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If you’re interested in outdoor activities when you travel in the winter, check out these top picks for the best winter jackets women rely on to keep them warm, dry, and mobile!
Best Winter Jacket for Women
Written By: Niki Landry
Table Of Contents
Winter travel can be a magical experience, and if you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors in the cold season, whether it’s hiking snow trails, snowshoeing, or exploring some parks by foot or on cross-country skis, you’ll need a robust jacket that allows you to move but also keeps you warm in frigid weather.
In terms of what to consider when buying a womens winter jacket for outdoor activities, these points are vital to think about:
- Insulation – A jacket should have good insulation, such as down, polyester, or nylon materials that will perform in the cold and keep you warm. Down is an ideal material because it combines warmth and weight in a package that is lightweight overall, therefore, much easier to pack. Down is measured by fill and weight ratings. The higher the fill and weight, the more warm it’ll be. A minimum fill rating of 550 is recommended, which means a jacket with that rating is of higher quality and will be toasty and comfortable.
- Weather protection – Other qualities to seek out are water-resistant technology and windproof properties. As the wind chill hits, the last thing you want is for you to start shivering. Many top-quality jackets will have DWR (durable water repellent), which is a special coating that keeps the wearer dry and warm in inclement conditions.
- Packability – While it’s logical that you’d wear the heaviest items on the plane, such as a jacket and boots, it’s still a good idea to look for a coat that’s easy to carry and packs down so it can fit into your carryon or backpack.
- Breathability – Even though you may be moving about in the chill, a jacket should still be breathable so that when you begin to sweat, moisture isn’t trapped inside and causes you to start shivering, which is bad for the body! Likewise, the seams in a jacket should be sealed well, particularly around the cuff area, so cold air can’t get in.
- Durability – A high-quality jacket shouldn’t tear on a whim like a cheaper one might. Movement is also important, so when trying one on, there shouldn’t be too much space between your body and the jacket. You also want to be careful about it being constricting as well. To test the fit, lift your arms and you should be able to do this action without exposing your stomach or back.
Tip: Remember to layer! Even if a coat has good insulation, still use the three-layer rule, which entails a base layer, such as merino wool thermals or silk thermals, a mid layer like a fleece jacket, and a top layer, which can be your jacket. Remember that you can always drop layers if the weather changes during your activity.
However, if you’re doing things like snowshoeing or cross-country, you’d need specific boots for those activities.
You also can explore more on what winter clothing to choose by watching the video below.
This video can help you plan a packable winter wardrobe!
Keep in mind, though, that for extreme cold weather travel – your health shouldn’t be negotiable!
Truthfully, outerwear can be an investment, but keep in mind it’ll be something you will keep and wear for a long time to come. To help mitigate the costs, regularly check for sales, buy out of season, or choose discontinued colors to save money.
If you only need it for one trip, try and borrow from a friend or scour an online marketplace like eBay or Craigslist for a cheaper option.
The video below might also help you figure out what to buy to better prepare for winter travel.
Get started on organizing for winter travel with this video!
If you’d like more help with what to wear in the winter, check out these posts:
- The Most Comfortable Waterproof Boots
- Cold Weather Pants
- Warmest Thermal Underwear
- Best Merino Wool Clothing
While it can be daunting to figure out which coat to buy, these women’s winter jackets are reader recommended and can help give you ideas on what to buy—check them out!
Top Women Winter Jackets for the Outdoors
Columbia Powder Lite Winter Jacket Womens (Regular and Plus Sizes)
Whether you’re mountain hiking or chowing down on a warm buttery lobster roll in Maine you’ll beat the cold weather in this Columbia women’s winter jacket! And, this brand is a top reader favorite in case you didn’t know!
A reviewer agrees it can withstand extreme temperatures, “With the Omni-Heat lining, this jacket keeps me warm even on a blustery, cold day (20℉). Not too puffy, not too light, this has been my go-to jacket, including skiing—since I put it on!”
Going skiing? Find out what to pack for your ski trip here!
Shop: Eddie Bauer
Sizes: Regular XS-XXL | Petite XS-XL | Tall M-XXL | Plus 1X-3X
Eddie Bauer Superior Womens Down Parka Winter Jacket
This sleek Eddie Bauer winter jacket coat is a must have! You’ll stay stylish and dry with the DWR finish and WeatherEdge® seam-sealed technology!
The front zipper with snap-close storm flap will keep you comfy if you’re sitting at a mountain lodge or snowshoeing on some trails! It also comes in muted neutrals that go with everything and in regular, petite, tall, and plus sizes (1X-3X), right here.
A seasoned traveler raves, “I’m over 80 and still quite active. This is great for packing to travel. Two years ago I went to the South Pole and wished I had this coat—light, packable, convenient, looking stylish, and most of all, it’s warm and soft.”
Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Winter Jackets Woman Hooded Style (Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus Sizes)
The popular Eddie Bauer womens hooded winter jackets are down with a 650-fill power and can handle the wet and cold but isn’t heavy to wear or pack, as one user “love how weightless it is.”
And everything is secure when you’re out snowshoeing or exploring festive decorations at a city park, from the hem to the cuffs, and even the secure zippered pockets. But don’t forget that adjustable hood too!
Another reviewer comments on the feel of the coat, “Lightweight but warm and will work for winter hikes too and yet be compact enough for backpacking.”
Read this review to learn why we, and our readers, rave about Eddie Bauer’s waterproof jackets.
Icebreaker Merino Wool Winter Jacket
If you’re keen on knowing the best winter jacket brands, look no further than this Icebreaker MerinoLoft jacket that’s completely infused with merino wool. It’s guaranteed to keep you cozy from sunrise to sunset as you frolic the streets or nature paths during your chilly excursions. Because it’s so light it’s the perfect jacket to add to your suitcase and not hog any room!
From hiking trails to taste-testing mulled wine at a pub in chilly Quebec City, this jacket will ensure your fingers, head, and body are cozy, as the slimming design and stretchy side panels move with your body! One user says she “loves it and it’s so light.” So versatile for anything sport or fun related, this is available in sizes XS-XL.
Learn why merino wool is the ultimate fabric for travel!
Shop Sizes XXS-XXL: REI
Arc’teryx Atom Women’s Lightweight Winter Jacket
Insulated mid layers offer double protection in these Arc’teryx cute winter jackets. From hikers, to mountain bikers, and even city folk, this lightweight piece offers versatility for all thrill-seekers.
Whisk away the blustery conditions with wind-resistant features and keep your head toasty with an adjustable hood drawstring! And you can find numerous colors to suit your personal style, and choose from sizes XS-XXL.
A fellow adventurer shares, “Whether I’m hiking, backpacking, climbing, or skiing my Atom is my go-to jacket or the perfect extra layer to put in my pack. It’s super light and very warm! It’s also the perfect fall/early winter everyday jacket as the weather starts to get cold. If there’s ever a jacket that is worth the money, it’s this one..”
Alpine North Vegan Plus Size Women’s Hooded Winter Jacket
Stay goose-bump less while galavanting luxurious alpine resorts in St. Moritz, Switzerland, or roasting mallows in your backyard with these Alpine North warm winter jackets.
The synthetic stretch fibre helps you stay flexible during your outdoor adventures while the elastic cuffs and drawcord hem help seal out unwanted snow! And you can face any condition due to the windproof and water-resistant coating. Even as you build a sweat with your activity, the insulation won’t retain moisture, so you’ll stay totally dry and toasty!
A traveler shares their experience, “I got this jacket as I was about to go on the trip of my life to Europe and did not know what the coastal weather would dish out. This jacket saved me from freezing in early spring blustery weather and is the greatest layering piece I’ve ever had. Without this jacket, I would have been in misery. It’s very light and easy to pack. lots of zippered pockets, and does not make you look bulky. I love this jacket!”
Learn my hacks to pack carry-on only using packing cubes!
The North Face Down Ladies Winter Jacket
This North Face down winter jacket womens style is best for urban adventures and cold weather outings, such as exploring a European Christmas market. The DryVent performance tech material ensures damp won’t be in your vocabulary while the pockets of down make this lightweight but also super warm. Anytime it gets blustery, just pull up the adjustable hood.
Happy users say this has all the hallmarks of a down coat without the snowman look. One says, “I’d been looking for a very warm waterproof down jacket and found this one at a great price. I love it! Not only is it super warm, but it also fits very well, a little less bulky than most down jackets. Plus, I love all the pockets!” This is available in regular sizes (XS-XL) and plus sizes (1X-4X).
The North Face Women’s ThermoBall Eco Warm Winter Jacket
You can’t go wrong with a North Face short winter jackets womens style like the ThermoBall. With DWR protection, this is slim fitting but fully insulated, and you can pack this beauty into a chest pocket that will fit it easily with all your other travel belongings!
Stay active and warm during your travels just like this reviewer, “Love the length and how lightweight it is which is perfect for winter hiking. I stayed very warm and wind free!” While another review says simply, “For all situations, this is the right jacket.”
Cute fact, this one is listed as North Face’s ‘most sustainable product’ being made from 100% recyclable materials. Available in regular sizes (XS-XL) and plus sizes (1X-4X) and in tons of fun colors!
Lands End Ultralight Down Womens Winter Jackets
Feel like a cloud as you run errands at home or frolicking about the snow-capped glaciers in Alaska in this Lands End light winter jacket. Don’t let the weight of this fool you as its 800 fill power RDS HyperDRY™ down provides ultimate warmth. You’ll also stay dry because it’s water-resistant.
But the best part? This jacket can be folded into a zippered sack for packing or storage.
A happy user even mentioned she conveniently packed it for her recent camping trip. “Just used this jacket for camping in Wisconsin and it was the perfect campsite companion! I layered this jacket over a fleece and baselayer and it was very toasty!”
Check out these cute rain boots for your next trip!
Patagonia Nano Puff Ladies Sport Winter Jacket
This Patagonia insulated winter jacket is perfect for fearless mountain climbers or snowboarders because of its robust polyester shell that prevents you against relentless wind and it stays warm even when snow or sleet or coming down on you. What’s more, its brick pattern traps heat and is durable against abrasions!
Also, the cuffs and hem are sealed to keep chill out and keep warmth in, while users say the hand warmer pockets are incredibly handy! You can choose from well over five colors, from neutrals to ones that pop, and select between sizes XXS-XXL.
Stay warm from bone-chilling conditions just like this reviewer, “It’s a go-to multipurpose jacket! It fits great, the amount of puff is perfect for ‘flexible’ weather. It’s easily washable and looks good even right out of the suitcase. Highly recommend it!”
Fjallraven Expedition X-Latt Winter Jacket Women Insulated Style
When it comes to good winter jackets, the Fjallraven Expedition is very popular as a mid-layer that’s packable and lightweight. This will keep you warm while off hiking at the trails, conveniently, it’s well ventilated too so your sweat will dry quickly leaving you comfortable all day long.
The elastic drawcord at the hem will help keep your figure and the DWR finish staves off any unwanted wetness. A reviewer says, “It packs easily in my bag and layers great for great insulation. Lightweight and comfortable. Definitely would recommend it. I’m considering buying more in different colors.” Speaking of colors, there are many to choose from, along with the sizing, XXS-XL.
KUHL Spyfire Down Winter Jacket Women’s Style With Hood
It could be a treacherous feat to find a parka that’s flattering but look no further. This KUHLheavy winter jacket creates a nice silhouette while the 800-fill-power goose down ensures you’re shiver-free. You’ll for sure be sealed in with the well-designed cuffs and hood should the weather turn even nastier!
This is practical for a night out or while traveling as a reviewer mentions, “This jacket is lightweight, stylish, and warm. It’s just the right length for cold morning hikes or an evening out. It’s also very easy to layer with plenty of room to move around.”
Pick from three colors and sizes XS-XL.
Here are the top women’s waterproof boots to choose from!
Shop XS-XL: ibex
ibex Wool Aire Packable Down Jacket
The ibex packable down jacket is a new find by TFG editor-in-chief Alex and she offers this mini-review of it! Alex says, “I was shocked at how warm I was in this jacket despite how thin and lightweight it is. I’ve only worn it briefly in temperatures ranging from 25F – 40F and layered only over a J Crew 365 tee and separately just over a merino wool thermal, but so far I’m impressed and can’t wait to test it out for extended periods of time outdoors. If it’s as good as I think it will be, this could easily become an essential in my winter wardrobe.”
TFG editor-in-chief Alex wearing an ibex packable down jacket in aqua blue
Due to its thinness, it’s the perfect hooded jacket to bring on a trip with mixed weather, or when you need something packable you’ll only need occasionally for the cold. In addition, this could just as easily be something to wear every single day on a cold-weather trip because it’s thin and light enough to wear layered underneath a more polished coat.
Another thing that stands out immediately is the “climate-neutral certified” label. This means that Ibex implements programs to reduce their carbon output and put into carbon credits that offset the rest. When you choose Ibex, you support a carbon-neutral company.
Product Comparison Chart
|BRAND | MODEL
|FEATURES | REVIEWS
|RATING | PRICE
|Columbia Powder Lite Winter Jacket Womens (Regular and Plus Sizes)
|“With the Omni-Heat lining, this jacket keeps me warm even on a blustery, cold day (20℉). Not too puffy, not too light, this has been my go-to jacket, including skiing—since I put it on!”
|Eddie Bauer Superior Womens Down Parka Winter Jacket
|“Light, packable, convenient, looking stylish, and most of all, it’s warm and soft.”
|Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Winter Jackets Woman Hooded Style (Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus Sizes)
|“Lightweight but warm and will work for winter hikes too and yet be compact enough for backpacking.”
|Icebreaker Merino Wool Winter Jacket
|It’s guaranteed to keep you cozy from sunrise to sunset as you frolic the streets or nature paths during your chilly excursions.
|Arc’teryx Atom Women’s Lightweight Winter Jacket
|“Whether I’m hiking, backpacking, climbing, or skiing my Atom is my go-to jacket or the perfect extra layer to put in my pack. It’s super light and very warm!”
|Alpine North Vegan Plus Size Women’s Hooded Winter Jacket
|“It’s very light, easy to pack. lots of zippered pockets, and does not make you look bulky. I love this jacket!”
|The North Face Down Ladies Winter Jacket
|“Not only is it super warm, it also fits very well, a little less bulky than most down jackets. Plus, I love all the pockets!”
|The North Face Women’s ThermoBall Eco Warm Winter Jacket
|“Love the length and how lightweight it is which is perfect for winter hiking. I stayed very warm and wind free!”
|Lands End Ultralight Down Womens Winter Jackets
|“Just used this jacket for camping in Wisconsin and it was the perfect campsite companion!”
|Patagonia Nano Puff Ladies Sport Winter Jacket
|“It’s a go-to multipurpose jacket! It fits great, the amount of puff is perfect for ‘flexible’ weather. It’s easily washable and looks good even right out of the suitcase."
|Fjallraven Expedition X-Latt Winter Jacket Women Insulated Style
|“It packs easily in my bag and layers great for great insulation. Lightweight and comfortable. Definitely would recommend it.”
|KUHL Spyfire Down Winter Jacket Women's Style With Hood
|“This jacket is lightweight, stylish, and warm. It's just the right length for cold morning hikes or an evening out. It's also very easy to layer with plenty of room to move around.”
|Ibex Packable Down Jacket
|"I was shocked at how warm I was in this jacket despite how thin and lightweight it is."
How to Pack Womens Warm Winter Jackets
Packing cubes can help organize all the layers you have in mind for winter travels. We designed our own brand of slim packing cubes, with a unique color and numbering system, so it’s easy to remember where you’ve packed everything. See the video below for more.
Learn our packing hacks with packing cubes in the video!
We also put together a five-part YouTube series showing the different methods to use packing cubes for travel. If you use this specific packing strategy, packing cubes can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carry-on only!
Above are examples of some of the best winter jackets for non-specific outdoor activities while you are traveling. For example, if you are an avid skier or rock climber, you may need much more technical gear.
What are your tips on layering for cold weather? Please share in the comments below!
For more cold-weather packing tips, please read:
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather
- Extreme Cold Weather Gear for the Arctic
- What to Wear in the Snow
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Author Bio: Niki is an interior designer and artist from Louisiana. In addition to her design work, she writes for local and online publications sharing her experiences and passion for travel. Niki is currently adding stamps to her passport while building her design practice, Niki Landry Designs. nikilandry.com nikilandrydesigns niki-landry-designs-llc