Winter is a time to dress warmly and protect yourself from the inevitable cold and wet weather. You want to keep in good health even after the cold season is over.
However, it’s not always easy to keep your body at the right temperature, especially with the fluctuations in temperature, extreme cold, and snow and rain showers.
Additionally, you may be traveling to various locations and doing different activities during the winter months. Most likely, these winter activities will require different types of winter jackets.
Since not all types of winter jackets are ideal for every situation, and no one jacket fits all situations, let’s explore some of the best types of winter jackets you can buy.
What are the Different Types of Winter Jackets?
There are tons of different types of winter jackets and which one is best depends on a lot of different factors, such as the place and purpose of the jacket.
We will discuss some of these winter jackets below.
Also known as an anorak, a parka is a hooded jacket usually lined with faux or real fur. As a Caribou Inuit staple, parkas are traditionally made with caribou or seal skin.
Parkas were initially designed to keep people warm when kayaking or hunting in the frigid temperatures of the Arctic.
A parka is an excellent jacket for the winter season given its extended length, warm insulation, attached hood, and waterproof shell that protects you from wind, low temperatures, and falling snow.
Parkas are versatile jackets, and you can wear one over formal or casual clothing to the office or informal space.
Learn more: Parka vs. Jacket: What Is The Difference?
2. Puffer Jacket
The puffer jacket name derives from the stitched sections with insulating material that give the jacket a puffy appearance.
The “puffiness” of a puffer jacket varies depending on the quality, loft, and density of the insulation. It also depends on whether the insulation is natural or synthetic.
While some puffer jackets use down (natural, soft fluff drawn from geese or ducks for trapping heat), most use synthetic insulation that doesn’t clump after getting wet.
The insulation or down is usually placed between a face fabric and a lining to result in the characteristic puffy look.
Puffer jackets are ideal for winter because they are designed to keep you warm even on the coldest days, as opposed to other jackets that primarily protect you against rain or wind.
Read also: How To Wash Your Down Jacket – A Useful Guide
3. Insulated Performance Jacket
An insulated performance jacket reduces the amount of heat you lose to the surrounding surfaces or atmosphere during cold times.
Depending on the manufacturer, an insulated performance jacket may be filled with synthetic insulation, natural down, or a combination of the two materials.
Natural down insulates your body better than synthetic insulation. You are better off buying a natural down jacket if you live in a very cold but dry climate.
On the other hand, synthetic insulation is better suited for less cold but wet climates.
Insulated performance jackets are ideal for runners, hikers, and skiers because they protect their bodies against excessive heat loss to the atmosphere when they are out in the cold.
You might also like: Ski Jacket vs Winter Jacket: What’s the Difference?
4. Synthetic Insulated Jacket
A synthetic insulated jacket is quite similar to an insulated performance jacket. The main difference is that this type of jacket is made with synthetic insulation material rather than down or a hybrid of down and synthetic insulation.
Learn more: Down vs Synthetic Jacket: What’s the Difference? Which Insulation is Better?
5. Moto Jacket
Another ideal (and fashionable!) winter jacket, a moto jacket is suitable for bikers who have to ride their motorcycle in the cold. Moto jackets are also called biker jackets and are usually black and made of heavy leather (learn more: Polyurethane Leather vs Real Leather: Differences and Comparison).
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6. 3-in-1 Jacket
The North Face Evolve II Triclimate Men’s “3 in 1” Jacket – image thenorthface.com
A 3-in-1 jacket combines two jackets that you can zip together into one jacket for enhanced warmth and extra protection from the elements.
Depending on your preference and factors such as the degree of coldness, you can either wear the two jackets individually, one at a time, or zip them together and wear them both. This kind of flexibility gives you three different possible wearing options, hence the name 3-in-1.
The outer jacket (also called the shell) is breathable and waterproof, while the second one worn inside is typically a fleece jacket.
3-in-1 jackets are ideal for places where the weather changes quickly and without warning or for users who want a wide selection of winter weather gear without having to take up so much closet space to pack it all in.
Read more: What Is a “3 in 1” Jacket? Here Is How It Works!
7. Goose/Duck Down Jacket
Down is the natural insulation material obtained from ducks and geese. It is placed in the inner lining of jackets to provide optimum warmth.
Down jackets are best used in cold, dry climates because they provide the greatest degree of warmth. However, they aren’t meant for very wet climates because down breaks apart or clumps when it gets wet.
Learn more: Duck Down vs Goose Down Jacket: A Useful Guide
8. Fleece Jacket
A fleece jacket refers to an upper-body garment made with synthetic polyester fleece. A fleece jacket may also be made with natural wool.
Fleece jackets are widely popular for their high degrees of insulation, breathability, style configurations, and super lightweight nature.
Natural wool is heavier and more expensive than synthetic fleece but not as water-resistant, which is why most modern-day fleece jackets use synthetic fleece.
Read also: Fleece vs Wool: What’s the Difference? Which One is Better?
9. Varsity Jacket
Also called letter or letterman jackets, varsity jackets have been in circulation for a long time and are especially popular among college students and staff of academic institutions.
Contrary to popular belief, varsity jackets aren’t just a favorite among students and academic staff. They are also worn by many non-academic users because of their unique style, warm insulation, and suitability for both formal and informal purposes.
Read next: The 6 Types of Jacket Fabrics for Outdoor Activities
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Now that you know the nine types of winter jackets you should look out for, let’s consider some popular questions people ask about winter jackets.
What Jackets are in Style this Year?
Most of the jacket types discussed above are still in style this year. Some of the ones that people love most include varsity jackets, puffer jackets, moto jackets, insulated performance jackets, and 3-in-1 jackets.
What Kind of Jacket is Best for Winter?
3-in-1 jackets are excellent for use during winter. First, the jacket gives you three possible wearing configurations, meaning that you can wear each piece separately or zip them together into one.
Second, 3-in-1 jackets stop you from having to buy a whole load of winter jackets to fill up your wardrobe. If you pick up one or two of these versatile jackets, you are good to go in all types of weather.
Other top winter jacket types you should pay attention to include puffer jackets, insulated performance jackets, and fleece jackets.
You might also like: Best 3 in 1 Jackets Reviewed: 8 Proposals for Men and Women
Should I get a Winter Jacket with a Hood?
You can always get a winter jacket with a hood. A hooded winter jacket is ideal because you most likely will have to go out in the cold and falling snow, and the hood becomes a protective layer against the cold and elements.
Furthermore, when it is cold, most of the heat from your body is lost from your head. As such, it’s a great idea to cover your head with a hood to prevent excessive heat loss to the atmosphere.
The one disadvantage of hooded winter jackets is that they can be bulkier to pack and carry around, making some people prefer to buy models without the hood as they are easier to carry around or pack in bags.
Climbers have an extra challenge because they have to find jackets with hoods that are compatible with their helmets. This isn’t an easy task because the hood has to be big enough to fit over the helmet.
If you decide to get a hooded winter jacket, be sure to look for one with an adjustable hood. This gives you more options for regulating the fit over your head for controlled comfort.
Hardshell vs. Softshell Jackets: What’s the Difference? Which One To Choose?
Hardshell vs Rain Jacket: What’s the Difference?
How Do You Choose the Right Winter Jacket?
Several factors come into play when choosing the right winter jacket. Some of the most significant factors include:
- the jacket’s purpose,
- prevailing weather conditions,
- insulation type,
- hood (or none),
- and the jacket’s fit on your body.
Consider how you’re planning to use the jacket, whether it’s for skiing, hunting, climbing, indoor homestay, or traveling back and forth to the office. For the latter, you might need a more formal jacket.
If your area sees a lot of snowfall, you’ll want to choose a winter jacket with superior waterproof features. The type of insulation can be natural, synthetic, or a hybrid of both.
The hood and pockets are important features for limiting heat loss to the atmosphere through the head and hands.
Lastly, you will want a jacket that fits you well so that you can comfortably go about your daily activities. If you choose a puffer jacket, make sure it’s not too puffy for you to wear and move around in comfortably.
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