Help me find the warmest full length winter coat in the world.
February 17, 2014 1:15 PM   Subscribe

Help me find the warmest full length winter coat in the world.

I live in Chicago. The weather here has been horrific this winter and I am looking for a winter coat that will keep me warm in arctic conditions when I walk my dogs or walk to/from my car. I want a coat that comes down to at least mid-calf and is wind-proof and water proof. I want it to keep me warm in up to -15F. I do not want to have to wear more layers underneath than a long sleeve tee shirt and sweater nor do I want to wear snow pants.

I currently have a Calvin Klein long down coat. It isn't wind proof though and I still feel cold when it gets down to about 10F.

I also have a North Face coat that has a wind-proof shell and a down jacket insert. This jacket is exceptionally warm, but it only comes down to my hips. The North Face doesn't appear to make this style of jacket in a version that comes down to my calves.

I have looked at Canada Goose coats and I like the Mystique, but it has a coyote fur hood ruff and I'm opposed to fur.

I also have my eye on a Kanuk brand coat. They make coats the come down to mid-calf, but I can't tell if any of their coats will be warm enough. I also can't find many reviews of Kanuk coats. I'd love to hear from someone who actually owns a Kanuk coat.

Any other ideas for winter coats? I've spent hours pouring over different coats and can't seem to find one that screams "buy."

Note: I don't care how ugly I look in the coat. I just want to be warm.
posted by parakeetdog to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
My father has a Kanuk jacket and he says it's the best jacket he's ever had for our tough Montreal winters. Kanuk's a pretty popular brand here and I always hear good things about them.
posted by ohmy at 1:19 PM on February 17, 2014

I love my big Land's End Down Chalet Maxi coat; it looks like they're pretty much all sold out (big shock!), but I think it would be worth the wait!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:20 PM on February 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Your profile says you are female; however the absoloute best long coat I know of is the Men's L.L.Bean Nor'easter Commuter Coat. Mid-calf length; gore-tex; insulated to -45.

I have no idea why they don't offer it for women, but they don't (despite years of requests). If you order the men's, you'll find it's a little long in the sleeve and a little full in the upper back/shoulders, but you will be warm as toast.
posted by anastasiav at 1:26 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've had that same Land's End coat for over ten years now, and it still looks new and keeps me warm in the subzero. Yeah, you're gonna look like you're wearing a sleeping bag, but small price to pay for being warm when everyone else at the bus stop or train platform is shivering, and also for not having to layer to the point of ridiculousness to commute to an office job. Machine washable/dryable for a coat like that is a huge plus, makes the effective lifetime of the coat much longer. I can wear the thing with skirts, tights, and boots, no snow pants needed underneath (the space between tops of boots and bottom of coat is small to nonexistent).
posted by asperity at 1:26 PM on February 17, 2014

Oh, the one problem with the Land's End Chalet coat is that you will want a secondary hat to wear under the hood when it's particularly cold; the (removable) hood is not at all tight to your head and lets wind in. In somewhat warmer weather that can be a plus if you don't want to have hat head.
posted by asperity at 1:29 PM on February 17, 2014

I have something similar to this on J Peterman.

I got mine at the Burlington Coat Factory for about $100 nearly 15 years ago. I love my coat! It keeps me toasy warm. Mine was made in Ukraine, so there's that.

Here's one at BCF that's about 1/10th the price of the J Peterman.

Wool Maxi Coat is the google phrase you want to use.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:30 PM on February 17, 2014

From time to time, I volunteer for ski races. My best jacket for standing around in the worse of Minnesota doing almost nothing is a Columbia Omni Heat. It's down and has a space blanket liner. Apparently, they make a long women's version. The long men's one isn't very long.
posted by advicepig at 1:34 PM on February 17, 2014

When I grew up in northern MN, we always had monstrous LL Bean Parkas.

This is probably the one you want:

Acadia Down Coat
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 1:35 PM on February 17, 2014

I have Patagonia's "Downtown Loft" winter coat in the long length and it may meet your requirements if you aren't really tall (I am a taller female and it doesn't go down to mid-calf). Where I am it's been well below -15 all winter but I know Chicago winds are brutal. This coat is long, warm, and still fairly light and not bulky. When I wear it on very cold days I only feel the cold where the coat stops.
posted by lafemma at 1:49 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

North Face does make something: the Arctic Parka!

I live in a place where winter temps of -30F and below (even before wind chill) are normal, and this coat has worked for everything: walking to the car, walking the dog, tromping around outside for several hours. Bonus: the fur is fake!
posted by DeadliestQuack at 1:52 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I bought a coat a few years ago, my number one priority (beyond being super warm) was that it was as far below the knee as possible. Many down coats seem quite short, ending somewhere at the thigh, and to me that defeated the purpose. I ended up finding under 10 coats that fit my length requirement, and - after determining that a couple of long down North Face coats didn't have enough filling - I finally bought Patagonia's Downtown Loft Parka (on their website for $380). I have no regrets about this purchase. I have only worn it in around 18F (and not in Chicago!), so I can't say whether it would be warm enough in your temperature range, but I definitely would recommend giving it a shot. I am *always* cold, and have never been cold in it. The length really makes the coat, for me. The only thing is that it's not waterproof (a little bit water repellent, but that's it). Also, and I know you don't care about this, but the shape is extremely flattering.
posted by ClaireBear at 1:54 PM on February 17, 2014

You want the Arctic Program collection from Canada Goose. For extreme weather protection.
posted by enzymatic at 1:56 PM on February 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Quartz Nature.
posted by mlis at 1:57 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

On preview, what lafemma said! I'd definitely say the Downtown Loft coat is mid-calf on me, but then again, I'm only about medium height. Maybe better to try it on in your case, but I'd definitely recommend. If I'm wearing tall boots and my Downtown Loft coat, no cold seeps in in the calf/knee area where it does on other coats.
posted by ClaireBear at 1:57 PM on February 17, 2014

Also, if I'm remembering it correctly, one of the best things about the Downtown Loft coat is that the zip/snaps come all the way down to the bottom (!) unlike in a lot of other long coats (like the Canada Goose Mystique coat that I also looked at, where it bizarrely gapes open for several inches before the zipper hits). That is where for me a lot of the cold feeling came from, and was one of my big stipulations when I was looking for a coat. Things feel a whole lot warmer when the coat is actually sealed the whole way down.
posted by ClaireBear at 2:01 PM on February 17, 2014

I meant to add, since you mention you do not want a coat with natural fur, you can order Quartz Nature coats with natural or synthetic fur or no fur at all.
posted by mlis at 2:02 PM on February 17, 2014

Would you consider vintage or 2nd hand fur? I own and wear a full length fur coat; my thoughts on it are here and as I say there, it is wind proof, water proof, spill proof and stain proof. There are a ton on Etsy for $300 or less.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:07 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have the North Face Arctic Parka that Deadliest Quack mentioned and it fits your needs. I went on a tirade a couple years ago about not wanting to layer up and a friend in Chicago recommended it! The fake fur is removable as well.
posted by checkitnice at 2:20 PM on February 17, 2014

I love my North Face Arctic Parka, but I don't think it's long enough for your needs. I'm only 5'4" and it hits me at lower thigh.
posted by youcancallmeal at 2:29 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I live in Madison, WI, and when I'm walking my dog for an hour at -25 wind chill (which has been a lot, this winter!) I am thrilled to be wearing the Marmot Chelsea coat. It comes down to right around my knee, so I do usually wear 2 layers on the bottom (either long underwear under my jeans or something windproof over them) but I never wear something more than what I intend to wear inside all day at work on top. The fur is faux, and its cut nicely to be about as flattering as a 650-fill down coat can be. I bought this thing 3 years ago when I didn't really have the money, and I still think it was worth every penny.
posted by juliapangolin at 2:40 PM on February 17, 2014

2nding vintage fur. It is hands down the warmest coat you will ever own. I had a mid-calf one that I only brought out if it was -0 degrees F plus wind chill. For standing around or sitting outside in that weather it is perfect. It was easy to get overheated, so I only wore a t-shirt underneath if I was going to be walking much.

The drawback is that it was very heavy, like a lead weight and it had to be treated gently. From the style, I would say it was from the '30s and it had not been well-kept. The skins tore from the weight of it and needed to be sewn back together (although the rips didn't show through the long-haired fur; neither did my hasty mending). In the end, I passed it on to a charity shop and moved to a warmer climate.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:22 PM on February 17, 2014

The problem is that any coat's comfort -- which is what you really want, not just 'warmth' -- is dependent 1) on the outside temperature 2) and the activity you're engaged in.
For example, you say you experience arctic temps -- but 15 below is not that. That's important, because you can buy a coat for the true arctic winter -- but you may find yourself sweating at 15 below, and even more 0 or 15 above, which are common temps in Chitown.
That's why I would reconsider a layered approach. A coat that will keep you warm at 0 will serve at 15 below with the right hood, hat, and down vest.
These are broad strokes, admittedly. I worked outdoors all over the NE, from Kansas to the Great Lakes to NY, and I put a lot of study into dressing for cold weather. The answers here offer a lot of good info -- but you have to look at the specs of any particular coat. For 20 minutes outside in 15 below, with no more effort than a slow stroll with doggie -- there's a coat for that. But it's not just anybody's memory of a 'warm coat.'
posted by LonnieK at 4:58 PM on February 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mackage from Quebec are warm depending on the style you buy. But nothing beats Canada Goose IMO.
posted by gillianr at 3:42 AM on February 18, 2014

I have the North Face Arctic and it doesn't come to mid-calf even on me and I'm only 5' tall. Also, it's only the warmest coat in the world if there's no wind. I can feel the wind in my arms, which is really bogus in a $330 coat.
posted by HotToddy at 7:15 AM on February 18, 2014

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