Choose the Right Winter Jacket & Coat


Winter Coat Buying Guide

As temperatures begin to fall, it’s a reminder that the cold winter season is on the horizon, and it’s essential that you’re ready for frigid temperatures with the proper gear. Whether you need a technical winter coat for your next adventure on the slopes or a go-to casual yet stylish jacket for everyday use to stay warm, our buying guide can help. 


At SCHEELS, you’ll discover a wide variety of winter jackets and coats to keep the entire family warm and comfortable all season long with the latest cold weather name-brands, including Patagonia, The North Face, Columbia, Burton and many more. With a basic overview of key features and accessories to stay warm for the winter, this guide will help you choose the right winter coat and accessories for every winter adventure ahead. 

Types of Winter Jackets & Coats



When you’re narrowing down the options for the best winter jacket or coat, it’s important to first factor what type of jacket or coat you’ll need. Based on the activity or casual wear you’ll use the jacket for the most, this guide will help you determine what type of coat you’ll need. Coats are typically categorized into three main types, including technical, casual, and functional (all-in-one). Below, we’ve summarized each category: 


Quilted Puffer Jackets are signature design for men’s and women’s winter coats. With a quilted design, these jackets are commonly made with a down insulation or synthetic fiber, that offer an ample amount of warmth and coverage for the winter season. Between each quilted pattern is the “puffy” detail that also offers lightweight, yet breathable comfort. Due to quilted puffer jackets retaining high-loft, these jackets are known to keep you warm for many winter season ahead.

Types of Winter Jackets and Coats

Parka Coats are well-insulated for the frigid temperatures with a long coat style that falls just above or at the thigh. Parka’s are designed for men and women and tend to feature a full-zip closure, adjustable fur lined hoods, and feature weather-proof details to trap the body heat in, while leaving the cold out. Plus, traditionally parka coats have a goose down fill or synthetic materials, and they’re made with breathable and quick-drying materials.


Winter 3-in-1 Coats are designed to keep you protected from frigid winter elements during high-intensity activities or casual wear for brutally cold temperatures. With style, comfort, and warmth combined, 3-in-1 coats offer exceptional insulation and coverage and an outer shell with an inner softshell jacket that can be worn on their own or together. These jackets also include weather protecting finishes and down insulation for the ultimate functional jacket. 

Choose the Best Insulation

Best Insulation

As the true warmth of a winter coat lies in the insulation, it’s essential to consider the type of insulation you’ll need for every winter activity. Each form of insulation offers unique benefits for reliable coverage and warmth. Below, we’ve summarized the main types of insulation, including down and synthetic:   


Down insulation is one of the most widely used insulations commonly found in casual jackets and coats and it’s best for mild, cold climates. With a lightweight, compressible construction, down filling is designed without bulk, but can become saturated. For wet conditions, it’s important to consider a weather-resistant coats or water-resistant down. 

One way to measure the quality of down is by the fill power and fill weight:

Down filling can range from 450 to 900 meaning this number indicates the fill power per cubic inch that one ounce of down fills up which creates volume. 

Synthetic insulation mimics the properties of down insulation with a man-made design to trap body heat between the fibers. With a heavyweight, bulky construction, synthetic insulation consists of compressible water-repellent fibers to better withstand the harsh elements of wet, frigid climates. Over time, the insulation can pack down and lose its added layer of warmth. 

To evaluate the quality of synthetic insulation, determine the designated weight in grams:

Synthetic insulation can be represented by 40g, indicating the synthetic fill for the weight in grams of a square meter of that insulation (the higher the number, the thicker the insulation).

Winter Coat Features

Once you’ve selected the type of winter jacket, insulation, and a proper fit for your winter activity, it’s now time to consider the features you’ll need to stay warm in the cold winter season. Below, we’ve narrowed down the top features for winter jackets and coats: 


Hoods add a layer of coverage to protect your head and to keep your head warm from the cold elements during the winter season. Most winter jackets and coats have an adjustable hood for a customized fit for ultimate coverage against the cold. Even when you're heading to the next adventure on the slopes, there are plenty of coats with helmet compatible hoods. 


Waterproof and windproof construction help keep your skin dry and warm all season long. Most often, waterproof and windproof jackets provide an extra layer of protection to stand against the harsh elements. The outer shell of weatherproof coats are commonly treated with durable water-repellent (DWR) or Gore-Tex coating to keep the moisture out.  

Winter Coat Features

Pockets are ideal for added storage or a place to keep your hands warm when you’re walking in the cold. Most winter coats feature zipper pockets for small items, drop-in pockets to keep your hands warm, and music pockets to keep your headphones within reach.

Vents provide air-circulation for every intense outdoor activity. Most often, vents are located under the arm or on the sleeve of weatherproof winter jackets. 


Cuffs add an extra layer of protection to keep the cold air out. Cuffs tend to end at the wrist bone, touching the top of the palm. Some winter coats have extended cuffs to provide a wide range of coverage to be worn with gloves.

Find the Proper Fit

Once you’ve selected the type of winter jacket, insulation, and a proper fit for your winter activity, it’s now time to consider the features you’ll need to stay warm in the cold winter season. Below, we’ve narrowed down the top features for winter jackets and coats: 


Hoods add a layer of coverage to protect your head and to keep your head warm from the cold elements during the winter season. Most winter jackets and coats have an adjustable hood for a customized fit for ultimate coverage against the cold. Even when you're heading to the next adventure on the slopes, there are plenty of coats with helmet compatible hoods. 


Waterproof and windproof construction help keep your skin dry and warm all season long. Most often, waterproof and windproof jackets provide an extra layer of protection to stand against the harsh elements. The outer shell of weatherproof coats are commonly treated with durable water-repellent (DWR) or Gore-Tex coating to keep the moisture out.  

Pockets are ideal for added storage or a place to keep your hands warm when you’re walking in the cold. Most winter coats feature zipper pockets for small items, drop-in pockets to keep your hands warm, and music pockets to keep your headphones within reach.


Vents provide air-circulation for every intense outdoor activity. Most often, vents are located under the arm or on the sleeve of weatherproof winter jackets. 


Cuffs add an extra layer of protection to keep the cold air out. Cuffs tend to end at the wrist bone, touching the top of the palm. Some winter coats have extended cuffs to provide a wide range of coverage to be worn with gloves.

Whether you need a technical winter coat with synthetic insulation for your next outdoor adventure or a casual winter jacket with down insulation for everyday wear, it’s essential to find the proper fit for the coverage and warmth you need. Follow the tips below for a few tips to find the proper fit:


Reach your arms out in front of you to determine the length of the sleeves. Sleeves should stop at the wrist bone, touching the top of the palm. If the sleeves stop past your wrist, the sleeves are too short. 


Stretch your hands above your head to determine the length of the winter coat. Pay attention to the bottom of the winter jacket and any tight spots. The bottom hemline should ideally stop near the waist, and the shoulders/biceps should not bulk to keep the cold air out. 



Check the shoulder seams to determine they align with your shoulders. If the shoulder seams are off the shoulder or halfway down your bicep, the fit is too large — unless, of course, it’s a part of the design. 


Add a base layer. Base layering is essential because it helps trap your body heat. Keep in mind base layers should include features that shield you from rain and snow by wicking away sweat and properly shielding your body heat.


Note: Always button or zip closure and try on the winter jacket or coat with the layers you typically wear for the best results.  

Cold Weather Accessories

Now that you’ve used this buyer’s guide to choose the right winter jacket for your cold-weather adventure, it’s time to pair your new coat with cold weather accessories to warm up the winter. 


Hats cover the most essential part of the body to keep the heat in and the cold out. With a variety of winter hat styles available, including winter headbands, trapper hat, bobble hat, beanie hat, and more, you’ll be bundled up and warm all season long.  


Gloves & Mittens keep your hands protected from the bitter cold temperatures. When you’re narrowing down the options to find the best pair of gloves or mittens, consider the activity or everyday task you’ll be using them for the most.

Facemasks & Neck Gaiters are a must-have for the frigid temperatures. Whether you’re outdoors enjoying the snow or taking on your next hunting experience, make sure you’re face and neck have the coverage they need. Shop top brands like Balaclava and many more. 


Scarves add that extra layer of warmth to your upper body when you need it the most. With a wide selection of winter scarves available, consider a scarf that pairs well with your casual wear coat or outdoor activity. 

Questions

Have any questions? Contact your local customer service team to speak with an expert today.