Post Summary: Best Types of Winter Jackets To Wear In The Pacific Northwest
Updated November 2021
Winter can be an unpredictable season, especially in the Pacific Northwest! If you are outside a lot like us, picking the right outer layer is an essential part of any adventure.
This is why we’re breaking down the essential winter coats and jackets to wear in the Pacific Northwest.
In this post, we’re going to share the best types of winter coats & jackets to wear in the Pacific Northwest our favorite places to explore for each, and product suggestions of course!
Five Winter Coats & Jackets To Wear in The PNW
1. The Puffer
Puffers are some of the best hiking jackets for cold weather. 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.
Pacific Northwest Winter Adventures With a Puffer Jacket:
- During bluebird winter days, pack this type of coat for winter hikes in Washington state!
- Take a snowshoe trip to Taggart Lake in Grand Teton National Park.
- Hike up to Scenic Hot Springs and soak under a canopy of snow-covered trees.
2. The Parka
Parkas can be recognized by their length (usually extending to the mid-thigh) and are meant for keeping their wearer warm in frigid temperatures. Nearly all parkas have a wind and water-resistant layer, keeping you warm in light rain and snowy conditions.
Pacific Northwest Winter Adventures With a Parka:
- Perfect for exploring Idaho hot springs (you can easily take it on and off, plus it’s SUPER warm!)
- Driving around Banff in winter, checking out all the magical winter stops.
- Hopping in and out of the Boiling River in Yellowstone National Park.
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 add warmer layers underneath as you see fit. It’s also an essential layer to include on any backpacking gear list!
Pacific Northwest Winter Adventures With a Rain Jacket:
- Exploring Washington Beaches (Like Cape Flattery, Ruby Beach, or Rialto Beach)
- Hiking to God’s Thumb on the Oregon Coast.
- Exploring Cascade Mountain hikes, like Wallace Falls Trail.
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 the style. A good winter jean jacket leaves room for layering a hoodie or sweater for extra coziness.
Pacific Northwest Winter Adventures With a Jean Jacket:
- Taking fun day trips from Portland Oregon
- Outdoor adventures around San Francisco, California
- Taking a Northern California Road Trip
Read More: Morning Hike At Lake Wenatchee
5. The Fleece Layer
While this may seem like simply just a winter layer, sometimes only a fleece is required in the Pacific Northwest winter! If you are spending time indoors with only brief moments outside (think something like this dreamy Oregon coast cabin!) a simple fleece is all you need.
Wearing a fleece jacket can also work on long hikes, so you can peel off layers down to your fleece as you warm up. You can also wear a fleece for setting up camp on the Washington coast or hiking up to Heather Lake in the morning.
Tip: For maximum mobility and ease of use, get a fleece with a full zipper!
*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.