The 9 Best Winter Parkas for Cold-weather Adventures in 2024

Best Non-Insulated Parka: Klattermusen Ansur Windproof Parka

Most parkas feature insulation, but if you need coverage from high winds and precipitation in an otherwise temperate climate look no further than Klattermusen’s Ansur Windproof Parka. It is windproof and water-resistant, offering respite from high alpine gusts and repelling light precipitation, while remaining breathable and durable.

Insulation: None

Price: $349

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a parka and a jacket?

The main difference between a parka and a typical jacket is the length. Jackets usually hit near the waist whereas parkas are intended to provide more coverage, hitting below the hips and sometimes more. Since parkas provide ample coverage they often are used for harsh environments, and therefore commonly feature insulation as well as weather-resistant properties. Parkas are the outer layer that provides the most coverage.

How should a winter jacket fit?

A well-fitting winter jacket should provide enough room for layering without feeling overly bulky. It should cover your torso and extend slightly below the waist. The sleeves should reach your wrists but not bunch up, and the hem should cover your lower back. A snug but not constricting fit in the shoulders and chest will ensure mobility and warmth, whether you’re out hiking or in town running errands.

What kind of insulation should I be looking for in a parka?

Down jackets often feature duck down feathers or goose down feathers to create a warm, insulating layer between the outer and inner shells. Down is measured by how much space in cubic inches is produced by one ounce of down, from 550-fill (less insulating) to 1000-fill (more insulating). Natural down doesn’t insulate and becomes heavy when wet and therefore benefits from a DWR coating or a waterproof shell. Natural down has a history of production through exploiting animals leading to many companies sourcing only down that adheres to the Responsible Down Standard which ensures that the animals that provide the down have been treated humanely. Other brands like Paka have looked towards animals like alpacas to find other sustainable ways of creating insulation.

Synthetic down is engineered from polyester and other fabrics that allow it to mimic natural down. It does a better job insulating when wet though the production of synthetic down can be harmful to the environment. Many brands have worked to address this issue by using recycled fabrics to create synthetic insulation.

Ultimately when purchasing a parka there is no right kind of insulation, but understanding insulation can help in finding one that fits your specific needs and environmental principles.