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The North Face Arctic Parka

The North Face Women’s Arctic Parka is our top pick Women’s Winter Jacket for 2024. Photo: Heather Hendricks/The Inertia


The Inertia

With a multitude of options out there, the search for the best women’s winter jackets of 2024 isn’t as easy as one may think. Navigating what’s the best versus the rest takes time, commitment, and the ability to test women’s winter jackets in an array of environments.

We spent weeks researching the market and got our hands on the most promising women’s winter jackets of 2024, with a focus on parkas, puffers, and hybrids of the two. As the jackets arrived, we tested them meticulously in snow and rain, on city streets, and in outdoor activities, such as snowboarding, ice skating, walking in the woods, and more. We reviewed each jacket based on its warmth, style, weatherproofing, and function. So, whether you’re looking for something to keep you warm in extreme environments or for snowy romps and everyday wear, we’ve got the perfect parka, puffer, or combination for you. 

Choosing the right winter jacket for your needs is also about personal preference, so our comprehensive Comparison Table breaks down crucial details like weight, fit, material, and more. For even more nitty-gritty details, jump to our Buyer’s Guide for secrets behind our testing process, selection criteria, and more. For men’s winter jackets, click here.

The Best Women’s Winter Jackets of 2024

Best Overall Women’s Winter Jacket: The North Face Women’s Arctic Parka
Best Budget Women’s Winter Jacket: REI Co-op Women’s Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka
Best Heavyweight Women’s Winter Jacket: Rab Women’s Valiance Waterproof Down Parka
Best Lightweight Women’s Winter Jacket: Cotopaxi Women’s Fuego Down Parka
Best Convertible/3-in-1 Women’s Winter Jacket: Patagonia Women’s Tres 3-in-1 Parka
Best Women’s Winter Puffer: Arc’teryx Thorium Hoody Women’s


Best Overall Women’s Winter Jacket 

The North Face Women’s Arctic Parka ($350)

The North Face Arctic Parka

Fill: 600-fill recycled down insulation
Fit: Slim
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: 1290 g 

Pros: A windstopper that’s worth it for its warmth, packability, and durability
Cons: Popular, there’s a good chance a woman in your life has this parka

The North Face Women’s Arctic Parka reigns supreme as our 2024 champion of winter warmth. Truthfully, it’s not the lightest, most technical, nor the most insulated jacket we tested. And, sure, you might spot another Arctic Parka on the streets – it’s a classic for a reason. But in a sea of technical jargon and ever-increasing insulation numbers, the Arctic Parka stands out for its simple, dependable excellence. It kept us warm, dry, and stylish at a price point we can justify for its quality.  

It boasts many pockets, a removable faux fur hood, and a front zipper closure that snaps securely shut. And TNF’s DryVent technology and DWR finish actually work. Ultimately, it’s a winter jacket built to face the elements and be there when you need it most. 

For us, that was a day outside in Minnesota when a freezing, wet rain blew in. The 600-fill-power down and windproof DryVent shell stood up to the most blustery gusts and freezing drizzle. The wetness beaded and rolled off effortlessly, leaving us dry and comfortable. When we arrived inside, we shook off and were completely dry, warm, and able to repack the coat for its next wintery jaunt.

We also found this jacket was easy to maintain and keep clean. Due to an unfortunate incident while testing this jacket, we were required to wash it immediately. We followed the directions for machine-washing as listed on the tag and then dried this jacket per the instructions. It fluffed back up as though it were brand new, ready to take on more days of winter wear. This jacket is a staple that stands up to the elements when you need it most while remaining comfortable and stylish. Read our full review of The North Face Women’s Arctic Parka here.

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Best Budget Women’s Winter Jacket

REI Co-op Women’s Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka ($299)

REI Co-op Women's Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka

(Currently on sale for $149) 

Fill: 850-fill-power down in body/sleeves, 98% recycled polyester in the hood, side panels, hem, and cuffs
Fit: Boxy
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: 870 g

Waterproofing: HydroWall 2-layer shell with fully sealed seams and DWR coating

Pros: Ultra weatherproof, with strategically placed feathers for warmth
Cons: Style-wise, it’s pretty bland

Most everyone needs at least one winter jacket, and when price is top of mind, REI Co-op Women’s Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka is our budget-friendly pick. This parka combines warmth and weatherproofing in a package that can last, for an incredibly reasonable price, especially with it on sale at the time of publishing. And since it’s from REI, their prestigious return policy backs it, so it’s a purchase you can count on. 

The Stormhenge features 850-fill-power down insulation in the chest and torso areas, which kept our tester warm when the mercury dipped below zero. The strategically placed synthetic insulation adds durability and moisture resistance in areas prone to wetting out. REI’s exclusive HydroWall 2-layer shell is breathable, and the DWR (durable water-repellent) finish actually does a great job of repelling wetness. This and fully sealed seams make for a trustable barrier between snow, sleet, and even rain. Our tester said this jacket excels for day-to-day winter wear and shines when the weather turns wet. Even in a winter downpour in Southern California, we found the Stormhenge kept us remarkably dry, and of course toasty warm. 

While the Stormhenge prioritizes function over fashion, the clean design and neutral colorways offer a timeless aesthetic for snowy hikes and casual city strolls. Our tester noted that the seams connecting the hood could use a bit of reinforcement, as they tore slightly when stuck in a car door. Also, the material lining the hood is thin and susceptible to small rips or even burns if it is set too close to a space heater. The overall fit and style of the jacket are boxy, so it’s not the sleekest jacket we tested. Overall, the REI Co-op Women’s Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka is an excellent choice for budget-minded women who seek waterproof warmth and winter protection without sacrificing comfort. Read our full review of the Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka here.

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Best Heavyweight Women’s Winter Parka

Rab Women’s Valiance Waterproof Down Parka ($445)

Rab Valiance Parka

Fill: 700-fill-power recycled down with Nikwax Fluorocarbon-Free Hydrophobic Finish
Fit: Regular
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: 682 g

Pros:  Exceptionally waterproof and ultra warm with 100% recycled down
Cons: Likely too warm for everyday wear – it can make you sweat if the weather isn’t cold enough

A technical masterpiece, this waterproof down parka is tooled to keep you dry. It combines the unparalleled warmth of 700-fill-power recycled down with the resilience of a Pertex Shield outer shell. We were toasty and dry even in the harshest winter conditions. Truthfully, we wish the weather would have been even more brutal during our test, as we got hot in this thing.

The Valiance’s secret weapon lies in its innovative construction. The taped seams and durable outer shell fabric form an impenetrable barrier against wind and moisture. The box-wall construction ensures optimal down lofting for superior warmth. Hood-wise, the 2-way adjustable synthetic-insulated hood offers a secure fit that isn’t too large (at least for our tester’s big head). 

The dual-sided rear adjustment and dropped hem provide additional warmth and comfort around your lower back. All of these features proved the Valiance ideal for days when we were really out in the thick of it. It is best suited for places that see a ton of moisture and extra cold temperatures throughout the year.

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Best Lightweight Women’s Winter Jacket

Cotopaxi Fuego Down Parka – Women’s ($325)

Cotopaxi Fuego Parka

Fill: Responsibly sourced 800-fill down
Fit: Relaxed
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: 397 g

Pros: Ultra light, packable, and converts to a pillow
Cons: Zipper can freeze and become a bit stiff

The Cotopaxi Fuego Down Parka is tempting for minimalist adventurers and eco-conscious explorers. This parka clocks in at only 14 ounces (397 grams), with a surprising amount of warmth for the weight. Our major wins are its ultralight packability, pillow transformation, and ethical appeal. Made with responsibly sourced 800-fill down and a water-resistant DWR-finished ripstop nylon shell, the Fuego provides exceptional warmth while remaining surprisingly packable. 

This parka shines in its versatility and its ability to compress down. It’s ideal for multi-season wear, traveling, camping, backpacking, and everyday adventures. Cotopaxi’s commitment to sustainability shines through with recycled materials and ethical production practices.  

While the Fuego’s length might not appeal to everyone, it offers undeniable warmth and coverage for those who prefer it. We found this was an excellent option to toss on for a quick hike up Smuggler Mountain, a favorite trail in Aspen that’s steep, rocky, and somewhat strenuous. And it proved equally good to toss on for an outing to the grocery store. Ultimately, the Cotopaxi Fuego Down Parka is a tempting option for those seeking portability and proven warmth. It’s definitely worth considering for an ultra-lightweight down parka. Read our full review of the Cotopaxi Women’s Fuego Down Parka here.

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Best Convertible/3-in-1 Women’s Winter Jacket

Patagonia Women’s Tres 3-in-1 Parka ($699)

Patagonia 3-in-1

Fill: Recycled 700-fill-power down
Fit: Slim
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: 1,446 g

Pros: Super versatile – raincoat, puffer, altogether a powerhouse
Cons: Material holds smells, it still reeks of a coffee shop our tester worked in

Our go-to for versatility and top-tier performance, the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka shines in the hybrid category. This $699 investment seamlessly transforms from a stylish raincoat to a toasty down jacket, equally suited for the streets and mountain getaways. A staple from Patagonia, the secret of this jacket lies in its top-tier tech. The recycled, PFC-free shell boasts impressive waterproofing and breathable capabilities. It shielded us from the elements without compromising on eco-consciousness. Inside, the 700-fill-power down removable jacket delivers a punch of warmth and was easily zipped out when we only needed a shell. 

The Tres 3-in-1 also favors a longer, slimmer fit that hits the knee. While this flatters some, it might not be everyone’s style. Consider your layering needs and check the size chart before diving in. We also found the shell and liner to hold onto odors, like that lingering coffee aroma from the café. Notable but not a deal-breaker. 

Ultimately, the Tres 3-in-1 Parka is an investment in versatility and performance for those who crave one jacket for every need. 

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Best Women’s Winter Puffer

Arc’teryx Thorium Hoody Women’s ($500)

Arc'teryx Thorium Hoody

Fill: 750 fill-power goose down
Fit: Relaxed
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Hip
Weight: 455 g

Pros: It packs into its hood, becomes a pillow, and is exceptionally weather-proof for a puffy
Cons: Price, it’s steep at $500 but delivers on durability – don’t lose it

For those who demand the ultimate winter warmth and weather protection, the Arc’teryx Thorium Hoody is our premium puffer champ. It’s a technical powerhouse built to conquer the elements. Packed with 750 fill-power European grey goose down, the Thorium boasts an impressive warmth-to-weight ratio. It kept us toasty, whether navigating icy peaks or tackling everyday errands.

The durable Arato 30 nylon shell with DWR treatment effortlessly shrugs off wind, snow, and sleet. At the same time, Down Composite Mapping places synthetic insulation in moisture-prone areas, including armpits and sleeves.

The Thorium’s versatility shines through its relaxed fit, layering seamlessly under a shell for extreme conditions. However, it rocks as a stand-alone puffer on cold and icy days. We loved that it even packs into its own hood, transforming into a surprisingly comfy pillow. From walking the dog on a brisk morning to summiting Highlands Bowl in Aspen at 12,392 feet, the Thorium proved to be a reliable companion for all our wintery romps. Arc’teryx’s renowned quality and customer service further solidify its value, ensuring years of reliable warmth and performance. This is a jacket you can hope to have for a lifetime. 

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The Best of the Rest

Best Value Women’s Winter Jacket

Patagonia Women’s Downdrift Parka ($399)

Patagonia Downdrift Parka

Fill: 600-fill-power 100% recycled down
Fit: Relaxed
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: 1,034 g

Pros: Front double pockets offer loads of room to stuff your stuff
Cons: A bit heavy, we wouldn’t want to hike or adventure hard in this jacket

From crisp morning dog walks to evenings at an outside bonfire, this Patagonia parka became our versatile winter companion. We love it for its warmth, classic yet sleek style, and commitment to sustainability. The soft canvas-like exterior exudes a timeless parka vibe. But it’s not actually canvas. Instead, it’s made of 100% post-consumer recycled nylon faille (fabric with distinctive cross-grain texture) that’s made from recycled fishing nets. This and recycled down insulation ensure exceptional warmth without overt weight. 

The jacket boasts many functional features for everyday use: the full-length, two-way zipper and covered placket offer protection from the wind. At the same time, the removable insulated hood with hidden adjustment cords provides fitted warmth. Double entry front pockets and an internal zippered chest pocket kept our essentials close at hand– We even fit a bottle of wine from the grog shop! 

We love the above-the-knee length, which provides ample coverage without feeling restrictive. Matte colorways add a touch of sleekness for dressier occasions. While not the lightest option for strenuous activities, this parka shines as your everyday errand runner or dashing out for a date or yoga class. 

Consider sizing up if you plan to layer underneath or want a roomy fit. Explore Patagonia’s lighter-weight down or synthetic fill options if weight is a concern. With a retail price of $399, you get a parka equipped with Patagonia’s ultra-forgiving return policy, making it our Best Value Women’s Winter Jacket. 

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Runner-Up Best Budget Women’s Winter Jacket

Eddie Bauer Women’s Yukon Classic Down Parka ($299)

Eddie Bauer Yukon Classic Women's

(Currently on sale for $179)

Fill: 650-fill-power down insulation
Fit: Relaxed
Sustainable Features: No
Length: Thigh
Weight: N/A

Pros: Double collar is chic and fashion-forward
Cons: It’s on the heavier side to carry or stow

A tempting option for those seeking a cozy and stylish winter parka without breaking the bank is the Eddie Bauer Yukon Classic Down Parka. It is currently on sale for $179 (regularly $299) and boasts a 650-fill-power-down, hefty, warm insulation. We found the parka’s quilted exterior to be soft to the touch. It also repels water, dirt, and even pet hair, making it ideal for everyday winter wear. The double collar adds a chic touch while providing extra warmth around the neck, and the relaxed fit flattered our tester’s figure without feeling restrictive. Our tester loved how the extra large hood and double collar shielded her while in ultra-snowy weather.

However, it’s important to note that the Yukon Classic is heavier than most jackets on this list. Down parkas tend to be hefty, and this one may feel bulky for some activities. The synthetic patch on the left arm also feels a bit cheap, and detracts from the overall quality. Finally, as with any major brand, we have concerns about mass production and ethical/sustainable sourcing. But, overall, this winter jacket is a solid option for those prioritizing warmth, style, and affordability. While this jacket excels as a heavy, warm synthetic and down option, it’s also proven to be durable and still looks brand new despite repeated wear. Its current sale price is a genuine bargain for a hefty down parka that delivers comfort, fashion, and warmth. 

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Best for On and Off the Slopes

Women’s Burton Saxton Parka Jacket ($340)

Burton Saxton Parka

Fill: Responsibly sourced high-loft 700-fill down
Fit: Regular
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: N/A

Pros: Wickedly warm and packed with tech, you can shred in this form-fitting favorite
Cons: Faux fur can clump with snow and ice – but it’s removable

Nailing the intersection of fashion and function, Burton’s Saxton Parka has a sleek design and tech-driven warmth. The 700-fill-power-down insulation kept us perfectly warm when out on the slopes. The windproof DRYRIDE 2L shell with 10,000mm/5,000g breathability shielded us without overheating. Meanwhile, the DWR coating shrugged off light snow flurries. We love the drop-tail hem and relaxed fit, which flatters any figure. The snappable rear slit offers exceptional freedom of movement- no bunchy butts. On-hill, this feature is necessary for mobility. Off-hill, the drop-tail hem adds a flattering touch.

Though the subtle sheen in the fabric might not be for everyone, the overall aesthetic seamlessly transitions from après to out-and-about. It quickly became our go-to for everything from grocery runs to grabbing coffee with friends and even snagging the last gondola. The Saxton garnered plenty of admiration from Aspen to Minnesota and beyond, proving that looking good (and feeling good) doesn’t have to come at the expense of performance.

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Coziest Long Down Puffer

The North Face Women’s Triple C Parka ($350)

The North Face Triple C

Fill: 600-fill recycled down
Fit: Super relaxed/extra long
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Ankle (depending on your height)
Weight: 1010 g

Pros: Super duper warm and cozy
Cons: Too much jacket for most to be a daily driver

When comfort, warmth, and coziness are at the top of your list, we found The North Face Women’s Triple C to bring it all to the table. Packed with a 600-fill-power down that extends well past our lead tester’s 5’7” hips to the tops of her ankles, the Triple C feels like a sleeping bag with arms. The durable weatherproofing lets you conquer snowy and stormy days. We found this puffer excelled during a cold night while watching outdoor hockey. The length provided substantial warmth to our core, behind, and legs while sitting on snow during the game. It was excellent for that endeavor. However, this ultra-cozy puffer has a few caveats to consider.  

The relaxed fit might not flatter all, and the substantial quantity of down makes it a weighty companion. As such, it is not the most packable. But, if you prioritize extended warmth above all else, the Triple C may be an unparalleled pick for you. 

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Best Heavyweight Winter Parka: Runner Up

Fjallraven Nuuk Parka W ($500)

Fjallraven Nuuk W

Fill: Synthetic
Fit: Relaxed, oversized fit
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: 1732 g

Pros: Winter heft feels like a weighted blanket that warms from within
Cons: Heavy, the material shows dirt and dog hair

While Fjallraven is known more for its bags and backpacks than its jackets, that’s quickly changing. We opted to test this behemoth as it is a winner on many other “Best Women’s Winter Jackets” lists. So naturally, we needed to know how it stacked up for us. This beast is made with recycled polyamide (materials made from recycled waste) and feels like wearing a weighted blanket. It shielded us from fierce winds and bitter cold. Its generous, oversized fit allows easy layering, making it ideal for those who prioritize warmth over a streamlined silhouette. Also a plus, the removable vegan fur hood caters to ethical and allergy concerns.

However, the Nuuk is simply a hefty companion. It’s big, boxy, and weighs more than other jackets in our test. The material readily shows dirt and dog hair, requiring frequent cleaning. While perfect for tall or broad builds, its design might feel unflattering to shorter-waisted figures. Additionally, at $500, the Nuuk is a premium investment. Weigh your priorities: unparalleled warmth, durable construction, and a relaxed fit come at the cost of portability, style, and a potentially awkward silhouette. Try it on before committing; you’ll thank us later.

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Another Runner-Up For Best Budget

Columbia Women’s Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket ($160)

Columbia Heavenly

Fill: Synthetic
Fit: Relaxed
Sustainable Features: No
Length: Thigh
Weight: 635 g

Pros: Packable and surprisingly a flattering fit
Cons: Don’t want to be called a microwave

The Columbia Women’s Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket is a cozy and stylish option for winter days without the hefty price tag. We found it packs a surprising amount of warmth thanks to its 100% polyester synthetic down insulation and Omni-Heat reflective lining that traps your body heat, despite the lack of true “heavyweight” insulation. The flattering athletic fit and long drop tail keep you looking and feeling good. However, at age 37, with no kids or kin, our tester felt this jacket puts off some serious mom or aunty vibes – a con for her, but something most won’t care about. 

The packable design lets you easily stuff the jacket into its hood, making it a great travel companion or an extra layer to throw in your bag for errands. It’s also loaded with functional features, including a hood and zippered pockets for your hands. 

While the Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket shines in most winter weather, it’s important to note that the synthetic fill might not be enough for more extreme conditions. Additionally, the Omni-Heat lining’s metallic sheen can be a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it feature, with some finding it trendy. Our tester felt like it was too much like a silver “microwave jacket.” But it is still a solid option for the price and one to consider as a solid budget option for a winter parka. 

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Best Technical Lifestyle Parka for Women Who Ride

Volcom Womens Paxson Parka ($340)

Volcom Saxson

Fill: Quilted synthetic down insulation
Fit: Relaxed
Sustainable Features: No
Length: Hips, but drop tail is thigh
Weight: N/A

Pros: Tech-forward and resort-ready
Cons: Long arms

This is our favorite women’s parka from Volcom this year. The Paxson is a technical powerhouse disguised as a stylish mountainside companion. Crafted with a 2-layer waterproof and breathable membrane, it easily shrugs off face shots and aprés-ski spills. But the Paxson is more than just weatherproof; it also has strategically placed vents for temperature regulation, an ergonomic hood that moves with you, and a convenient media pocket for your phone, wallet, keys, or whatever. 

We love the relaxed fit and longer back-dropped tail. It was perfect for on-hill shredding at Aspen Mountain. It even covered our behind when we took a small digger. It’s safe to say this parka delivers best as a robust insulated shred jacket over an everyday parka. We feel it’s simply too technical to go out and about in. The non-removable powder skirt was the final nail in the coffin against it being a daily driver. But transitions from on-hill antics to the car and then the bar, the Paxson shines.

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Best Fitted Long Down Puffer

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretchdown Parka ($340)

Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Parka Women's

Fill: 700-fill RDS-certified down
Fit: Relaxed
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: 700 g

Pros: Light, durable, and packable
Cons: Can show dirt and smudges on exterior material

Transcending our expectations for a long puffer, The Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretchdown Parka emerges as a lightweight winner of warmth and versatility. Crafted with ethically sourced 700-fill down, we felt warm without the weight. We found the relaxed fit layers quickly over other garments, as the stretchy fabric moves when needed. We especially liked how the parka packs down incredibly small for its size. The stretch construction is a compact travel companion that provides durability over traditional puffer fabrics, making it suitable for years of reliable wear. 

However, be warned: the fabric readily shows dirt and smudges, requiring more care to maintain its pristine, deep, and dark appearance. Dog hair is, however, repelled. It also has a stiffer feeling material and a less luxurious feel than previous Mountain Hardware jackets we’ve tested. This jacket also excels as a piece for on-piste during cold days with limited moisture in the air, being super light, mega-packable, warm, and sleek. A true winner for a long-fitted puffer. Minor caveats aside, the Stretchdown Parka stands out as a technical offering, with exceptional warmth and impressive packability in a sleek, full-length silhouette.

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Best For On and Off the Slopes: Runner Up  

Women’s Burton Loyil Down Jacket ($340)

Burton Loyil Parka

Fill: Down
Fit: Regular
Sustainable Features: Yes
Length: Thigh
Weight: N/A

Pros: Awesome cut and design for on and off the hill
Cons: The material is a bit stiff

This technical parka puffer from Burton boasts two zippers at the hips, which we found provided extra moveability and decreased bunchiness– especially while snowboarding. We found the material slightly stiff and a bit heavy for a puffer. 

Burton’s water-resistant DRYRIDE fabric repels water, so it’s technical enough to use on the mountain but equally good as a jacket to go out in. We wish it had a removable powder skirt because sometimes it is unnecessary, especially in a puffer. However, the fixed nature diminishes weight by not adding additional zippers or snaps for the powder skirt. Powder-skirt aside, in testing, we’ve gotten plenty of compliments on the Burton Loyil Down Jacket and have yet to find a place it can’t go. 

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Women’s Winter Jackets Comparison Table

Jacket Price Fit Sustainable Features? Length Weight Fill
The North Face Women’s Arctic Parka $350 Slim Yes Thigh 1290 g 600 fill-power recycled down insulation
REI Co-op Women’s Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka $299 (on sale for 149) Boxy Yes Thigh 870 g 850-fill-power down in body/sleeves, 98% recycled polyester in the hood, side panels, hem, and cuffs
Rab Women’s Valiance Waterproof Down Parka $445 Regular Yes Thigh 682 g 700 fill-power Recycled Down with Nikwax Fluorocarbon-Free Hydrophobic Finish
Cotopaxi Fuego Down Parka – Women’s $325 Relaxed Yes Thigh 397 g Responsibly sourced 800 fill-power down
Patagonia Women’s Tres 3-in-1 Parka $699 Slim Yes Thigh 1,446 g Recycled 700 fill-power down
Arc’teryx Thorium Hoody Women’s $500 Relaxed Yes Hip 455 g 750 fill-power goose down
Patagonia Women’s Downdrift Parka $399 Relaxed Yes Thigh 1,034 g 600 fill-power 100% recycled down
Eddie Bauer Women’s Yukon Classic Down Parka $299 (on sale for $179) Relaxed No Thigh N/A 650 fill-power down insulation
Women’s Burton Saxton Parka Jacket $340 Regular Yes Thigh N/A Responsibly sourced high-loft 700 fill-power down
The North Face Women’s Triple C Parka $350 Super relaxed Yes Ankle 1010 g 600-fill recycled down
Fjallraven Nuuk Parka W $500 Relaxed Yes Thigh 1732 g Synthetic
Columbia Women’s Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket $160 Relaxed No Thigh 635 g Synthetic
Volcom Womens Paxson Parka $340 Relaxed No Hip N/A Quilted synthetic down insulation
Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretchdown Parka $340 Relaxed Yes Thigh 700 g 700-fill RDS-certified down
Women’s Burton Loyil Down Jacket $340 Regular Yes Thigh N/A Down

Women's Winter Jackets hanging in a closet

Our top picks for women’s winter jackets, all tucked away in our main testing location, a rustic cabin in Aspen. Photo: Heather Hendricks/The Inertia

How We Tested The Best Women’s Winter Jackets

Heather Hendricks, our author and main tester, has worked in the world of snowboarding and winter sports journalism for almost 20 years. She has curated buyer’s guides, conducted gear tests, and written many gear reviews for TransWorld SNOWboarding, ILLA, Snowboard Magazine, Outside Magazine, Backcountry Magazine, Teton Gravity Research, GearJunkie, and more. She has always lived in or near the mountains of Colorado and spends 100 days or more on snow. 

With years of testing jackets for her profession and personal use, Heather realized most online reviews lacked detail and didn’t resonate. So, it was time to get back in the game and test as many winter jackets as possible in just as many weather and winter scenarios. 

Heather researched the current market for women’s winter jackets, talked with knowledgeable friends about her list, and put in the orders. Twenty or so winter jackets appeared at her rustic cabin outside Aspen, Colorado. Each coat was unpacked, hung, and meticulously examined in preparation for the test. Then, it was time to put them through the paces on the mountain, in the streets, and in everyday winter situations. 

What unfolded was a series of trying on the jackets, testing, and experiencing them in real life. The first part of the test was snowy and cold. But soon, Colorado’s bright sun melted the snow and made conditions mild, necessitating a move to a more wintery climate.

Heather loaded her Sprinter van and jetted across the country to the bitterly cold north of Minnesota. The weather was much different in the Gopher State, as unseasonable rain, followed by torrential ice, greeted them, giving these jackets a run for their money in sub-freezing rain, sleet, and slush as well. 

Later this winter season, these jackets were put to the test on more winter road trips from Marble, Colorado to Southern California and back, twice, with a stop in snowy Moab. Southern California was in the midst of their storm of the winter, allowing us to further test the jackets’ waterproofing. Several of these jackets also ventured to Jackson, Wyoming, for further testing in colder climates with a group of women testers from the adventure community, ILLA. These jackets have accompanied us on snowmobiling trips, days and nights around town, while hiking, snowboarding, and skiing, on jaunts to natural hot springs, and more. This guide has been updated as our testing continues to reflect new coat winners and additional findings, and we will continue to do so with the latest and greatest winter jackets for women as they hit the market. 


Rab Valience

The Rab Valiance has a surprising amount of movement for a thigh-length parka. Photo: Heather Hendricks/The Inertia

Women’s Winter Jackets Buyer’s Guide 

This Women’s Winter Jackets Buyer’s Guide is the result of putting numerous winter jackets through a gauntlet of tests. These tests helped us determinine warmth, water resistance, wind resistance, breathability, durability, and notable features, among other criteria for our review. 

Testers use the jackets in real-world conditions, such as commuting, running errands, shoveling snow, snowboarding, hiking, ice skating, and much more, to determine how each jacket performs in different situations. We took this information into account in determining our rankings, and giving you our recommendations on which jackets will keep you the warmest and driest during winter weather and for what activities they excel. 

Warmth 

Warmth is crucial to a winter jacket, depending on where you live and where you intend to be. Most everyone needs at least one winter jacket. Our environments constantly change from living on the coast to high atop the Rocky Mountains or anywhere in between. We are lucky to have different types of weather and must stay warm to enjoy it. 

Winter jackets have many different insulation types, so it’s important to consider where and how you’ll use them. Thicker jackets tend to be warmer but less packable, so think what’s the most important to you. Do you want something filled with the highest level of fill-power down? Or seek something more sustainable or synthetic? 

Down wins on warmth-to-weight ratio, feeling light, and keeping you toasty. However, moisture can make feathers saggy and dense without a sound barrier between the elements. 

Synthetic, on the other hand, can be an all-weather warrior. It won’t match down’s weight savings, but it tackles rain and sweat with aplomb, keeping you warm even when damp. Synthetic insulation can be cheaper and, therefore, geared towards budget-conscious buyers. 

Winter jackets can come with it all, so looking at your winter jacket’s ingredients is vital. 

The North Face Arctic Parka

Stylish, weatherproof, and comfortable, The North Face Women’s Arctic Parka has it all. Photo: Heather Hendricks/The Inertia

Style 

Winter jackets are the layer between you and the elements. That includes the people around you, so style is also essential when choosing your coat. As they say, dress for success. Not only for your outdoor activities but how you present socially is a big deal. No one wants to look like Kyle from South Park or the Michelin man. Identifying cuts, colors, and where things zip and fit is quintessential to finding the best winter jacket. We prefer functional style when determining the best winter jackets.

Another key factor to consider in the style-department is length. How short or long do you want your winter jacket? Many parkas are thigh length or longer, while puffers traditionally sit at the waist or hip. More extended options are also available, with some winter jackets boasting ankle-length protection. 

Waterproofing / Weather Resistance 

Winter jackets must face an array of weather and environments. Sometimes, instead of snow, you get rain. So, the main focus of choosing the best winter jacket is how waterproof and weather resistant it is. We tested a mixture of waterproof, snowproof, and water-resistant jackets treated with durable water repellants known as DWR finishes. Some water-resistant coats show wetness on the exterior but not the interior, so it’s essential to note materials and where they will excel best.  

Let’s break down the two main contenders of weatherproofing: the simple DWR finish and the mighty membrane. Imagine water beading off your sleeve. That’s DWR in action. This lightweight coating makes water roll right off. It’s best for light rain or flurries. Typically, jackets treated with this are breathable, comfortable, and water-resistant but not genuinely waterproof. Under sustained wetness, water and snow melt can seep through the jacket into the insulation and, worse, onto the wearer. 

On the more waterproof side of things are membranes. Picture a thin, laminated barrier that can block heavy moisture. Membranes are the workhorses of harsh weather. They’re waterproof, breathable (letting moisture out), and durable, lasting longer than DWR. But they’re also heavier and pricier.

So what to choose? It’s all about your personal needs. For everyday winter wear, DWR might suffice. But for tackling blizzards, membranes should be your go-to. Consider your activity level, budget, and typical winter stomping grounds when considering your jacket weatherproofing. Bonus tip: Look for jackets with DWR and membranes for the ultimate winter weather protection. 

Patagonia 3-in-1

The Patagonia 3-in-1 parka has a puffy liner jacket zipped into a waterproof outer shell. Photo: Heather Hendricks/The Inertia

Hoods, Fur, Pockets, and Zippers

Winter jackets all come with an array of features. Most all include a hood, a variety of pockets, zippers, and faux fur. A hood is key to keeping your head warm and dry in a winter jacket. Some winter jackets nail it with the correct size hood, while others miss the mark as too big or bulky. Others frame the face with (mostly) faux fur hood liners. These are often removable for personal preference.

Pockets are necessary for winter jackets as you’ll want to stash stuff. But too many pockets can create bulk or take away from warmth, so it’s essential to consider what you like in your winter jacket.

Zippers are also a crucial element of a winter coat. They usually have the primary function of fastening the front of the jacket. Many of the winter coats we tested have a double-ended zipper along the front, so you can zip up quickly and to your desired fastened length. Double zippers allow for versatility. Unzip the bottom for more freedom of movement, and adjust the top for temperature control or to access your essentials. Having two zippers can also unlock stylish potential, allowing you to create chic high-low hemlines. With the multitude of features in winter jackets, you’ll want to decide what is most important to you. 

The North Face Triple C Parka

If you’re in it for the comfort, it would be hard to go wrong with The North Face Triple C Parka Photo: Heather Hendricks/The Inertia

Comfort

Comfort in your winter jacket is also critical. In our experience, feeling cozy, protected, and securely warm is the hallmark of the best winter jackets. Whether in the mountains, valleys, cities, forests, or on planes, trains, automobiles, and ski lifts, comfort in your winter jacket is everything. You’ve got to be able to toss it on when the weather hits, maneuver with it, and continue your day-to-day activities. We like winter coats to be plush and made of softer materials, but if they don’t hold up to the weather, what’s the point? 

We suggest looking into the specific elements that will keep you comfortable in your winter jacket. Look into the pockets. Are they fleece-lined and insulated? Are they secure and big enough to hold your goods? Do they close with zippers, magnets, snaps, or otherwise?

Storm flaps are additional features to look for when considering comfort in a winter jacket. These extra layers of fabric cover zippers and seams, providing another barrier against wind and snow. There are also adjustable waists, cuffs, and hoods. These can help customize the fit, crucial to a comfortable winter jacket. 

Columbia Heavenly Women's Winter Jackets

Columbia’s Heavenly jacket sports a heat-reflecting inner lining that adds warmth without adding weight. Photo: Heather Hendricks/The Inertia

Primary Use

A large part of this test was determining the primary uses of winter coats. Are you seeking something you can snowboard or ski in besides everyday winter use? Or do you want something built to keep you warm on even the nastiest of winter days? Determining your primary use of a winter jacket is paramount when deciding what type is best tooled for you. 

How Long Should A Winter Jacket Last?

A well-made, high-quality winter jacket should last at least a few years if it’s well cared for, possibly longer depending on how much use it sees and what it’s made of. Many other factors will also determine the longevity of your winter coat. These include material quality, usage frequency, and storage conditions. With proper maintenance and care, expect a high-quality jacket to keep you warm for at least three to five years, but hopefully much longer. 

How to Care for Your Winter Jacket

There are multiple ways to care for your winter jacket during use and when storing it during warmer seasons. We recommend checking the label for washing instructions but generally spot clean minor stains as you discover them. Washing the coat at least once a year on a gentle cycle with cold water is also a good idea. There are special soaps and care methods for each type of jacket, so it’s essential to read the care tags. Finally, it’s best to avoid harsh chemicals and pay attention to how your jacket should be dried. Some jackets, like the TNF’s Arctic Parka, require drying to reactivate the DWR coating, while other synthetic options are better suited to hang dry. 

Return to Comparison Table | Return to Top Picks

Editor’s Note: While you’re on the hunt for a jacket, be sure to check out our guides to The Best Puffer Jackets for Men and The Best Puffer Jackets for Women. Need to protect your feet? Here’s our guides to The Best Winter Boots for Men and Women. For women’s snowboard jackets, click here and for women’s ski jackets, click here. For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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