Gore-Tex rain jacket or an even warmer parka for double the insulation. It also comes in both petite and tall sizes, so no one has to stress about rolling up sleeves that are too long or feeling exposed in a jacket that’s too short. Reviews suggest it runs true to size, and multiple women also report being pleasantly surprised about not having to size up to accomodate their hips.

Best for Germaphobes

8. Woolrich Aliquippa Long Down Jacket

  • What We Love: drawstrings at the waist and hem, fleece-lined pockets, stand collar, removable hood
  • What We Don’t Like: high price point, few color options
  • Insulation Materials: duck down
  • Size Range: XS to XXL

Now more than ever we are hyper aware of all the different ways we can help minimize our risk of getting sick, and this super-warm coat offers a bonus level of protection in an unexpected place—the pocket lining, a cozy black-and-red fleece, is treated with Polygiene ViralOff technology, which is designed to kill more than 99 percent of microbes in a two-hour time span. Yup, this gorgeous coat may actually help prevent you from getting sick this winter (in conjunction with washing your hands, using hand sanitizer and wearing a mask, of course). But beyond its germaphobe appeal, Wollrich’s Aliquippa down coat is incredibly chic, with a drawstring at the waist to help nip you in and a fabulous stand collar that protects your neck from chilly winds should you decide to remove the adjustable hood. The coat is rated to keep you warm down in the range of 14 °F to -4 °F, so you can feel assured you won’t be left shivering on early morning walks. The outer shell material is also water and wind resistant, and the down used to pack those quilted baffles meet the Responsible Down Standard.

Best for Cold, Wet Climates

9. Patagonia Great Falls Insulated Parka

  • What We Love: made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials, waterproof, adjustable hood, large pockets
  • What We Don’t Love: boxy fit
  • Insulation Materials: synthetic insulation made from 100 percent recycled polyester
  • Size Range: XS to XL

Just because a coat is warm doesn’t mean it will hold up well in wet conditions. In fact, most traditional down filling becomes fairly useless when wet. But this Patagonia design was made specifically for areas that experience both low temperatures and lots of rain or snow. The insulation is made from 100 percent recycled polyester and the outer shell has not one, but two layers of waterproofing to ensure you stay dry and warm in even the heaviest rainfall. There are drawstrings on the hood to help prevent water from sneaking in around your face, and at the waist as well to help cinch you in for a more flattering fit. Reviews suggest it runs a bit large but we still recommend going with your usual size so that you can comfortably layer sweaters or thicker knits underneath.

Best Plus Size

10. Outdoor Research Coze Down Coat

  • What We Love: inclusive size range, soft chin guard makes it more comfortable to zip all the way up, super lightweight
  • What We Don’t Love: few color options
  • Insulation Materials: 700 fill-power down
  • Size Range: XS to 4X

Outdoor Research makes tons of great outdoorsy gear for all sorts of activities, but this coat really takes the cake as the best everyday winter coat the brand has to offer. And, as an added bonus, sizes range from XS up to a size 4X. It’s insulated with 700 down fill for maximum warmth, and the shell is made from 100 percent recycled materials and is water resistant. The hood is also insulated, unlike most of the designs on this list, to ensure your head and ears stay warm even if you forget to bring a hat. The drop tail hem (for extra bum coverage) has two side zips to give your hips better range of motion if you’ve got an active day planned. And there is an internal, fleece-lined collar that will keep your neck protected even if you aren’t wearing the hood. Kate from British Columbia writes, “When the temperature is below zero and the wind is blowing at 25 mph I wear this coat over a fleece and I’m very comfortable. The hood blocks the wind and can be pulled up over my chin, so that my face (all but my nose) stays warm. And I like the hip length because it's not awkward to zip or sit in. Also the coat has practical features like a durable zipper, sleeve thumb hole cuffs and well placed pockets. The outer layer is durable and has withstood challenges, like dogs jumping up on me in my forays into dog parks.”

Most Stylish

11. The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket

  • What We Love: fun retro design, flattering cut, packs into its own righthand pocket, comes with removable, packable hood
  • What We Don’t Like: doesn’t cover the hips
  • Insulation Materials: 700 fill-power goose down
  • Size Range: XXS to 3X

We adore this throwback North Face style, which was reissued last year and is back in the same retro hues you loved in 1996, plus a few more modern options. But more than just feeling trendy, this coat is also supremely warm. In fact, it comes with the brand’s highest warmth rating and is also water repellent, all while maintaining a lightweight feel that won’t bog you down. Our only gripe is that, while there is a removable hood to add more warmth around your ears and head, the cropped cut leaves your hips and booty exposed to the elements (unless you opt for a pair of insulated pants, too).

Warmest Faux Fur

12. Apparis Celina Coat

  • What We Love: made from super-soft, eco-friendly faux fur, flattering fit, cozy faux-fur lined pockets
  • What We Don’t Like: not great for wet weather, not machine washable
  • Insulation Materials: faux fur
  • Size Range: XXS to XXL

Apparis makes some of the highest quality faux-fur coats out there—which is in itself a mega warm and animal-friendly material—but we’re big fans of this style in particular for two reasons. One is that big cozy hood, which can be pulled up to cover your ears and head for additional warmth without worrying about ruining your ‘do with a beanie. Second, it comes with snaps down the front rather than a tie waist, like most faux-fur styles, meaning you don’t have to worry about your coat flying open should a cold gust of wind hit. Oh, and it also has deep pockets in front to keep your hands toasty warm.

Best for Winter Runs

13. lululemon Another Mile Jacket

  • What We Love: water repellant, PrimaLoft insulation will still keep you warm even when wet, thumb loops offer extra hand protection
  • What We Don’t Like: few color options
  • Insulation Materials: synthetic PrimaLoft insulation
  • Size Range: 0 to 14

We’ll start by saying that, yes, it can absolutely be too cold for you to safely go for a run. But for the dedicated miler that still actually wants to head outside mid-February, this lululemon topper will help keep you warm and dry, even as you approach 10° F. The outer shell is water repellent and the PrimaLoft insulation will continue to keep you nice and warm even when wet. It also comes with an extra fleecy dickie zipped into the collar for additional warmth on truly frigid days, but that can be removed once spring starts to creep in. We also deeply appreciate the reflective details which help identify you as a runner on the road, since you’re more likely to be running in the dark during winter’s shorter days.

Editor’s Pick

14. Super World The Super Puff₂O

  • What We Love: multiple lengths available, water and windproof, comes in lots of trendy colors
  • What We Don’t Like: tends to sell out quickly
  • Insulation Materials: 700 fill-power goose down
  • Size Range: 3XS to 2XL

Canadian company Aritzia’s Super World puffer coat series has been a major hit with fashion editors, models and influencers for its super stylish puffers. But they aren’t just for style—most of the 15 silhouettes offered are rated to keep you warm all the way down to -40°C / -40°F, and the Super Puff2O is also fully waterproof to ensure inclement weather can’t ruin the warmth of the 700+ goose down fill. This waterproof design comes in four different lengths, but we like the OG cut best because it hits that sweet spot between being long enough to cover you hips and bum but not so long that petite frames will feel overwhelmed by the material. “I was deciding between this coat and another from a really well regarded outdoor gear brand for a recent mountain climbing trip,” said one PureWow editor, “and when I was comparing the two I was surprised to find the Super Puff really held its own and was just as warm and had just as many technical features and details. The only thing that made me pick the other coat in the end was because that one could pack down into a smaller stuff sack. But that one also wasn’t waterproof, so it was a difficult choice to make.”

What Are Some of the Pros and Cons of Natural Insulation Materials Like Wool, Down or Fur?

It’s hard to say which is better overall, natural insulations or synthetic insulations, but there are some specific scenarios in which one definitely stands out over the other. For example, Johnson notes that coats made with down feathers are much lighter in weight than synthetics, and the weight-to-warmth ratio of down is remarkably high (meaning it’s shockingly lightweight considering how much warmth it provides). Down is also easier to pack if you’re headed on a trip or want to stow your winter gear for the summer. “It readily compresses and re-expands to full fluff more quickly and more readily over time than synthetic insulation,” explains Johnson. “Down jackets are therefore easier to move about in and easier to pack than other garments of similar warmth. Properly cared for, they stay closer to their original warmth level than a synthetic jacket over the same number of years of existence and days of use.” Wool is also a great natural fiber for winter because “it continues to insulate even when damp or soaking wet,” meaning you won’t suddenly start shivering if your wool sweater gets wet.

That said, there are some notable downsides to natural insulation, most notably cost—natural materials tend to be much more expensive than synthetics. “However, if a garment works better and lasts longer, it is worth the investment,” suggest Johnson, “and might pay for itself several times over in the long haul if you do not need to own as many different clothing items or do not need to replace them as often.” There’s also a higher chance that clothing made with natural fibers will require special cleaning instructions.

What Are Some of the Pros and Cons of Synthetic Insulation Materials?

Synthetics do have one major benefit over natural fibers, which is that they have been specifically designed, from scratch, to serve a very specific purpose. So while down feathers may be lighter and warmer than down alternatives, they’re also totally useless when wet, whereas basically all synthetic downs are designed to maintain their shape and warmth even after being exposed to water. As Johnson notes, this makes it a particularly good option for wet, moderately cold climates, “for example, the rainy upper-20’s-upper-30’s that passes for winter in much of the Pacific Northwest. It is also better than down (though not as good as wool) for highly aerobic activities because it will not ‘wilt’ and lose some warmth from sweat.” On the flip side, generally speaking, synthetic insulations are not often the most eco-friendly choice. “While more and more brands, especially in the outdoor industry, are offering garments that contain some recycled material, there’s still environmental impact to every garment you choose.”

Are There Specific Materials One Should Look for When Considering the Outer Shell Layer of a Winter Coat?

“The three main variables for shell fabric are waterproofing, breathability and durability,” says Johnson. “How much each matters to you will depend on weather conditions and type of activity. Weight is another variable. A lightweight garment in good standing for all the above qualities can be considerably more expensive than a heavier one. Whether you need to pack and carry the garment or how far and fast you intend to move while wearing it will help determine priorities.”

As mentioned earlier, down feathers lose a lot of their warming ability when wet, but there is an incredibly easy solution: Choose a winter coat with an outer layer that’s waterproof or water resistant. “Most shell fabrics are nylon, usually with a water-resistant layer called DWR (durable water repellant) on the outside that helps precipitation bead up and run off,” explains Johnson, but it’s always a good idea to double check the specifics of your coat before ordering. If you live someplace where the winters are equally wet and cold, a water resistant jacket won’t work as well as a waterproof one.

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Abby Hepworth


Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...
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