Winter has landed—prepare for mountains of snow, temperatures dropping far below zero and freezing cold gusts of wind. That kind of extreme winter weather calls for the apparel to match, and we’ve got the best winter jackets to do just that

That doesn’t mean we run from the cold, it just means we need to be ready. Ski jackets, winter parkas, bomber jackets, and puffer jackets–whatever the style, whatever the purpose, winter apparel has to keep you warm. Keeping that in mind, here’s our selection for men and women of some of the best winter jackets for extreme Canadian winters.

our top pick—Canada goose expedition parka

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Canada Goose's flagship winter parka stands out year after year as the very best in its class. It was originally designed for researchers to withstand brutal Antarctic weather conditions at McMurdo station, Antartica. It combines 650 fill down, rugged Arctic Tech shell fabric and removable Coyote fur to protect from strong wind gusts. With its premium price point comes a durable, reliable winter parka proven to handle the most extreme sub-zero conditions. A true classic winter coat.

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Best Men’s Jackets for Extreme Winters

ARC'TERYX THORSEN PARKA

Peak performance and innovation come together in arguably one of the best men's winter coats on the market. The Thorsen Parka brings you all of the Arc'teryx expertise in a minimalist, clean and urban presentation. Ultratechnical, this men's parka has everything you need for the coldest of days. Its 750-fill down insulation and GORE-TEX outer membrane provides maximum warmth and protection from snow, rain and wind. Its many interior pockets make it absolutely perfect for those chilly days in downtown Toronto or Montreal.

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Peak performance and innovation come together in arguably one of the best men's winter coats on the market. The Thorsen Parka brings you all of the Arc'teryx expertise in a minimalist, clean and urban presentation. Ultratechnical, this men's parka has everything you need for the coldest of days. Its 750-fill down insulation and GORE-TEX outer membrane provides maximum warmth and protection from snow, rain and wind. Its many interior pockets make it absolutely perfect for those chilly days in downtown Toronto or Montreal.

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Vallier Arbour

The Arbour Short Down Parka lives up to Vallier‘s promise to create all-weather apparel for better urban living. The sleek design of the parka combines with 800 fill power goose down for extreme warmth against cold Canadian winters. It features a durable water repellent treatment and a lightweight Pertex shield for protection against the coldest winter winds. This is truly one of the best extreme winter jackets by Montreal's hottest brand—extreme in style, warmth, protection and quiet sophistication.

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The Arbour Short Down Parka lives up to Vallier‘s promise to create all-weather apparel for better urban living. The sleek design of the parka combines with 800 fill power goose down for extreme warmth against cold Canadian winters. It features a durable water repellent treatment and a lightweight Pertex shield for protection against the coldest winter winds. This is truly one of the best extreme winter jackets by Montreal's hottest brand—extreme in style, warmth, protection and quiet sophistication.

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Quartz Co. Labrador

Made in Canada by Quartz Co., the Labrador Down Jacket has the ultimate winter warmth required to tackle the arctic cold of our northern winters. The 650 fill power down insulation will keep you warm in subzero temperatures. We face more than just the cold in winter, and the Labrador is ready to take on these challenges thanks to 10K water-repellent treatment and 10K breathability. Features like snow cuffs and an adjustable hood offer complete protection against the coldest Canadian winters.

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Made in Canada by Quartz Co., the Labrador Down Jacket has the ultimate winter warmth required to tackle the arctic cold of our northern winters. The 650 fill power down insulation will keep you warm in subzero temperatures. We face more than just the cold in winter, and the Labrador is ready to take on these challenges thanks to 10K water-repellent treatment and 10K breathability. Features like snow cuffs and an adjustable hood offer complete protection against the coldest Canadian winters.

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Nobis Condor Extreme

The name says it all. The Condor Extreme Jacket is designed to provide extreme warmth during the most extreme winter conditions. This jacket is the perfect winter companion and is sure to make a winter lover out of anyone. The stylish men’s jacket from Nobis is made with ultimate weatherproof protection and packed full of durable features that are sure to keep you bundled up and warm this winter.

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The name says it all. The Condor Extreme Jacket is designed to provide extreme warmth during the most extreme winter conditions. This jacket is the perfect winter companion and is sure to make a winter lover out of anyone. The stylish men’s jacket from Nobis is made with ultimate weatherproof protection and packed full of durable features that are sure to keep you bundled up and warm this winter.

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The North Face Expedition Arctic Parka

This classic from The North Face hides all the technology you need to keep warm in the worst of winter with its sleek design. The Expedition Arctic Parka's waterproof-breathable DryVent 2 shell and 700 fill factor down insulation lets you take on the harshest urban winter conditions. With a nice length, the jacket is packed with useful details, like a two-way zipper and different adjustment options to keep you from getting chilly!

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This classic from The North Face hides all the technology you need to keep warm in the worst of winter with its sleek design. The Expedition Arctic Parka's waterproof-breathable DryVent 2 shell and 700 fill factor down insulation lets you take on the harshest urban winter conditions. With a nice length, the jacket is packed with useful details, like a two-way zipper and different adjustment options to keep you from getting chilly!

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Best Women’s Jackets for Extreme Winters

Canada Goose Rossclair

The Rossclair Parka boasts a long, sleek fit that sits right below the waist and surrounds your body in supreme warmth. The elegance of this parka matches its performance. It uses 625 down fill insulation that keeps you warm in temperatures as low as -20. The slim fit jacket offers a sleek silhouette, and for those who want the warmth and elegance of the Rossclair with smaller proportions, it’s also available in the Fusion Fit.

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The Rossclair Parka boasts a long, sleek fit that sits right below the waist and surrounds your body in supreme warmth. The elegance of this parka matches its performance. It uses 625 down fill insulation that keeps you warm in temperatures as low as -20. The slim fit jacket offers a sleek silhouette, and for those who want the warmth and elegance of the Rossclair with smaller proportions, it’s also available in the Fusion Fit.

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Patagonia Tres Parka

Three for the price of one? Well, the zip-out inner jacket lets you wear it as a puffy, the outer coat as a shell, or combined to give you the warmest, cold-defending outerwear around. 700 fill power down is all-recycled, and protected by a waterproof, windproof outer shell. There's a removable, adjustable hood; handwarmer pockets; and princess seams to give it a more refined look. Everything is Fair Trade-Certified sewn as well, letting you feel great about your new wintertime best friend while you feel great in the worst weather of the cold months. 

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Three for the price of one? Well, the zip-out inner jacket lets you wear it as a puffy, the outer coat as a shell, or combined to give you the warmest, cold-defending outerwear around. 700 fill power down is all-recycled, and protected by a waterproof, windproof outer shell. There's a removable, adjustable hood; handwarmer pockets; and princess seams to give it a more refined look. Everything is Fair Trade-Certified sewn as well, letting you feel great about your new wintertime best friend while you feel great in the worst weather of the cold months. 

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Nobis Carla

When the temperatures drop, you need the Carla Down Parka to face winter head on. This women’s parka from Nobis offers premium weatherproof protection with plenty of breathability. The hem falls mid-thigh for optimal warmth and coverage. The wind flap has a convenient magnetic closure designed to keep frigid air out when winter winds howl. Insulated with premium Canadian White Duck Down and featuring an adjustable down-filled hood with a removable coyote fur, this parka offers all the warmth without compromising on style.

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When the temperatures drop, you need the Carla Down Parka to face winter head on. This women’s parka from Nobis offers premium weatherproof protection with plenty of breathability. The hem falls mid-thigh for optimal warmth and coverage. The wind flap has a convenient magnetic closure designed to keep frigid air out when winter winds howl. Insulated with premium Canadian White Duck Down and featuring an adjustable down-filled hood with a removable coyote fur, this parka offers all the warmth without compromising on style.

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SOIA & KYO Talyse-N Long Coat

If a jacket with length is your #1 criteria, the Talyse-N jacket from SOIA & KYO has a long advantage. But the benefits don't stop there. With its 700+ fill factor down insulation, this jacket is comfortable down to -30°C. In addition, its water repellent treatment makes it water resistant. The jacket emphasizes a nice attention to detail, with its practical and stylish hood, windproof cuffs and the soft and warm fleece pocket lining for keeping your hands cozy.

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If a jacket with length is your #1 criteria, the Talyse-N jacket from SOIA & KYO has a long advantage. But the benefits don't stop there. With its 700+ fill factor down insulation, this jacket is comfortable down to -30°C. In addition, its water repellent treatment makes it water resistant. The jacket emphasizes a nice attention to detail, with its practical and stylish hood, windproof cuffs and the soft and warm fleece pocket lining for keeping your hands cozy.

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Quartz Co. Genia

Elegance meets warmth with The Genia Jacket from Quartz Co. The Canadian made brand knows how cold winters can be in the Great White North so they design jackets that can withstand extreme weather. The Genia uses 650 Fill Canadian White Duck Down to protect you against temperatures as low as -40C—and the down is sourced ethically and traceable. The outer layer is treated with a Durable Water Repellent finish, and the hood is detachable for a sleek look that will protect against the arctic chills managing to find their way into the city.

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Elegance meets warmth with The Genia Jacket from Quartz Co. The Canadian made brand knows how cold winters can be in the Great White North so they design jackets that can withstand extreme weather. The Genia uses 650 Fill Canadian White Duck Down to protect you against temperatures as low as -40C—and the down is sourced ethically and traceable. The outer layer is treated with a Durable Water Repellent finish, and the hood is detachable for a sleek look that will protect against the arctic chills managing to find their way into the city.

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Fjallraven nuuk

Sweden's Fjallraven continues to craft high-quality outerwear made to take on everything winter, including whatever our tough Canadian climate has to offer. With the Nuuk Parka, Fjallraven has combined rugged winter warmth with a sleek urban design for a jacket that does it all. Synthetic insulation, a faux-fur hood trim, and weatherproof shell fabric make a powerful winter-stopping top. It's cut roomy enough to layer as you wish, giving you the best of a technical jacket in a package that looks great in and around the city.

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Sweden's Fjallraven continues to craft high-quality outerwear made to take on everything winter, including whatever our tough Canadian climate has to offer. With the Nuuk Parka, Fjallraven has combined rugged winter warmth with a sleek urban design for a jacket that does it all. Synthetic insulation, a faux-fur hood trim, and weatherproof shell fabric make a powerful winter-stopping top. It's cut roomy enough to layer as you wish, giving you the best of a technical jacket in a package that looks great in and around the city.

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What to look for when buying a winter jacket

There are a variety of winter jackets on the market. But before you decide on a particular brand or model, first decide on the style. For the most brutal of winters, nothing beats a good old-fashioned parka. Parkas are known for their lined hoods, extra length, and dense insulation. Check out this article to learn more about the differences between jackets and parkas.

1. Insulation

Insulation always falls into one of two categories: down or synthetic. Down insulation is produced using goose plumage that’s renowned for its unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio. Synthetics are any man-made fibre that mimics the insulating properties of down. 

In terms of cost, down jackets always come at a premium. Since down is such a lightweight and effective insulator, it really is worth it; however, make sure the down is ethically sourced. On the other hand, synthetic insulation technology has come a long, long way. Many of the best winter coats nowadays rely on synthetics. 

For more information on all things insulation, check out our Ultimate Insulation Guide.

2. Weather Resistance

In terms of importance, insulation and weather resistance rank at the top of the list. When shopping for a weather-resistant winter parka, pay special attention to the external materials. Brands like GORE-TEX are commonly looked to for their durability and dependability in nasty conditions. To learn all about the revolutionary fabric, check out our Ultimate Guide to GORE-TEX.

Certain brands prefer to keep their production in-house, creating proprietary shell fabrics instead of sourcing the material from the likes of GORE-TEX or Pertex. Top-notch examples include Canada Goose’s Arctic Tech and The North Face’s DryVent and FUTURELIGHT. These technologies perform remarkably well under wet and windy conditions, while offering incredible durability.

3. Inner Lining

The inner lining of a jacket refers to the skin-facing side of the garment. In general, the inner lining will feature some kind of soft synthetic, possibly with baffles. Certain models even feature a removable lining, which allows wearers to rock the lining by itself (usually in the form of a puffy) or just the shell.

4. Features

There are certain key features to consider when buying a winter parka.

  • Hood

Any real winter parka worth its salt will feature a hood. A hood lined with real or faux fur will keep the blustering winds at bay. Many hood linings are detachable for both practical and stylistic purposes. Certain hoods are constructed with a mere dual-wall construction; if possible, opt for something that is insulated.

  • Cuffs

VELCRO cuffs are the most common cuff type you’ll find on high-quality parkas. They’re highly adjustable and can be comfortably tightened around anything, from your naked wrist to a thick snowboarding glove. 

Snap cuffs are also widely used among top-notch brands. While snap cuffs do look a little classier, they don’t offer the same degree of micro-adjustability as VELCRO cuffs.

  • Pockets

At the very minimum, we recommend choosing a parka that has two hand-warmer pockets. Often, these are big enough to accommodate your hands in addition to a few essentials (like a small novel and a tuque). 

Another indispensable pocket is an inside zip pocket. Here you can safely stash things like your phone, which should be kept near your body so as not to freeze. Finally, one or two breast pockets make excellent storage places for your wallet.

Fancier pocket layouts can include things like a small zipper arm pocket. Yes, this is very convenient for certain dime-sized items…

5. Fit & Length

A winter jacket should fit a little loosely to accommodate multiple layers. You’ll need to be able to zip up even while wearing a dress shirt, a wool turtleneck, and a puffy. A loose fit also generates thermal pockets more effectively.

If you’re trying it on in person, be sure to arrive fully geared up for the most accurate fitting. If you’re still unsure, try this little test: Raise your arms over your head. Do you feel constricted? Is your mobility decreased? Does the jacket hike way, way up? If you answer yes to any of these, size up.

In terms of length, a parka is by definition longer than your typical winter jacket. This is a huge benefit when tramping through hellish winterscapes; the added length keeps more of you warm while also trapping more air. Consider this: the parka was inspired by Inuit-style jackets in Alaska and Northern Russia. These people have proved that, with the right gear, you can survive impossibly cold conditions.

FAQ

Q: Which type of coat is best for winter?

A: For Canadian and Russian winters, parkas are the best style of coat. Their extended length offers greater protection against the elements while trapping heat more effectively. Parkas are also known for being well insulated.

Q: Are winter parkas worth it?

A: Parkas are expensive. But consider the fact that a good quality parka will not only keep you warm this winter—it will keep you warm for many winters to come. In this sense, purchasing a parka is a lot like purchasing a car: it’s a big initial investment for a long-term payoff. 

To get the most out of your parka, make sure to follow the care instructions on the label. This means dry-cleaning it at the end of the season and storing it correctly.

Q: What do you wear under a parka?

A: In addition to wearing your usual attire, you may want to consider adding a midlayer. A thick wool sweater can be really cozy or even a lightweight insulated jacket. That said, certain parkas come equipped with a removable lining. If that’s the case, the lining can double as a midlayer and you won’t need any additional garments. Unless you happen to be in the midst of a polar vortex, of course.

For additional warmth around your neck and core, pair the jacket with a scarf.

The most stylish thing you can do this winter is stay warm. With so many high-quality, fashionable parkas on the market, we hope to have narrowed your search.

One tip is to start by setting a budget. Buying a parka is a small investment, so choose something you can afford and that will not only last for many seasons to come, but will look great year after year!