Spending time in icy weather can be an awful experience if you're not dressed for it. That's why you need to get the best winter jacket for extreme cold to keep those chills at bay.
When the weather is cool, you can wear a sweater or a light winter jacket.
But when the temperature drops to well below zero, you need something that's going to protect you from the harsh cold.
If you live somewhere where temperatures like these are common, rather than buying multiple layers to deal with, you may need a jacket upgrade.
For these people, buying the best winter parka for extreme cold conditions is the only option that makes sense.
And if you get one built to last, it will likely be worth the price tag.
Best Winter Jacket for Extreme Cold
Men's Winter Jackets for Extreme Cold Reviewed
If you want the best jacket for extremely cold winters, you can't go wrong with the McMurdo Parka III from The North Face.
This cold weather parka has a windproof nylon shell with a DryVent coating to block out moisture while still staying breathable. It comes in 7 colors and 8 sizes.
For warmth, the McMurdo is insulated with 550-fill goose down insulation to combat those icy temperatures.
The hood and it's faux-fur ruff are both removable when you don't need it, but also has a built-in gaiter for extra protection when you do.
The cuffs are adjustable to lock out those chilly winds and snow. There are four outer pockets, two hand ones and two on the chest, all of which have zippered closures.
There is also a media-compatible pocket to keep your device safe while still giving you full access to it.
Weight: 61.7 oz
Fabrics: Nylon body with recycled polyester taffeta lining
Insulation: 550-fill goose down
Pockets: 4 outer pockets, 1 inner media-compatible pocket
Though the look is more stylish than the more technical extreme weather jackets, the Arc'teryx Therme Parka still battles the cold with great efficiency.
The shell is Gore-Tex, which is both water and windproof, but is still breathable for maximum comfort.
The seams are all fully sealed and there is a DWR coating for extra protection against moisture.
For insulation, 750-fill European Goose down is used in the core and the sleeves where warmth is needed the most. You can read more here about how down fill is rated for warmth.
But there is also Coreloft synthetic insulation in the hood, the cuffs, and under the arms since these are areas where moisture is most likely to soak in.
The hood adjusts at the front and the back for the perfect fit, plus has a laminated visor to block the sun.
A high collar protects your chin and neck from the cold. There is a two-way zipper on the front, with both snap closures and a stormflap.
Two hand pockets keep your fingers warm, while the chest pocket holds your essentials.
There is even an internal pocket for passports or other important documents. And this jacket comes in 4 stylish colors.
Weight: 2 lb 5.6 oz
Insulation: 750-fill European Goose down, Coreloft synthetic
Pockets: 3 outer pockets, 1 inner passport/boarding pass pocket
Getting the best winter coat for extreme cold weather doesn't necessarily require a heavy bulky piece of clothing.
The RAB Neutrino Endurance proves this with its light 22 oz weight.
But it doesn't skimp on warmth either. Nylon material on the outer shell and the lining is both durable and moisture resistant.
The insulation is Nikwax hydrophobic European goose down, which is held in place with the stitch-through baffle construction. Not only does the down stay where it's supposed to, but it also holds your body heat in where it belongs.
The insulated hood is helmet compatible and adjustable, with a flexible polymer wired peak to keep the sun or snow off your face.
It also rolls down when you don't need it and back up again when some extra protection is required.
The two hand warmer pockets have YKK Vislon AquaGuard zippers to keep anything you carry in them nice and dry.
There is also an internal zippered pocket for other essential items. A stuff sack is included for storing your warm winter coat during travel.
Weight: 22 oz
Insulation: 800-fill Nikwax hydrophobic European goose down
Pockets: 2 outer, 1 inner
Fabrics: Pertex Endurance (30D nylon) shell, Pertex Quantum (20D nylon) lining
The warmest winter coat doesn't need to look good, but it helps if it does. The Eddie Bauer Superior Down Parka is styish as heck, with a classic fit and four well-placed outer pockets.
The adjustable hood also has a removeable faux-fur ruff that adds to its look as well as offering some much needed protection from the cold.
But looks alone won't make this one the best coat for winter. Performance is much more important, and the Superior lives up to those standards.
The Eddie Bauer Superior Down Parka is made of 100 % nylon, with a StormRepel DWR finish to repel any moisture.
But there is also Weatheredge technology added, to increase it waterproofing while adding breathability to keep you extra comfy.
650 Premium Down insulation keeps you extra warm during those below zero temperatures.
There are also inner rib-knit storm cuffs to lock out the cold air even as you move.
An adjustable waist allows you to cinch the coat tight for even more heat retention. A Velcro storm flap adds extra protection over the zipper.
Insulation: 650-fill Premium Down
Pockets: 4 outer, 1 inner
As a Canadian Company creating products for some of the coldest temperatures around, Canada Goose knows what they're doing, as the Langford Parka proves.
It has an Arctic Tech shell, which is a blend of polyester and cotton with a DWR finish, which was all designed for extreme Northern conditions.
These cold weather coats are rated for -15 to -25 degrees C, which is perfect for all but the coldest Canadian winter days.
There is 625-fill White Duck Down inside to block out the cold and keep in the warmth.
But as well as this ultra-warm insulation, there are a few other features to keep you from feeling the chill.
A drawcord waist and recessed rib-knit cuffs also help retain your body heat while locking out the icy winds.
The 2-way zipper has a stormflap inside and out, with Velcro closures to keep it covered.
The insulated hood is 2-way adjustable, plus has a removable coyote fur ruff, which is warm and soft against your skin.
Other handy features of the Langford Parka include 2 fleece-lined hand warmer pockets, 2 lower pockets as well as 2 inner pockets.
It also has a tricot-lined chin guard and a webbing grab strap on the upper back for easy carrying.
Insulation: 650-fill White Duck Down
Pockets: 4 outer, 2 inner
Fabrics: Arctic Tech (85% polyester + 15% cotton)
Women's Winter Jackets for Extreme Cold Reviewed
For the ladies, the first option in our best winter jacket for extreme cold comparison is the Arc-teryx Patera Parka.
It is designed for a more urban setting, incorporating elegance and style into a warm and cozy package.
This knee-length jacket for cold weather has a regular fit with a drop hem at the back for extra protection. The hood is insulated and adjustable, with a laminated brim.
A chin guard is located at the front of the tall collar, which has an integrated fitted panel for extra protection from the icy winds.
The outer shell of the Arc'teryx Patera parka is Gore-Tex, which is durable and wind resistant, plus it is coated with a DWR finish and has taped seams to lock out any moisture.
Inside the coat are 750-fill European Goose Down in the body and sleeves and Coreloft synthetic insulation everywhere else, making this one of the warmest women's winter coat models around.
Other features to increase the comfort are the no-lift gusseted underarms, the 2-way front zipper with a storm flap, the 2 hand pockets for warming chilly fingers. There is also a handy security pocket inside for your most prized items.
Weight: 2 lbs 2.7 oz
Insulation: 750-fill European Goose Down and Coreloft Synthetic
Pockets: 2 outer, 1 inner passport/boarding pass pocket
If you want the best women's winter parka but can't pay the super high prices of the top brands, the Marmot Montreal Down Coatmay be a great option. But despite its lower price, it still offers plenty of warmth with a bit of style.
The shell is polyester, with a DWR finish to keep you dry even if the snow is piling up outside.
Inside is a plush fleece lining, with microfleece in the inner cuffs and the two handwarmer pockets. So, no matter where your skin touches in this coat, you'll only feel the softness.
Between these two layers is 700-fill down with Down Defender, which helps maintain the loft if the down should happen to get wet.
Both the hood and the synthetic fur ruff are removable, so you can customize it as needed.
The front zipper also goes up over the high collar, giving your neck and chin some protection.
And for added convenience, there are a couple of extra inner pockets for those items you want to be kept a bit more secure.
Weight: 2 lbs 2.2 oz
Insulation: 700-fill Down with Down Defender
Fabrics: Polyester body, Fleece lining
Pockets: 2 outer, 2 inner
The North Face Arctic Parka II is another one winter coat with a great low price. But it still has the necessary features to make it one of the top winter parkas for extreme cold.
First, the Arctic Parka II has a durable outer shell with The North Face's DryVent technology for a waterproof, yet breathable, coat.
The lining is recycled polyester, with 550-fill goose down inside for great warmth and comfort.
Two handwarmer pockets keep your fingers warm on those icy days, plus there is an inner media-compatible pocket for added convenience.
The Vislon zipper is 2-way and has a stormflap over it to block out moisture and cold air.
The hood is adjustable, and both it and its faux-fur ruff are removable. A tall collar protects your neck from chilly air.
Internal fleece cuffs are on the end of the Raglan sleeves. There is also a drop-tail hem for a bit more coverage over your back end.
This slim fit coat is designed for modern adventures, with 6 colors and sizes to choose from.
Weight: 45.86 oz
Fabrics: 59% Cotton + 41% Nylon Twill shell, recycled polyester lining
Insulation: 550-fill goose down
Pockets: 2 outer, 1 inner media-compatible pocket
To battle those icy temperatures, you need the warmest winter jacket you can find.
Mountain Hardwear has done their best to give meet this need, adding 650-fill Q. Shield down, a durable nylon body, and some high-loft fleece lining at the the back, all of which give you superior warmth and increase your comfort when traveling outdoors.
Even the handwarmer pockets are fleece-lined! But that's not the end of the list. There is a longer hem on this standard fit Mountain Hardwear Downtown winter coat to give you some extra protection at the back.
Inside the waist is an adjustment system so you can cinch it as tight as you want to lock in your heat and lock out the cold. The insulated hood and the faux-fur ruff are removable if the weather warms up.
There are also a few extra details worth noting. Around the waist is some smaller quilting detail, which helps to create a more flattering look and fit.
There are 7 stylish colors to choose from. And there is an inner security pocket on all 5 sizes of this great winter parka.
Weight: 1 lb 10.5 oz
Insulation: 650-fill Q. Shield Down
Pockets: 2 outer, 1 inner
Fabrics: Nylon Twill DNP body, fleece lining
The Canada Goose Kensington parka for women is built for city use as well as hiking your favorites trails.
It has an Arctic Tech shell, which combines polyester and cotton, plus has a DWR finish to keep you dry and cozy.
There is 625-fill White Duck Down insulation inside to keep you extra warm on those icy days. And the inner nylon lining also has a water-repellent finish, so it won't soak up any sweat if you get overheated while wearing these warm winter coats.
The Kensington Parka has a slim fit and hangs down over your thighs.
The hood adjusts 2 ways and has a removable coyote fur ruff for extra warmth and protection. The collar and cuffs fit snugly against your skin to lock out those chilly winds.
There are even drawcords on the waist for quick and easy adjustments to the fit.
Along with the four outer fleece-lined pockets, there is an inner drop-in pocket with a Velcro closure to hold your gear safe.
Another handy feature is the interior backpack straps, which allow you to carry your coat on your back when you're inside, keeping your body cool and your hands free.
Insulation: 625-fill White Duck Down
Pockets: 4 outer, 1 inner
Fabrics: Arctic Tech (85% polyester + 15% cotton) shell, Nylon plain weave lining
Buying Guide: Finding The Best Winter Coat to Stay Warm
Why Get an Ultra-Warm Winter Jacket for Winter?
Getting the best winter jacket for extreme cold isn't something everyone out there needs.
If you spend most of your time inside, only venturing out to run to your car and back between errands, a thick, warm coat isn't likely a requirement.
But for those who spend the majority of their time outside in those icy winter months, the best coats for winter weather are those we've reviewed above. They are made of super warm insulation and durable materials that will last for years.
Many of them are stylish enough to be worn to your favorite events but built to withstand the rigors of the wilderness at the same time.
Though layers are great for skiers and climbers who may be exerting themselves, if you only plan on walking or hiking, or just enjoying the winter air, a quality heavy-duty winter coat is your best bet.
And for those who can never seem to get warm when the snow starts to fly, you will need the extra protection the warmest winter jackets have to offer.
Plus, though they cost quite a bit, the quality of the materials will ensure they will last for years.
What to Consider When Choosing a Warm Winter Jacket
When you are trying to choose the best winter jacket for extreme cold, there are a few things to look for.
Not all of the coats made for this type of weather are identical, so be sure you have the right features for what you need, depending on where and how you plan to use the coat.
Type of Use
The first thing to consider when buying the best winter coat for extreme cold is how you're going to use it.
Do you plan to wear it walking around the town, sitting at a sporting event, or strolling through the park?
If so, you can get a stylish one that looks as great as it performs.
But if you are using it for work or some hard play, you'll want one that has some great durability features added in, like reinforcements, extra pockets, and adjustable/removable protective gear, just in case you start to overheat.
Warmth - Down vs Synthetic Insulation
You may have noticed in our reviews, some of the best winter jackets for extreme cold, like the Canada Goose models, use down, while the Fjallraven coats use Microloft, which is a synthetic insulation. And the Arc'teryx uses a combination of both.
So, what is the difference between synthetic and down insulations?
Down insulation comes from the plumage beneath the outer feathers on birds like ducks and geese. It is lightweight, breathable, compresses easily, and lasts a long time.
But down becomes less insulating when it's wet, plus takes a long time to dry. It is also more expensive than synthetic insulation.
Synthetic insulation is cheap to make, usually using fabrics like polyester to keep the price low. It insulates well, even when wet, and dries fast. Synthetic insulation is also pretty durable and hypoallergenic. The downside of synthetic is that it is heavy, bulky, and isn't quite as warm as down.
When we talk about fill power, we're actually referring to the loft of down products. Fill power measures the number of cubic inches one ounce of down fills when it's at its maximum loft.
For instance, if a down fill rating is 700, this means that an ounce of down can fill 700 cubic inches of space.
This rating is determined by placing the down into a Plexiglass cylinder and compressing it a bit with a weight.
Fill power ratings usually range from about 300 to over 900. Common coats are about 400-500 fill power, but for the best coat for extreme cold, you'll want to go higher for the most amount of warmth you can get.
Unlike fill power, which measures the volume of the down, fill weight measures the weight, or how much down is stuffed into the jacket.
A down weight of 15 oz means that there are 15 ounces of down material used to make the insulation.
And though fill power is usually displayed proudly on a jacket's specs, the fill weight isn't always included, though it is a pretty important part of the coat's details.
The fill weight of down products will help determine just how soft or firm the jacket you're looking at is.
Fill weight also shows how easily a winter coat can be compressed, which is something those who plan to travel with it will want to know.
The heavier the fill weight, the bulkier the jacket will be and the less you'll be able to compress it, so keep this in mind when buying your next extreme weather jacket.
Though the best winter jackets and coats for extreme cold won't necessarily have a baffle construction, it's still important to know what this is.
Baffle construction usually shows up on down jackets. It consists of stitched compartments which spread the down out evenly throughout the coat.
There are larger baffle designs which help to bunch up the down a bit more, but these can create cold spots where the stitching is and warm ones where the insulation is all bunched up.
This type of baffling is usually found in the warmest winter parka models, due to the higher down fill levels.
Micro-baffle construction consists of many narrow baffles, which helps distribute the down in lighter fall and winter jackets. This reduces cold spots while creating a sleek look.
There are also two types of baffles, stitch-through and box-walled. Stitch-through uses a single seam of stitching that goes through both fabric layers, sealing in the down to lock it in place.
Box-walled baffles create square cross-sections with distinct walls of fabric. The baffles hold higher volumes of fully lofted down in an evener layer throughout the jacket.
Outer Shell Material
Though the insulation keeps you warm, you can't have the warmest winter jacket in the world if it doesn't have a decent outer shell.
The shell's main purpose is to block out the wind and moisture, the latter of which can soak into the insulation and reduce its capabilities.
The outer shell of the best winter jacket for extreme cold are usually made of tightly-woven synthetic materials with some sort of hydrophobic coating.
This coating lets water vapor out while keeping outside moisture from getting in. While the outer shell doesn't provide warmth on its own, it makes sure the inner layers can do so properly.
Fit & Style
The way a coat fits could be a deciding factor on whether or not you buy it. Some coats have a slimmer fit, while others are a more standard fit. A slimmer fit will hug your body a bit closer, while a regular fit will hang straight down.
But fit doesn't just mean the cut of the jacket. How it fits on your body is also important. Some jackets may be tight around the armpits or chest, making it uncomfortable to wear, especially if you add an extra layer or two.
So, be sure to try a few on to help you figure out which is best for your specific frame.
As for style, there are many to choose from. Do you want a sleek coat to wear around the city, or something a bit more rugged for work?
The best winter jacket for extreme cold should also come in a few different color options, so you can pick your favorite.
Hood (or Not)
If you're dealing with icy winds and freezing temperatures, a hood is one feature you don't want to do without. But when the weather warms up, a hood may become a bulky chunk of fabric that can get in your way.
Luckily, a number of good winter coats come with a detachable hood, so you can wear it when you need the extra protection and zip it off when the sun comes out.
Many of these coats also have detachable fur ruffs, so you can add them for a bit of extra warmth and comfort if needed, then take them off during warmer weather or when it's time to clean the coat.
Adjustments on the hood are also a good idea. This way, you can adjust the front and/or back of the hood as needed, creating the right fit for the perfect amount of protection.
Pockets & Cuffs
Pockets are a must on any coat, so the best winter jacket for extreme cold is no exception when it comes to these handy features. Handwarmer pockets are a must, usually with some sort of soft lining inside to warm those digits.
Chest pockets are handy, though they vary in closure systems, including Velcro, flaps, or zippers. These types of pockets also vary in style, with some hidden and some prominently displayed.
Inside pockets are handy for keeping items like phones, documents, or other important items secure.
For cuffs, you want some that can offer some protection. These could be elasticized to block out the wind and cold, or adjustable so you can fit them tight to your skin or widened to cover the wrists of your gloves.
Even the best winter jacket for extreme cold needs to be a bit light, otherwise, you'll be exhausted just from walking around in it.
But with all that extra fabric, the longer lengths, and the increased insulation, these types of coats won't be the lightest models available. But they still shouldn't weigh more than a couple of pounds.
Most winter jacket brands list the weight of the models they're selling, but this isn't always the case. If weight is really that important to you, you can always go to the store and try it on to see how it feels.
Though all the models in our best winter jacket for extreme cold reviews are one piece, there is always the option of getting a 3-in-1 jacket for your winter adventures. These are also called System Jackets and consist of two separate jacket layers that can be zipped together.
You can wear them all zipped up to make one thick jacket to keep you cozy during the icy temperatures.
Then when the weather warms up, you can zip them apart and wear either of the layers on their own. This gives you three separate jacket options all in one handy package.
Though convenient if doing winter sports, climbing, or going on some rigorous hikes, these may not be the best option on the coldest winter days.
You won't need to separate them in extreme cold temperatures, and they may not be as warm as our heavy-duty options above.
A coat's durability is one of the most important factors, especially when you're spending hundreds of dollars on a higher-end model.
Coats meant for strolling through the city won't need too much in the way of durability, though you'll still want them to last. But winter jackets for work or hard play will need a few extras to ensure they will last for more than a season.
Some things to look for are reinforcements. These should be located in high-stress areas, like the shoulders and sleeves, but hoods and pockets may also have them. Check the seams on the entire coat as well.
If they are loose or broken, they will pull right out in no time. Waterproofing also adds to the durability of a coat, repelling water instead of allowing it to soak in.
Though we've covered the main features of the best winter jacket for extreme cold, there are a few others to look for.
First is stormflaps. These can be found over and under the front zipper, blocking the wind so it doesn't get through the small holes in the zipper and its seams. And a 2-way zipper is handy, so you can zip it from the top or bottom for ventilation and comfort.
If you plan to use your cold winter jackets for work or climbing, a D-ring located in an easily accessible spot can be handy for holding tools, keys, or other items you don't want stuffed in a pocket.
When you see the prices on some of the best winter jacket for extreme cold that we've reviewed here, you may be wondering if they are worth the high cost. They can range from a couple hundred to close to $1000.00.
But one thing to consider is that these coats are well made, with great materials and superior insulation to keep you extra warm in those icy temperatures.
They also come with great features, numerous styles, and attractive colors, so you will always get the jacket you want. And because they are made so well, they should last for years.
And most of the best winter jacket brands also offer great warranties, so even if some defect is present, you likely won't have to pay huge costs for the repairs.
The Bottom Line: What is the Best Winter Jacket for Extreme Cold?
There are so many different types of winter coats to choose from, with different features, insulation, fill-power, and even styles. This may make it hard to choose which one is the best one to meet your needs.
But if you're going to be spending your time out in the coldest climates, you need the best winter jacket for extreme cold to keep those chills and frostbite at bay.
If you are after one of the ultimate best winter jackets for extreme cold that comes from an excellent outdoor gear brand, look no further than the Arc'teryx Mens Therme Parka and Arc'teryx Women's Patera Parka.
If you're on a budget, you may not be able to afford the top models or brands. But there are a few cheaper options on our list that may be worth spending the money on.
For the men, the Eddie Bauer Superior Down Parka has the lowest price in its category, but still has some great features and looks fantastic. The same goes for the Marmot Montreal Down Coat in the women's section.
Those who plan on using their extreme winter jackets for some rugged adventures or when they're working outside, there is one brand that takes the top prize in both the men's and the women's categories.