5 of our warmest winter jackets
Let's explore, learn the features and compare.
Brrrr! The leaves are falling and there is a nip in the air; winter is soon to reveal itself. We are not the sort to let the cold affect our time outside. Winter can be a fantastic time to get outdoors and walk, ski, climb and YES, go camping. It is a beautiful time in Britain, dapples of white over the hills and animal footprints in the snow are a wonderful thing. Beyond our shores however in places like Scandinavia, Canada and the alps, snow is so beautifully dry, it resembles sand more than the wetter snow we get at home and can be used wonderfully as a tool in shelter building and oddly enough… Insulating.
Speaking of Insulation, here are our favourite winter jackets to keep you out there and comfortably toasty through these approaching winter months.
Let’s start things off seriously. The pinnacle of Rab’s market leading engineering is the Batura jacket. A real expedition jacket, it is intended for solid use in high altitude and polar environments. It has a Pertex Shield outer fabric, protecting 450g of fill weight 800FP European Hydrophobic down which will offer some huge levels of warmth, which you tend to need when venturing high above the Arctic circle. Tech wise, we have Insulated Zip baffles, hem draw cords, and storm flaps which all eliminate potential cold spots and reduce heat loss. The Jacket also features an adjustable, down filled, hlmet compatible hood, YKK zips and mitt friendly zip pulls throughout. Four strategically placed pockets have large zip pulls for ease of use even with gloves and allow for access whilst wearing a rucksack.
Rab Positron Pro
This wonderfully toasty jacket is down-filled with zoned construction to optimise warmth and mobility while minimising bulk, again this is a garment made for long exposure to very cold conditions. It’s a great jacket for long treks, perfect to throw over yourself when stopping to keep in all the warmth you’ve generated walking. This jacket uses Pertex Quantum Pro, a windproof material with a water resistant coating to provide increased weather resistance and 800FP Hydrophobic Goose Down designed for year-round warmth. The box wall, horizontal baffle provides enough space for the down to fully loft meaning more warm air can be trapped and the chance of cold spots reduced. It has stitch through baffles on the underarms and smaller side panels which reduce bulk where needed. We also have a helmet compatible hood complete with a wired peak to keep the snow out. A two way YKK Vislon zip is great for climbers allowing you to belay with ease. Having worn the Positron in Northern Sweden in temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius, this is one I can personally recommend.
Incredibly popular, the Mountain Equipment Lightline jacket continues to set a very decent benchmark for lightweight, technical, insulated jackets. It was made to meet the needs of modern mountaineers but is just as at home on a cold winter day on the hills. It’s 40D Polyamide outer fabric is completely windproof, breathable and water resistant thanks to ME’s own Drilite loft membrane which carries an impressive 1500mm Hydrostatic head. 700FP down provides good warmth to weight and adheres to the down codex scheme which means the down is completely traceable all the way back to the farm. An adjustable zip-off hood is made up of three separate panels providing a really nice, adjustable fit. The two way zip is handy to belay and climb in without compromising on protection.
Mountain Equipment Annapurna
Taking the Lightline a step further and getting serious once more, this an excellent choice when dealing with polar travel and sub-zero conditions. Its box wall baffle construction throughout the jacket means the down can fully loft throughout the chambers, allowing for even distribution of down for more surface area warmth and vastly reducing the likelihood of cold spots. Polarloft insulation on the shoulders resist compression, providing uncompromised warmth and with 700FP goose down covering the rest of the garment it provides warmth without the weight and of course conforms to the Down Codex Scheme. Once more you have a 40D Polyamide outer fabric with Drilite loft meaning a 1500mm Hydrostatic head. Once more a zip-off, fully adjustable hood is included with adjustable cuffs and duel tether hem draw cord all ensuring the perfect fit. The front two way YKK Moulded centre front zip is backed by an insulated baffle. Mountain Equipment's EXL system - Extra Warmth and Extra Loft - has also been incorporated into the hood and back of the jacket to make this jacket as thermally efficient as possible by minimising dead airspace around the body and pulling the fabric away from the down, allowing it to loft to full effect.
Back to Rab and back to something waterproof. This popular Jacket is perfect for ice, rain and wind. A great option for our Great British winter. A durable, fully taped Pertex outer made from an interesting fusion of technically advanced face fabrics with a breathable waterproof PU film laminate offers high levels of wind and water protection and excellent breathability for fast moving outdoor athletes. A superb 800FP, ethically sourced hydrophobic goose down is designed to retain loft and warmth even when wet. The hood is filled with Pyrotec synthetic insulation and comes with a wired peak to keep out the rain and snow plus give better visibility when worn, it is also helmet compatible. The slimline Velcro cuffs are also filled with Pyrotec insulation and a glove friendly draw cord at the hem and back of the hood help protect from the elements further. YKK Vislon Zips on the front and hand pockets protect from the wind and rain and the internal pockets keep your valuables close. This Jacket squishes well into its own stuff sack.
These jackets have been closely studied by Oli (left) who runs the Taunton Leisure Blog. He journeyed to Northern Sweden to give the Positron jacket a test earlier this year, it was great fun. He likes wild camping, swimming in rivers and collecting seashells, all popular activities in his native land of Devon. Catch more of his posts every week on the TL blog.