Winter can be an unpredictable season. (I mean, have you seen what’s going on in the East Coast right now??) If you are outside a lot like us, picking the right outer layer is an essential part of any adventure. What you should wear on the Washington coast versus hiking in the Cascade Mountains is very different – there’s not a one-coat-fits-all scenario for all activities. Therefore, this season, we teamed up with Sypder Activewear to put their coats through the ringer to see if they can withstand all the wear and tear we put them through this winter. In this post, we’re going to share the best winter coats & jackets to wear this season, and our favorite places to explore for each!
5 Winter Coats & Jackets To Wear in The PNW
1. The Puffer
These coats are essential for light winter travel. Usually down-filled, puffer coats can be packed into small spaces when not in use. However, don’t let their small size detract from their powerful ability to keep you warm! Down consists of the lightweight feathers that come from ducks and geese. Packed together, these feathers create tiny air pockets, thus creating an effective barrier between you and the outside elements. Bring a puffer jacket when hiking to Scenic Hot Springs, so that you can easily stuff it in your bag while you soak in the dreamy Cascade Mountains.
2. The Parka
Parkas can be recognized by their length (usually extending to the mid-thigh) and meant for keeping its wearer warm in frigid temperatures. Nearly all parkas have a water-resistant layer, keeping you warm in light rain and snowy conditions. We would recommend wearing a parka when snowshoeing on Hurricane Ridge because the exposed trail can get verrry windy and cold!
Read Of More Parkas: What To Expect For A Sunrise Hike At Palouse Falls
3. The Raincoat
A raincoat is an absolute STAPLE if you are planning to visit the Pacific Northwest, any time of year in any season. We recommend purchasing a waterproof shell like this one so that you can layer warmer coats (like a lightweight puffer!) underneath for extra warmth. Here’s a great article from REI if you’re interested in finding the right one for your activity. If you are heading over to the Olympic Peninsula, we highly recommend packing a high-quality rain jacket to keep you dry in those temperate rainforests!
Read More: Our 20+ Favorite Raincoats For The PNW
4. The Jean Jacket
This one isn’t so much for warmth as is it for style. A good winter jean jacket leaves room for layering a hoodie or sweater for extra coziness. Bonus points if you can find a sherpa collared one! A jean jacket is the perfect outer layer for a chill weekend at a mountain cabin or running errands around town.
Read More: Morning Hike At Lake Wenatchee
5. The Puffer Vest
A puffer vest is the perfect layer for when you need maximum mobility while still keeping your core temperature warm. This blog post by Refridewear explains the purpose of a vest and why it can be an important item to your active wardrobe. Vests let your arms move freely without having that extra bulk! We recommend wearing a puffer vest when doing activities like setting up camp on the Washington coast or hiking up to Heather Lake in the morning.
*Bonus* The Utility Jacket
With several pockets, a utility jacket is the best choice for having all your gear within arm’s reach. This jacket is perfect for the outdoor photographer, gear lover, or someone who simply loves having their chapstick, phone, and keys all at their fingertips. Layer it over a warm, fuzzy hoodie to give yourself an extra layer against the cold climate! We think this jacket is best used when exploring the coast like at Cape Kiwanda, Ruby Beach, or Cape Flattery.
Need some location inspiration with your favorite coat? Click these maps for more adventure ideas!
Thank you, Spyder Activewear for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are our own and we only share what we personally love and recommend.
What are some of your favorite winter coats & jackets to wear during the winter? What are some of your favorite activities to do outside with them? Let us know in the comments below!
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