TOP 17 Best Winter Jackets for Extreme Cold & Freezing Weather 2019

Looking for a new winter jacket?

For most people, it’s unlikely such a purchase is for an arctic expedition.

But they do still want to be comfortable in wintery climes, nonetheless.

There are warm jackets out there – and then there are really warm jackets.

The kind that can stand up to extreme conditions.

And when you just don’t want to bother with the hassle of layering, you need a single item of clothing that’s going to do the job and then some.

That’s why I’ve put together this review of the best winter jackets for extreme cold.

If you’re looking for something to use on your next mountain trek – or even for just defrosting your car in January in North Dakota, then you’ve come to the right place.

A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow.

It’s time to turn up the heat.

TOP 17 Best Winter Jackets for Extreme Cold 2019

Carhartt Men’s Arctic Quilt Lined Yukon Active Jacket

Review: Carhartt are known for their heavy-duty workwear and this winter coat is built in the same vein.

Made from a tough and durable 1000-denier nylon, the jacket is quilted with arctic-weight polyester insulation that is specially designed for cold weather conditions.

It features two hand warmer pockets, and rib-knit cuffs and waist to keep out the chill.

The jacket seams are triple-stitched for added strength, and the garment has the benefit of being machine washable so you can keep it spick and span with minimal fuss.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Lightweight and stylish.
  • Solid construction.
  • Hand warmer pockets.

Cons

  • Won’t do in really frigid conditions.
  • Might run a little large for some.

Takeaway

A good effort from Carhartt as a lightweight and versatile winter jacket for anyone on a budget.

You might need to layer up in colder climates, though.

Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket

Review: This elongated women’s winter jacket is filled with 90% white duck down and 10% feathers to guarantee protection against the cold.

It is super-soft and lightweight, offering water and wind resistance, as well as plenty of other practical features for your comfort.

The hood is lined with an artificial lambswool for extra warmth, there are six pockets in useful locations for all your bits and bobs, and a really nice side zip design for extra freedom of movement.

Ultimately though, this jacket will keep you nice and toasty in all but the most extreme conditions.

Pros

  • Duck down filled.
  • Well designed features.
  • Side zippers for unrestricted movement.
  • Good price.

Cons

  • Not at all good in anything more than a light drizzle.
  • Built for warmth not for looks.

Takeaway

A warm, duck-down jacket that will certainly keep the heat in, but has limitations if the heavens really open.

Camel Crown Women’s Mountain Snow Jacket

Review: Camel Crown offer a perfectly practical and versatile winter coat here for a great price if you’re on a budget.

It has a super-soft fleece lining with cotton padding for extra warmth and heat retention. It’s wind and water-resistant, with an adjustable and detachable hood and cuffs that have a stretchable glove with thumb hole for added comfort.

It’s packed full of additional features, including loads of pockets and storage options, a headphone hole, and quality zippers and hardware.

It has a tough and durable exterior to prevent rips and tears, making it suitable to put through its paces in multiple outdoor activities.

Pros

  • Outstanding price.
  • Quality construction.
  • Packed with features.

Cons

  • Runs on the small side.

Takeaway

A very respectable effort from Camel Crown that could easily go toe-to-toe with higher-end outdoor clothing brands at a fraction of the cost. Well worth considering if you’re on a budget.

Mountain Warehouse Men’s Concord Extreme Jacket

Review: British company Mountain Warehouse manufacture some excellent outdoor apparel for anyone who is on a budget.

This is a great price here for a quality down-filled jacket that traps the heat and retains warmth, while the down proof lining stops feathers from poking through.

They say it is laboratory tested down to – 50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit), which is a pretty bold claim – that and it’s guaranteed waterproof for at least three years.

It’s smart and stylish, with a detachable, adjustable hood, taped seams for extra waterproofing and plenty of pocket options.

For the price, this is surely one of the best winter coats for very cold weather on the market.

Pros

  • Excellent price.
  • Stylish design.
  • Removable hood.
  • Good pockets.

Cons

  • Zipper snag is possible.

Takeaway

Altogether a top-quality winter jacket which is made all the more remarkable with the easy-on-the-pocket price.

You could certainly do a lot worse than this for keeping yourself warm in the winter.

Helly Hansen Men’s Captains Hooded Rain Jacket

Review: The Norwegian outdoor clothing brand consistently produces some truly top-drawer apparel that is genuinely built to withstand the elements either at sea or in the mountains.

So, for a walk on a winter’s day you’d expect this parka-style jacket to do the business.

Made from 100% polyamide with Hellytech protection, this stylish garment is waterproof, windproof and breathable. It has a 2 ply fabric construction with the seams fully sealed to keep you extra snug.

There’s a hood attached which can be adjusted with one hand, while it’s quick-dry lined for added comfort.

The zippers are solid and the chin guard has an anti-chafe feature for when you’re fully wrapped up.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Premium materials.
  • Excellent waterproofing.

Cons

  • Layers might still be required.

Takeaway

This might not be the top of the range from Helly Hansen, but it’s an excellent garment with great weatherproofing.

Again, you might need to add a layer for when it’s really cold.

Helly Hansen Men’s Workwear Boden Down Parka

Review: Perhaps a better option for extreme temperatures is Helly Hansen’s down parka, which once again incorporates their Hellytech for waterproofing, windproofing and breathability.

It has taped seams, a detachable and adjustable hood that is faux-fur lined, and reflective safety protection throughout so you can be seen on those dark nights.

It’s designed with workmen in mind, and you’re certainly going to be seen if you choose the high-viz yellow option.

Even so, the Allied/European goose downmix will keep you toasty warm in even the coldest conditions. Excellent protection all round with this practical winter coat.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Solid construction.
  • Excellent safety wear.
  • Great price.

Cons

  • Definitely looks like a workman’s jacket – might be lacking in the style stakes for some.

Takeaway

Extremely practical and weatherproof with added safety features, this jacket is ideal to keep you warm, dry and visible.

That’s if you’d want to be seen in it in the first place.

Mammut Men’s Rime in Flex Hooded Jacket

Review: Swiss company Mammut make some outstanding outdoor gear and apparel, including some amazing hiking backpacks that are easily up there with the best hiking backpacks you can buy.

Compare a Mammut to anything in that link and you’ll see my point.

This is a stylish winter jacket made from 100% polyamide with a synthetic down liner, and a lightweight, elastic, water-repellent Pertex Quantum Air material for increased breathability and freedom of movement.

It has an anatomically cut, adjustable, helmet-compatible hood and hem drawstring that can be adjusted with one hand.

Two chest pockets are backpack and climbing gear friendly, but the whole jacket is ideal for any kind of alpine activity or adventure. You’ll still look really cool in urban environments, too.

Pros

  • Quality company.
  • Excellent design and construction.
  • Packed with practical, well-thought-out features.
  • Smart and stylish.

Cons

  • Let me know if you find one.

Takeaway

An excellent winter jacket from an outdoor company that deserves more recognition. Easily competes with The North Face and it’s a great price considering the quality.

Arc’teryx Women’s Darrah Coat

Review: A significant improvement when it comes to style, this Arc’teryx women’s jacket is cut with a cosmopolitan vibe while still being influenced by the mountains.

It’s thermally insulated to provide the best protection from the elements, made from a mix of cotton, polyester, nylon and taffeta.

Its synthetic liner is quick-drying, durable and offering the ability to stay warm even when damp.

The garment is water repellant, with an insulated hood and laminated brim, articulated elbows and gusseted underarms for mobility and comfort. In the city or in the hills, you’ll look sharp in this effort from this Canadian outdoor clothing company.

Pros

  • Stylish, fitted design.
  • Quality name and construction.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • Not suitable for arctic conditions without layers.

Takeaway

A versatile, flattering and stylish coat from Arc’teryx, it might not be the best women’s winter coat for extreme cold, but it’ll certainly do most casual users to keep the chill at bay this season.

Columbia Women’s Polar Freeze Down Jacket

Review: Outdoor clothing stalwarts Columbia have produced this long down jacket for women that boasts 652 fill power down insulation with Omni-heat technology.

It has a removable faux-fur hood and 2-way zipper, 100% polyester shell and zip-close pockets to keep your belongings safe.

It features a water-resistant outer fabric which features chevron-style lines that flatters the figure.

There’s an interior security pocket, comfort cuffs and drawcord adjustable hem. Top marks here for when it comes to keeping the heat in.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Down jacket.
  • Removable hood.
  • Flattering fit.

Cons

  • Not that practical for outdoor activities.

Takeaway

A stylish and functional winter jacket from Columbia, the flattering design will make you look good while the down will keep you warm.

However, if you’re looking for something a little more practical, check out these amazing winter hiking jackets. Much less restrictive and more lightweight for when you’re on the go.

Arc’teryx Men’s Thorium AR Hoody

Review: Designed for use in real alpine conditions, this Arc’teryx hoody-style jacket is made from a heat-retaining combination of down, nylon, polyester, and taffeta.

The down offers a particularly excellent warmth to weight ratio, and the premium materials and construction make it a choice jacket to use in a variety of situations and conditions – whatever your chosen outdoor activity.

It has a water-resistant outer layer, corded zipper pulls, and full front zip with chin guard and wind flap. There’s also an internal zippered pocket and two concealed zippered pockets.

The Thorium can also be compressed and packed down for excellent portability.

Pros

  • Top quality construction and materials.
  • Name to trust.
  • Choice of colors.
  • Stylish and smart design.
  • Packable.

Cons

  • Waterproofing might not be the best.

Takeaway

This is a really smart looking jacket that’s easy on the eye whatever color you choose.

The versatility is a big plus point – hiking, skiing, climbing, snowboarding…this jacket could well be one of the best winter coats for extreme cold weather whatever your chosen activity.

The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III

Review: Not having a North Face product in a review about the best winter coats for extreme cold would be pretty much unheard of, and so they make their first appearance with this beautifully designed and stylish parka.

It’s as practical as it is good looking, made from a combination of nylon, polyester, and polyurethane with a faux fur lined hood that can be removed.

It boasts a waterproof, breathable, seam-sealed DryVent 2L shell, and is a 100% windproof fabric.

There’s also an internal emergency gaitor built into the hood for extra protection in really bad weather.

It’s built to last, a tough, durable piece of kit that will do you well for many years with the right care.

Pros

  • Premium materials and construction.
  • Top-quality name.
  • Hood and fur and be removed separately.
  • Excellent choice of colors.

Cons

  • The zip is a little small and fiddly if you’re wearing gloves.

Takeaway

Another outstanding garment from The North Face – but what else would you expect from the market leaders?

This is a handsome and super warm jacket that will keep the elements at bay while making you look cool at the same time.

The North Face Men’s Bedford Down Jacket

Review: Hot on the heels of the previous North Face entry is their Bedford design, which I’m including purely to give you more of a choice. The models are similar, but the Bedford is more lightweight and doesn’t feel as bulky.

It too has a fully removable hood and faux fur section so you can choose the look that best suits you. It’s insulated with 75% down, with a weather-proof outer shell with zip and snap closure and velcro cuffs to really help keep the elements at bay.

It offers a zippered breast pocket and two covered, secure-zipped hip pockets.

Marry this jacket with a pair of the best hiking pants for winter and you’ve got an excellent, non-restrictive combo that’s perfect for exerting yourself on the trails.

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Removable hood and faux fur.
  • Useful pocket placement.

Cons

  • Runs a little larger for layering – be sure to double check your size.

Takeaway

A more lightweight variation of the McMurdo parka, the Bedford is a quality option if you’re on the go.

It’s warm in its own right, but layering works particularly well here, too.

Marmot Women’s Montreaux Down Puffer Coat

Review: Marmot have produced this women’s full-length down puffer coat which is ideal for everyday wear in winter weather and can stand up to short-term exposure to sleet, snow and rain.

It’s really built for keeping you nice and toasty though, with its 700-fill power down and microfleece-lined zip hand warmer and internal cuffs.

It offers a plush, fleece-lined torso, a further internal zippered pocket and a drop pocket for extra storage space.

Made from 100% polyester with a removable hood and detachable synthetic fur ruff, you’ll stay warm when it gets wet in this lightweight but practical winter jacket.

Pros

  • Built for warmth in every department.
  • Stylish design.
  • Full length.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • Can run small – check your sizing.
  • The zipper can stick.

Takeaway

An excellent winter coat from Marmot here, stylish, practical with plenty of quality materials in a well-designed garment to keep much of your body nice and warm.

Even with the built-in hand warmer, it might still be a good idea to choose a pair of these awesome hiking gloves for maximum protection for your precious digits.

Arc’teryx Men’s Therme Parka

Review: This is one sexy men’s winter parka from Arc’teryx, possibly one of the most stylish jackets in the review.

It’s beautifully designed, with a down-filled lining that is compact but offers excellent heat retention and warmth to weight ratio.

The Therme has been fitted to within an inch of its life, with ergonomic shaping for additional comfort, gusseted underarms, adjustable, insulated hood and internal stretch-knit cuffs.

To cap it all, this baby is made with Gore-Tex technology, which offers the best water and windproofing money can buy in such a garment.

But aside from the quality construction and premium materials, it’s just gorgeous to look at. For the aesthetic, this is the best jacket for freezing weather on the market.

Pros

  • Beautiful design and cut.
  • Gore-Tex technology.
  • Choice of colors.
  • Versatile for city and country.

Cons

  • Very expensive.

Takeaway

If you’re purchasing the best of the best then you should expect to pay for it.

This Arc’teryx jacket is a stunningly flattering men’s coat that will keep you warm and dry while attracting a lot of compliments at the same time.

Pick one of these up and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be asked where you got it on more than one occasion.

Black Diamond Men’s Mission Down Ski Jacket

Review: Producing some top-of-the-line outdoor wear for all things alpine, Black Diamond have become a by-word for mountaineering quality.

The jacket is highly weather-resistant with fully taped seams that shield the insulation while maintaining incredible breathability, while being versatile enough for any outdoor activity.

However, it excels as a winter sports coat, with removable, zip-out powder skirt, ski-helmet compatible hood and single-pull cord adjusts on the hood and hem.

It has two hip and chest pockets, as well as two internal, ski-compatible drop pockets to stash all your essentials when you’re out there on the slopes.

Pros

  • Specifically designed for mountain sports.
  • Excellent features.
  • Very warm and weather-proof.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Takeaway

You’d expect nothing less than top-quality from Black Diamond when it comes to alpine apparel and you’ve certainly got it here.

You might have to pay a bit for the privilege, though – BD gear don’t come cheap.

Canada Goose Women’s Kensington Parka Coat

Review: For over 60 years, Canada Goose has been making market-leading winter apparel for the toughest of conditions.

It’s these guys that kit out arctic scientists and film crews shooting in harsh conditions – so they know what they’re talking about when it comes to keeping you warm and dry.

This women’s parka coat is made from 85% polyester and 15% Cotton with a 100% nylon inner lining.

It’s a duck down-filled garment featuring snap-through chest pockets, flap pockets at hips, and storm placket with toggle closures. The hood is removable and features a coyote-fur lined rim.

Pros

  • World-class company.
  • Stylish design.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • Exorbitantly expensive.
  • Dry clean only.

Takeaway

Luxurious winter jackets from the very best manufacturers don’t come cheap and this is no exception.

But Canada Goose make the very best, so you know you’re getting quality here.

Fjallraven Men’s Kyl Parka

Review: Swedish outdoor clothing company Fjallraven bring up the rear with this Kyl model parka winter jacket.

It’s made from 100% polyamide with a faux-fur hood and a long, down-filled weather-proof shell.

The hood is also adjustable and fleece-lined for added warmth while you can detach the synthetic fur if you so desire.

The jacket features loads of storage options, including two large top-loading pockets with smaller pockets over then and two fleece-lined hand-warming pockets.

There’s a drawcord on the waist hem, and the sleeves have velcro adjustments and inner elasticated cuffs with thumbholes for extra comfort and protection.

Pros

  • Top quality company.
  • Stylish design.
  • Packed with features.
  • Excellent build quality.

Cons

  • High price point.

Takeaway

A tough, durable and very well made product from the Swedish outdoor specialists, this is an excellent garment and possibly the best jacket for extreme cold weather in the review.

Again, you’ll need to pay for it though.

How to Choose the Best Winter Coats for Extreme Cold

There’s plenty to consider before making your choice for a jacket that will stand up to extreme cold – but I’ll be brief. A short FAQ section will follow.

group of mountaineers hiking on snowy mountain

Weatherproofing

It’s a topic of conversation within the outdoor apparel world that shows no signs of abating.

How water and windproof is the garment in question?

At the very least, a winter jacket should be able to keep out the wind so it doesn’t blow through your bones when you’re out in blustery conditions.

Waterproofing is a little more complex. There are usually three levels here that you need to consider.

  • Water-resistant means that the garment will not absorb moisture – to a certain level. If you’re caught in monsoon you’re not going to be so lucky. This is the lowest level of waterproofing.
  • Water-repellant is similar and is regarded as a step above being repellent. It has been treated with a special coating to help keep the water at bay.
  • Waterproof is the highest level. This is usually reserved for Gore-Tex treated fabrics that will keep you dry in all but the dampest of weather.

As you would expect, you’ll pay more the higher up the food chain you go.

It just depends on what you’re going to be needing it for and where.

men climbing snow covered mountain in cold weather

Insulation and Filling

For the really warm winter jackets that are the best at keeping out the cold, you’ll need to turn to a natural down-filled garment.

These are usually made from duck or goose feathers and will keep the heat in when you’re out in extreme conditions.

Anyone trekking in the arctic or climbing Everest is likely to be wearing a natural down jacket of some description.

Synthetic materials that simulate natural down can also be very effective, but there’s little that beats nature here.

The downside is you’re likely to pay more for it – especially for the duck.

Be wary of it getting wet, too. This is where synthetic materials win out – because if a down garment or sleeping bag gets soaked, you could be in real trouble.

Speaking of sleeping bags, check out these amazing cold weather sleeping bags for use all year round. You’ll find there’s plenty of down-filled options there to go with your winter jacket.

green tent in winter

Hoods and Hems

I’m sure we can all agree that hoods are very useful additions to winter jackets as you never know when the weather can turn.

Decent garments will offer the chance of removing the hood and stowing it away – but even jackets with fixed hoods should feature several adjustable options.

Parka style jackets will come with a real fur or faux fur-lined brim. Many of these can be removed, too. Useful if you’re not a fan of either real or synthetic fur.

Cuffs and hems can come in all sorts of designs. Velcro or button fastenings can improve weatherproofing and comfort.

Drawstrings are useful for improving fit.

Elasticated cuffs with thumb holes can be a really nice touch – but they’re generally an acquired taste. Some people love them and some hate them.

And look out for those taped seams and/or double stitching. They’ll be the best at keeping water out and warmth in.

man hiking in winter

Pockets and Extra Features

Whatever outdoor activity you’re doing, it’s nice to have storage options for your belongings and valuables.

Having plenty of decent pocket options can make the difference between a good jacket and a great jacket.

And it’s nice if they can be zippered for extra security and peace of mind. Hidden, inner pockets are also highly useful.

Some jackets also offer extra bells and whistles to entice you. Hoods that are specially designed for helmet use. Earphone loops or jacks to listen to your tunes. Side zippers or air vents for added breathability.

It’s up to you to decide what is useful and what is superfluous so you’re not paying for something you don’t use or need.

FAQ

How do I Clean a Down Winter Jacket?

Most synthetic winter jackets will have the option of being machine washable – an extra advantage of natural down.

A natural down jacket will probably need to visit the dry cleaners to have it professionally serviced. Either that or a gentle hand wash with an non-abrasive washing powder.

Take a look at the video below for some more information on how to care for down fabrics – but always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Should I Choose a Natural Down or Synthetic Down Garment?

This is really up to you, but consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Natural down is warmer but more expensive. It’s also not at all good should it get wet. and will usually need to be dry cleaned.

Synthetic down is usually machine washable, cheaper and durable. However, it’s not going to come as close in the heat stakes.

But this is just scratching the surface – watch the video below for a more in-depth guide to the difference in the materials.

Summary

As we approach the inevitable slide into the chillier months, it’s a good idea to start shopping for the best winter jackets for extreme cold – especially if you enjoy the great outdoors.

While you’re at it, take a look at these awesome winter hiking boots, too. Get yourself properly kitted out before the leaves turn gold.

And don’t forget to download my e-book on solo travel safety for anyone venturing into the big wide world alone.

Stay toasty out there people!

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