Apparently, there is more to buying the best winter jackets for extreme cold camping, hiking backpacking and other outdoor adventures than meets the eye.
This article may contain affiliate links. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
When the outdoor gene runs in your DNA, you know nothing short of a blizzard will keep you at home. So you get your warmest boots for winter on and go.
Table of Contents
Why go camping in winter
It is a tough, cold world out there even for the most seasoned camping enthusiast. However, you can have the winter campgrounds to yourself, that is, if they are open. When temperatures dip below zero, most people hang up their camping gear until the warm seasons come.
However, that seclusion and solitude is like sweet music to the cold hiking or camping enthusiast. The white blanket of snow, unadulterated, domineering and seemingly unconquerable is too challenging to ignore.
[table id=10 /]
But, knowingly or unknowingly, you expose yourself to extreme cold. But it is not really a hazard when you can protect yourself with the best cold weather jacket, shoes, gloves and so on. Besides, you can always learn how to insulate your tent for winter.
You can also learn how to make a fire, and keep one running in the cold weather. Consider though the fact that you may have to spend a lot of time in your tent. So bring along your tent heater for camping to keep you warm.
You will also need to take piping hot coffee, foods and soups. When camping in winter, you battle the cold from the inside and the outside.
This also means that you have to bring a means to cook your food when camping. Thankfully, the choice of wood stoves for camping, propane and other stoves is incredible.
The best type of winter jackets
The reason determines what you buy. Since you want the best winter jacket for hiking, camping and for other outdoor activities, you will need one that has been designed for ease of movement. This is also referred to as a technical jacket.
If you like, you can also call it a self-contained jacket because it comes with many features. Some of them include interior pockets to carry some of your stuff, for example, water bottles and mobile phones.
They also have hoods that can be worn with a helmet, which is very good when you are going mountain climbing.
You will find that a technical cold weather jacket is packed with down fill, has strong and waterproof shell and is brightly colored.
In the market, you will also find the regular winter jackets for extreme cold. These ones are made specifically for warmth and thus, most of them are heavy. Thus, these may not be the best to wear for hiking in winter, as their weight could be restrictive.
You could wear a regular or casual winter jacket for hiking the trails in winter. However, this would be best suited to day hikes when you do not have to hike a long distance.
However, if you are a true outdoor recreation enthusiast that is not afraid of the snow, get a technical winter jacket that is made for activities like backpacking, hiking, camping and others.
Where to buy best winter jackets for extreme cold
If you ask any outdoor enthusiast, they will tell you that the best place to buy outdoor gear and clothing is from the online marketplaces.
Therefore,you can buy the best jackets for extreme cold on Amazon.com. There, you will find amazing variety and better prices. You can also read user reviews so that even before the jacket is shipped to you, you can know what to expect.
Because of the construction of the jackets and the materials used, these jackets can cost a substantial amount of money. Do not worry though as they are made to last a long time.
However, high price is not always a guarantee of quality. At the same time, a lowly priced jacket for hiking in extreme cold weather may not have enough insulation. Find a balance between price, features and quality.
For your outdoor recreation or traveling items, you can always pay an affordable price and get awesome features.
Whether you are a man or a woman looking for the best extreme winter jacket on Amazon.com, you will find many of them.
However, one question that people ask is the features they should look for in the best winter jackets. Are all jackets equal?
Apparently not, as you will see in this guide. Rather, there are some substandard ones that masquerade as extreme cold weather jackets.
Best winter jackets must-have features
The best winter jackets for outdoor activities like backpacking, camping and hiking have many features. Some may have more, some less.
Here are the most important features that each should have:
The best winter jacket shell
The jacket shell is the same as the shell of a cold weather sleeping bag. It is thin, 100 percent waterproof and durable. It can withstand abuse.
The shell of the jacket is made to resist water, snow, sleet and other elements, well, except cold. It is a thin slice of fabric that has been treated to be 100 percent water, snow and sleet-proof. However, that is just about all that it does.
It does not protect the wearer from feeling cold. That is the work of the fill, which we will look at next. Thus, it would be quite foolhardy to wear a jacket for cold weather that is made of the outer shell material only.
If you should have the guts to wear that, then be ready wear thermal layers underneath and let the shell be for protection against water only.
Look for a jacket whose shell is made with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating. This is best for snow and rainfall. This kind of repellent coating is also breathable, thus it is able to keep you comfortable throughout the day or the night.
The shell should be rip-stop, such that it doesn’t get scratches and abrasions.
The winter jacket insulation
Insulation means keep the heat inside and this is very important for your cold weather jacket. What happens is that when you wear your extreme cold weather jacket, your body starts to get warm.
Of course, you are a warm blooded person, so your body generates heat. However, without proper insulation, this warmth can be lost and cold air can come into contact with your body. This is why you need the best winter jackets for extreme cold.
Thus, the cold weather jacket insulation does not only prevent the warmth that your body generates from escaping. It also prevents cold air from outside coming in. You can think of it as a buffer zone between the cold air from the outside and the warm air from the inside.
Mainly, for sleeping bags for backpacking, there are two types of insulation – goose down (natural fill) or synthetic fill. Both have their benefits and disadvantages. The same applies to the best winter jackets.
One thing you should know though is that when it comes to fill, the more puffed up it looks, the more the warmth you will feel.
There are different types of insulation for winter camping jackets, which include:
Down fill is the best choice for any extreme cold weather clothing. It may be costlier than synthetic fill, but it is worth every penny that you will pay for it.
Goose down feathers are the light feathers that are found beneath the bigger, rougher outer feathers of geese.
These fine down feathers have great insulating capacity. They keep the ducks warm in winter. Thus, even when they are used in a sleeping bag or a jacket for cold weather, they help keep you very warm.
Made from the finest goose down feathers, this kind of fill makes a bulky jacket much lighter in weight. It also makes the jacket very effective at keeping you warm.
Jackets with down fill are made with waterproof coating on the exterior to keep the fill dry even in wet conditions. Sometimes, the goose down feathers may be treated with a chemical repellent themselves.
The reason why these jackets are 100 percent waterproofed is that goose down is not very effective at repelling water. It absorbs water instead, which makes it lump up and lose its insulating ability.
When you need to pack your cold weather jacket, you will find that it compresses into a manageable pack. If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for caring for the jacket, you can keep the fill intact for many years to come.
When buying a winter hiking jacket for the first time, the numbers can be a bit confusing. To make it less confusing for yourself, just look for a jacket with a higher down fill.
You can also read reviews to see what most people recommend for winter outdoor activities. Remember, safety when you are outdoors is paramount for you.
You can order Orolay Womens Thickened Down Jacket on Amazon.com. This one is made for women who love to look good even on the trails, or on the ski lift. It is 90 percent down and 10 percent synthetic. It is also windproof and as you will see, it is a good looking jacket for women.
With time, synthetic fill for cold weather outdoor jackets has become better. It has been designed to mimic the qualities of down fill as much as possible. Thus, you can buy these jackets with confidence, knowing that they will not let you down.
Synthetic fill is mostly made of treated polyester, which mimics the qualities of the down fill as much as possible. This fill is also more water resistant as compared to the down fill.
THE WARMTH generated depends on the amount of fill, which means that these jackets tend to be heavier than the down jackets. However, with better construction technology, these jackets have become better with time. They are also easier to pack.
Because of the higher water resistance, synthetic fill jackets are better for wet weather. The synthetic fill does not clump as the down fill does. Besides, even if they get wet, they dry faster.
There is a disadvantage though. These jackets lose their insulating capability with time. At the same time, they are also bulkier. As we have said, the more the fill volume the more the warmth.
There is a lot of variety in the market for synthetic jackets. You may try the Columbia Mighty Hooded Jacket on Amazon.com. It is designed to be waterproof, windproof as well as snow proof. Besides, it looks quite good on you.
Active insulation jackets
This simply means extreme cold weather jackets that are made with a technology that ensures the user stays warm and breathable as well.
Considering how cold it will be in extreme cold weather, well, it is hard to imagine breathable and warm being in the same sentence. However, these jackets are designed with a special technology for just that.
The name active just means that you can wear this jacket during your outdoor activity. For most of the other jackets, you can mostly wear them after the activity.
Such a jacket is easy to compress when you need to pack it. It has the warmth quality of the down jacket, but with better and more improved water resistance for the fill.
Instead of having to swap your layers after every activity that you engage in, a jacket with this kind of fill can be worn all day long.
If you think active insulation jacket is your type, you can order Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody for Women on Amazon.com. For a cold weather jacket, it is incredibly stylish and has high breathability. You can also find men’s version of the same.
Pockets are very important additions for any cold weather jacket, especially one that you intend to use for different types of outdoor activities.
You will use the pockets for storing some of your small gear, for example, your flashlight for camping. However, it is better to have interior pockets than exterior ones, but the more the pockets the better. While you will have your backpack for hiking with you, there is some gear that you want really close to hand.
Hood for extreme cold weather jackets
For best winter jackets for extreme cold, choose one with a hood as opposed to one without. The head also feels cold you know, especially the ears. Thus, even if you wear an insulated jacket for winter hiking but you do not cover your head, you will still feel cold.
You should look for a jacket with an adjustable hood. It can be quite ridiculous if you had to wear a hood that is a few sizes too large or too small.
If it is too large, you will feel cold. If it is too small, you will not be comfortable wearing it, if you wear it at all.
You may also look for a jacket like the Wantdo Men’s Winter Jacket on Amazon.com, which has a removable hood. You can remove the hood when it is much warmer and attach it when you need to use it. Many winter jackets come with detachable hood, but it is good to make sure.
Look for mens or womens hiking jackets that have a large volume hood. This should be accompanied by a drawstring for adjustability. A large hood will most likely be compatible with a helmet.
When it comes to outdoor clothing, especially the best winter jackets for extreme cold, always buy gender-specific ones.
The reason for this is because of the frame differences between men and women. For example, women have narrower shoulders, and bigger hips.
Men have broader shoulders and narrower hips. They also have longer arms, bigger chests and thicker necks.
If you are a man, buy men’s hiking jackets. Chances are it will fit you snugly, thus leaving few or no cold zones.
Women should buy women’s hiking jackets, which are more stylish because women love to look good all the time. At the same time, they fit them snugly thus reducing any chances of cold air pockets developing.
Waterproof zippers for best winter jackets for extreme cold
There is no point in buying a waterproof hiking jacket that has zippers that let in water. Thus, you should make sure that the zippers are sealed and they are 100 percent waterproof. Besides, the zippers are also capable of letting in drafts of cold air.
Even if the zipper is not sealed, it should have a storm flap. This will keep the wind and the rain away. Luckily, manufacturers of outdoor clothing know the importance of this very well and so they ensure that zippers will not let in cold.
If the pockets are zippered, they too should have flaps, or they should be waterproofed. You cannot take chances with cold weather jackets.
Two way zippers are better than one way ones. Also, just to mention it, a good zipper should be full length. That makes it easy to get in and out of the jacket.
It is better to be fussy and err on the side of caution, than find out when it is too late that you did not buy the right thing.
Many first time buyers of the extreme cold weather jackets for hiking never remember to look at the cuffs. However, these openings, as you will see when you wear your jacket, play a big role in keeping you warm.
If the cuffs are too wide, be ready to suffer some cold. It will creep in through the cuff openings. If they are too small, you might have to wear your hiking gloves on the cuffs. Gloves will help you be able to hold your hiking poles without slipping in wet weather.
As you will see when you go shopping for extreme cold weather jackets on amazon.com, some of these jackets can cost a lot of money.
Your body does not have a price, that is, it is really not too expensive if it will keep you warm and health. The good thing is that there is a jacket for any kind of budget.
To be fair though, a jacket such as the Canada Goose Mens Expedition Parka on Amazon costs more because of its incredible features, and the weather rating.
This means that if you are going hiking in warm winter, you cannot wear the same coat as a person who is going to an extremely cold winter where there will be sleet, rain, wind and other elements.
While it would not be logical to spend what you do not have, remember not to sacrifice the quality on the altar of price. Besides, if you choose the best winter jacket well, it will be a one-off buy, and you will keep it for a long time.
Hopefully, you will now be able to buy the best winter jackets for extreme cold camping, hiking and other outdoor activities. Remember, hypothermia kills. As you pack your camping gear , bring along a jacket that is made for the harshest cold.