- If you live in a place with chilly winters, a parka is a closet must-have.
- We’ve tested nearly a dozen of these heavy-duty coats in chilly temperatures.
- Our favorites come from Triple F.A.T. Goose, Fjällräven, Save the Duck, and L.L.Bean.
A parka is a winter essential for much of humankind. Without one, layering enough to stay warm can be a nuisance. But oh, what a sea of decisions: How thick does it need to be? Do you want a hood lined with faux fur? We’re still left to ponder pockets, length, and lining. While all of the above may or may not be critical decisions, they’re all things we have to consider.
A parka is something we hope to invest in for the long haul, and a parka that doesn’t last more than a few seasons is, in our humble opinion, not a parka at all. So after testing more than a dozen, we’ve rounded up our four favorites, below.
Here are the best parkas in 2021:
- Best parkas overall: Triple F.A.T. Goose
- Best faux fur parkas: Fjällräven
- Best sustainable parkas: Save the Duck
- Best affordable parkas: L.L. Bean
Updated on 2/05/2021 by Amir Ismael: Updated formatting, checked prices, and links.
After careful editorial consideration (and debate), our editorial team has decided to discontinue our recommendations for fur products. Herein, we’ve recommended fur-free parkas we’ve worn and tested by brands we know and trust. Some of these brands still carry fur, and we’ve linked to their sustainability statements to let you decide where you want to shop (and whether you want to purchase fur). We’ll continue to test more fur- and down-free parkas throughout the winter in our ongoing search for the perfect winter parka.
The best men's parka overall
Triple F.A.T. Goose’s Wyndmeir is plenty warm and waterproof, making it a great all-around pick for both the dead of winter and the shoulder seasons.
Pros: As warm as parkas get, TFG offers a wide range of styles and prices on parkas
Cons: Not fully waterproof
Sizing information: S—3XL
Packed full with 700-fill-power down, Triple F.A.T. Goose’s line is an Insider Reviews favorite, and several of our writers have deemed it their go-to brand for winter parkas.
While the market may be moving away from natural down (and fur, which the brand also offers), Triple F.A.T. Goose is on the relatively responsible side of things when it comes to sourcing down (and arguably fur, too). The brand’s down is never live-plucked or force-fed, and is inspected, tested, and certified by the International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory (IDFL). You can read about the company’s fur and down policy here.
If you’re in a somewhat milder climate like the maritime, the Wyndmeir is not fully waterproof but treated with TFG’s Atmoshell+, and it’s sealed at key seams for better water repellency without compromising breathability. It’s also filled with less down, leaving some room for layering when it gets really cold.
Each of the parkas we’ve tested from Triple F.A.T. has been generously endowed with down, and warm as can be. There’s no better parka out there.
The best affordable parka
L.L.Bean’s parkas are made with quality 650-fill down, are rated for temperatures down to 45 degrees below Fahrenheit, and have a waterproof coating for half the price of comparable parkas.
Pros: Affordable price, high-quality and heavily packed down, waterproof, relatively breathable
Cons: Faux fur can be a little ratty (but you can ditch it)
Sizing options: S—XXL
If you’re on a budget (and quite frankly even if you’re not) it’s hard to make a case against L.L. Bean’s parkas. They’re loaded with pockets, windproof and waterproof, and warm as anything.
Where sustainability is concerned, L.L.Bean uses DownTek down, which is RDS-certified. And while we don’t know the exact amount of fill, it’s not the heaping amount Triple F.A.T. Goose uses, but it’s plenty to keep you warm.
With seven exterior pockets and three on the interior, you’ll have no problem fitting everything you need on your person for your daily slump across town to the office or your intrepid wintertime trek up a mountain.
The hood comes with a wire insert that allows you to shape it around your head, which we like a lot. You can also just zip the faux fur ruff away and forget about it altogether. We also tried the Maine Mountain Parka, which is similar, and we were very impressed with the quality.
The best faux-fur parka
Fjällräven’s parkas are a perfect hybrid of street savviness and adventure readiness with their durable canvas exteriors, sustainable down fill, and removable faux fur hoods.
Pros: Durable, utilitarian but still stylish
Cons: Not waterproof, low/entry-level fill power, real fur substitution is not available to those who want it
Sizing options: XS—XL
Lately, Fjallraven has turned its focus on sustainability, and the company is working with Stockholm University to save the Arctic fox. It’s also one of the few brands that can prove that all of the down used in its parkas is 100% traceable, and it happens to be at the top of the nonprofit Down Four Paws’ Cruelty-Free list.
The outer lining of Fjallraven’s parkas is made of the company’s signature G-1000 waxed polyester and cotton blend. It’s durable, but it is nowhere near waterproof, meaning this is not a good jacket for wet snow, sleet, or rain. While you’ll stay mostly dry, it will eventually absorb water, get extremely heavy, and maybe even soak through in some spots. You can, however, wax it further to increase the water resistance.
The brand’s Expedition Down, which comes with a DWR water-resistant finish, an adjustable hood, and 700-fill-power goose down (90%) and feather (10%) lining. There aren’t quite as many pockets in the Expedition Down, and the design is a bit more sleek and urban than Fjallraven’s typical wares, but it is plenty warm. We’re still fans of the brand’s other more classic models like the Barents, Singi, or Yupik; they all offer more substantial pockets, some of which are hand-warming (a feature that the Expedition Down is missing).
If you want the most technical parka adorned with the plushest real fur, then look elsewhere, but if you’re seeking something sustainable and practical yet fashion-forward enough to pull off in town, we think Fjallraven is the best option.
The best sustainable parka
Save the Duck is a new parka brand that’s out to end animal cruelty surrounding the outerwear industry, which means it uses no natural down, no natural fur, and no animal products.
Pros: “Cruelty-free,” plenty warm (in spite of not using down), water-resistant
Cons: Pockets could be heftier and warmer
Sizing options: S-XXXL
Foregoing down for the brand’s proprietary Plumtech polyester fiber to create a thermal padding, Save the Duck’s coats are entirely synthetic and, more or less, cruelty-free. It’s a lofty, heat-retaining, and highly effective alternative. It might not feel quite as fluffy or have the same memory as 800-fill down, but it does the job, and it’s not derived from animals.
The shells of the brand’s parkas are either made with a 60%/40% cotton and pressed nylon blend and treated with a water-resistant finish, or triple-layered 100% polyester (also treated for water-resistance).
The lining, part nylon and part polyester, is sufficiently smooth, and mostly durable, though a couple of the inside pockets (save for the phone pocket) seem a little light and prone to tearing, so we’d recommend not overloading them. The exterior hand pockets, which land over the breast, aren’t the thickest (or warmest) either.
Otherwise, the hardware all suffices, the elastic wrist cuffs are a nice if not-so-technical touch, and the coat is plenty warm (Save the Duck rates it for temps between -4 and 23 degrees Fahrenheit).
A note on sustainability and the ethics around fur and down
The sustainability and ethics surrounding down and fur are murky.
Down is slightly more clearcut and traceable: Many of the brands in our guide, including Fjallraven and Triple F.A.T. Goose, put their down through rigorous testing to identify whether or not the down was plucked from live animals.
Triple F.A.T. Goose puts its down through the International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory (IDFL) to meet the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). Then there’s the Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS), which is certified by the NSF and slightly more rigorous in requiring parent farm certification. That means that whatever farm an egg or a hatchling came from must be certified, too. Otherwise, the RDS and Global TDS are almost identical, and both essentially uphold the Five Freedoms, ensuring that the ducks and geese whose feathers and down are collected are not live-plucked, malnourished, or mistreated.
There are a host of similar testing labs that exist to reinforce animal welfare standards, but the two mentioned above are the most prominent, and it’s difficult, if not near impossible, to make heads or tails of how rigorously they test.
Fur can come from animals that have been farmed (as is often the case with foxes and minks), or it can come from wild animals. Coyote fur, which is usually what you’ll see adorning parkas, is generally trapped or hunted. A lot of brands, such as Triple F.A.T. Goose and Canada Goose, source coyote fur from places where they’re deemed to be a problem species, either by way of overpopulation, mange, or invasiveness. Many brands make sure to list compliance and cooperation with game trapping laws and standards set forth by the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) in Canada and the Best Management Practices (BMP) standards in the United States.
With hunting (either by bow or firearm), animals are targeted and shot with the intention of a clean and quick kill. With trapping, the animal is snared and stuck there until they starve or freeze to death (or until a trapper comes along and puts them out of their misery).
The fact of the matter is that whether animals sought for their fur are trapped or hunted, many of them are killed solely for their hides, and that’s something you’ll have to be okay with if you decide to purchase fur. In many if not most cases, fur is not a byproduct of the meat industry, and in the case of coyotes and foxes (which are two of the most popular furs for parka trim), the meat can’t even become pet food due to the risk of mange, heartworms, rabies, and more.
If you’re still after fur, we get it. Fur looks and feels great, and does offer a moisture-wicking barrier and warmth that no synthetic material can match. Some of our favorites on the fur front are Triple F.A.T. Goose (comparable to, if not better than Canada Goose) and Moose Knuckles.
Check out our other winter gear buying guides
The best puffer jackets in men’s sizing you can buy
The best winter coats in men’s sizing
The best beanies you can buy
The best places to buy scarves online
The best thermal gloves you can buy
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]
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