Seeking waterproof very warm winter coat
November 18, 2018 9:46 PM   Subscribe

I lost my coat and want to invest in a long-term, quality, replacement. If the two qualities are not inherently contradictory, I want it to be both very warm and truly waterproof.

In the past, I've had warm winter coats, and then gotten trapped in pouring rain for over an hour in them. They all got soaked through, including the filling, such that it took well over a week for them to dry out. I'm looking for a coat that is very warm, but also capable of withstanding a deluge without my getting soaked to the bone + having a coat out of a commission for some time thereafter.

Additional preferences:

Must have a roomy, not shallow, hood. Ideally one with something to help keep it from flying off my head in the wind.

I'd like the coat to be long-lasting. Good quality closures (zippers, snaps, whatever) would be nice.

Budget is not a major concern, although the more expensive the coat is the more reassurance I'd like to hear that it will last.

As a much lower priority, I'd prefer an aesthetically pleasing coat, dark colors and matte preferred over white and shiny.

I appreciate pockets.

I've had coats that shed feathers over time. It's not a deal-breaker for me, but I would prefer not.
posted by Cozybee to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
My winter coat for most of my time here in Seattle has been one I found in a vintage shop for like fifty bucks. It is furry on the inside (real or fake? I have no idea) and white suede(?) on the outside, and has kept me warm and dry in cold winter rain. I've had to replace the buttons that keep it closed a few times; it's been well worth a little time invested over the years. If you've got any decent vintage shops nearby, look around, you might get lucky!
posted by egypturnash at 10:10 PM on November 18, 2018

Patagonia has some really great options.
posted by k8t at 10:23 PM on November 18, 2018

Best answer: You want a Carhartt Parka. Here is a men's version. Here is a woman's. My Carhartt jacket is the warmest driest coat I have ever had in my 50+ years on this earth.

Here is a link to Carhartt site.
posted by AugustWest at 10:43 PM on November 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The jacket you are describing is the Rab Valiance Jacket. I know people who wear it and they love it.

You want maximum warmth (which means down fill) but winters where you live tend to be rainy rather than snowy, so you need to get a down coat with good waterproofing. Waterproofing on down jackets is often just a coating that can wear off quickly, but this one has a waterproof Pertex shell with fully taped seams. This guy demonstrates how the hood fits snugly yet is roomy enough to be helmet compatible, and it sports a peaked visor to keep the rain out of your face.

Ideally you should to wear separate insulation and waterproof layers, but if you're looking for an all-in-one I think this is what you want.
posted by theory at 11:43 PM on November 18, 2018

"If the two qualities are not inherently contradictory, I want it to be both very warm and truly waterproof."

A truly warm coat is likely not waterproof. If you expect it to be very cold, you don't expect rain. For ran you wear an overcoat.

"I've had coats that shed feathers over time. It's not a deal-breaker for me, but I would prefer not."

There are a lot of expensive "feather" coats available. Canada Goose etc. They will keep you warm but a feather coat is not really meant for outdoor activities. More for hipsters going to the university. In fact, I am not aware out of my head of any army coat that uses feathers and this is not a price issue. An US army "ultra cold weather parka" would keep you warm too. But be warned, this thing is heavy if it is a real one.

But. Cold, Rainy, Fashionable. Have you looked into 66 north?
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:39 AM on November 19, 2018

Barbour and Arc'tyrx are two brands that make some outstanding heavy duty gear. Not cheap, but very well made.
posted by tgrundke at 3:56 AM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: You've marked this as answered, but I just wanted to add some general notes for future seekers.

The Rab coat mentioned above, as well as Patagonia, Arc'teryx, and various other brands, are all the same category of coat. Or at least those brands sell a model in that category. They're for mountaineering. Looking up insulated mountaineering gear will help you find more coats like this. You'll see skiers in wetter areas wearing them on the lifts and such too. Lots of uses for a heavily insulated but waterproof coat.

Down coats are absolutely meant for outdoor activities, but the differences between down and synthetic might not matter to you.
posted by jellywerker at 4:33 AM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: Seconding 66 North. On two trips to Iceland I saw them everywhere, inside and outside the cities. Iceland is both cold and very wet, sometimes in the same day. I don’t own any of their clothing but I’m about to shop for a new parka myself and will be looking there.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 5:18 AM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: I have an LLBean raincoat with a hood and a zip-in lining. It is quite warm, waterproof and looks good. I wish it still for. LLBean, REI, EddieBauer and others will have parkas with linings that should meet your needs.
posted by theora55 at 5:25 AM on November 19, 2018

Response by poster: Ah, I haven't marked this as answered yet, I've just been marking best answers as they come (haven't had chance to continue marking yet). Please feel free to continue answering!
posted by Cozybee at 5:31 AM on November 19, 2018

I bought one of these at the end of the last winter, have not had a chance to wear it yet. It looks well made and warm.

Actually this is the one I purchased.
posted by tman99 at 6:08 AM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: Seconding that you want a waterproof shell over down. I have this for standing on elevated train platforms while being pelted with wintry mix (i.e., that appealing mix of rain, frozen rain, and hail that shows up on the East Coast it can't quite decide whether it's below freezing or not, and easily the worst weather condition in my experience for subpar waterproof winter coats). It's gone through two winters without flinching, and I washed it with the Nikwax technical down wash/re-waterproofer, so it's ready to go for year number 3.

Haven't seen a feather yet. The fake-fur hood lining zips off, and the hood has stayed on my head through gale-force winds.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:25 AM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: I wore the Outdoor Research Women's Floodlight Down Parka in Iceland this autumn, and it kept me dry while biking through the freezing sideways rain that Iceland is rightly famous for. Bought from REI, on sale. The hood is effective and adjustable, it covers the butt which helps a lot with warmth in my opinion, and I have not yet been cold in it. A bit shiny and rustly, but I love it!
posted by ogorki at 7:40 AM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: "If you expect it to be very cold, you don't expect rain. For rain you wear an overcoat."

Having stood outside for two hours this morning in 33* rain, I have to disagree. Maybe that doesn't qualify as "very cold" but it's cold enough and wet enough to warrant both heating and waterproofing strategies.

The 66 North coats are drool-worthy and effective, but pricey. For my daily driver, I use the Lands End squall jacket (women's, men's). I would prefer a coat with an inner reflective heat liner (like this) because I had a short, non-waterproof jacket with that liner and it was warm, but I haven't been able to find a knee-length, waterproof version.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:02 AM on November 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A truly warm coat is likely not waterproof.

This isn't true.

They will keep you warm but a feather coat is not really meant for outdoor activities.

This also isn't true? I mean - no, you don't want at FEATHER coat, but down coats are pretty much the gold standard in lightweight warmth, because of the way lofting works. Companies have worked for years to try and make synthetic down-like insulation that works as well as down (and for most day-to-day uses the lofted synthetics are completely fine) but the folks who need serious cold weather gear almost always go with real down.


For waterproofness, you want to look at a coat with Gore-Tex or (now that the patent on GTX has expired) one of the technologies that uses the same waterproof-breathable membrane that Gore invented. You'll pay quite a lot for the Gore-Tex brand, but there are a wide number of other GTX-like techs out there that do the same thing.

Being from Maine, we shop L.L.Bean. Some choices:

Rugged Ridge Parka - Men . Women - comfort rated down to -40 in moderate activity (like walking your dog). Uses a synthetic lofting insulation (basically fake down) for warmth. Great hood. Reasonably priced. Detachable hood that you can adjust for hood depth depening on your need (or remove if you're not into a hood that day). Fully waterproof.

Wildcat Jacket - Men . Women - comfort rated down to -30 in moderate activity. Uses a thermal batting insulation so it will be flatter and not as puffy as a lofted insulation. Deep adjustable hood. Also has great two-stage cuffs and the collar provides face protection when fully zipped. Search the website under "wildcat jacket" for additional colors.

Maine Mountain Parka - men . women - this is a tradtional "snorkel" parka with a very deep hood. Rated to -45 in moderate activity. Long body length for overall coverage in brutal conditions. Does use actual down insulation, but you shouldn't get strays poking through with the canvas outer layer. Fully waterproof.

There are more on the site. If none of these speak to you, Land's End will have similar construction and features. You'll probably want to look at either the Squall or the Expedition. Both come in cuts for men or for women.
posted by anastasiav at 8:43 AM on November 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

Blair Braverman - an actual competitive sled dog racer! - suggests these options for winter comfort in crappy conditions. Per her recommendations, Duluth Trading Company makes a very good and reasonably priced parka, while Canada Goose parkas are absolutely excellent but So Damn Expensive. (No, they are not just for trendy Ivy League students).

The main thing you want to remember: avoid buying any coat or jacket that doesn’t cover your butt. Butt coverage is absolutely essential for warmth.

I’m a chronically cold tropical native who is forced to live in Boston myself. I invested in this Kuhl down parka last year and it’s changed my life for the better. It is quite water resistant, though not to the level of a rain shell: certainly I’ve gone out in the rain and snow plenty in it and I’ve never got wet, and the exterior dries quite quickly. It is warm as shit. Also, it has so many pockets.
posted by faineg at 8:58 AM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: I'm going into my fourth Chicago winter with my Marmot Downtown Component -- which is worth it at full price but looks to be 50% off right now!!
It's a two-part jacket where you can use the outer rain shell and/or the inner down-alternative coat separately or together. It is warm, waterproof, sturdy (no part of it is even thinking about coming apart even after 3 years of extensive use), has great and extensive pockets, a roomy (and detachable and waterproof) hood, magnetic cuff closures, nothing that sheds... I love this coat a lot.
posted by anotherthink at 9:32 AM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: Despite its terrible name, Eddie Bauer's Girl On the Go trench is just what you want (if you wear women's clothing). I rarely put the liner in, as it's so freaking warm.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:47 PM on November 19, 2018

I have this Carhartt, and live in Vermont. I rarely wear more than a sweatshirt under this, if that. LOVE this coat.
posted by terrapin at 1:23 PM on November 19, 2018

Just so you're aware, the real problem with true waterproofing on a very cold-weather coat is that moisture buildup WITHIN the coat can become a comfort issue, because the waterproofing works both ways! You'll notice a lot of these ski jackets have "pit zips" and the like--that's because of moisture buildup. I think it's a lot more of a problem if you're exercising in the coat, for obvious reasons, but that's why (besides cost) you'll see some fancy coats go water-resistant rather than waterproof. Just a thought, doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't go waterproof.
posted by praemunire at 1:33 PM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I recently wanted something similar and tried on *a lot* of coats.

The top contender was the North Face Defdown Parka GTX (here

Linked is women's but there is also a men's version.

It is down, and is extremely warm and cozy. Hauling in on feels like putting on a heavy duvet. The arms have cozy wrist warmers that flip over into little makeshift mittens. The hood fur can be kept folded back or folded over forwars forward extra protection and warmth.

It is also Gore-tex, so breathable and waterproof.

It's matte and has a nice texture.

And I find it just looks *good* on.
posted by EarnestDeer at 4:06 PM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: A down jacket designed for low cost construction will leak heat from every seam. Look for a jacket with baffles, avoid one with sewn-through construction. Drawing and explanation of the difference.
posted by Homer42 at 6:26 PM on November 19, 2018

Came back in for a longer answer. Down does not perform well when wet. In rain, it will get damp both from high humidity and your perspiration. Wool or synthetic makes a lot more sense here. You want waterproof, not just water resistant, for an hour in rain. Read catalog descriptions with care. If it's raining, it's above 30F, so you need water and wind proof more than a ton of insulation. A poorly sealed seam can let in lots of water in rain, so check to see if the seams are sealed. Seam sealer is a thing. You need the ventilation areas in good rain gear.

I recommend LL Bean because I live near them and have used many of their products. I've worked on the phones; feel free to call them and discuss your preferences with the rep. Look for a coupon; 25% is frequent. Here are some good options. You will find similar options at REI, Eddie Bauer etc.
women-s-h2off-rain-primaloft-lined-jacket-print and h2off-rain-jacket-primaloft-lined
tek-o2-3l-storm-jacket I think this is what you want.

I have a light gore-tex jacket that I throw over a wool sweater and that serves me well. I also have a pile of fleece pullovers and vests, down coat for very cold weather, basket of glove, hats mittens near the door, and a variety of wool scarves* because, Maine. Don't overlook the need to keep hands, head, feet warm and dry. If I lose enough weight to wear my nice raincoat, sweet, but in the meantime I'm warm and dry.

*and a fave muffler crocheted by a qonsmas giver!
posted by theora55 at 10:25 AM on November 20, 2018

« Older I want my stuff back!!!   |   How do I ask for better feedback on an essay? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.