“What’s Your Warmest Jacket?”
“What’s your warmest jacket?” As both an Eastern Mountain Sports Climb School guide and customer service rep, I’ve heard this question every winter for 18 years. While the answer has changed from year to year a few truths about jacket warmth have not. We know if we are dry it is easier to stay warm, so that is important… we know if we are exercising we create quite a bit of heat so that is important… but the single most important part of “how warm” a jacket is, comes down to “dead air space”.
Let’s back up for a second. When I was younger and more cheeky, my 1st response to “How warm is this jacket?” was a matter-of-fact reply… “68 degrees”. This is because jackets do not produce heat, they retain it. So the real question is “How warm will this jacket keep me”, and that I can answer… kind of.
You see every person has a different activity in mind, a different metabolism, a different tolerance for cold even… so answering this question can be difficult. It’s one of the reasons we don’t like to assign arbitrary “temperature ratings” to our clothing. It’s too subjective (and also not regulated). So to really answer the question I need to explain a little more of the science. I promise I’ll make it as painless as possible…
As I said earlier, jackets retain the 98.6 degrees of heat your body is putting out. The more little pockets of still air are in the insulation, the more heat the jacket can retain. Layering helps, as does wearing a jacket with lots of insulation. So the more you look like the Stay-Puff marshmallow man, the warmer you will be. But some of us also want to maintain a certain degree of style and mobility. Whether you’re looking to summit Mount Washington in January, catch the 6 o’clock train without catching a cold or take in your kid’s hockey game without taking up 1.5 seats, Eastern Mountain Sports has cold weather outerwear options for every activity. Below is a list of our top “warmest” jackets of the season, and who they are perfect for.
Waterproof, windproof, breathable, down insulation, faux fur hood (removable), these are the warmest jackets in our line this season. Perfect for ice fishing or commuting in the nastiest New England weather, this parka will keep the elements out and the heat in.
Packed with 650 fill goose down and a large insulated hood this jacket is the classic “big puffy”. Ice climbers will throw this on over their soft shells in between climbs to stay warm, winter campers will love this while waiting for water to boil, and unashamed hockey parents will laugh at anyone shivering around the rink.
A classic “3 in 1″ style jacket, comprised of a waterproof breathable hard-shell and a toasty synthetic insulated liner jacket, this is a versatile choice for the city commuter or the ski slope shredder. Wear the shell alone on warmer rainy days, the liner on crisp fall days, and join them together to battle Mother Nature during the coldest months of the year.
These jackets sport high quality 800 fill down, allowing for a lot of heat retention without a lot of bulk. Stylish on their own they are perfect around town or layered under a shell for more hectic conditions in the mountains.
An excellent stylish mid-layer for cold weather sports, this jacket also serves the college campus commuter well when the next class is just 1/8 of a mile away. PrimaLoft One insulation keeps you warm without a lot of bulk, and even works when it’s wet!
Still need help deciding which one of these jackets is right for you? Stop by your local store or gIve our customer service team a call at 888-463-6367. You can also get advice through live chat at ems.com. Do you have a super warm jacket you’d recommend to a friend? Leave a comment and tell me what works for you!