Here at Mountain Weekly News we love winter because it allows us to get out on our skis and snowboards, but of course that isn’t the only place winter weather has an effect. When winter winds blow in town you’ll want protection and warmth there too. So we compiled this list of the best insulated jackets for the 23/24 season, to help you find what you need to survive and thrive when the temperatures drop.
Top 10 Insulated Jackets
If you don’t want to be cold you want to be wearing the Mountain Hardwear Compressor Hooded Jacket. It’s packed with Primaloft Gold P.U.R.E. insulation, made with recycled material and body-mapped to give you warmth where you need it without compromising mobility. That’s essential if you’re wearing the Compressor while pushing for the summit, but it’s also really nice if you’re reaching for that bag of groceries that rolled to the back of your trunk.
Speaking of your trunk, one of the tricks of this Mountain Hardwear Down Jacket is it hides is its supreme packability. With the included stuff sack it’s simple to pack up this jacket and bring it with you when you’re traveling, or let it hang out in your trunk for when you get to your destination and realize you need an extra layer. Reinforced Pertex Quantum Pro construction makes this jacket as durable as it is warm, and Diamond Fuse technology puts an extra layer of abrasion resistance on key areas.
For a more classic puffer style, look no further than the Outdoor Research Men’s Super Alpine Down Parka. It’s got a classic quilted style, along with a larger fit that makes it perfect for wearing on the weekend as part of the ultimate layering system, or over your “work” clothes on your way to the office once the weekdays roll back around.
But there’s lots of classic quilted puffy coats out there. What makes the Outdoor Research Down Jacket different is the materials they use. Not only does the extremely warm (and lightweight) 800-fill down meet the 100% Responsible Down Standard certification standard, meaning it comes from birds raised and cared for humanely, but it also uses bluesign approved textiles on the exterior and lining of the jacket. As a result is a different kind of warming that complements the powerful insulation nicely.
To get similar performance with a more modern look you could choose the Vuarnet Fjord Ski Jacket. Coming from a brand that’s been outfitting people in the French Alps since 1957 it’s made for the on-mountain reality with 20k/20k waterproofing that’ll handle even rain let alone snow. And the synthetic insulation provides a down-like look while improving performance especially in less than ideal conditions. Add in a helmet-compatible (and removable) hood, and abundant pockets and you’re ready for the lift from day one.
But that shopping list of buzzwords fails to recognize some of what makes the Vuarnet Fjord truly special. Thanks to stretch construction and a distinctively French tailored fit, it’s slimmer and more streamlined on the body while still allowing for unrestricted freedom of movement. This results in more comfort on the mountain, but it also makes this jacket more appropriate off the mountain, helping you look the part if you stop to run an errand on the way back from the slopes, or allowing you to work the jacket into your weekday routine for especially chilly commutes.
For a more refined perspective, look to the Robert Barakett Vernon Jacket. The nylon and spandex poly exterior is treated with a water-resistant finish, allowing it to survive flurries with the down insulation underneath perfectly puffy. With a more minimalist aesthetic and longer cut, the Vernon is perfect for anyone who wants mountain-level warmth that looks more appropriate in the city.
Alternatively you could be looking for a more “classic” ski jacket look, and that’s exactly what the Obermeyer Ridgeline Jacket does. Coming from the company that invented the quilted ski jacket, the Ridgeline uses synthetic insulation to give this jacket a cozy feel, keeping you warm and delivering an aesthetic that will fit right in at any mountain town.
But that doesn’t mean the Ridgeline is just about fitting in. It’s also about actual on-mountain performance, thanks to the Skier Critical Seam Sealing, a layering-friendly relaxed fit, and integrated wrist and waist gaiters. And if you’re looking for something more, the HydroBlock Pro Repreve textiles used to make the shell of this jacket is made from recycled PTE, meaning twelve water bottles were redirected from landfills for each Ridgeline you see on the mountain.
Another resort staple, the Patagonia Powder Town Insulated Jacket has the features you need to stay out and on the lift no matter the weather. The Thermogreen insulation, made from recycled polyester, is deployed in a body-mapped format that keeps your core warm while allowing for greater mobility in your arms. Add in bluesign-approved fabrics making up the rest of the construction (in a Fair Trade Certified factory we might add) and the result is a Patagonia Insulated Jacket that does everything needed for a great day on the mountain, and more than any other to help make the world a better place.
The Arc’teryx Rush Insulated jacket delivers all the performance people expect from the fossil on the chest, offering easily the most advanced winter weather tech in this lineup. The packable synthetic insulation allows splitboarders to easily stash it in their backpack, and the surprisingly lightweight won’t slow you down on the uphill. Then once you reach the summit slip into the surprisingly powerful warmth before transitioning to downhill mode and stay warm so you can really enjoy every hard-earned turn.
But what really makes this Arc’teryx Insulated Jacket stand out is the choice to use GORE-TEX Infinium. This special blend of the legendary material sacrifices true waterproofing to give you enhanced breathability. Of course it’s still highly water resistant, and perfectly windproof, so it’ll shrug off all but the wettest winter weather with ease. In return perspiration moves more easily out of the jacket, ensuring you and the insulation are always operating in ideal conditions.
Another entry from the Alps, the Rossignol Djinn Welded Ski Jacket combines advanced techniques with classic styling to deliver superior performance and serious style in one piece that’s truly prepared for anything. The sleeves use PrimaLoft Black, while the classic quilted torso uses high-loft PrimaLoft Thermoplume, and as a result the jacket features a flattering tailored fit that’s timeless on or off the mountain.
But the Djinn isn’t just a retro throwback. It features advanced technology, including a welded construction that reduces stitching to achieve the shape and structure of the jacket. This reduces the stitching required to assemble the jacket, in turn improving the protection afforded by the 20k/20k waterproof breathable membrane bonded to the outer shell of the jacket. Combined with the extensive use of recycled materials in the insulation and a PFC-Free Durable Water Repellent treatment, you wind up with a jacket that’s uncompromising in the face of adverse weather, without asking you to compromise your sense of style.
Ultimately the task of keeping warm is a simple one, simply find the right amount of insulation for you and the conditions and you’re warm. So choosing the best insulated jacket is more about choosing the one that suits your needs best, whether that be a question of on-slope performance or apres styling. For most people it winds up being somewhere in between, so let us know what jackets you’re wearing to keep warm this winter.
If your conditions aren’t quite so arctic, the Flylow Bear Jacket offers a less bulky and more versatile way to add some warmth to your wardrobe. Thanks to a construction that combines Pertex Quantum Air with Primaloft Gold it’s extremely breathable, making it perfect to stuff into your pack for needed warmth when you pause at the peak. But it also makes it more versatile back in civilization too, since the more moderate insulation won’t roast you out once your car warms up. The lower-volume design makes this Flylow Insulated Jacket an ideal candidate for layering too, fitting easily under most shells to deliver a truly top-tier winter weather setup.
Sometimes you don’t actually need the full firepower of a heavy-weight puffer. Sometimes you just need a comfortable insulator to take the edge off, on its own or under a shell for high-energy activity. And that’s exactly what the Howler Brothers Spellbinder Parka lets you do. It uses 100 grams of PrimaLoft Gold insulation to give you a respectable amount of warmth with nothing like the bulk found in other jackets. Of course that does mean this is the least warm option onthis list, but for many people that’s a feature not a bug.
Furthermore the vintage styling of the Spellbinder, with contrasting shoulder panels and throwback drawcord and pocket detailing, gives it more style than many similar lightweight insulators. That means you won’t look like you’re just wearing the liner of a three-in-one jacket, it’s styled and designed to be worn on its own and that shows.