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The Best Men’s Parkas, According to Hikers and Snow-Removal Specialists

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

When it comes to men’s parkas, there are plenty of affordable options out there for staying warm. But we’re going to give it to you straight: If you’re looking for a quality style that will keep you cozy for years to come, you might have to make an investment after you do some thinking about your lifestyle and needs.

Picking the right coat for you depends on the kinds of outdoor winter activities you’re participating in and the conditions in which you’re doing them. For instance, shoveling snow in a blizzard might require a different type of coat than taking your dog for a chilly morning walk — and the price point will vary accordingly as well, based primarily on down-fill power. According to REI, down-fill power refers to the quality of the down: The higher the number, the more efficient the insulation. In other words, the more down fill a coat has, the lighter and cozier it will be because it traps more heat, says Earl Pitts, regional dispatch manager at New York Residential Snow Removal. Mobility is another top priority among the hikers, snowboarders, and boat captains we spoke to with waterproofing and style coming in as close seconds.

We’ve rounded up their picks below — and because winter jackets can be expensive, we’ve organized this list by price.

Ben Capdevielle, owner of the boat-tour company Six Bridges Seattle, says this Mountain Hardwear option is his parka of choice because it’s warm and gives him a full range of motion as he captains the boat, thanks to the proprietary single-stretch fabric. With an insulated hood, zippered pockets, and elastic bindings on the cuffs, the jacket works well to retain heat while outdoors in Seattle’s winter months, Capdevielle says.

Melody Monberg, co-founder of Colorado Hikes and Hops, says her No. 1 pick for men and women is Patagonia’s Nano Puff for its versatility. She says that in Colorado, the weather is constantly changing, and this insulated jacket is built for unpredictability: It’s lightweight and compressible (so you can pack it away when conditions improve), but it’s also windproof and water resistant. With this parka, Monberg says, you get all the essentials with no unnecessary bulk.

Pitts says that at this price point, you won’t find many coats with 850-fill-power down, which will keep you warm enough that you won’t need many layers underneath while outdoors during the winter. It’s water resistant with adjustable cuffs and an insulated hood, and it’s his choice for most cold-weather activities because it’s lightweight — which is a welcome reprieve from the heavy-duty coats he wears on the job.

“This jacket is instantly a vibe, almost reminiscent of Paddington Bear’s jacket,” says Donnell Baldwin, fashion and style director of Mr. Baldwin Style. He says his last four coats have been from Scotch & Soda as they’re good quality and super-stylish — and this one is his warmest and most comfortable. Baldwin says it’s built for cold weather, having multiple pockets, a padded interior, waterproof exterior, and an adjustable hood, but it’s also a showstopper with its bright color and longline silhouette. “I will wear it anywhere, and everyone stops me and asks me where I got it from,” he says.

This three-in-one jacket from Under Armour is not only Pitts’s go-to choice, but his whole team owns it. He says the water-repellent shell and 700-fill-power duck-down insulation retain body heat well — so well that sometimes he’s had to open his coat in below-zero weather. And yet the parka is still light enough to allow for freedom of movement and slim enough to wear underneath a visibility vest, he says. Plus, because the topper has three separate layers, Pitts says it’s versatile enough to wear them all in a winter storm or just the inner puffer while going out to dinner. He says he’s had his for six years and it’s still going strong.

To withstand below-freezing temperatures in the mountains, Seattle-based chef and snowboarder Jason Stoneburner turns to Burton Cyclic parkas, which he says are “the best showing from any snowboard company.” This tech jacket “is insanely waterproof with top-notch breathability,” Stoneburner says, referring to its stormproof shell to keep you dry and mesh-lined pit zip vents, underarm gussets, and adjustable hood for full mobility. The coat has five pockets and comes in eight colors.

Capdevielle also works in freezing distilleries in Seattle, and he says he loves wearing this leather puffer jacket while on the job because it’s super-durable and stylish at the same time. Although the lambskin leather is soft and thin, Capdevielle says it’s tough, making it ideal for production work, and adds that it keeps out the cold while the down fill retains heat.

Stoneburner says this pullover parka from Crescent Down Works has kept him warm for 13 years while surfing in the mountains, whether temperatures are in the low 50s or single digits. Although the packable 700-fill-power down jacket isn’t fully waterproof, Stoneburner says it can handle some rain and it serves him well on chilly days. And given the square quilts, kangaroo pocket, and half-zip closure, Stoneburner says it’s a timeless piece, like something “Steve McQueen or Nas would sport.”

For extreme-cold and blizzard conditions, Pitts puts on Berghaus’s pro jacket, saying that “it’s guaranteed to keep you warm even in the harshest weather.” Berghaus specializes in coats for people that do mountaineering, Pitts says, which means this coat is made to keep you warm but not get in your way, as evidenced by the underarm gussets, pit zips, and a wired hood. Plus, with reflective detailing, the parka is also designed for visibility, whether you’re scaling a cliffside or knee deep in snow.

We know this Nigel Cabourn jacket is extremely expensive, and Timothy Grindle, co-founder of Canoe Club in Colorado, knows it too — but it’s the parka he swears by and the only one he owns. It’s an exact replica of the parka Sir Edmund Hillary wore when he summited Mt. Everest, and while Grindle says he’s not doing anything like that, the heavy goose-down coat has kept him completely warm in Chicago’s freezing winters for eight years and counting. “It’s the coolest thing you could get,” he says of the iconic orange color, wooden buttons, large pockets, canvas draw-waist, shearling-lined hood, and coyote-fur trim. “It goes without saying that I like it better than a Canada Goose,” he says.

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The Best Men’s Parkas, According to Snow-Removal Specialists