Help me find a winter jacket (not a coat).
August 5, 2012 9:11 PM   Subscribe

For this winter, I want an inexpensive ($100 or so) men's jacket that is light and warm, even in really cold conditions. Jacket, not a coat...

...though I suppose there's a fine line between the two. The past few winters I have used a down coat that is wonderfully warm no matter the chill outside, but it's rather bulky and puffy. I want something simpler, easy to move around in, something more streamlined.

I'm thinking The North Face or REI type jackets...sporty is good, or business or something in between, I'm open to suggestions. Though rain/weatherproof sport-type jackets are good for those rainy winter days, so I'll probably veer that way.

Questions: is there no beating down? Should I get a down jacket, or will other types be "just as good". Like Gore-Tex? Are there any other types of insulation?
posted by zardoz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Leather jackets are really popular in Germany. Wool is wonderfully warm and wind resistent, if you aren't allergic. Both are less bulky than down, though not necessarily lightweight. For some situations, a windbreaker is awesome. If the cold is primarily due to cold wind rather than super low temps, a good windbreaker is very lightweight, inexpensive, and wonderfully warm.

I have also seen Western wear that was 100% cotton but sealed with wax or oil to protect against cold and water.
posted by Michele in California at 9:37 PM on August 5, 2012

Arcteryx makes superb lightweight jackets that are insanely warm. They're not cheap, though.
posted by musofire at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012

Best answer: I love my Patagonia raincoat. I am sure there are other brands that are a bit cheaper, but this kind of jacket is very versatile. I keep it in my backpack since it packs up really small, it is very warm but has pit zips to open up on a warm rainy day. Mine fits well with a light down jacket or vest and fits perfect with a fleece jacket so I can wear it in very cool weather. THis is what I wore to the arctic circle this past April and I was very comfortable at around 10F.
posted by JayNolan at 10:15 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Look for a Primaloft jacket like the REI Spruce Run, Eddie Bauer Ignitor or Bonfire 3-in-1 jackets. Sierra Designs makes good ones too that fit a bit larger. They are pretty darn warm and are less puffy than down and quite a few have waterproof shells incorporated. I'm a big fan of Primaloft!

I also have an Arc Teryx Atom hoody jacket and it's very light but it's not as warm as the ones' above. Their really warm jackets or warm/ waterproof jackets are more in the $300+ range.
posted by fshgrl at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2012

I have the same rain coat as JayNolan. It is very warm and thin.
I also have one of their synthetic down jackets which packs down to about the size of a softball maybe. It's also very warm and is thin enough that if you were still cold (I've never still been cold while wearing it) you could put another jacket or a sweatshirt over it.
Patagonia's above your budget but their repair/return policy might make it worth it.
posted by gally99 at 11:29 PM on August 5, 2012

How cold is "really cold"?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:06 AM on August 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers! "Really cold" will be about 20 F or so.
posted by zardoz at 1:04 AM on August 6, 2012

FYI, Gore-Tex is waterproof, breathable fabric; it's for keeping you dry, not warm.
posted by jon1270 at 2:51 AM on August 6, 2012

I got a wool peacoat last year, after years of wearing "outdoorsy" stuff like North Face, and it was excellent. The performance, even in the depths of winter, was far more than I was expecting, and kept me warm and dry.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:14 AM on August 6, 2012

Not sure if you have one near you, but I bought my last winter coat at Uniqlo. They make ultra-light down jackets. Mine weighs next to nothing, can roll up and fit in my purse, was only around $70 (for a knee-length women's coat) and got me through last year's Minnesota winter (regularly hitting zero, occasionally as low as -15). Their men's coats looked really nice too.

(Sorry for no links, I'm on my phone)
posted by JannaK at 5:25 AM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: I bought an Eddie Bauer Anorak about 15 years ago for a ski trip. It's bright purple and it looks as good today as the day I bought it. (My mom "borrowed" it for a trip to the ice festival in Hokkaido and she's still hanging onto it.)

The one I bought was rated to -20 degrees, but you may not need that much insulation. What's great about it is not only is it lightweight, but you can scrunch it up and turn it inside the hood, and it compresses to a wee thing that you can throw in a suitcase.

Best. Purchase. Ever.

I bought a jacket for Husbunny ten years ago and his is still going strong.

You don't often think about Eddie Bauer, but you should. Some outlet malls have an Eddie Bauer, so you may be able to score a good deal at one, or just order off the website.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:12 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

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