Best Men’s Parka: Winter Outdoor Apparel for Braving the Elements
The best men’s parkas will keep you warm without weighing you down or restricting movement. Here are our down- and synthetic-filled recommendations.
On the hunt for a new jacket? To find the best men’s parka, consider when and where you’ll be wearing it. Do you need something totally waterproof? Do you prefer synthetic filling, since it’s cheap and dries quickly, or do you need down for serious warmth? How active you plan to be also impacts the insulation material—synthetic will dry quickly under sweaty or very wet conditions, but down is warmer and more lightweight. Consider extra features like hoods and the construction of the jacket too. A 3-in-1 design is versatile for all activities and seasons, as you can strip the layers on and off. Some hoods are removable, or can be adjusted to extend past your forehead to shield your face from rain and snow. You’ll also want to check the number of pockets to keep your hands warm and keep essential gear close. Keep reading to find the best men’s parka for you.
BEST WATERPROOF MEN’S PARKA: Columbia Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Hooded Jacket
BEST MEN’S PARKA WITH HOOD: The North Face McMurdo III
BEST MEN’S 3-IN-1 JACKET: Cabela’s Northern Flight 3-in-1 Parka for Men
BEST DOWN INSULATED PARKA: Canada Goose Men’s Expedition Parka Coat
BEST PARKA FOR HUNTING: Rivers West Men’s Hunting Waterproof Ambush Jacket
BEST CHEAP MEN’S PARKA: TrueTimber Waterproof Snow Coverup Parka for Men
Tips for Choosing the Best Men’s Parka
When searching for the best men’s parka, whether you need it for fishing, hiking, or want new hunting clothes, it’s important to consider the level of water resistance, insulation material, and extra features like construction, pockets, and hoods.
What’s the Best Waterproof Parka?
A waterproof parka is typically made of at least two layers. The first layer is treated with a waterproof coating. The second layer is a synthetic lining, made from nylon or polyester, which prevents the waterproof fabric from deteriorating. Look for the word “waterproof” instead of “water-resistant,” and make sure it has sealed seams. Waterproof is the highest, driest protection and is tested by how much water pressure the fabric can take before moisture begins to seep through.
Fabrics that are labeled “water-resistant” may be able to withstand light rains, but they might not have fully sealed seams, and can allow soak through in a brutal downpour. The Hydrostatic Head test is one method brands use to determine the waterproof factor of their jackets. In this test, a lab tube is filled with water, and a piece of fabric is stretched on top. As the water level rises, the pressure on the fabric increases. The level at which water begins to soak through the fabric is measured in millimeters—a fabric must be able to withstand at least 1,500 millimeters of water to truly be considered waterproof.
Best Waterproof Men’s Parka: Columbia Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Hooded Jacket
Columbia’s Omni-Tech winter jackets for men utilize three separate, seam-sealed layers made of synthetic fabric to ensure total waterproof protection. The synthetic-down blend insulation keeps you warm, and it dries faster than down filling itself.
Do You Need a Hooded Parka?
Lots of people believe that we lose most of our heat through our heads. While that’s false (we can lose heat through any uncovered part of the body), it never hurts to protect your neck in freezing temperatures. A hood keeps drafts, rain, and snow from sneaking in and ruining an otherwise warm ensemble. It’s efficient at keeping your body warm, just like your sweaters, long johns, and thick socks are. If you go for a hooded parka, look for one with a removable hood that you can zip off on warmer, more active days, and keep on for long days spent in a hunting blind or waiting for fish to bite. Often, removable hoods can zip inside the collar or be folded into a side pocket for easy portability. There are adjustable hoods that can jut out like a visor to keep rain from clouding your vision, and hoods with drawstrings for a warm, snug fit.
Best Hooded Men’s Parka: The North Face McMurdo III
The hood itself on this North Face men’s parka jacket is removable, and so is the plush faux fur lining. The 550-fill goose down filling and a seam-sealed shell are ideal for cold, rainy days. There are four external pockets at the hands and chest, and one internal for safeguarding your phone, keys, or wallet.
Consider a 3-in-1 Design, Especially for a Hiking Jacket
Sometimes called a components jacket, a 3-in-1 parka is made up of two main parts: an outer shell, typically synthetic, that may or may not be insulated, and a liner insulated with synthetic or down filling. Each layer can be snapped or zipped off to wear individually, or layered together. The beauty of 3-in-1 jackets lies in their versatility. If you get hot, simply peel off the insulated bottom layer and wear the top layer by itself. If the weather is dry, but cold, stick with the bottom layer. A zip-out jacket is easier to take on and off than one with snap closures—nobody wants to bother with snaps when they’re moving quickly or their fingers are cold.
Best 3-in-1 Parka: Cabela’s Northern Flight 3-in-1 Parka for Men
This men’s coat features a zip-off polyester shell and nylon lining with ThermoLite insulation, which dries quickly and adds warmth. Despite the layers and insulation, the jacket is very lightweight. The body features 150 grams of insulation and 100 grams in the sleeves for ease in mobility.
Which Parka is the Warmest?
If you’re after serious warmth, down is your best bet for insulation. A down jacket traps body heat and retains it, even in subzero temperatures. Though this a common misconception, down is not made of feathers. It’s actually the soft fluff found underneath waterfowl feathers. Goose down is the highest quality, and the most expensive, because it’s able to reach a higher fill power rating than duck down. The highest fill power rating duck can achieve is 800—while that’s still incredibly warm, the finest-quality goose down can reach a fill power rating of 900 and above.
Fill power is assessed by the down’s ability to retain heat. A 600-fill rated fabric means that one ounce of down can cover, or loft, 600 cubic inches. The more cubic inches a fabric can loft, the higher the fill power rating. This experiment is similar to the Hydrostatic Head test used to measure the waterproofness of a fabric, in that the down is placed in a lab tube and then compressed it with a weight to see how much it can loft under pressure.
While down itself isn’t supposed to get wet, most down jackets feature a synthetic outer layer that is waterproof. (You still want to be careful on rainy days though, as too much water can cause the down to lose some of its lofting power.) One downside is that down jackets are expensive. They’re also dry-clean only, but you’ll likely only be dry-cleaning it once a year.
Best Down Winter Jacket: Canada Goose Men’s Expedition Parka Coat
A Canada Goose men’s winter jacket is expensive, but the warmth and longevity is worth the investment. This one features 625 fill power down, an adjustable, down-insulated hood with removable fur lining, four spacious outer pockets, two interior pockets, and a drawstring at the waist to seal in heat and fit you perfectly.
Are You Shopping for Hunting Clothes?
When shopping for hunting clothes, you need to take into account camouflage, breathability, weather-proofing, and quietness. To find a quiet jacket, look for fabrics that are listed as “sanded” or “brushed”—that means the fibers are made smoother and less noisy, so you won’t rustle every time you move or brush against something. You’ll also want to consider something waterproof, so you can wear your hunting parka in all types of weather, and light insulation for breathability and warmth.
Best Men’s Parka for Hunting: Rivers West Men’s Hunting Waterproof Ambush Jacket
This cold-weather hunting jacket is made of soft brushed fleece to keep it whisper-quiet. The fleece exterior weighs 5.2 ounces, while the Sherpa lining weighs 9.4 ounces. Two-way zippered vents at the underarms allow for breathability. It’s also totally waterproof, and the adjustable visor hood works overtime to keep your face dry.
Need an Affordable Parka Jacket that Still Performs Well?
If you live in an especially harsh climate, it’s worth it to shell it for an expensive parka. But if you need something lighter weight, or you’re just buying the coat for a trip to colder climes, you can get away with shopping on a budget. Instead of sealed seams, you might find taped seams in a less-expensive option. This will still protect you from rain, but seam tape can flake and lose its water-resistant properties over time. You’ll likely also be looking for a parka coat with synthetic filling, rather than down. One nice thing about synthetics is that they dry faster than down and might be able to counteract the less-effective waterproofing of taped seams.
Best Cheap Men’s Parka: TrueTimber Waterproof Snow Coverup Parka for Men
This sleek, lightweight men’s winter parka has taped seams to seal out water. It’s made from brushed tricot, a soft, lightweight fabric that’s excellent for breathability. The heavy-duty YKK zipper helps you avoid snags.
Best Men’s Parka Brands to Know
In 1938, Paul and Marie Lamfrom fled Nazi Germany and moved to Portland, Oregon. There, they started a small hat manufacturer, called Columbia Hat Company. The couple passed their business down to their daughter, Gert Boyle, who propelled the hat company into an outdoor apparel brand worth an estimated 8.6 billion dollars this year.
The luxury brand originated in a Toronto warehouse in the 1950s under the direction of Sam Tick, a Polish immigrant, as Metro Sportswear. Metro initially focused on making down-filled jackets for the Canadian police and park rangers. In the 1970s, Tick’s son-in-law, David Reiss, joined the company and started selling commercial winter apparel under the name Snow Goose, which later became Canada Goose.
The North Face
The North Face was founded by outdoorsman and philanthropist Douglas Tompkins, and his entrepreneur wife Susie Tompkins in 1968. The couple lived in North Beach, San Francisco, and were passionate about creating gear for avid hikers like themselves. By the ’90s, the company expanded to all outdoor apparel, from serious backpacking gear to casual outdoor apparel.
A Final Word on Shopping for the Best Men’s Parka
To determine the best men’s parka for you, consider whether you need warm, lightweight down insulation or heavy, fast-drying synthetic filling. Take into account extras like fitted hoods or spacious pockets, and remember, sealed seams are best for waterproofing.