Use these Pro Tips to find the best winter coat so you can bundle up with confidence this winter.
The leaves have fallen from the trees, the days are growing shorter and there’s a chill in the air.
Winter is here.
With freezing temperatures and snowy weather in the forecast, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to brave the cold with a warm jacket. But what style is best for you?
DICK’S Pro Tips is here to help you find the one that can help you stay warm, even when the temperatures drop.
Before you look at all the specifications of a jacket, you should consider how you’re going to use it.
If you plan on doing a high-intensity aerobic activity like running or cross-country skiing, you may want to wear layers under a lightweight jacket. Check out this Pro Tips guide to layering if you think this is the better option for you.
But for lower-intensity cardio or those frigid walks from your car to work or school, a heavier jacket can help you fend off a chill.
When looking for a coat to help protect you from the cold, you’ll find two types of insulation from which to choose: synthetic and down.
Down insulation comes from the undercoating of ducks and geese known as plumage. The high-loft clusters retain your body heat while maintaining breathability. Down can also help wick away moisture to keep you comfortable. These jackets come with a fill rating that typically falls between 500 and 900. The higher the rating, the warmer the jacket.
The drawback of down? It loses its effectiveness if it becomes wet. If this is a concern, note that some down coats have insulation with water-resistant coating.
Synthetic, meanwhile, is often comprised of polyester fibers. Unlike down, synthetic insulation can retain warmth when wet and dries easily. These materials mimic the warming qualities that you find in down. Synthetic insulation is measured in grams of a square meter. The higher the number, the more of that material used in the coat.
But there is a downside – synthetic insulation can be bulky and heavy. It can also be a little less durable than a down jacket.
A variety of materials can make up the construction of a jacket’s outer shell. But your focus should be on how it stands up to the elements you’ll face.
Waterproofing properties, such as a weatherproof outer shell or a DWR coating treatment, can help your jacket retain heat and keep you dry. It can also be important to know the difference between water resistant and waterproof:
One of the most important aspects in how well your jacket protects against moisture is the type of seams used in its construction. This can be a major factor if you plan to wear the jacket for winter sports. The options include:
You’ll also want your shell to provide protection from bone-chilling winds. Wind flaps designed to cover the zipper can help shield you from blustering weather.
Also, don’t forget about sun protection in the winter. Some jackets come with a level of UPF protection to help guard you from the sun’s rays. This can be particularly helpful if you plan to be outside for longer periods of time.
This is the layer of the jacket that has the most contact with your skin and can help retain heat. The material used in the lining is a factor in your jacket’s warmth. Fleece or an extra layer of material are helpful for retaining heat.
A lining material that wicks away moisture can help keep you dry. But it can also keep you warm as it wicks moisture from your skin. This style of lining material can be particularly helpful if you plan on doing any physical activity while wearing your jacket.
By heading out in the best winter coat for your specific needs, you’ll be ready to experience all the joys of a winter wonderland.
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