A parka’s job is to slow the transfer of heat by managing two components: air and moisture. In other words, its job is to keep you warm. In no season does this matter more than during the wet and cold months of winter.
Without a parka, winter’s chill quickly saps our body’s heat away. A proper winter jacket traps body heat and manages moisture to meet winter’s challenges.
To help keep you warm this winter, we’ve outlined the best jackets available for 2023. For those in search of a backcountry parka, we’ve added a few of our expedition favorites for consideration, too.
- Best Overall Parka: Fjallraven Nuuk
- Best Value Parka: Eddie Bauer Men’s Superior Down Parka
- Best Parka for the City: Marmot WarmCube GORE-TEX Golden Mantle Jacket
- Best Parka for Wet Conditions: Arc’teryx Therme Parka
- Best Belay Parka for Climbing: Black Diamond Vision Parka
- Warmest Parka: Feathered Friends Khumbu Down Parka
- Most Stylish Parka: Tentree Daily Parka
- Weight 4 lbs.
- Fit Athletic
- Shell 100% polyamide (rated to 10K/10K)
- Insulation 250 g (Supreme Microloft, 100% polyester)
- Many pockets
- More jacket than most folks will need
- Weight 2.36 lbs.
- Fit Oversized
- Shell Proprietary waterproof/breathable (rated to 5K/5K)
- Insulation 650-fill Responsible Down Standard (RDS) down
- Good length
- Nice cuffs around the wrist
- Hood is lightly insulated
- Upper pockets are harder to access
- Full-length zipper is hard to work with
- Fit Mid-length and oversized
- Shell GORE-TEX Infinium
- Insulation 700-fill goose down with Down Defender moisture repellent
- Weight Unknown
- Innovative baffle design
- Timeless styling
- Long length
- Zipper can catch on storm flap
- Only two hand pockets
- Weight 2.25 lbs.
- Fit Oversized
- Shell Two-layer GORE-TEX (rating unknown)
- Insulation 750-fill European goose down
- Fantastic-looking jacket
- High-quality down
- Hand pockets are uninsulated
- Weight 1.3 lbs.
- Fit Oversized, but slimmer than many
- Shell Ultralight nylon ripstop (rating unknown)
- Insulation 210 g of 800 fill-power RDS-certified goose down with DWR treatment (90% down, 10% feather goose down)
- Great coverage
- Minimal branding
- Warm for weight
- Smooth cuffs
- Hood works well with and without helmet
- Sewn-through baffling
- Double zipper can be a little hard to start
- Weight 2.2 lbs.
- Fit Oversized
- Shell Nylon ripstop (rating unknown)
- Insulation 13.3 oz. of 900-fill power down (PrimaLoft Gold in the collar)
- Exceptional warmth
- Quality down
- Zippered draft tube
- Fat baffled construction
- Too warm for most pursuits
- Minimal design isn't city-friendly
- Weight Unknown, heavy
- Fit Regular, roomy fit
- Shell DWR treated REPREVE Recycled Polyester (rated to 10k/10k)
- Insulation ThermoPlume with 100g PrimaLoft Black in the hood
- Simple yet effective
- Elegant design
- Good value
- Not the warmest parka on this list
Parka Comparison Table
|Fjallraven Nuuk||$500||100% polyamide (rated to 10K/10K)||4 lbs.||250g Supreme Microloft Synthetic|
|Eddie Bauer Superior Down Parka||$349||Proprietary waterproof/breathable (rated to 5K/5K)||2.36 lbs.||650 fill down|
|Arc’teryx Therme Parka||$700||Two Layer GORE-TEX (rating unknown)||2.25 lbs.||750 fill down|
|Black Diamond Vision Down Parka||$465||Nylon Ripstop (rating unknown)||1.3 lbs.||800 fill down|
|Feathered Friends Khumbu Down Parka||$729||Nylon ripstop (rating unknown)||2.1 lbs.||900+ fill down|
|Marmot WarmCube GORE-TE|
X Golden Mantle Jacket
|$650||GORE-TEX Infinium (rating unknown)||2.5 lbs.||700-fill down|
|Tentree Daily Parka||$328||Partially recycled nylon shell (rated to 10k/10k)||Unknown (heavy)||550-fill + synthetic Primaloft Black|
Why You Should Trust Us
Many of the folks behind GearJunkie dwell in the frigid far north of Wyoming, Minnesota, and Montana. We’ve spent many seasons testing out men’s parkas in negative temps and biting winds, and the styles performed the best in our chilly times of need.
During our systematic testing process, we pay careful attention to warmth, insulation quality, durability, comfort, functionality, and style. From daily commutes in Minneapolis to ice climbing in Ouray, we’ve put dozens of men’s parkas through the wringer.
When selecting jackets to test, we look for innovative, sustainable, and well-recognized styles across a range of price points.
Most of the men’s parkas on this list are designed for everyday urban use, so we conducted most of our testing while walking the dog on brisk January mornings and strolling through mountain towns in the Rockies. When testing parkas designed for mountaineering and other technical uses, we roamed deep into the mountains to climb, belay, and conduct a thorough assessment.
As new parkas hit the market each season, we’ll be sure to test and compare against our existing favorites. At any given time, this list will include the best of the best.
Buyers Guide: How to Buy the Best Parka for Men
Under the warm sun, humans are exceptionally efficient at managing a core temperature. Our skin, vasculature, sweat glands, and neuromechanisms have evolved to hoard and spill heat in pursuit of perfect thermal homeostasis.
It’s a miracle that we can pin our thermostat to a consistent 98.6 degrees F, regardless if we are watching beach volleyball or running the Badwater ultra.
Where we fail, though, is managing cold. We don’t have excessive fat stores or thick, insulative fur to protect us from winter’s chill.
Exposed to cold, our body’s heat rushes from our warm core toward the cooler outside. It’s why our coffee gets cold in the morning; it’s why we feel a chill in the rain; and it’s why we spend money on winter parkas.
Here are some tips to consider when spending that money.
Insulation and Warmth
Parkas are defined by warm, lofty fill. The principles are simple. They trap air warmed by the body in a space lofted by insulation. Their insulation is generally available in two options: down or synthetic.
The most common animal insulation is goose down. And not all down is equal. Brands measure the quality of down by its loftiness, or “fill power.” More specifically, it measures how high one ounce of down can fill a measurement tube in inches.
Reasonable down measures 500-650 fill, with high-quality down tips up to 800 fill. You will pay more for higher fill power, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the jacket is warmer. A heavier jacket may use more lower-quality down to increase its warmth.
But, it doesn’t end there. More mindful companies are certifying where they source their down. And down, whose Achilles’ heel is water, can be treated with nanoparticles. Treatment doesn’t affect its weight, but it does increase the fiber’s resistance to moisture.
There’s been a race to develop synthetic fibers that match down’s efficiency. Traditionally, synthetics don’t compress as well as down, and they also don’t have the same pillowy plushness. But the trade-offs produce a jacket that is usually less expensive and stays lofted when wet.
While we have yet to fully wear out a synthetic jacket, over time, repeated compression will break the synthetic fibers to the point that they will no longer be able to loft.
A good down jacket will cost more than its synthetic counterpart. If cleaned, stored, and generally cared for, a down jacket can last decades, making it much easier to swallow the price.
Since winters can be both wet and cold, staying dry means staying warm. We always recommend some level of waterproofness in your parka.
It’s important to understand that waterproof and water-resistant are not the same. One blocks moisture entirely while the second is a stopgap that eventually lets water in. Unless your winters are cold and dry, we almost always prefer a waterproof parka.
Waterproofness is measured in hydrostatic pressure (in millimeters). Is a higher pressure better? Yes and no. As a metric, keep in mind that the average rainfall has a hydrostatic pressure of 1,400 mm.
So, claims of 30,000-50,000mm are probably irrelevant — especially if your winters yield more snow than rain. Most parkas on this list have a waterproof rating of around 10,000 mm.
For added protection, many parkas have taped seams (where water would most likely breach the shell). Waterproof zippers and storm flaps help to protect the front.
Fit and Style
These factors are personal preferences. More casual jackets have a tailored fit, muted colors, and feel less technical on the street.
The best parka works over a light shirt or flannel; it’s a one-and-done solution to stay warm. This also makes parkas the best choice for city conditions, where you don’t want to send out a search party to find all your disrobed layers.
Mountain-oriented parkas often trade warmth for features. They layer better, allowing room for a base and midlayer underneath.
If you are on a budget and play outside in winter, it’s easier on the wallet to follow your primary use case. Buy a technical winter parka. It doesn’t work the other way — you really can’t bring a city-oriented parka into the backcountry. It’s too heavy and won’t have the features you need while hiking or climbing.
Because buying a winter parka is a long-term investment, we recommend you always try before you buy. If you don’t have access to a local store, Amazon Wardrobe allows you to only pay for what you keep and provides free return shipping.
Regardless of style, a winter parka should run longer and overlap with the pants. This prevents gaps and keeps the cold from seeping in.
Because of this extra length, a parka will inherently have a long zipper. On longer jackets, smart designers don’t run the zipper to the end of the jacket. A good front zipper design is easy to engage without bending over and doesn’t bind the legs with your stride.
Double-sided zippers can be great on more technical jackets but aren’t necessary on more casual jackets. Storm flaps, though, will prevent cold wind from intruding into the jacket.
Long, fat zipper pulls allow you to work zippers with gloves. Well-placed, oversized pockets keep your everyday carries and gloves close at hand.
The hood should fit around the head (or, if a technical parka, around a helmet), and adjust around the face without blocking your view. The insulation in the hood is typically lighter, so you will want to wear a cap.
Many winter parkas have faux fur around the face. This prevents snow from blowing into your face and also traps some extra heat.
We also look for parkas with long arms (to overlap gloves) that end in cuff gaskets (our preference) or close with hook and loop. And it’s not a winter parka if it doesn’t have insulated hand pockets.
The cost of a good parka is the calculus of quality components. Double zippers, wrist gaskets, faux fur hoods, quality insulation — these all add to the cost. But, you buy added protection and longevity. You shouldn’t wear these jackets out. You simply outgrow the style.
If you only need the parka for that occasional cold snap in February, you can spend less and get a lighter, looser-fitting jacket that allows you to layer underneath. These will cap out around $400. But if you are regularly fighting the elements, it will be a lot more enjoyable in a jacket dedicated to deal with a harsh winter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Winter jackets and winter parkas are similiar in almost every way. Both styles are insulated outerlayers with zippers, pockets, and hoods. Though the line beetween jackets and parkas is blurry, parkas tend to be heavier and warmer with a longer cut. If a brand chooses to advertise its product as a parka, expect it to have a lot of insulative fill. Parkas also aren’t quite as packable as jackets, which often stuff into their own hand pocket.
No. While down remains the gold standard for warm and light insulation, many of the parkas on this list utilize synthetic insulation instead. While down is very lightweight, it tends to lose its insulative qualities when it’s wet. Synthetic insulation is heavy, but it’s a bit more durable and it can still keep you warm when saturated with moisture.
Generally speaking, yes, parkas are one of the pricier outerwear items. Down insulation and GORE-TEX shells are expensive materials, and parkas use a greater volume of these than most other clothing items. The recommended parkas on this list range from $300 to around $800. In our experience, it is possible to find great sales and deals on parkas.