Q:

Help me find a stylish cold-weather jacket.

I looking for an expedition-weight cold-weather jacket for skiing, hiking, and all around wear. I tend to get cold easily. I would also like something with a lot of pockets, and is waterproof and windproof. Oh, and somewhat stylish. Can you suggest a few for me to choose from? Thank you! Joy Tacoma, Washington

Oct 1, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Marmot Headwall Jacket

Marmot Headwall Jacket

A:

Oh, dear. It’s always the "stylish" part that gets problematic. Anything else is very do-able. You also throw me a second wild card— the "expedition" part. To me that’s a -30 degree down parka that has about six inches of loft, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what you have in mind. For hiking, skiing, and so on, you need something that’s warm but has enough versatility to handle some exercise.

One interesting option is something such as Marmot’s new Headwall Jacket ($350; marmot.com). It’s a two-ply jacket that uses Gore’s new Pro 2L shell material, which is very light, waterproof, breathable, and tough. The Headwall also has insulation in key areas around the torso and elsewhere, where you most need it. So its fairly warm and extremely weatherproof on its own, and you can easily add warmth by layering up with a light sweater. Lots of pockets, removable hood, other cool features—and it looks good!

For a little more warmth but a little less versatility, you could take a look at Mountain Hardwear’s new Women’s Windstopper Insulated Jacket ($240; mountainhardwear.com). It has a breathable but windproof and water-resistant Gore Windstopper shell, with lofty insulation similar to Primaloft or PolarGuard. Kind of plain-looking in a parka-ish sort of way, but not too bad.

One other approach is to get a 3-in-1—a piece that consists of a shell and a complementary fleece liner. Wear them together or separately depending on conditions. The North Face makes a nice one for women, the Banshee Jacket (thenorthface.com). It’s $279, and has a waterproof-breathable shell plus a lofty (as opposed to fleece) insulated liner/jacket. It includes many pockets and other features such as a powder skirt to keep out snow.

Filed To: Soft Shell

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