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The 10 Best Winter Jackets

A go-to winter jacket is your first line of defense against the elements. Better make it count.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

For some of us here at The Outbound, we spend 50+ days skiing and snowboarding the resorts and in the backcountry of the Rockies, fighting bitter winters in our homes in the mountains. For others, our winters primarily consist of resisting the wind and rain in San Francisco and a dozen or so missions up to Tahoe and the Eastern Sierra for some shred time. Whether we're staying warm in the city or slashing powder in the mountains, these are the jackets we wear all winter long. 

1. Patagonia Silent Down Parka - Women's

Kristi Teplitz says, "Growing up in New England (and being a stubborn adolescent), I would brave the winters in nothing more than a fleece. Having now lived on the west coast for over a decade, I guess my tolerance has softened - my yearly Christmas trips back to New England feel a lot colder than they used to! Enter the Silent Down Parka! This 700-fill down jacket hits me just above the knee, making it a solid choice for winter trips, especially those involving dressing up. It feels like I'm wearing a warm, puffy blanket, but it's fitted, and made of recycled materials!"


2. Black Diamond Mission Jacket - Men's

Tyler Drake says, "This Black Diamond ski jacket has been with me through all types of winter conditions from blue-bird skies to cold, frosty white-outs. What I judge my ski jacket on most is my ability to keep me warm and dry, which this one has done to a tee. It's fairly fitted, but with a little room, which allows me to fit a midlayer under it easily for those colder days or pull it a little tighter if I'm going with a thermal under. The brighter colors are a bonus for my wife to track me down when we're skiing together." 


3.  Mammut Alvier HS Hooded Jacket - Women's

Kristi Teplitz says, "Designed for alpine adventures, the Alvier has become a favorite of mine. Lightweight but durable, waterproof but super breathable, this jacket keeps me well-protected from wind, rain and snow. It's helmet-compatible hood and other nicely designed features keep me comfy, warm and dry when I spend all day in the backcountry." 


4. Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket - Men's

Liam McNally says, "From the moment I put this jacket on, I knew it would become my favorite ski jacket I've ever owned. The fit is perfect, the design is simple and stylish, and the jacket is not only durable, breathable, and wind/water proof, but it's built with 100% recycled polyester GORE-TEX® face fabric. This is a jacket I know was built sustainably and will last me for years to come." 


5. Burton AK Freebird Gore-Tex Jacket - Men's

Chris Engelsman says, "I've used the Burton AK Freebird 3L Gore-Tex jacket for a couple of seasons. It's a shell which utilizes Gore-Tex's C-Knit 3-layer fabric. Everyone knows that Gore is synonymous with waterproof, but the C-Knit fabric is their highest breathable waterproof membrane which is perfect for stormy days on the lift, or sweaty uphills on the skin track. The cut of the jacket is articulated nicely so it moves with your body. This jacket isn't cheap, but it's a quality product that'd I'd recommend to anyone doing high aerobic activities." 


6. Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket - Women's

Kristi Teplitz says, "This was my first Arc'teryx piece, and 8 years later it's still my go-to ski shell. The exterior material has held up through accidental backcountry bushwacking and years of use. The brushed interior liner feels soft and helps prevent the sticky feeling you get when you're sweating and put a jacket on. It's an investment, but it lasts, and I feel safe from the elements while wearing it." 


7. Salomon Brilliant JKT Men's

Bart Davis says, "When the weather turns cold and nasty, it's time to be outside playing! On those days, the jacket I grab is the Salomon Brilliant Jacket. Slightly insulated, it keeps me warm, and the waterproof quality keeps me dry. Great features like a tall collar, removable hood, and smart pockets make it an easy choice for the best days on the slopes!" 


8. Relwen Channel Boarder

Brian Heifferon says, "This is a great everyday winter jacket (not overly technical) that can also be used for riding at your local resort. The attention to detail and the quality of construction is superb. It's warm, holds up extremely well in harsh conditions, and it looks pretty nice, too." 


9. Patagonia Down Sweater Full-Zip Hooded Jacket - Women's

Kristi Teplitz says, "The 800-fill goose down makes this jacket super warm and super packable. This is my emergency puffy I throw into my pack when off on adventures, and one of my go-to's for warmth around town. The hood fits perfectly; there's enough room to move my head around, but it's tight enough to not flop down when I don't want it to. This is a jacket that should be a staple in everyone's wardrobe." 


10. Stio Pinion Down Pullover - Men's 

Liam McNally says, "This jacket has served me well on early mornings checking the surf at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. I throw this on over a mid-layer and I stay pretty toasty, however cold the winter winds blow (hopefully offshore). It's also performed well on nippy early mornings in the alpine, climbing in Tuolumne Meadows in late fall. I love the large pouch for keeping my hands warm, for storage, and for packing the jacket into itself to make a nice pillow in my tent or even for long car rides."  

Cover photo: Mitch Pittman

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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