Ready to battle the elements? A warm, insulated and weatherproof jacket is worth investing in if you want to get outdoors all winter long. My guide to buying the perfect winter coat is in association with Fjällräven, the Swedish brand that knows a thing or two about weather-ready outdoor kit. Read on to find the perfect coat for cold weather adventures.
How to choose a winter coat
STYLE: If you plan to buy just one great quality winter coat to wear every day until spring arrives, you need to think carefully about in what conditions and for what activities you’ll wear it. How active will you be getting? If you just want to keep warm on relaxed winter walks or when travelling in cold climates, a well insulated, parka-style coat will keep you cosy. If you’ll be cycling, hiking or skiing, a shorter length jacket with some insulation and good waterproofing is your best pick. Plentiful pockets are handy, and I prefer a hood – a faux fur trim can also help protect your face in cold temperatures.
USEFUL FEATURES: A good winter jacket should be both water resistant and warm, so it can keep up with you in any weather. Look for a jacket’s waterproofing rating in millimetres (this is its ‘hydrostatic head’ rating, and anything above 10,000mm will be reliably waterproof), or check the jacket’s waterproofing technology – Fjällräven’s Greenland Wax renders clothing water resistant, while their Eco-Shell material is fully waterproof. Tackling heavy rain? You’ll need to choose a jacket with taped seams – these stop water seeping through the stitching.
Next, think about warmth. In the winter months, a shell jacket without any insulation will only work when worn over a down mid layer on fast-paced hiking and mountaineering adventures – for proper warmth at rest, you need a thicker, insulated coat. Look for animal down or synthetic insulation, ideally with more padding around the torso and less around the shoulders and arms for better mobility.
FIT: Try on a winter coat in person – it should feel snug and warm but with plenty of room for you to move your arms, and with space to fit chunky layers underneath. If your new coat has a hood, check it sits snugly around your face and can be drawn in tightly against wind and snow. If you might wear your winter jacket for mountaineering or cycling, check the hood is helmet compatible. If warmth is a priority, look for a parka coat that reaches your thighs, keeping more of your body cosy.
Once you own your perfect jacket, make sure you look after it. Keep it clean and if it begins to lose its ability to repel water (you’ll notice that water no longer beads off the surface), re-waterproof it – waxed coats such as Fjallraven’s Greenland range can be made water resistant again with Greenland Wax, and waterproof coats can be treated periodically with DWR (durable water repellency) sprays.
Pick the perfect Fjällräven winter coat
Nuuk – the perfect parka: Fjällräven’s parkas are some of the best winter coats I’ve ever tested for warmth and comfort. I’ve reviewed both the Nuuk parka and the Greenland parka in the past, and while both are excellent, I think the weatherproof Nuuk parka makes the perfect warm and waterproof winter coat. The Nuuk feels warm as soon as you pull it on thanks to a lovely longer length cut, a synethic fur-lined hood and microloft, a synthetic lining that keeps you warm even when wet. The Nuuk feels like great quality – this is a coat that will last you for many winters to com. e
Greenland – a versatile padded jacket: Packing in warmth without compromising on a flexibile cut, Fjallraven’s Greenland winter jacket is a great all-rounder if you need a cosy jacket that can stand getting active. The Greenland is lined with a fleecy teddy lining for warmth, and its outer material, G-1000 Eco, is rendered water resistant thanks to its coating of Greenland Wax, which is easy to top up when needed. If you want to buy a sustainable jacket, this is a great choice – G-1000 Eco is made from recycled polyester and organic cotton, and waxing your jacket is an ecologically sustainable way to keep it stormproof.