Best Performance-Driven Insulated Coats for Winter

If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors during the winter, you need an insulated coat that will keep you warm and comfortable in cold conditions.performance-driven insulated coats You also want a jacket that will protect you from wind, rain and snow. It’s a tall order, but there are jackets that check all of those boxes. To choose the right insulated jacket, you need to consider the type of insulation and the shell fabric. The type of insulation determines how much warmth the jacket will retain and how well it will handle moisture (it’s important because a wet down jacket is cold). The shell fabric affects how windproof and water-resistant a jacket is, how much weight it will pack down to and how easily you can move in the jacket.

There are two basic styles of insulated jackets: those that are built primarily to maximize warmth at minimum weight and packed size (similar to down puffies) and those that are designed to be highly breathable for high-output activities like backcountry skiing or hiking.performance-driven insulated coats These jackets feature soft and stretchy shell fabrics with sheets of active insulation that do a great job of regulating heat. Common brands include Coreloft, FullRange and PrimaLoft Gold Active. This type of insulation is more costly than down but it packs down to a fraction of the size and weight.

The Patagonia Micro Puff is probably the best example of this category of synthetic insulated jacket.performance-driven insulated coats It features thin, 100% nylon shells and synthetic filaments and fibers that look and act a little bit like goose or duck feathers. The result is a very light and very warm jacket that doesn’t require baffles to hold the insulation in place. While the Micro Puff doesn’t breathe as well as some of the other jackets on this list, it’s ideal for lightweight activities that prioritize space-saving endeavors like multi-pitch rock climbing.

For a slightly heavier option that offers more protection than the Micro Puff, you could opt for the Enlightened Equipment Torrid.performance-driven insulated coats This ultralight synthetic insulated jacket is a favorite of thru-hikers for its extreme weight savings and breathability. The Torrid weighs just 8.4 ounces for the men’s medium hooded version and uses 65g of Climashield Apex insulation. It also uses a highly water-resistant 10-denier shell fabric and a durable DWR finish to shed rain.

A new breed of insulated jackets is emerging that is specifically designed to be very breathable for high-output activities. These jackets feature a combination of quilted insulated panels that are balanced with fleece or stretch material on the arms, side and sometimes across the back. These insulated jackets are better at regulating temperature than down or other synthetic options and are ideal for highly aerobic activities that would make most people overheat quickly if dressed in a down jacket. Examples of this category of jackets include Black Diamond’s First Light Hybrid Jacket and The North Face Ventrix.

Finally, there are a handful of jackets that combine an insulated midlayer with a shell. This style of jacket is ideal for skiers, climbers and anyone who wants to spend a lot of time outdoors in changing alpine conditions. Rab’s Cirrus Flex 2.0 is a good example of this category. This jacket combines thick PrimaLoft Silver Lux fill with a rugged 20-denier Pertex Quantum shell to create an insulating layer that will be effective even when wet.


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