The 6 Best Women's Jackets of 2012

Nau 34 Length Cocoon Jackets (Courtesy of Nau)
Nau 34 Length Cocoon

Nau 3/4 Length Cocoon Jacket

If there was one jacket Outside’s female staffers all wanted in their closets this winter, this was it. Credit the feminine fit, impressive warmth (it’s stuffed with 650-fill down), and stylish design elements, like the asymmetrical zipper and vertical baffle stripes on the front. Smart: the hood is both well insulated and detachable.

TAGS: BIG-TIME WARMTH, URBAN STYLE

Stoic Luft Down Jacket

Stoic Luft Down
Stoic Luft Down Jacket (Courtesy of Stoic)

The 750-fill Luft Down is just as light (12 ounces) and almost as low-profile as the synthetic micro-puffies our male ski partners layer up with, but it’s much warmer: wearing it under a hard shell, we stayed toasty on days that dipped into the teens. The inside pockets are deep but not quite wide enough to stash larger items like fat climbing skins.

TAGS: SLIM-FITTING, DOWN PUFFY

Burton AK 2L Altitude Jacket

Burton AK 2L Altitude
Burton AK 2L Altitude Jacket (Courtesy of Burton)

Worn by itself, the uninsulated, waterproof Altitude might be the ultimate fair-weather resort jacket. Gore-Tex Performance fabric and big pit zips make for a highly breathable shell. Plus, it has all the trimmings, including a removable powder skirt and pass window. When temperatures drop, the long cut is roomy enough for an insulating layer.

TAGS: LONG CUT, WELL-APPOINTED

Marmot Reyna

Marmot Reyna
Marmot Reyna Soft Shell (Courtesy of Marmot)

For warm days at the resort or moderate days in the backcountry, the Reyna was our go-to soft shell. The main reason: it’s made of Polartec PowerShield, a stretchy überfabric that strikes the perfect balance between weather resistance and breathability. The other reasons: pockets galore, a flattering fit, and an easy-to-adjust, full-coverage hood.

TAGS: VERSATILE, STRETCHY

Mammut Spirit Jacket

Mammut Spirit
Mammut Spirit Softshell (Courtesy of Mammut)

Testers didn’t want to take it off. With silky, high-loft fleece lining coddling your core and Lycra thumb gaskets, the waterproof Spirit soft shell is as warm and snuggly as a sleeping bag. It’s also as tricked out as it is cozy, with mesh-lined pit zips (to keep snow out) and a goggle wipe affixed to the inside pocket. 

TAGS: SUPER COZY, SMART

FlyLow Gear Masala

FlyLow Gear Masala
FlyLow Gear Masala Jacket (Courtesy of FlyLow Masala)

Its waterproof-breathable fabric is the toughest we’ve seen. The helmet-compatible hood seals up tight. The pockets are well thought out—inside ones big enough for skins, audio-out port in the inside chest pocket. The powder skirt is removable. The only trade-off: this hard shell isn’t that breathable, so be sure to crack the pit zips as you rev up.

TAGS: DURABLE, SMART POCKETS

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