Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Winter jackets keep you particularly warm in winter and are also very comfortable to wear. Unlike a conventional jacket, a winter jacket helps you against all kinds of weather, protects you from icy winds and warms you from freezing cold.

The winter jacket is many times more expensive than a conventional jacket, but it protects even the most daring alpinists from the elements.

With our big winter jacket test 2021 we want to help you find the best winter jacket for you. We have compared winter jackets and ski jackets with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • Winter jackets keep you warm even in extreme cold and protect you from the icy wind without you having to constantly move or carry fire to keep warm.
  • A basic distinction is made between winter jackets and ski jackets, with both variants available in different clothing sizes and price ranges.
  • Close-fitting winter jackets are particularly suitable for everyday use because they not only keep you warm, but the jacket also makes you look slimmer without having to diet.

The Best Winter Jacket in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for winter jackets

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to decide between the many winter jackets. The criteria with which you can compare the jackets for the cold winter include:

In the following paragraphs we explain what each criterion is.

Weight

The weight is crucial for wearing comfort. Due to their materials and density, many winter jackets usually weigh about a kilogram. However, there are also lighter versions. Some models weigh as little as 300 grams and you almost don't feel the weight. However, these models are usually not as warm as the heavier models.

For climbing expeditions above 4,000 metres, it is better to wear a heavy winter jacket. It protects you perfectly from the freezing cold and the extreme weather on the mountain

For hikes and climbing expeditions in summer between about 1,500 and 3,000 metres, a light winter jacket should be completely sufficient. If you are doing this in the winter, then it is better to wear a heavy winter jacket. In very low temperatures we recommend a heavier winter jacket.

Size

There are many different sizes of winter jackets. To have enough room underneath for other clothes, many people take oversized ones. The sizes range from XXS to 8XL. The choice of size always depends on the extremes of cold outside, the plan of your venture and what you want / need to wear underneath.

For temperatures down to around 0 degrees, a jacket in your normal clothing size is perfectly adequate.

Mountaineers should buy a winter jacket that is at least two dress sizes too big for them.

If it gets down to -10 degrees Celsius, then we recommend a jacket that is a little bigger. So if you are normally a size M, then you should buy a size L winter jacket. For temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius, we recommend a winter jacket two sizes larger.

You should already have up to 5 layers of clothing on under the jacket. This way you should never be too cold. However, if you want to climb a high mountain, such as Kilimanjaro, then our recommendation changes again.

You should get a winter jacket that is at least two sizes too big for you. If your normal clothing size is M, then you should wear a minimum size XL. These jackets should be able to protect you against all weather conditions and extreme cold. You should also wear between 3 and 5 layers of clothing under the jacket.

Material

The material is essential for warmth and comfort. Winter jackets consist of several layers with different materials.

  • Jacket: The jacket itself is usually made of fabric or synthetic material. Its density is important to keep the cold out.
  • Lining: Many jackets have a down lining, which is partly made of real feathers and partly of artificial feathers. Many older models have a cotton lining that keeps you cosy and warm.
  • Collar: Fur has always been a status symbol. Today, most fur collars are made of artificial fur. However, they are not only a status symbol and a real eye-catcher, but they also keep you very warm.

Collar height

The collar height is essential to minimise the already high risk of catching a cold in winter. That's why the collar height of most winter jackets reaches above your mouth. However, there are also models where the collar just reaches your neck. For these winter jackets, we recommend an additional scarf to cover your sensitive neck.

Washing machine strength

Washing machine resistance is a very important part of buying a winter jacket. If the jacket gives off a lot of heat and you are also doing sports, such as cycling, then you will sweat all over your clothes, including the winter jacket. To wash your winter jacket, turn it inside out and wash it at a high temperature.

Ecological

The ecological and sustainable aspect is becoming more and more important. For this reason, many aesthetic components are now made of plastics. In addition, the lining is often made of plastics.

Decision: What types of winter jackets are there and which is the right one for me?

If you want to buy a winter jacket, there are two alternatives to choose from:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Winter jacket Gives warmth, stylish, machine washable, climbing and snow hiking possible Unsuitable for winter sports, tedious washing after sports, not snowproof
Ski jacket Ideal for winter sports, snowproof, machine washable Only give warmth through constant movement

If you would like to learn more about the individual types of winter jackets, you can find out more in each of the following two sections.

Winter Jacket

Winter jacket

The advantage of a classic winter jacket is that it always keeps you warm. It is also usually stylish. You can easily wash them in the washing machine by turning the inside out. They are ideal for climbing expeditions and snow hiking at different altitudes.

Advantages
  • Always keeps you warm
  • Stylish
  • Available everywhere
  • Cheaper
  • Machine washable
  • Ideal for climbing and snow hiking
Disadvantages
  • Unsuitable for winter sports activities
  • Needs tedious washing after exercise
  • Snow-permeable

The big disadvantage with these jackets is that they are unsuitable for winter sports activities. They always have to be washed laboriously because otherwise they stink. If you fall in the snow, a winter jacket often lets snow through, which wets your clothes and can lead to a severe cold.

Ski Jacket

Ski jacket

The advantage of a ski jacket is that they are perfect for all winter sports activities such as skiing, snowboarding, curling and many more. You can combine them with ski pants. This way they don’t let any snow through. They are also suitable for alpine expeditions such as snow hiking and climbing. You can easily wash them in the washing machine by turning the inside out.

Advantages
  • Does not let snow through
  • Ideal for all winter sports
  • Machine washable
Disadvantages
  • Only give warmth in combination with movement
  • Expensive
  • More difficult to buy

The downside to them is that they don’t give warmth as well as classic winter jackets. They only give warmth in combination with constant movement. They are therefore unsuitable for everyday use in winter.

They are a lot more expensive than the conventional winter jacket. Moreover, they are only available in sports shops and not in conventional clothing shops.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about winter jackets answered in detail

In the following guide, we want to answer the most important questions about winter jackets. We have selected the questions for you and will answer them shortly. After reading the guide, you will know all the important background information about winter jackets.

Who is a winter jacket for?

A winter jacket is suitable for anyone who needs to go outside in the winter despite the cold.

Winterjacke-1

In addition to a winter jacket, a hat and a scarf also help against the cold.
(Image sources: Kaze 0421 / unsplash)

Thus, it is not only suitable for those working in the construction industry, but also for normal office workers and housewives as well as househusbands.

Is a winter jacket also suitable for pregnant women?

Yes it is. A winter jacket not only protects you, but also your baby from the freezing cold outside. So you can continue to go to pregnancy yoga and to the gynaecologist with peace of mind.

What size winter jacket should I buy?

It always depends on the extremes of cold outside, the plan of your venture and what you want / need to wear underneath. For temperatures down to around 0 degrees, a jacket in your normal size is perfectly adequate.

If it gets down to -10 degrees Celsius, then we recommend a slightly larger jacket. So if you normally wear a size M, then you should buy a size L winter jacket.

Extreme cold Change size
Up to 0 degrees Celsius Same size
Up to -10 degrees One size larger
Colder than -10 degrees (+ for mountaineering) At least two sizes larger

For temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius, we recommend a winter jacket two sizes larger. You should already have up to 5 layers of clothing on under the jacket. This way you should never be too cold. However, if you want to climb a high mountain, such as Kilimanjaro, then our recommendation changes even more.

You should get a winter jacket that is at least two sizes too big for you. If your normal clothing size is M, then you should wear at least size XL. These jackets should be able to protect you against all weather conditions and the extreme cold.

How much does a winter jacket cost?

Winter jackets come in different prices. The cheapest models cost between 50 and 150 euros. They already help you well against the cold, but the wind can get through. However, these models should be completely sufficient for cold temperatures down to around 0 degrees.

Price range Quality
Under 150 euros Good
150 to 500 euros Very good, very tightly sewn together
More than 500 euros Extremely good, very tightly sewn together

Models with a price of 150 to 500 euros belong to the middle category. Their fibres are sewn together more densely and the lining is made of higher quality materials. They let almost no wind through and they help wonderfully against the cold.

In cold weather up to about -20 degrees, these models should be completely sufficient. Winter jackets with a price of over 500 euros belong to the expensive models. Their fibres are sewn extremely tightly together and they therefore do not let any wind through.

These models are particularly suitable for mountaineers. It doesn't matter if you want to climb the Zugspitze or Mount Everest, these models are ideal for both.

What are the alternatives to a winter jacket?

There are three alternatives for winter jackets and in the following paragraphs we will show you the advantages and disadvantages.

Ski jackets are best suited for winter sports.

The first alternative is the ski jacket. It is particularly suitable for winter sports. It has a tightening strap at all ends to make sure that no snow gets through to you. The disadvantage is that they only keep you warm when you are moving.

The stylish alternative to a winter jacket is a coat. You can wear a coat in all seasons and it goes with all your clothes. The big disadvantage of a coat is that it doesn't really keep you warm.

Winterjacke-2

With the right jacket you are ready for anything the world has to offer.
(Image source: Jonatan Pie / unsplash)

The third alternative is a down jacket. It is suitable for everyday use and all winter sports activities. The big disadvantage is that a down jacket does not give as good warmth as a ski jacket or a classic winter jacket.

At what point is a child allowed to wear a winter jacket?

Children are much more sensitive to the cold than adults. That's why we recommend that you buy your child a 2in1 jacket, which has a warm lining on the inside and a normal jacket on the outside.

Winterjacke-3

Multi-layered and composable jackets are suitable for children, which they can wear all year round.
(Image sources: pixabay / pexels)

You can divide these pieces depending on the temperature outside by pulling down the lining with the zipper at the sides. From a temperature of around 10 degrees Celsius, you should reintegrate the lining into the jacket.

How can I wash a winter jacket?

If you come home drenched in sweat, you should wash your winter jacket whenever possible. Turn it inside out so that the inside is facing out. If you have a winter jacket with an integrated lining, wash it at 30 or 40 degrees.

However, if the lining is made of sheep's wool, you should wash the winter jacket at 60 degrees if possible. This evaporates the sweat and the dangerous viruses have no chance to survive.

When should I start wearing a winter jacket?

You are free to decide when you should or want to start wearing a winter jacket. However, we recommend that you only put on a winter jacket when the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius. If you put on a winter jacket in summer at 20 degrees Celsius, it may keep you warm, but it will defeat the purpose.

Is there a winter jacket that makes you slim?

Unfortunately, this invention does not yet exist, but there are winter jackets that make you look slimmer. They are cut rather wide at the top and bottom and have a waistband in the middle to adjust to your figure. This makes you look slimmer.

Is there a vegan winter jacket?

Yes, there is. Vegan winter jackets are produced as animal- and environmentally friendly as possible. These jackets are usually made of organic cotton and the materials are even reused when you return them. Because the organic cotton comes from plants and not animals, it's perfect for all vegans.

The downside to vegan winter jackets, however, is that they work so well against extreme cold. If the temperature is below -5 degrees Celsius, you should either put on another garment underneath or buy another non-vegan winter jacket.

Can I wear a winter jacket in the summer?

Yes, you can. However, you should not wear a winter jacket when the temperature is above 10 degrees.

This will disrupt your body's natural warming process and make you more susceptible to colds and flu.

However, if you go to the Alps in summer, for example to the Zugspitze, you should wear a winter jacket despite the warm summer weather in the valley. This winter jacket protects you from the bitter cold and icy wind on the mountain.

We also recommend that all daredevil climbers who want to climb high mountains put on a good winter jacket. It protects you from the extreme weather conditions while climbing and on the summit.

It doesn't matter whether you want to climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland or conquer Mount Everest in Nepal. A winter jacket is your constant friend and warmer in all conditions.

Image source: lopolo/ 123rf.com

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