The best new winter coats for on or off the mountain.
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Mammut Bolton JacketMammut Bolton Jacket
Many of the 56 ski jackets we tested this winter came stocked with the same suite of resort-ready features as MAMMUT‘s lightly insulated BOLTON—like a zippered goggle pocket (with wipe), detachable key lanyard, and resort-map pocket on the sleeve, to name just a few. The difference here? The Bolton did them all better. The helmet-friendly hood is one of the best-fitting we tested. The shell is both tough and stretchy, for unrestricted movement. And then there are all the little things, like the removable powder skirt that doesn’t ride up, mesh-lined pit zips, and the draft-sealing wrist gaskets. It’s pricey, but here you get what you pay for. $400; mammut.ch
The North Face Makalu
The North Face MakaluThe North Face Makalu
Part lightweight, supple storm shell, part midweight PrimaLoft-insulated sweater, THE NORTH FACE MAKALU proved itself on a mixed-conditions hike of 14,064-foot Humboldt Peak, in Colorado—cool and breathable enough on the windy summit push, warm enough on the chilly way down, and dry on the rainy hike out. With our feet up at camp, the Makalu stayed comfortable into the low forties, but it’s built loose enough to slip over toastier midlayers (or stouter frames). And if you’re like some of our testers and you prefer a minimal design (there are no interior pockets or powder skirt), it can double as your resort jacket. $249; thenorthface.com
Ultralight doesn’t have to mean ultra-fragile. RAB‘s snug-fitting, midweight INFINITY is wrapped in a thin but unbelievably tough new fabric called Pertex Quantum. How tough? After several months of abuse, we finally got it to rip—but only by deliberately dragging it very hard across a barbed-wire fence. It’s also an inferno (stuffed with 850-fill down), super-compressible (it packs into its own coffee-can-size stuffsack), and highly water-resistant, repeatedly shrugging off wet snow that would have soaked a lot of other down jackets. Bonus: the Lycra-lined hood fits snugly around your face sans pull cords. $280; rab.uk.com
Merrell Westcott JacketMerrell Westcott Jacket
TWO FOR ONE
With four big front pockets, a cool-looking, waterproof-breathable houndstooth or matte black fabric, and an easy-to-adjust, snug-fitting hood, the MERRELL WESTCOTT is a fine blend of form and function. Ditto the removable (via snaps) inner fleece, which is basic but well appointed with three pockets. In tandem, the two jackets are warm enough for Milwaukee, but a bit crowded around the chin, and the fleece liner has loose cuffs and feels a bit cheap. But considering the Westcott’s price and versatility, these are minor gripes. $219; merrell.com
Nau Rheostat JacketNau Rheostat Jacket
The NAU RHEOSTAT is a rare bird: a fully functional resort ski jacket masquerading as a street-savvy winter puffy. The completely uncluttered exterior—clean lines, no logos, and nearly invisible pockets—belies how technical this waterproof-breathable, 850-fill-down jacket really is. The two-way adjustable hood fits over a helmet, inner pockets stash your goggles and wallet, and the outer fabric is stretchy for athletic skiing. The Rheostat’s slim and athletic cut rests snugly against your midlayer or button-down, so there’s less dead air to keep warm—and you don’t look like an offensive lineman. $415; nau.com
Aether Space Jacket
Aether Space JacketAether Space Jacket
You know that old, beat-up cotton sweatshirt you always reach for? Meet its wintertime equivalent. From dawn-patrol ski tours to hitting the bars around Santa Fe, we found ourselves wearing AETHER‘s slick, warmer-than-it-looks SPACE JACKET every time we left the house. The top-of-the-line PrimaLoft insulation beats back the chill into the low forties and, since it’s so thin and slim-fitting, makes the Space Jacket a superpowered midlayer. Be gentle, though: the silky ripstop nylon is more about supple feel than abrasion, weather, or stain resistance. You’re a hoody guy? Opt for the Space Hoodie ($300) instead. $295; aetherapparel.com