Outerwear Outlook: Top Picks for Warmth this Winter

outerwearIt’s shopping season for all the essentials you need to stay warm this winter. You want the best options to keep your body, head and hands warm for sport and everyday use.

Taking a closer look at this season’s well-reviewed coats, jackets, hats, mittens and gloves, we found a nice assortment of highly rated choices in an affordable price range.

Coats and Jackets

Trusted names in outerwear often get the most attention from reviewers online, especially in coats and hats, but we found a couple of less famous brands have become customer favorites in gloves and mittens, too. For ski and sport, we looked for warmth, comfort, and special features (like zippers in the right places or protection from powder). For everyday use we focused on protection from the elements, wearability and style.

Our intended price range for top offerings was between $200 – $300. TIP: Shop online for past seasons’ offerings of the same brand name coats and jackets. You can save 30 – 70% on the same products, but in limited colors and sizes.


Ski and Sport: Women, check out Patagonia’s Untracked Anorak. It features a triple layer of the premier material GORE-TEX® for extra warmth, a laminated visor for extra visibility, hand warmers, water-tight coated zippers, and a special feminine silhouette. We found it as low as $220 on the Patagonia.com website

Men really respond to the extra comfort and convenience of The North Face Vortex Triclimate. It’s a three-in-one snow sports jacket with a relaxed fit that works in the dead of winter until the spring thaw. It features Heatseeker insulation on the inner shell, which you can zip out from the full sealed shell to wear as a separate. We found it for $280 on thenorthface.com.

Everyday Wear: Women, to face a harsh winter but stay light on your feet, consider the beloved Metropolis Parka from The North Face. You won’t feel weighed down by the warm down that keeps you toasty all the way to your shins. The simple style can last you for years. Bonus: the chin guard is brushed to be comfier. $289 retail price.

Men, you can have waterproof, windproof, warm, and rugged, plus easy-to-clean for only $199 with Eddie Bauer’s North Slope All Purpose Jacket. It looks good too: though it’s filled with 100% European Goose Down, it still gives you a slim fit with no bulk.


Fact: it’s an old wives tale that we lose 80% of our body heat through our head. We really just lose heat through our exposed body parts, so if your head is exposed it’s the same as if you were wearing shorts and losing heat through your legs. Still, your mom was right. You should wear a hat when it’s cold outside.

Ski and Sport: If you’re going to spend a lot of time in the snow and extreme weather, it makes sense to invest in a hat that will keep you warm, stay dry, stay on your head, and fit under a helmet as needed. The Marmot Summit hat gets great reviews because of its acrylic wool blend on the outside, and cozy warm fleece lining on the inside. It’s a backcountry favorite for $24.95.

Everyday Wear: You can have classic fashion in a popular style without sacrificing durability and comfort for your commute or snowblowing adventures. L.L. Bean’s Mad Bomber Hat offers a stay-dry nylon exterior and a warm rabbit fur lining for $34.99. Fold the ear flaps up or leave them down when the wintery winds blow.

Gloves and Mittens

Whether you’re speeding down the slopes or hustling down the street, you need to keep those hands warm during your cold weather activity. Fingers and thumbs are highly susceptible to frostbite.

Ski and Sport: The Outdoor Research Southback glove is considered a best buy. Top rated ski gloves are often priced as high as $200, but the Southback averages $85 from online sources. They are ranked as durable, and dexterous (which means it’s easy to move your fingers In them), and they score well in warm and waterproof categories.

hatsFor ski and sport mittens, the Dakine Skyline Mitt offers a special feature that will make a big difference to anyone using their phone or camera out in the cold: a side zipper that allows you to free your fingers without removing the whole mitten. The inside liners are optional—but they are touch screen compatible. These super mittens are priced at $60.

Everyday Wear: The Under Armour Cold Gear line of gloves offer thin, lightweight warmth for daily use. The construction makes for an accurate fit and comfortable wear. There are regular and “extreme” versions to choose from ranging from $20 – $35 online.

The Hot Fingers® Rip-N-Go Mitten is a favored choice for outdoor jobs and all day activities because of the curved grip, cuff closure, high performance fabric and ample insulation. You can pick up a pair for about $30.