- A good winter coat will keep you warm and dry even when the snow is falling and the wind is howling. A great winter coat will keep you warm, dry, and looking good, too.
- The Patagonia Men’s Topley Jacket is our top pick because it’s well insulated, water-resistant, and imbued with an understated but undeniable style that will allow you to pass from the ski lodge to the boardroom undetected.
- If you’re looking for women’s styles, check out our guide to the best winter coats for women.
Yes, it’s that time of year again when those of us in northern reaches need to prepare to primarily live indoors, and otherwise face the fact that every time we step outside, we require a shield from the cold.
But what makes a good winter coat all depends firstly on what you need from it, and secondly how you want to look in it. The first thing to consider is insulation. Wool and layering work to a point, but when it drops below freezing, insulation (synthetic or down) becomes a necessity.
It should go without saying that if you’re working outside, a shearling coat or a fur-lined parka is excessive, and will probably get trashed before too long. But if you’re wintering nearer to either polar region, it might be best to take it from those endemic to the region and sling on an age-old parka.
Just the same, if you need to show up to work (or anywhere) looking a little sharper, no one can knock a classic trench coat.
Or maybe you’re looking for something in the middle. It’s not uncommon to see sportier winter coats in office lobbies nowadays, and we have faith you can pull it off if you so choose.
Below, we’ve laid out all of our favorites in a handful of the most general and versatile styles, so whether it’s an ultralight down, a fur-lined parka, a work coat built for use and abuse, or a prim and proper overcoat, we’ve got you covered.
- Best winter coat overall: Patagonia Topley Jacket
- Best waterproof winter jacket: Columbia OutDry Ex Gold Down Hooded Jacket
- Best for extreme cold: Mountain Hardware Absolute Zero Parka
- Best trench coat: London Fog Iconic Belted Trench Coat
- Best peacoat: Schott Slim Fit Wool Blend Peacoat
Prices and links are current as of 1/24/2020.
The best men’s winter coat overall
The Patagonia Men’s Topley Jacket offers the warmth of a parka in a handsome, stylish jacket that looks right at home above a pair of jeans or dress slacks.
At a glance, the Patagonia Men’s Topley Jacket looks like a casual and rather simple jacket. Its design would not have looked out of place in any decade since the 1940s and will likely remain fashionable many decades into the future. Although this jacket may be unassuming in appearance, it’s actually quite capable in terms of performance.
The outer shell of this two-layer coat is made from 100% recycled polyester and is waterproof yet breathable. The inner layer is quilted and features 600-fill-power recycled down that provides excellent insulation. Thanks to a zipper secured with a buttoned storm flap, even a harsh, cutting wind will be kept at bay.
But frankly, lots of jackets look rather like this one and can keep you warm and dry, too. What sets this jacket apart from the pack are the details. Its exterior pockets are lined with brushed jersey to keep your fingers warm and cozy. Its removable hood is well insulated, adjustable, and features a laminated visor to keep precipitation off your face (and out of your eyes, most notably). The left chest pocket has a waterproof zipper and a port for headphones. The waist can be cinched shut with an adjustable drawcord that keeps out that biting wind.
Most professional apparel writers love the jacket, while a writer from WyomingFlyFishing.com loves the way the “urban-friendly” jacket “wraps you in compressible warmth.”
Pros: Stylish appearance, dual-layer design offers excellent insulation, clever design features
Cons: Rather expensive
The best waterproof winter jacket
You could have a friend spray you with a hose and still stay dry in the Columbia OutDry Ex Gold Down Hooded Jacket, plus, you’d stay nice and warm. A waterproof jacket isn’t always necessary in winter, but when temperatures hover at or above freezing, it’s something you’ll want to have on hand.
I own a Columbia Sportswear OutDry Ex Gold Down Hooded Jacket and I wear it dozens of times in the winter. When I’m doing any winter camping or hiking, I use it for the duration of the trip, day and night – balled up, the jacket makes a decent pillow for sleeping. By day, it keeps me warm and, as you’ve likely surmised, 100% dry. When you see Columbia’s proprietary OutDry tag on one of its garments, you can count on it to be totally waterproof.
I’ve worn my Ex Gold Down jacket in heavy snow and in driving rain and on some very cold days, and frankly, when paired with a couple of layers of innerwear, the jacket kept me too warm once my heart rate was up. But that’s a lot better than too cold. The jacket features multiple slender horizontal baffles that keep the 700-fill-power down in place and evenly distributed, and all seams are coated with an external tape, keeping out cold air and wetness.
Another thing you will love about this jacket is its remarkable compressibility. This thing can keep you warm in freezing temperatures, but then pack down small enough to tuck away into your pack or even into a glove compartment or a drawer.
The Columbia OutDry Ex Gold Down Hooded Jacket scores mainly five-star reviews online, with one customer saying he “highly recommend[s] it for anyone who goes backpacking in varying weather conditions.” Another owner says it is “the best rain barrier I have owned.”
A writer with Trailspace Outdoor Gear Reviews reported staying dry after a five-mile hike in the rain, and noted that the “nylon interior material is soft against the skin and comfortable.” A gear tester with GearJunkie.com praised the coat for being waterproof and warm.
Pros: Exceptional waterproofing, compresses well for packing, lightweight
Cons: Limited breathability can cause sweating issues
The best winter coat for extreme conditions
- Mountain Hardware
The Mountain Hardware Absolute Zero Parka will keep you warm and dry whether you’re hurrying down a snowy city street or clinging to the north face of a Himalayan mountain.
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way early: Yes, this coat is very expensive. But when said garment could be the difference between life and death during a mountaineering expedition, you really shouldn’t worry over a few (hundred) dollars.
Suitable though the Mountain Hardware Absolute Zero Parka may be for high altitude winter hiking or climbing, it’s also a fine choice for anyone who lives in areas prone to heavy snowfall and frigid winds, no alpine excursions required.
The parka provides its amazing insulation thanks to an abundance of large 800-fill down baffles. “Fill power” essentially refers to the quality and density of down. Higher fill power means higher quality down that insulates better, it doesn’t simply refer to a larger volume of material.
Its seams are welded and the exterior of the jacket is fully waterproof. Inner water bottle pockets and a mesh stash pocket help you keep your water and snacks close at hand…and not frozen. Thanks to the mid-thigh length of the jacket, your entire core will be kept warm and dry.
In a post on Trailspace.com, a gear expert said he had worn the parka in -26-degree temperatures and found it so warm that he “never used the hood.” In a video gear review from Doglotion.com, a tester who wore the parka in the Canadian Arctic said he was “the only one in the group who could comfortably just sit outside” despite the frigid temperatures.
Pros: Fantastically warm, durable construction, blocks out water and wind, thoughtful pocket layout
Cons: Overkill for most people
The best trench coat
A trench coat is your formalwear answer to a winter coat. It does almost everything you need it to, but without the fluff. You can’t go wrong with London Fog.
There are few brands as emblematic of the classic overcoat than London Fog. Founded in 1923 as the Londontown company, London Fog became popular for making waterproof clothing, with such notable clients as the United States Navy, which the brand clothed during World War II.
Today, the brand still carries the styles that made it popular, the most recognizable of which being the “Iconic Belted Trench Raincoat,” and you cannot make your way through midtown Manhattan without spotting one – for good reason, though. The entire coat is made of synthetic material, which might turn some noses up, but it’s durable, well-tailored, and very easy to keep clean (and odor-free).
I’ve been wearing a London Fog overcoat that I pinched from my father’s closet, and he’s had it for a good 30 years himself. There’s not a loose seam, a tear, or even a stain that I’ve noticed, and that’s after just as many decades spent battling through midtown Manhattan and Grand Central Station.
Because both the shell and removable (quilted) inner lining are polyester/nylon and polyester, respectively, you don’t have to dry clean these coats, either.
Dressed with a scarf and hat, this coat will keep you warm well below freezing. No, it won’t get you across Arctic tundra, and for that you’ll want a parka, without question. But it’ll keep you from showing up at your office (and evenings) without looking like grizzly man, furs and all.
Pros: Timeless, easily styled with most anything
Cons: Maybe not the most covetable material, not warm enough for extreme temperatures
The best peacoat
Sturdy, timeless, and beautiful, Schott’s peacoat is hard to beat at this price point.
How you choose and wear your wool coat is a highly personal affair, but it’s hard to deny the heritage of Schott. Yes, the brand is known for its leather and being the first to put a zipper on a jacket (though the traditional peacoat does not bear a zipper), but that doesn’t mean they can’t put together a good wool coat. With more than 100 years of jacket-making behind them, you can have faith in Schott.
A lot of pea coats are unnecessarily wide, leaving their wearers looking broad. Schott’s Slim Fit Peacoat solves for this with a trimmed-down, more modern cut, but still with the classic lines, welt pockets, and anchor-embossed buttons.
A peacoat can’t quite be worn over a suit like an overcoat can, but it can handle a business casual outfit and anything below. With jeans, chinos, slacks, boots or loafers, and a flannel or an oxford, especially beneath a sweater, the peacoat is among the more versatile options, especially for the urban dweller. It’s a good thing to have in rotation.
Like most, Schott’s peacoat is an 80%/20% blend of wool and nylon, and it does need to be dry-cleaned. As with anything, order a darker color, and you’ll probably have to dry clean it a little less.
Size up if you want to be able to fit a bulkier sweater underneath and wear it through winter.
Pros: Affordable, timeless, American-spun wool
Cons: Made overseas, a handful of customer reviews suggest sizing may be tricky and quality isn’t what it used to be
Other great places to buy men’s winter coats
- Canada Goose/Facebook
- Canada Goose
- Columbia Sportswear
- Moose Knuckles
- The North Face
Check out our guides to the best parkas and best puffer jackets
If you don’t have a parka and you live anywhere other than the tropics, it’s probably about time you added one to your closet. A parka is something we hope to invest in for the long haul, and a parka that doesn’t last more than a few seasons is, in my humble opinion, not a parka at all. Here are the best men’s parkas you can buy.
Puffer jackets provide warmth without weighing you down, making them perfect for layering in extreme cold or for use as your only jacket on milder days. These compressible, packable jackets can tuck away into a bag, or in some cases, even a pocket, so they’re ideal for travel or trekking. Here are the best men’s puffer jackets you can buy.
Check out more of the best winter gear on Insider Picks
The word “beanie” is a catch-all that encompasses a ton of different styles, from slouchy cuts to ultra-fitted ones with a variety of embellishments and fabric variations. The sheer number of options is overwhelming, so we did the work of narrowing it down. Here are the best beanies you can buy.
Your choice of scarf can make or break your comfort level in the wintertime. Opt for one that’s wooly and warm and you’ll be toasty. Choose a too-thin fabric and you, well, won’t. Scarves are also a great opportunity to infuse a bit of personality into your winter wardrobe. And when you get bored with your outerwear, you can always pick a new scarf to mix things up. Here are the best places to buy scarves online.
A good pair of thermal gloves can make all the difference on a cold winter day. We did the research to find the best thermal gloves you can buy to keep your hands nice and toasty for the rest of this winter and for many more winters to come. Here are our picks for the best thermal gloves.
Your body loses a significant portion of its heat through your head, so keep yourself warm this winter with a great winter hat. The winter hat makers we’re featuring offer hats in myriad styles, so once you’ve narrowed down the type of winter cap you need, you should be able to find several fine options from each brand. Here are the best places to buy winter hats.
Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves, so if it’s cold where you live, work, or play, slip a pair on and keep the chill out. Here are the best mittens to keep you warm.