Some kid’s winter jackets are insulated with goose or duck down. Some use synthetic insulation. Almost all of them are waterproof and have lots of features for winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and fun in the snow. But which ones have what?
Here are 10 of the very best kid’s winter jackets, boy’s, girl’s and youth. Our baseline is the same I use for my kids – warm and comfortable, and more than one winter of use I hope. Some of the top brands featured, like Canada Goose, The North Face and Patagonia, are trusted companies with many years of cold-weather research behind them. Let’s look at some of the best kid’s winter jackets on the market:
You can also hop right in to our tips on what to look for when buying kids’ winter jackets.
Top unisex winter jackets for kids
Kids love shiny new toys. How about a shiny new winter jacket that'll be warm and comfortable all winter long, with city style to boot? You get all that in the 1996 Retro Nuptse Down Jacket by The North Face. It has warm 700 fill power goose down insulation and your child can stuff the whole jacket into the hand pocket. The North Face first made the glossy, puffy Nuptse in 1996 – it was cool back then and it's cool again today. This edition is for both boys and girls. The North Face makes legendary winter apparel, and the Retro Nuptse Down Jacket for kids is no exception.
If only shopping for the best kid's winter jackets was so easy as Canada Goose makes it. The brand is a rare bird, at the top of the winter fashion world with functional winter jackets that are the standard for supremely warm winter wear. The Rundle Bomber for youth is just like your kids' fave Hollywood stars wear in the cold. Bombers are definitely in (just ask your children). This bomber comes with white duck down insulation, an Arctic Tech shell and the big signature Canada Goose hood. You can remove the fur ruff and just chuck the jacket into the washing machine when it’s time.
A high-end parka made especially for kids? Check out the Lil Ky by Nobis. This is cut just below the waist and is perfect for the coldest days of the year. It’s all about cold-weather protection with down insulation and Arctic Tech textile on the outside, pushing back against winter's worst. One of the best features of Nobis is the extended life of their products. This is an investment piece and well worth it when you consider the Lil Ky will keep your child warm and comfortable for winters to come.
Top winter jackets for Girls
Your girl will love the warm, stylish and comfy Adelite Jacket by O'Neill. It is made with durable water-repellent fabric that's easy to clean and maintain. She can ski or snowboard with the fixed powder skirt, hand gaiters, and internal goggle pocket. O'Neill has always made great cold-weather gear, and the Adelite jacket continues a legacy of warm, functional, comfortable snow wear. Catch you on the ski slopes!
Let's stay on the slopes with the gold standard of mountain fun wear, Burton. Their new Elodie Winter Jacket for Girls will have your kid begging for one last run well after you’re ready to turn in. They'll want to wear it to school too, with a Dryride shell that shuts out water and wind. On the inside, Thermacore is a synthetic insulation that stays warm even if it gets a bit damp from all those turns or snowball fights. Burton makes their winter gear with care for winter activities, and their room-to-grow feature extends the season use of the Elodie Jacket as your girl grows. Warm, dry, comfy on the slopes and in the playground – they won’t want for more.
The cool thing about the Columbia Suttle Mountain Jacket is that your daughter will find the same protection and insulation as in the adult version. Down insulation with a 700 fill factor and a waterproof, breathable, two-ply shell give kids a great start to the day with the best winter coat. The down insulation has been treated to provide better moisture resistance, while retaining the loft needed to trap body heat.
Here is one instance where Brittania does rule – the Canada Goose Girl's Brittania Parka, with powerful warmth, weather protection and a look that will be as stylish in years to come as it is now. Canada Goose once again sets the bar at its highest with white duck down insulated winter jacket for kids. That iconic big hood is there, with a removable fur ruff. This girl's edition extends to the thigh for extra warm coverage, and the tuck at the waist makes a stylish profile. Canada Goose parkas are so warm and comfy they are used in the arctic, and your girl will be happy with the Brittania’s protection this winter, even without the trip to the North Pole.
You'll be hard-pressed to do better than the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody for Girls on more than the warmth-comfort levels. Apart from being warm, comfy, and ready for the resort with a powder skirt. When little limbs grow, release more sleeve fabric. Patagonia products are some of the most environmentally-friendly around, including any of their best kid's winter jackets. Make your daughter proud with mostly recycled content and certified Fair Trade Sewn, and a bluesign-approved shell and lining fabric. You girl will feel great and you will too.
Top winter jackets for Boys
Don’t let the name fool you. The Isjord jacket for boys by Helly Hansen is warm, built for winter and resists light moisture and snow. It’s got 480 fill power down insulation, trapping critical warmth and retaining loft better than anything out there. Helly Hansen is unbeatable in terms of being environmentally responsible. The Isford Jacket features traceable down insulation and a 100% recycled windproof polyester shell. Tough and durable.
Have a boy that likes to make a statement? The Symbol Jacket for Boys by Burton is a kid's version of Athleisure. Collared, with a hoody-like profile (skate style gone winter!), this jacket is born to ride. A waterproof shell and synthetic insulation will keep your boy warm, dry and comfortable on the slopes on a snowboard, on skis or in the park. The synthetic insulation will keep him warm even if he works up a sweat. Burton always considers safety first and the Uproar's hood is helmet-compatible. The sleeves extend as your kid grows up, meaning he can use it for multiple winters.
Don't let the name make you think it's not for winter—the Bivy Down Hoody for Boys by Patagonia is a down-filled winter jacket built so that body heat stays put in the coldest months. It is both windproof and water-resistant and even made with recycled materials—from fabric to down. Your boy will be as comfy (hello, handwarmer pockets) as stylish with this heritage-inspired winter jacket.
A Comprehensive Guide to Finding a Kids Winter Jacket
What To Look for in a Kids Winter Jacket
When looking for a kids’ winter jacket for your little one, there are a host of factors to keep in mind. Primarily, you want to choose the right jacket type for your child. Depending on the weather conditions, a rain jacket, parka, or snow jacket may be appropriate.
Secondly, consider how much insulation your child will need for where you live. If you experience wetter winters, you’ll also want to look for an outer shell with weather protection. Some other features to watch out for are the hood, pockets, zippers, and cuffs.
1. Jacket Types
Midweight Insulated Jackets
A midweight insulated jacket is lightweight with plenty of insulation. Midweight insulated jackets are perfect for exploring snowy towns but not as appropriate for the mountains. It can be used in place of a hard shell when the weather isn’t as harsh.
If your little one is hitting the slopes this winter, you’ll want to look for a snow jacket. These heavy-duty jackets keep snow out with a waterproof outer shell, and usually have elastic cuffs, waist and sometimes even hood trim for more help sealing out the elements. They’re also generally made of breathable material to allow excess moisture to escape the jacket. Other features include sealed seams, high durability, and a snow skirt.
Puffers, or down jackets, are known for thick baffles filled with down insulation. They are versatile enough for both urban and activewear. The down or synthetic insulation helps with heat retention, which keeps your child warm in frigid temperatures. Not for rainy winters though, unless tucked behind a waterproof shell fabric.
Parkas are winter coats with hoods for the extreme cold. While jackets usually come down to your waist, a parka will typically be nearly knee-length. The hood is also lined with faux or real fur to fight frostbite. They’re also incredibly well insulated with either natural or synthetic down. Perfect for deep cold.
Rain jackets can serve as hard shells over warmer jackets, especially if you live in a cold, wet climate. Wearing a raincoat as an outermost layer can help protect the down material in your inner layers. They often feature Durable Water Repellant (DWR) coating to keep off rain, snow, or sleet. For kids, this means versatility: if it gets too warm, they can slip their rain jacket shell off.
Down insulation is made of goose or duck plumage. The clusters of feathers help increase the heat retention of the jacket. Recently, there has been a move towards down that is ethically sourced, indicated by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification.
Besides ethical reasons, some people prefer synthetic down because it doesn’t lose its’ heat-retention capacity when wet. If you’re on a budget, synthetic down jackets will also tend to be less expensive than real down. And if you’ve got kids running around all afternoon in the snow…
3. Shell Material
It’s common to see outer shells made out of weather-resistant materials. Some waterproof materials include a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) coating, taped seams, and waterproof and breathable fabric. Instead of adding a rain jacket, these waterproof shells can serve as a 2-in-1 winter coat.
Some people might prefer winter jackets without hoods because they are more lightweight. Many hoods are removable or come with fur insulation for added warmth. If you’re anticipating an icy winter, it’s best to find a winter coat with an insulated hood for your kids.
More pockets can mean more convenience, but it can also increase the jacket’s weight and price. Many of the best kids’ winter coats have magnetic, zip, or snap closures, making opening and closing pockets easier. Essential pockets are a zip security pocket and handwarmer pockets (lined with fleece or some such material) for your little one’s hands.
Most winter jackets for kids have adjustable cuffs with velcro tabs or knit ribbing. Velcro tabs ensure that the wrist fit can be adjusted to keep in body heat. Elasticized or rib-knit trim can be more comfortable, but might not trap in heat as well.
Snow skirts or waist gaiters are commonly seen in ski and snow jackets to keep out the powder. They’re made for when your child takes a fall skiing or snowboarding. Some snow skirts are removable, have loops to attach to pants, or snaps to secure it when not in use.
When finding a winter jacket for your child, you want to ensure it fits snugly enough to keep the little one insulated. However, it should also provide some ease of movement for building a snowman or playing on a winter sled. The sleeves should be slightly longer than the arms, and the hem should be slightly longer than an everyday shirt.
FAQs for Kids Winter Jackets
Q: At what temperature should a child wear a winter coat?
A: When temperatures start to drop to below 0°C, it’s usually time to wear a heavy winter jacket.
Q: Which fabric is warmest for winter?
A: In below freezing temperatures, it’s best to use jackets insulated with real or synthetic down. The outer material should be waterproof to keep your child dry and warm.
Q: Do kids get hotter than adults?
A: Children don’t feel cold the same way that adults do, but they’re still susceptible to heat loss and hypothermia. In general, kids may not perceive the cold but still need a warm coat for protection.
These best kid’s winter jackets provide you with a range of options, including warmth, price, size, and styles for boys and girls. The time to shop is now so you’ll have no headaches when the snow falls – and maybe some peace at home as they stay outside longer to play in their new, warm, cozy jacket. Ease your stress this fall and have fun this winter – the kids will!