Now that the holidays are done, what do all of us suckers living in cold climates have to look forward to? At least two months of frigid cold temperatures, gray skies, and not a single smidgen of holiday cheer available or holiday party on the horizon. If this sounds bleak, it’s because it is.
But we’ll tough it out, because that’s what we’ve been doing for centuries, aided by cold weather gear made specifically for our ridiculously cold climates. The first version of the parka was created by Inuits in Canada (they called them “anoraks”), but as usual, the modern version was popularized by the US military. The N-3B parka was first produced in the 1950s for air crews transporting troops in extremely cold climates, and they slowly made their way into civilian use shortly thereafter. We’re just glad they did, because damn, it’s cold out here. Check out 15 of our favorites.
Alpha Industries N-3B Parka
Since Alpha Industries has been producing military jackets for the actual US military since the 1950s, you know that whatever you buy from them is legit. The N-3B Parka is actually the first jacket Alpha Industries made for the US government (back in 1959), and all of its bells and whistles are sure to keep you warm, even in extremely cold climates. Available in multiple colors, the nylon parka has a removable soft faux mouton-lined hood, inset knit cuffs, and a full-length storm flap in the front to keep the elements out.
Patagonia Isthmus Parka
If you’re looking for a Parka that won’t make you look like a snow beast, look no further than Patagonia’s Isthmus Parka. Sporting a 1960s-inspired silhouette, the jacket is made of nylon with a PU coating, durable water-repellant finish and insulated with warm fleece. Available in bright red, black, army green, and navy blue, this is a classic jacket that will keep you warm for decades.
Penfield Apex Down Insulated Parka
Established in Massachusetts in 1975, Penfield has been creating quality outerwear for over 40 years, and the Apex Down Insulated Parka is one of the brand’s best offerings. Available in army green, this military-inspired parka has multiple roomy cargo pockets with snap closures, a funnel-neck hood, inset ribbed cuffs, and is filled with down feathers for extra bulk and warmth that you’ll appreciate on extra chilly days.
J. Crew Explorer Down Parka
You want a warm winter coat—that’s a given—but also don’t want to wear some bulky coat that people who live in Antarctica wear. J. Crew’s Explorer Down Parka presents a happy medium—the navy heavy-duty jacket is puffy to provide warmth, but is tailored well so you won’t look like the Marshmallow Man when you’re walking down the street in February.
Freemans Sporting Club Isle of Man Parka
A brand established to pay tribute to the vanishing art of American handmade goods, the people behind Freemans Sporting Club seek to offer quality apparel crafted domestically by skilled artisans. Their Isle of Man Parka does exactly that—handmade in New York City, the parka is made out of durable waxed cotton (available in black or navy blue), lined with Melton wool, and boasts six, count ‘em, six exterior snap pockets as well as a drawstring adjustable hood.
Nau Blazing Recycled Down Jacket
Founded in 2007, Nau creates versatile apparel while keeping an eye on sustainability. The slim-fit, ultra-versatile Blazing Recycled Down Jacket is evidence of that mission—made with breathable recycled material and stuffed with 650-fill recycled down, it has a variety of convenient interior and exterior pockets, a snap-off hood, and as a bonus—Nau donates 2% of every sale to its charitable partners.
Woolrich Arctic Down Parka
Originally created in the 1970s for workers constructing the Alaskan pipeline, you know Woolrich’s Arctic Down Parka can stand up to the toughest of weather conditions. Made out of water-resistant Teflon, the jacket is available in multiple colors, has multiple pockets, and a buffalo plaid lined detachable hood that’s lined with genuine coyote fur. Yes, you read that right. Badass, right?
The North Face Polar Journey Parka
The North Face is known the world over for creating quality, tough-as-nails products specifically for cold climates, so it’s no surprise that it’s landed on our list. The Polar Journey Parka just looks like it would be warm and comfortable (it’s modeled after a sleeping bag—no joke), and it is. Made from lightweight nylon ripstop material, the jacket is insulated with genuine goose down, has a hideable hood, easy-entry Velcro-flap pockets, and if that wasn’t enough to convince you to buy it, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Cold Smoke Nannuk eVent Parka
Borne out of the snowy mountains of British Columbia, Cold Smoke knows a thing or two about crafting quality cold weather gear. The brand now splits its time between Canada and California, crafting apparel out of the best materials available, and this Nannuk eVent Parka is no exception to that. Crafted out of eVent waterproof, breathable cotton twill, it boasts reinforced seams, an adjustable hood that will cover the majority of your face in extreme conditions, and is available in gray, purple, and army green.
Aether Cascade Parka
LA-based Aether was founded by outdoorsy urban professionals with the desire to make high-performance clothing versatile enough for their everyday lives. This Cascade Parka fits the bill perfectly, looking as at home on city streets as it would in the hiking trails. Crafted out of a three-layer waterproof fabric (available in black or navy blue), it has a three-point adjustable hood that allows for increased peripheral vision, and an extra-long hem that will cover a suit jacket (or not).
Mammoth Outerwear Elk Parka
Based in Toronto, Mammoth Outerwear crafts quality apparel that’s completely animal-free, and then takes it a step further, donating $10 from each jacket sale to the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (think bears, raccoons, coyotes, and the like). The Elk Parka is the first jacket the brand produced, and it continues to be a best seller. Crafted out of a water-resistant blend of polyester and cotton, the jacket is insulated with Primaloft Gold, lined with Buffalo plaid, and features felt-lined pockets and neck, allowing you to forget your scarf or gloves at home with abandon.
Fjallraven Polar Guide Parka
Founded in Sweden in 1960, Fjallraven has been making durable, functional products like the Polar Guide Parka for over 50 years. Available in a variety of color combinations, this parka sports a slim silhouette while still being insulated with Supreme Microloft.
Arc’Teryx Camosun Parka
Founded in the extreme conditions of the Canadian coast, Arc’teryx knows a thing or two about how to survive in brutal conditions, and that’s why its products are favored by people who do super-active things in the cold. The Camosun Parka was made to merge professional lives with active ones—it’s the kind of jacket you’d wear to the office on a Friday and transition directly to your weekend skiing trip without skipping a beat. Available in navy blue, black, and green, the waterproof, windproof jacket is fully-insulated and has a detachable hood that you can leave behind on sunny days.
Canada Goose Constable Shell Down Parka
Canada Goose has been constructing high-quality cold weather gear since it was founded in a Toronto warehouse in 1957, but its jackets have become ubiquitous among the metropolitan set. The brand’s down jacket seems to be its most popular offering, but this Constable Shell Down Parka is slimmer and more appropriate for the guy who’s just walking to the subway instead of trudging up a snowy mountain. Hip-length and fully-insulated, it features ribbed cuffs, a removable hood, and an adjustable internal drawcord to keep drafts out.
Moncler Rethel Parka
Moncler made its first down jacket in 1954, and since then, the brand’s offerings have become trusted among the cold weather jetsetters, emphasis on “jetsetters,” because this jacket comes with a hefty price tag. Crafted out of premium wool flannel that’s treated to be water-repellant, the parka is down insulated and features a coyote fur lined adjustable hood.
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