Top 10 Jackets for Winter Weather

The wintery conditions are in full flow, and the elements can be a major turn-off for those of us desperate for a new adventure. It is important to stay motivated when the weather takes a cold turn, as keeping fit and embracing the great outdoors should be experienced all year round. Wherever your adventures take you this time of year, it is essential you kit up correctly so you can stay protected, insulated, and comfortable on your trail hikes, climbs, camping trips, and morning strolls. That is why Cotswold Outdoor has compiled our Top 10 Jackets for Winter Weather, displaying the best in practice jackets for different activities, needs, and budgets; so, you can take on the blizzards, freezing rain, cold snaps, and everything else the season throws at you. Not every jacket is perfectly suited for both men and women, which is why we have included different jackets in some categories.


Please Note: To be fully insulated and protected in any cold weather environment, you need a combination of a specialised outdoor jacket and at least one thermal base or mid-layer.


An essential first point is knowing the differences and benefits of waterproof jackets and water-resistant (or water-repellent jackets) as these features are not just arbitrary names, they have specific and important differences that you should consider when making a purchase. Water resistance is crafted from the fabrics used, such as nylon and polyester. These materials are woven with such tightness and precision that water simply does not pass through without a fight. The extent of this tightness determines whether a jacket is waterproof, or water-resistant. A waterproof jacket offers the highest standard of protection from rain, hail, and snow, but with that standard, comes drawbacks. The fabrics are so tight that liquids simply cannot get through, which works both ways. Water-resistant jackets offer more of a balance, these fabrics are tightly wound, but with some ‘give.’ This allows the fabric to breathe, and while you won’t be fully protected from the harshest of conditions, you will stay almost completely dry. So, when it comes to purchasing a waterproof or water-resistant jacket, be sure to consider how and when you intend to use it, as these should be the determining factors in your purchase. 

1. Durability

Men’s - Rab Ascent

First on our list is a men’s jacket crafted for its unwavering resilience in hostile conditions – the Rab Ascent. Both durable and water resistant, the Ascent is a stitch-through down jacket with a Pertex® Endurance outer for cold-weather trails and mountain climbs, walks, and hikes. The hood and cuffs are made from Pyrotec® - a synthetic insulation that will dry quickly when caught in wet weather. Designed using Pertex® Quantum Pro with 650 fill hydrophobic down you can stay warm, dry, and protected when the temperatures drop, and the rainfall is heavy. There is plenty of space for layering due to Rab’s straighter cut than most Alpine jackets. It comprises one internal pocket so consider what you take with you carefully. Down can be vulnerable when exposed to the elements, that’s why Rab has crafted the Ascent jacket with fast-drying Pyrotec® synthetic insulated cuffs and hood, which marry very well with down to create robust, insulated, and comfortable fabrics for all your cold outdoor activities. The helmet-compatible with flexible polymer wired peak hood and face fabrics are made using Pertex® Endurant which is windproof and highly water-resistant, keeping your head warm and protected so you can focus on your adventures. Comprised of 280g of minimum 650 fill-power down (fill power is a number defining the relative quality of down), this heavyweight down jacket is designed so you won’t need too many layers - although you will need at least one thermal layer to be fully insulated. All these features combine to deliver robust comfort so you can go the distance, whatever the conditions.

Women’s - Montane Duality

First on the list is our durable women’s jacket - the Montane Duality. Crafted for all intrepid hikers and mountaineers, we know security and trust in your jacket are essential when out on the peaks and in harsh conditions. The ultimate solution to insulation and weather protection in one, the Duality combines fully taped seams and waterproof 100% 40D GORE-TEX™ with 55% recycled PrimaLoft® insulation for warmth (D = Denier – a unit of measurement that defines fibre thickness of individual threads of textiles or fabrics). Features include 100% recycled PEAQ™ Synthetic Eco polyester, a fully adjustable roll-away insulated hood with stiffened peak, full-length YYK AquaGuard™ front zip with an internal storm flap and a multitude of pockets, including an external chest pocket for all your adventure’s accessories. Weatherproof and fully seam-taped construction delivers warmth, comfort, and quality built to go the distance. This jacket could feature across several of our categories in truth, its luxurious versatility shines through in several environments, but its robust resilience stands out, giving you the comfort and protection needed to excel on the peaks, trails, and hills. A definite must-have for those who find themselves battling the elements on the regular.

2. Versatility & Active Breathability

Patagonia Nano-Air®

For those who can’t sit still, the Patagonia Nano-Air® was built to be worn for the entirety of your diverse, start-stop alpine adventures. So, you're never slowed down by changing layers. Ideal for both men and women, the Nano-Air®’s warm, stretchy, and breathable FullRange® insulation dumps excess heat when you're working hard and keeps you warm when you're not. Fair Trade-Certified sewed, the partly recycled shell and lining offer exceptional breathability, flexion, and improved abrasion resistance with a micro-texture finish that creates excellent next-to-skin comfort. Features of the jacket include a centre-front zipper with chin garage, sleek, low-bulk, snag-resistant variable conditions cuffs, two zippered handwarmer pockets, and a zippered left-chest pocket that the jacket can self-stuff into when required. Delivering comfort in harsh winter conditions, this jacket will keep you protected from the elements while allowing your body to breathe, keeping your core temperature regulated on all your adventures. An 87% recycled shell and 40% recycled insulation demonstrate Patagonia’s environmental mission, and the Nano-Air®’s lack of a membrane means you will stay cool, whilst letting your natural perspiration pass through your jacket without any overheating. Suited for all environments, activities, and adventures, the Patagonia Nano-Air® is a must-have for those who find their temperature fluctuates on those chilly winter pursuits.

3. Waterproof and Weather Protection (2-in-1)

Rab Valiance

Ideally suited for both men and women who regularly find themselves up against harsh winter conditions, presenting, the Rab Valiance. Insulated and windproof, this jacket will withstand cold, rough weather with box-wall construction for optimised down lofting and insulation. To provide the waterproofing, the Valiance is built with a fully taped Pertex® Shield outer and recycled 700FP down with a Nikwax® fluorocarbon-free Hydrophobic finish. The Valiance delivers its premium insulation using Rab’s 2-way adjustable Stratus synthetic sheet insulation in the hood and cuffs and a dropped hem improves warmth on the lower back. Bonded narrow box-wall construction reduces the jacket’s weight and bulk so you won’t be bogged down when out on your pursuits. Implementing a YKK VISLON® front zip with an internal zip baffle and YKK AquaGuard™ zipped hand warmer pockets add an extra element of insulation for when the terrain is steady, but the conditions are harsh, and the cuffs come with hook and loop adjustability so you can manage your jacket to suit you and your activities. Weighing a fair 753g for the men’s jacket, and 682g for the women’s, you can take on blizzards, downpours, peaks, and trails in comfort with the Rab Valiance, a comfortable and hardy companion for those wintery adventures. 

4. Technical All-Rounder

Men’s - Mountain Equipment Lhotse

For the men requiring the best all-around performance for mountaineering in all weather, there is the Mountain Equipment Lhotse. The multi-award-winning Lhotse Jacket remains Mountain Equipment's best-selling GORE-TEX™ Pro jacket. The latest evolution of this mountaineering classic represents the most innovative blend of function, weight, and durability. Features include a 3-layer GORE-TEX™ Pro 40D Fabric and 80D reinforcements, a seamless face panel for maximum comfort, a fully adjustable mountain HC Hood with Cohaesive™ cord locks and an alpine-ready fit with articulated and pre-shaped sleeves with adjustable laminated cuff and dual tether hem drawcords design. With a laminated and laser cut inner pocket with YKK zip and 2-way YKK moulded AquaGuard™ centre front zip, your insulation and weather protection are increased, keeping you warm, dry, and protected from the conditions; and with a weight of 500g, the Lhotse delivers luxurious comfort, durability, and wind and waterproofing for taking on harsh conditions. Get ready to get out in the mountains.

Women’s – Rab Xenair Alpine

Built for climbers, mountaineers, skiers, hill-walkers, and multi-day trekkers, the Rab Xenair Alpine is an adaptable high-performance synthetic insulated jacket, perfect for alpine adventures on foot or skis. Offering reliable, instant warmth and temperature regulation when output increases, the Xenair Alpine is built with a lightweight 20D Pertex® Quantum Air outer, making the jacket highly breathable and weather resistant. It is insulated with two densities of 55% recycled PrimaLoft® Gold Active+ insulation, strategically body mapped to provide warmth where you need it and breathability in high-heat areas. This effectively regulates temperature when the incline steepens or the temperature drops, maintaining warmth when static and increasing airflow on the move. In addition to packability and warmth, the Xenair Alpine boasts a full alpine feature set. It has an insulated, helmet-compatible hood with a semi-elasticated face opening and rear adjustment. Articulated sleeves increase mobility with elasticated gussets at the cuff for a seamless fit with gloves. The Xenair Alpine jacket has a two-way YKK VISLON® front zip which allows for easy belaying, with an insulated zip baffle and a comfortable chin guard. Negating the need to change layers and provide warmth when you need it most, the Xenair Alpine is an intelligent, hardworking jacket ideal for fast and light alpinism, mountaineering, and climbing in winter conditions.

5. The Everyday Jacket

Men’s - Fjällräven Skogsö

The hip-length, well-priced, and lightly padded Fjällräven Skogsö is the ideal general men’s jacket for those super cold but drier adventures. Just as comfortable trekking as it is when biking to and from work. It delivers wind and water resistance protection whilst simultaneously providing great breathability, helping your perspiration exit the jacket without letting too much water in. Crafted from 65% polyester G-1000 Lite in the main and 65% polyester G-1000 Original on the shoulders, the Skogsö provides premium insulation and comfort whilst remaining lightweight and flexible. Its features include two chest pockets and two side pockets, two-way zip in the front hidden behind a protective flap that has push buttons at the hem, in the middle of the chest and at the chin. In addition, there are two large mesh pockets on the inside, perfect for storing gloves or a hat when the weather improves. Coming in at a weight of 610g, it is lightweight, and with the Skogsö’s return on comfort, protection, and insulation, it is a great jacket to use during harsh winter conditions. 

Women’s - Jack Wolfskin Oban Sky

Waterproof, windproof, and breathable, our everyday women’s jacket is the Jack Wolfskin Oban Sky. Coming fully equipped to protect you from the elements, whether on the trail or on your commute. Crafted with 100% recycled polyester, weather-protective TEXAPO with PFC-free DWR treatment (only treated with naturally occurring water-repellents) and waterproof with a 10,000mm hydrostatic head (HH) rating (HH is a way of measuring how waterproof a fabric is). Its fixed, fully adjustable hood can be altered with draw cords on either side and features a stiffened peak for extra protection. The body contains a full-length centre zip with a chin guard, two zipped hand pockets for added insulation and one internal zipped chest pocket for added storage. Coming together to create a highly capable and durable outdoor jacket for winter, for those whose activities aren’t too extreme, this a great option. 

6. Our Planet/Environmental Criteria

Men’s - Patagonia Torrentshell 3l

Simple, modest, and responsible. The trusted men’s Patagonia Torrentshell 3l is a benchmark jacket for those who want to make a more considered choice. Meeting one or more of our environmental criteria, and featuring in Cotswold Outdoor’s Our Planet collection - the Torrentshell uses 100% recycled three-layer H2No Performance Standard technology for exceptional waterproof/breathable performance, all-day comfort, and long-lasting waterproof durability. This lightweight jacket excels come rain or shine with the two-way adjustable hood that stows with a simple cord-and-hook design. The microfleece-lined neck provides comfort & protects with a waterproof/breathable barrier. And weighing in at 395g, you can confidently march through your hikes, hill walks, and alpine trails. The Torrentshell jacket self-stuffs into the left-sided pocket for added convenience. Patagonia also has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2025 through wholesale changes in their manufacturing and continues to donate 1% of their profits to many environmental causes, they know how their clothes are made and want to encourage more responsible practices worldwide. 

Women’s – Patagonia Triolet

Born from tradition and infused with responsible, considered modernity, the women’s Patagonia Triolet is a mountain-focused hard shell for heavy snow, driving wind, and pouring rain. Meeting one or more of our environmental criteria, and featuring in Cotswold Outdoor’s Our Planet collection - the Triolet’s 3-layer GORE-TEX™ fabric features a waterproof, breathable membrane bonded between a robust inner lining and a Fair Trade Certified sewn 100% recycled durable polyester outer shell; a durable water-repellent finish further fends off wet weather. The helmet-compatible, two-way-adjustable hood with a laminated visor blends protection with optimal visibility; traditional cord locks in the hood and hem allow for quick adjustment; an interior stretch mesh catch-all pocket stashes spare gloves; two Napoleon chest pockets and two handwarmer pockets stay clear of harness and pack lines. As mentioned in our men’s Torrentshell, Patagonia has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2025 through stringent operational changes and continues to donate 1% of their profits to many environmental causes, they know how their clothes are made and want to encourage more responsible practices worldwide.

7. Ultimate Value

Men’s – Mountain Equipment Makalu

Delivering the most bang for your buck, the ‘all-activity’ men's Mountain Equipment Makalu is a highly protective GORE-TEX™ jacket for hiking and mountaineering that blends function, weight, and durability at a very fair cost. At £270 RRP, we acknowledge this isn’t a ‘budget’ option, however, the Makalu’s features, performance, comfort, and style should come in at a much higher price than this. Combining 100% recycled Polyamide GORE-TEX™ 50D and 75D fabrics, a reinforced 3-layer GORE-TEX™ 75D, alpine fit, and mountain HC Hood, the Makalu provides an ideal balance of waterproof protection, durability, and weight for year-round use. The Makalu features a reflective internal scrim for additional warmth, a large 2-way YKK moulded centre front zipper, double layer offset baffle construction, inner pockets and a large insulated, adjustable hood that will protect your head against the elements. Water-resistant pit zipper for venting and breathability even when you’re beginning to perspire and a moderate weight of 530g. It is rounded off by articulated sleeves that provide freedom of movement and hook-and-loop fasteners on the cuffs to keep the sleeves in place. This jacket is ideal for those who don’t want to compromise on comfort, weather protection, insulation, breathability, and flexion. A tour-de-force of features, granting it ‘ultimate value’ status in our list. 

Women’s – Rab Downpour Plus 2.0

Featuring in our Exceptional Value range and made with a recycled Pertex Shield 2.5-layer fabric with Dry Touch, the lightweight women’s Rab Downpour Plus 2.0 jacket has several premium features for comfort, water-resistance, and practicality at a great price of £140 RRP. Ideal for hill walking, multi-day treks, and everyday use, this jacket is crafted with 100% Recycled 40D Polyamide, Pertex® Shield 2.5L technology, fluorocarbon-free DWR, and Fair Wear™ foundation, providing innovative, insulated luxury. Comprising a helmet-compatible hood, fleece-lined chin guard, Velcro adjustable cuffs, and hem drawcord help the Downpour Plus 2.0 delivers exceptional insulation and a secure, comfortable fit. With a YKK AquaGuard™ front zip and internal storm flap, and 2 YKK AquaGuard™ zipped A-Line chest pockets to store the essentials. The left pocket doubles as an integrated stuff sack, so it easily packs away. Ideal for passing showers at the crag, or walking in rolling hills, the Downpour Plus 2.0 Jacket is a wonderful jacket for the cost – lightweight, waterproof, comfortable, and stylish, an ideal garment for many diverse conditions and activities. 

8. Lightweight

Montane Pac Plus

Built for both men and women, and designed for mountain and hillwalking, fast hiking, and long-distance trekking, the exceptionally lightweight Montane Pac Plus employs waterproof 100% GORE-TEX™ Paclite Plus technology, upgraded with a comfortable dry-touch backer. A fully adjustable hood and weather-resistant pockets make this ideal for any mountain activity where packability is vital, seamlessly packing away into its own pocket, this is a quick fix for when the weather takes a turn. Striking a great balance of features and weight for a day in the hills, the Pac Plus provides a full-length two-way YKK reverse coil front zip for easy access to harness, two mesh-lined map-sized hand pockets with YKK AquaGuard™ zip, fully adjustable roll-away hood with stiffened peak, shaped cuffs with adjustable hook and loop tabs, and a mid-height collar for weather protection, all coming in at a very light weight of 285g for the men’s and 255g for the women’s. For all your moderate adventure needs, the Montane Pac Plus has you covered – all from your own pocket. 

9. State-of-the-Art

Mountain Equipment Saltoro

A pioneer in the industry, the Mountain Equipment Saltoro jacket is an innovative, lightweight, and protective shell with a hybrid GORE-TEX™ construction for trekking and backpacking in the mountains. Expertly crafted for both men and women, the 100% polyester membrane, 3-layer GORE-TEX™ 75D, and PACLITE® fabrics (PFC-free DWR) combine to give a lightweight, waterproof, comfortable shell that retains the durability required for regular outdoor use with or without a pack. Mountain Equipment's Alpine fit is completely unrestrictive for all-day use whether hiking, hill walking, multi-day trekking, climbing, or just on your daily commute. The Saltoro’s proven fully adjustable Mountain HC Hood is a reliable refuge in the worst weather and its articulated pre-shaped sleeves provide maximum comfort and freedom of movement whatever the activity or conditions. The body comprises two large pockets with YKK WR zips, and YKK WR underarm venting zips provide additional insulation and padding, all at a low overall weight of 430g for the men’s version and 380g for the women’s. Dual tether hem drawcords complete this innovative masterclass of a jacket, making this our star of 2023, and the benchmark for future specialised jackets. 

10. Innovative Windproofing

Rab Infinity Microlight

The Rab Infinity Microlight stays true to its original purpose, an insulated jacket for year-round mountain use, but with the added wind and weather resistance of GORE-TEX™ Infinium Windstopper®. Crafted for both men and women, this jacket is specialised for dealing with the high winds of climbing, mountaineering, and multi-day hiking, the outer fabric is super lightweight with impressive weather protection, coping with light snow, spin drift, and moisture. Despite its premium windproofing, the Infinity Microlight is exceptionally breathable and soft to the touch, the ideal down jacket for all your mountain adventures. Built with zoned micro and nano baffles, the 700FP P.U.R.E recycled down with Nikwax® hydrophobic finish has been body mapped to optimise insulation, warmth, and breathability where you need it. Also proficient for hiking, scrambling, and climbing adventures, it has a slim, active fit and a warm, helmet-compatible, down-filled hood with a stiffened peak for complete protection. Highly compressible, the Infinity Microlight can pack down easily into its small stuff sack and stashed in your pack to be pulled out as the weather changes. Providing an adjustable helmet-compatible hood with stiffened peak, the Microlight delivers luxurious comfort in rugged terrains in the harshest conditions. The body houses YKK VISLON® front zipper with an insulated storm flap, YKK concealed zippered chest pocket, two YKK VISLON® zippered hand pockets, and zoned micro and nano baffle stitch. As the name suggests, the Infinity Microlight is a slim fit, but you can size it according to its intended use, and with its light weight of 452g, you can stay insulated, comfortable, and not bogged down on any of your adventures. 

This completes our list, these jackets are leaders out on the peaks, trails, in the wet, snow, hail, and storms, whatever your adventures, be sure to consider carefully what you need so you can thrive on your pursuits. 

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