If you regularly venture outside into the single digits, there’s really nothing better than a big, fat, over-insulated, oversized parka. Check out our picks for the best parkas for men.
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 challenge.
To help keep you warm this winter, we’ve outlined the best jackets available for 2021. For those in search of a backcountry parka, we’ve added a few of our expedition favorites for consideration, too.
The Best Parkas for Men in 2021
Best Winter Parka: Fjallraven Yupik
There are more expensive parkas, to be sure. But, for a proper balance of fit, warmth, and details, we didn’t need to look farther than Fjallraven. This Swedish brand spends half the year under an arctic winter. They are the absolute experts on staying warm in the cold weather.
While many of the parkas we tested hit some high marks, they overlooked others and delivered something just short of ideal. The Yupik ($500) seemed to catch every detail, pulling it together in a complete package.
The jacket is lined with a whopping 8.8 ounces of synthetic Microloft, which ensures that it insulates when wet. Fjallraven also wrapped this jacket in a weather-sealed outer rated to 10K/10K (waterproof/breathable).
The Yupik is brandished with pockets galore, many more than worth mentioning. But we’ll give it a shot.
In addition to the microfleece-lined hand pockets, you have a pair of front cargo pockets, four chest pockets — two of which are Napoleon pockets that zip shut with a vertical zipper allowing easy access.
Inside the jacket are four pockets, two zippered, and two sleeves to keep your gloves or bulky items. There’s also a nifty Napoleon pocket hidden between the weatherstrip and the zipper in front.
Why so many? Once you’ve dressed up for the big chill, you don’t want to have to partially disrobe to scrounge for your keys or wallet. Pockets keep everything in reach.
The Yupik falls below the waist for coverage. The front double zipper starts a good 4 inches above the bottom hem, making it easier to engage. Fat leather straps are tied to the major zippers, and they’re easy to work with gloves on.
To test our winter parkas, we spent a few hours before sunlight standing in 15-degree F weather, swapping parkas. We rated the Yupik as the warmest of the bunch, and we looked forward to crawling back into it at the end of the test. All hems and cuffs are capable of sealing out the elements with easy-to-use toggles and fat Velcro tabs.
For really cold days, the faux fur limits heat loss around the face. However, we did find that the hood fits best without it. Fortunately, you can remove it and store it in one of the aforementioned pockets.
- Weight: 64 oz.
- Fit: Athletic
- Shell: 100% polyamide (rated to 10K/10K)
- Insulation: 250 g (Supreme Microloft, 100% polyester)
- Many pockets
- More jacket than most will need
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Best Bargain: Eddie Bauer Superior Down Parka
Eddie Bauer’s Superior Down Parka ($349) has over 800 reviewers lauding its greatness at 4.5 stars. This caught our attention. After wearing it around town in the low double digits, we began to understand why.
The jacket has 650-fill down — a quality, middle-of-the-line down. But EB uses a lot of it, which makes this jacket one of the warmest city-friendly parkas we tried.
The jacket has insulated hand pockets, each layered with a cargo pocket. Two breasted pockets ride over the chest. These pockets angle off to the side, making it harder to access than other jackets.
The parka drapes over the hips for true winter coverage. The two-way front zipper allows you to unzip the jacket from the bottom, making retrieving your keys and wallet a little easier. We do wish they stopped the zipper closer to the waistline. It can be a little hard to engage the zipper.
The sleeves end in a wonderful ribbed cuff. It feels like a sweater and keeps the cold from creeping in. It also pairs well with gloves, which fall between the outer sleeve and cuff.
This is one of the best winter parkas you can get for the city. It’s often on sale, making it very attractive for buyers on a budget.
- 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
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Best Parka for the City: Marmot WarmCube Havenmeyer Jacket
Marmot’s WarmCube system pulls off the same design trick that gridded fleeces are prized for. They’ve just scaled it up. By baffling the 800-fill down in fat gridding cubes, warmed air is trapped in puffy down pods and channels between the cubes.
The Havenmeyer ($500) layers a sewn-through baffled jacket over the cubed insulating layer, reducing the cold spots found in most sewn-through jackets. The result is double the dose of insulating warmth.
The jacket is protected from the elements with a proprietary two-layer breathable/waterproof membrane, rated at 10K/10K. For additional protection, the 800-fill down is treated with Marmot’s Down Defender, helping maintain the down’s loft when wet.
The jacket’s casual cut crops just below the waist. It overlaps the pant line, but not by much. Straddling the line of down jacket and parka, it’s designed and billed for city use.
We found the Havenmeyer exceptionally warm and highly recommend this jacket for casual wear around town. For more winter oomph, we’d lean toward Fjallraven’s Yupik, which costs the same but provides more protective coverage and pockets.
- Weight: Heavy
- Fit: Oversized
- Shell: Two-layer waterproof/breathable membrane (rated to 10K/10K)
- Insulation: 800-fill goose down with Down Defender
- Innovative warmth
- Casual styling
- Short length
- Zipper can catch on storm flap
- Only two hand pockets
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Best Parka for Wet and Cold: Arc’teryx Therme Parka
True to the Arc’teryx aesthetic, the Therme ($699) is the embodiment of minimal design. Embracing its mountain laurels, it oozes an urban aesthetic without being over the top.
The svelte silhouette has a touch of room to layer over a long-sleeve shirt or a thin sweater. A single chest pocket rides inside the jacket. Two uninsulated hand pockets are concealed behind storm flaps, as is the front zipper.
To prevent stiff winds from breaching your winter walk, Arc’teryx reinforced the front flap with three snaps around the chin and a single snap at the bottom of the zipper.
Trending more urban than its mountain pedigree, the arms drop to the cuffs with a clean finish, with no hook-and-loop tabs to batten down the arms. Instead, a soft internal cuff prevents warm air from spilling out the sleeves.
One of our favorite design additions is the integrated neck draft tube. It’s the kind of detail you find in high-end sleeping bags, and it prevents heat from chimneying out the top when the hood is pulled down.
High-quality, 750-fill down baffles are mapped to where the body needs to hoard warmth most. Synthetic Coreloft insulates regions that tend to sweat or are exposed to more moisture (the cuffs, hood, and under the arms).
Insulation lines the entire jacket and is protected under a GORE-TEX shell, making this our recommended jacket for users who want that mountaineering level of protection in a more metropolitan-friendly package.
With clean, form-fitting warmth and full storm protection, Arc’teryx’s Therme isn’t the warmest jacket on the “bird’s” roster (nor on our list — Fjallraven’s Yupik takes that honor and does it for up to $350 less). But if your winters are cold and wet, the Therme is a very enticing option.
- Weight: 36 oz.
- Fit: Oversized
- Shell: GORE-TEX
- Insulation: 750-fill European goose down
- Aesthetically fantastic-looking jacket
- High-quality down
- Most expensive parka on the list
- Hand pockets are uninsulated
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Best Sewn-Through Parka: Black Diamond Vision Down Parka
What separates a down parka from its down jacket siblings? Coverage and the amount of fill.
Black Diamond’s Vision Down Parka ($450) is filled with nearly 8 ounces of 800-fill down. Over a third of the jacket’s weight is composed of high-quality, heat-trapping fill.
The oversized jacket layers easily over a fleece or shell and extends below the hips, adding fantastic coverage for a backcountry parka. A double zipper allows easy access to the harness.
The dry down is resistant to moisture and is contained through sewn-through baffles. Sewn-through seams will never be as warm as a fully baffled jacket.
A fully baffled jacket’s exterior and interior walls are separated by a shelf, effectively boxing in the down. Regions in a sewn-through jacket will eventually let the cold creep in, but the Vision’s down tubes are fat and keep the cold at bay.
Like any backcountry jacket, there’s a tradeoff with weight and durability. Black Diamond understands this. The entire jacket is wrapped in an ultra-tear-resistant polymer the same yarns used in the Black Diamond’s Vision harness.
It’s the little things that we like in this parka. The hood is large enough to wear over a helmet. The single drawcord in the back does an exceptional job of snugging the bare head. And instead of Velcro cuffs, the wrists have a fat elastic band that gently snugs around the wrist.
The hand pockets are lined with microfleece — a detail that often gets overlooked in a backcountry parka. And two generous sleeves line the inside, ready to swallow a pair of oversized mitts.
Tough, warm, lightweight — the Vision Down Parka is a great parka for belaying ice climbs or cold urban adventures.
- Weight: 20.5 oz.
- Fit: Oversized, but slimmer than many
- Shell: Ultralight nylon ripstop
- 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
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Best Baffled Down Parka: Feathered Friends Khumbu Down Parka
Winter expeditions, meet your match. A small Seattle company, Feathered Friends is synonymous with mission-driven, quality expedition gear.
The Khumbu ($639) is the pinnacle product of Feathered Friends’ cold-weather parkas. This is a parka that athletes sponsored by other brands bring on the mountain, duct-taping out the Feathered Friends logo.
The Khumbu gets a lot of love in “best of” reviews. Adjectives spill off various websites, exalting this parka’s greatness. But let’s break down how it earned its reputation.
It starts with the down. The 900-plus-fill goose down is near the tip-top of down available. Sure, 1,000-fill is available, but filling the Khumbu with it would price most buyers out, and it’s exceptionally difficult to source.
And it’s not just the down’s ability to loft; it’s that they stuff the fully baffled jacket with over 13 ounces of it. Some of our best picks for an entire down jacket weigh less than the fill alone used in the Khumbu. And all of them are goose down of lesser quality.
All of the down is tacked under the waterproof/breathable shell rated to 20K/20K, baffled by a 1.5-inch spacer. This box baffle completely separates the inside from the elements outside. You’re wearing a parka with the effectiveness of a sleeping bag.
Filling the collar — the area where heavy breathing can cause moisture to condense and cold to creep in — the Khumbu uses expedition-weight, 200g PrimaLoft Gold. The entire jacket zips not once, but twice, creating a baffled zipper. The draft tube zips inside the jacket, and the jacket overlaps to zip up weather-tight.
All this said, the jacket is minimal by design. The hood is oversized, there are two mesh internal pockets, two insulated hand pockets, and a single chest pocket. The wrists close with a Hypalon-backed Velcro tab.
Simplicity means fewer potential points of failure. After all, reliability (and warmth) is all that really matters when you’re hanging it all out on the line … some 20,000 feet above the arctic floor.
- Weight: 33.8 oz.
- Fit: Oversized
- Insulation: 13.3 oz. of 900-fill power down (PrimaLoft Gold in the collar)
- Exceptional warmth
- Quality down
- Zippered draft tube
- Fat baffled construction
- Made in the U.S.
- Too warm for most pursuits
- Minimal design isn’t city-friendly
Check Price at Feathered Friends
Best Synthetic Performance Parka: Patagonia DAS Parka
Ah, the DAS Parka ($449). We’ve been wearing Patagonia’s DAS (Dead Air Space) parka since it first launched some 20 years ago. It’s become a mountain classic among climbers, prized for its durability in wet environments.
This parka is oversized by design. It’s intended to be worn over your shell when, say, stopping to belay your partner, and then stuffed in a pack before you climb. We’ve worn it belaying ice climbs on Minnesota’s North Shore and up to remote Alaskan peaks in search of first ascents.
Like all performance parkas, it has an oversized hood, well-placed pockets, including two internal sleeves to stow gloves. The cuffs are simple and elastic and play well with gloves while keeping cold air from creeping in.
What makes this jacket sing, though, is its synthetic insulation. The DAS is packed with a whopping 130 g of top-shelf PrimaLoft Gold. It’s used across the jacket and is punched up in the torso with an extra 40g layer. It’s warm and packable and incredibly soft for a synthetic jacket, approaching down standards of softness.
While most synthetic jackets cost less than their down counterparts, the DAS is undeniably expensive (on par with the price of equally warm down parkas). What these down jackets don’t offer, though, is peace of mind.
Mountaineering is wet business. There’s no way around it. The DAS provides insurance that if you’re wet, you’ll still be warm.
- Weight: 19.6 oz.
- Fit: Oversized
- Shell: 100% Pertex/nylon shell
- Insulation: 133g PrimaLoft Gold insulation, with an extra 40 g at the core
- Warm when wet
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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 jackets.
Here are some tips to consider when spending that money.
Insulation and Warmth
Parkas are ubiquitous with 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 the rain entirely while the second is a stopgap that will eventually let 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 30,000-50,000 hydrostatic heads are probably irrelevant — especially if your winters trend snowy over downpours. Most parkas on this list have a waterproof rating 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 protect the front.
Fit and Style
These choices are often more 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 $200. 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.
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