The New Year is here and it’s time to get out and get busy. Thankfully, the festivities are finally over, and there’s plenty of the winter left to make the most of. But whether you’re heading off on holiday or staying home and getting out weekend-warrior style, you want to make sure that you’re prepared. Warmth and weather protection is paramount, and there’s plenty of hot gear in the jacket and insulator categories this winter to provide both. We’ve picked a few of our favourites from the huge selection in store.
Black Crows have expanded their new, super-tight line of outerwear this season to include more options and colourways. This is the first season we’ve stocked their softgoods and we’re impressed with everything about them. The quality of construction and the fine detail (like that chevron-branded internal seam taping), along with the awesome understated style and fit make them a sure-fire hit for us. The Ventus is a minimalist touring-friendly GORE-TEX shell for high alpine applications, and because it’s Black Crows, it’s packing bags of urban style. Super nice.
Planks have also expanded their range in recent years, introducing more technical high-end options like the awesome Yeti Hunter collection. The Yeti Hunter jacket is a technical shell that uses RIDEdry20 fabric to offer impressive waterproofing and breathability stats that complement the solid, stylish look and feel. With a bunch of useful pockets, a relaxed fit and loads of technical features, it’s a true standout in the already impressive Planks line.
If you want something with a little more insulation, the Ether Down Thermagraph from 686 is a really nice option. A 20k waterproof rating will keep the elements at bay, while body-mapped down insulation provides key warmth in areas where you need it most. Strategically non-insulated spots keep weight down and allow improved breathability to prevent overheating when you get active.
Just because you’re a member of the fairer sex, doesn’t mean that you don’t demand technical performance and quality from your outerwear. And thankfully, products like the Patagonia Powder Bowl are here to answer your prayers. The two-layer GORE-TEX polyester shell with DWR coating will keep the rain, snow and wind at bay, there’s all the pockets and vents you need for a day on the mountain, and it’s rocking a handy RECCO safety reflector too. Top quality stuff.
For great waterproof and windproof protection that offers a little more insulation yet doesn’t lack in street style, go for something like this Saga Oxford Parka. Parka styles are so hot this season, and Saga’s is a great example in some really nice colourways. It’s crafted from SAGA-TEK two-layer poly stretch fabric that feels super nice, and it’s offering 60g of cosy insulation in the body with 40g in the hood and sleeves. Style and function!
At the more affordable end of the spectrum is DC’s Skyline Pullover, made from their Exotex 10k waterproof fabric and rocking a vintage-inspired look. We love the simplicity of the jacket, while the fit and feel give the impression of something at a much more high-end price-point. If you want something that looks great, with street style and technical features on a budget, then the Skyline is a banger.
Our love of the humble insulator is no secret, and we’ll always jump at the chance to tell you about a few of our favourites. Whether you’re using them as a midlayer or rocking them on their own, there’s a huge variety on offer. This Cerium LT option from Arc’Teryx is super high quality, as you’d expect from the Canadian brand, and it’s got some clever features to help bridge that midlayer / standalone divide. Instead of just offering quality lightweight down throughout, they’ve incorporated synthetic insulation in the shoulders and other areas where you’re likely to get wet if caught out by a shower or two. You can always trust Arc’Teryx!
TNF’s Thermoball insulation was developed with Primaloft as a new approach to the age-old problem of creating a comparable synthetic alternative to down. Obviously, synthetic insulation has one-up on down in that it retains its insulating properties when wet, but the problem is always that it’s not as light or as packable. Thermoball takes a different approach, using small round balls of fibre to mimic the clusters you get with down. It’s pretty damn effective, and this example happens to look great too.
The high-loft and stretchy Hyperpuff from Patagonia is what you need to keep you warm in demanding high alpine conditions. As well as offering superb flexibility and range of motion when you’re wearing it, the Hyperpuff is super packable for a synthetic insulator that’s as warm as this. It compresses down small, then springs back to that amazingly lofty warmth as soon as you unpack it. Patagonia quality and the resilience of synthetic insulation in a proper packable package.
Mountain Hardwear claims that their awesome Ghost Whisperer is the lightest fully-featured down jacket in the world and we’re not inclined to argue with them. As well as looking great, it’s packing 800-fill down insulation that’s treated with Q.Shield moisture-resistant technology to keep you warmer for longer in inclement conditions. Lightweight, compressible down warmth, with a great fit – what more do you want?
The SL stands for Super Light, so you can be sure that this Atom hoody from Arc’Teryx isn’t going to weigh you down. Aimed at high-output activities in cold climates, using 40g/m² Coreloft Compact insulation, it’s the ideal standalone for touring missions and trail runs in cold, dry conditions. It’ll also work great as a mid-layer if the wind picks up or the rain and snow starts to fall. You can always rely on Arc’Teryx to make a great-fitting garment, and the Atom SL is no different.
We couldn’t get through a jackets and insulators piece without mentioning a Fjallraven product. We love the brand for their alternative approach and use of traditional and alternative materials. More often than not the images don’t do them justice – it’s not until you get your hands on them that you truly feel that quality touch. This Keb Lite insulator is a fine example, made form 100% recycled polyamide and padded with G-Loft Supreme insulation it’s great at keeping you warm, even in damp conditions.
There's plenty more to explore in the range, whether you're looking for something affordable, top-end, gore-tex, insulated, shell or anything in between. So, dive in and check out the range. Or jump over to our jackets and layering guide to learn what's what.