Winter Coat Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by friskinator, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    So it looks like me and my wife will be moving to Canada (Montreal, specifically) later this year. As someone who has always lived in the American southeast, I've never really needed a serious winter coat that's equipped for frigid temps. I'm not really sure where to start looking, and I know there are several TB members that are used to living in cold climates.

    Right now is apparently a good time to shop, since stores are trying to get rid of their winter inventories. What criteria should I be looking for with a coat like this? I'd like something somewhat fashionable as functional, so any advice would be appreciated.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I love my LL Bean "big coat" - I got too fat for it this year though. Duluth Trading has great stuff for XXXL sizes - my current #1 is their "Whaleback" jacket - very warm.
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Eddie Bauer.

  4. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    In big puffy michelin-man down coat, I've been using an Eddie Bauer Ridgeline for a while. Just the thing if you need to stand around in the cold.


    What may make a lot more difference, and does not bulk up nearly as much, would be a good polypropylene base layer. Thin but highly effective, while not getting in the way of moving. Polypropylene, t-shirt, sweatshirt/sweater, windbreaker if the wind is blowing - and a set under your trousers, and undersocks under your socks will keep you warm while letting you move (say, while learning the new-to-you sport of snow-shoveling). Then you can put the michelin-man coat on top when you are just standing around in the cold.

    Also, hats. With ear coverage.

    Be humble and let some new friends up there take you out in an empty parking lot and teach you how to drive in the snow. Trying to teach yourself on the street is a VERY, Very Expensive method. And I guarantee that Atlanta has not taught you what you need to know in Montreal.
  5. The key is layers. Your coat should have a top layer that cuts the wind. Fleece under the top layer and multiple layer underneath. Be sure what ever you get has a hood, you'll need it.
    Of equal importance form my perspective is boots. If your feet are warm, you will feel warm. The opposite is also very true. Look for boots rated to at least -100C. I know that number seems ridiculous, it's not. My winter boots are rated at -100C. My feet have never been cold and I ice fish out in the open all winter long.
    These guys know boots!!!!!
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    1. Not every coat is the same - check the temperature ratings. You get what you pay for.
    2. Good down is unmatched for warmth, and is light.
    3. Get something that doesn't end at the waist.
    4. Do you want a hood?

    LL Bean parkas - excellent quality, and unmatched customer service. My wife got 20 years of daily use from one - it still works, but is finally starting to look old, so is getting another. Not a bad run. They are not cheap, but are worth every penny. Eddie Bauer is kind of the "west coast" Bean.
    MJ5150 and shadowtippy like this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    IMO: forget about fashion. it's all about function.

    and FWIW: has anyone ever seen a canadian who looked 'trendy'? :roflmao:
    DirtDog likes this.
  8. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    Isn't Justin Bieber Canadian?
  9. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    I'm a fan of layers as well. I like my outer layer ( the main coat ) to be on the large side with a bit of space to allow air to heat up. My current coat is a goose down field master from sears. I have a carthartt and an LL Bean. This is far cheaper and far warmer. It just is.

    I guess I'm odd. I prefer coats that end at the waist and snap there too. My field master has a double snap. If the weather calls for it I wear a fleece hoodie under it and usually a long sleeve and a t shirt. It's got me through blizzards in Oregon and a couple deep freezes in Philly.

    I took a few pics here at work and realized someone stole my usb cable for my I phone. Jack asses. I'll pop the pics up when I get home I guess.
  10. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    My Eddie Bauer has been great, when its really cold I where a fleece underneath , always warm and toasty
  11. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    New York
    I just picked up a London fog winter jacket that I’ve been very happy with. Was on sale st Macy’s for around 100 bucks. Definitely a great time to be shopping winter wear. Good luck with the move!
  12. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member he trendy? or just a trend? :D

    FWIW: i was just kidding: i love canada and canadians. i've spent good money learning to speak the language. my wife speaks canadian fluently! we sometimes sit around in the evening and enjoy some folksy canadian repartee.

  13. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Order/buy a North Face parka from Sail ( I just picked one up half price over the holidays. 3-1 down liner jacket with breathable/waterproof shell and a hood. Worked great over the recent cold snap.

    I own multiple winter jackets and this one is my favourite.

    THE NORTH FACE Clement Triclimate Men's 3 in 1 Ski Jacket
  14. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Canada? Then you will need one of these:

    JimK, fretter and MJ5150 like this.
  15. I use multiple coats of varying design and insulating materials, and insulation levels. An oversize parka like a Carhartt, with synthetic insulation, that has a very durable outer shell that can be used alone, or with a down vest, and even a fairly bulky down coat underneath it. The Carhart alone is ok for down to about 30F if you are not undertaking any physical activity. They don't make the one I own anymore, but this is similar: Quick Duck Sawtooth Parka

    Under that, or on its own, a down jacket that does not extend far below the waist, and does not have an attached or removeable hood. The one I have is a Mountain Hardware, that they called a sweater. It is 800 fill power down, and the down is in "boxes", or "tubes" meaning it s not sewn through like a quilt, which results in cold spots where the stitching creates thin spots.

    Another step up, is a thicker down jacket that goes below the waist, and has a non-removeable down hood.

    A removeable hood is usually not as warm as a permanently attached hood.

    The next level is not using the Carhartt as an outer parka, but using an oversized Columbia down insulated parka over either of the above listed types of jackets. This parka has a down insulated "snorkel" hood, with a removeable synthetic fur ruff on it. Removing the ruff increases visibility when using the hood in the snorkel mode.

    I own an older version of the Mountain Hardware Absolute Zero Parka, that is very warm, and very well designed. Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Parka - Men's This parka is an example of box rather than quilted construction that makes a much warmer parka. This is an example of the difference between a Sears parka, and a real parka. It costs more to make but you get what you pay for. Mine fits under my oversized Columbia down parka for incredible warmth.

    Canada Goose makes some of the best cold weather coats you can buy. Not cheap, but very warm, and very well made.
    For extended time outside in the coldest temperatures, (twenty below F or colder), I break out the Canada Goose Snow Mantra Parka: This is the parka you need if you will be going to Antarctica. When I bought my Snow Mantra, I discovered that there are counterfeiters in China selling fake Canada Goose parkas on eBay, so shop carefully if you buy a Snow Mantra. I have a pair of their down insulated bibs. With just this parka, and bibs, wearing only a pair of cotton briefs underneath, I stood out on a frozen lake in -20F temperature, with a 15mph wind, and did not have to batten down the parka to its warmest setup. I actually had to unzip the parka after a while to verify that it was very cold out.

    Mountain Hardware, Marmot, The North Face, and Columbia all make great cold weather gear.

    Many down coats have a percentage of fill that is not down. Read the label of any coat you are considering. You don't want waterfowl feathers. 100% goose down is very good.

    Understand fill power: Fill power - Wikipedia

    Baffin makes some of the warmest boots I have ever owned. Like this: APEX

    Merino wool is a very soft and fine wool that comes in a few grades. The finer the better. It does not cause itching, it insulates even when it it is wet, and has natural anti microbial properties that keep it from getting smelly. I have bought merino wool sweaters at Goodwill second hand stores for only a few bucks apiece. I have bought new as well. It is expensive but is very warm. I also buy regular Woollrich shirts too.

    The base of my cold weather dress is a pair of polypropylene liner socks, under wool socks. Silk top and bottom long underwear, under 100% merino wool long underwear.

    If you will be physically active in very cold weather, you have to ensure you don't saturate your insulation with water vapor from your body. Wool insulates when it is wet. Most synthetics, don't absorb moisture. Polypropylene is used for cold weather base layers because it does not easily absorb water, and it dries quickly. Cotton clothing does not dry easily once it is wet, and if you are active enough to make your cotton clothing damp, and then you cease the activity, you will become cold very quickly.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
    SLIV and bass12 like this.
  16. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones?

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Welcome to Montreal in advance. I remember you mentioning a few months ago that you were visiting this past summer to check out the city for a possible future move. Some good suggestions so far about coats. My question is, what exactly do you want the coat/jacket for? Casual walking in the city? Recreational activity (skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, etc.)? If you are not expecting to use the coat/jacket for recreational purposes then I would look at something with down insulation (as Hoochie Coochie man suggested above). Canada Goose is pretty popular here and, yes, I saw an article recently discussing knock-offs. A representative from Canada Goose was quoted as saying that their coats never go on sale so if you see a price that seems too good to be true, it is. There are quite a few North Face dealers here so you see a lot of North Face jackets around town. Lots of options and I think that, in general, you get what you pay for.

    I gravitate towards jackets and shells that are designed for skiing and hiking/climbing. That means a breathable shell with Gore-Tex and pit-zips. My favourite shells have been made by Arc'teryx and Patagonia (not cheap but worth it if you want durable and functional wear with excellent warranty coverage). I then have seven or eight fleece tops of varying thicknesses and designs (all by Patagonia) that I use to layer underneath my shell, as well as a "puffy" liner-type jacket that is very warm (though not as breathable as fleece). For just walking around town I have a North Face jacket that I bought on sale a few years ago. It has stood up pretty well but is not the most breathable garment.

    Also, keep in mind that some jackets are more waterproof than others. I would recommend getting something that is fairly waterproof, as the precipitation here during winter can go from snow to freezing rain to plain rain. Ideally, you want to avoid something that will shed snow but absorb rain. And, yes, a hood can be a real blessing on blustery days (removable hoods are great if you will be using your jacket for recreational purposes). If you need more cold weather clothes once you are in Montreal some good places to shop include MEC and La Cordée (as well as the ubiquitous Atmosphere shops that you'll find in any number of malls).

    One thing about Merino wool: if you have very sensitive skin (as I do) it can still cause itching.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Only suggestion I have is to not believe Macy’s 40-50-60% sales. They’re BS. Whatever price they’ll give you in Macy’s you can get cheaper on Amazon. Take a picture of the tag, and do a search.

    I recently believed I saved hundreds of dollars buying 2 winter jackets. When I got home I decided to price check. I saved $40 returning what I bought and ordering them on the Zon.
    pjbassist, MJ5150 and friskinator like this.
  18. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    It would be used for casual walking around town. We're not outdoor sport/recreation people, so I can't see paying for features that I don't need. But waterproof definitely sounds like a must, from what you're saying. We have a North Face store (and an outlet, which is often cheaper) in my city, so maybe I'll drop by and try some things on. I don't mind spending a bit of money as long as it's a durable product that I'll get years of use out of.

    Thanks to everyone else who has offered suggestions. This will definitely take some getting used to, but if it means not enduring the hot (and getting hotter) summers in the south, I can live with that.
    bass12 likes this.
  19. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    ...and for (potentially, not always) great closeout values online, look to sierra trading post. WHile some of the "deals" are not very much of a deal, some are quite decent (if not in a hurry, sign up for their spam-e-mail and they'll make you a better offer than what you find without it shortly.)
    Pilgrim likes this.
  20. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    For future reference, might I suggest a Chrome browser extension like Wikibuy or Honey?
    As Mr. Daltrey said, you won't get fooled again.
    For the record, price checking works best before you make a purchase Joe.

    Stumbo, Joe Nerve and buldog5151bass like this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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