As the Northern hemisphere approaches winter, some of the biggest outerwear manufacturers are laying down a marker for the season ahead. Whether you’re navigating alpine slopes, climbing over mountain ranges or city-hopping in the lead up to Christmas – it’s essential that you choose warm, reliable winter wear that is fit for purpose.
There has never been so much choice in terms of both quality and budget as there is right now. However, the general consensus has shifted away from harmful synthetic materials to keep us snug, and more towards natural progressive products that lessen our impact on the environment – as we aim to preserve the longevity of our beloved winter seasons.
There are three main categories of winter jackets to consider in total – Technical, Casual and All-Rounder. Technical jackets are often light and thin to allow for maximum flexibility when skiing/snowboarding, mountaineering or climbing. They are also highly breathable, meaning you stay warm and moisture-free when the challenge heats up.
Casual jackets are made for the man-about-town and offer total comfort and warmth when a touch of winter style is needed. These pieces are often bulkier, with a longer leg cut helping you feel cosy and protected when temperatures plummet, along with excellent wind protection to help eliminate the chill factor.
These jackets tend to come with large hoods and high collars to add to your defences against wintery elements, but if you’re expecting lots of snowfall or showers it would be a sound decision to check overall water resistance, as casual designs are often made using down insulation which can react negatively to moisture.
The third category is the All-Rounder, a multi-functional layer for all occasions. It’s the type of jacket that offers genuine practicality whether you’re out in the mountains or taking the edge off a cold morning commute.
All-Rounder jackets tend to offer great warmth and moisture resistance ideal for a range of winter climates. They’re also well insulated and provide a good level of breathability to elude overheating.
Top brands also use a number of products and sub manufacturers to create layers that allow fabrics to withstand the winter freeze. A few to look out for are Gore-Tex, DWR coating and Pertex Quantum Insulation.
Gore-Tex jackets offer complete water resistance, perfect for snowy or rainy conditions at higher altitude. It is a technology used by some of the biggest outerwear brands around, across high-performance disciplines such as skiing and mountaineering.
DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating is added to fabrics, offering protection against light sleet and showers, but will not stand up against persistent moisture.
Another technology you’ll regularly come across is Pertex Quantum insulation. Layers that use this are lightweight and provide both wind and rain resistance for great all-round practicality. Pertex Quantum products are also efficiently easy to pack, meaning they’re great for multi-day mountain excursions with contrasting daily conditions.
Now that you know the basics, check out our standout guide below and make sure you get the most out of your next cold season adventure.