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The 5 Best Women’s Winter Coats for Extreme Cold

With so many winter activities to try, you don’t want to miss out on the fun because your jacket isn’t warm enough.

No matter how bad the weather gets, wearing one of these top picks of the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold will ensure that you’re always protected!

Whether you’re looking for something athletic that can keep up with your winter sports or something to make long walks in the city a year-round activity, these picks have it all.

So read on for descriptions of the products and a buyer’s guide to make your choice a little bit easier.

Best women's winter coats for extreme cold

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Arcteryx Patera Down Parka

Budget Option
Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket

Best for Cities
Patagonia Down With It Parka

Best Overall

Arcteryx Patera Down Parka

It’s no surprise that Arcteryx is at the top of this list. The company is notorious for coming out with some of the most innovative designs and technology for extreme climates. And the Patera Down Parka is no exception.

The double-layered GORE-TEX creates an impenetrable outer shell that protects the goose down and polyester blended insulation. Ensuring the type of warmth that only real down can, while also providing the water and windproofing that all winter clothing needs.

Despite its thigh-length cut, this coat still keeps a low profile. The lightweight feel is maximized by the strategically placed synthetic insulation in areas prone to moisture. Made from polyester, the material doesn’t absorb water which helps keep sweat in the moisture-wicking nylon lining.

All of the above and more earns this jacket its top spot as the best women’s winter coat for extreme cold.


  • Lightweight
  • Completely waterproof
  • Down blend insulation
  • Moisture wicking


  • Pricy

Best Budget

Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket

With its affordable price, the Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket still has amazing features that easily place it high on this list of the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold.

The synthetic insulation might not be as effective as real down, but the inner thermal lining more than makes up for it. And according to previous customers, the water-resistant outer layer is supposed to be nearly completely waterproof.

Another favored selling point is the comfort cuffs. Thumbholes keep the sleeves in place while protecting the sensitive artery in your inner wrists, which can have a big effect on your overall warmth. Paired with the plush, fleece-lined hood for your neck and all the important areas will be kept cozy!

The sizing of these coats tends to run tight around the shoulders. To ensure this is the best women’s winter coat for extreme cold for you, be sure to try it on first. Or maybe go a half size bigger than you usually would.


  • Inner thermal lining
  • Water-resistant
  • Thumb-hole cuffs


  • Tight fit

Best for Cities

Patagonia Down With It Parka

Winter walks through the city will no longer feel treacherous with your new Patagonia Down With It Parka!

As another brand known for its outdoor gear and clothing, Patagonia did not disappoint with this product. Built with a removable hood, lots of pockets, down insulation, and a water-repellant outer shell, this women’s winter coat is the best for extreme cold and for keeping you looking stylish.

The slightly flared ends of this knee-length parka make the slim-fitting waist pop. Enhanced by the buttoned, side seams which can open up to give you a larger range of motion. Plus the modern pattern design of the insulation helps to create a flattering silhouette.

Without a completely waterproof shell, this coat may not be the best for outdoor expeditions. But city-goers can’t go wrong with this casual and cozy parka.


  • Long
  • Stylish
  • Removable hood
  • Good pocket design


  • Not waterproof

Arcteryx Atom Insulated Hoodie

Rated one of the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold in the Arcteryx family, the Atom Insulated Hoodie is definitely worth considering for your next purchase.

It may not be completely waterproof, but this lightweight jacket will keep you warm in even the toughest conditions. And a light windbreaker or rain jacket over top creates an impenetrable protective layer from the elements.

The breathable fabric also makes it a lot more versatile than some of the other products on this list. Whether you’re looking to climb a mountain or simply go for a stroll, the Atom is the perfect choice for keeping you feeling agile and ready for anything.

Lastly, its durability is meant to withstand years of repeated packing and unpacking into the tiniest spaces you can think of. For travelers, this product is the perfect last-minute addition to your pack.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Wind and water resistant
  • Good ventilation


  • Not waterproof

Fjallraven Nuuk Parka

If you’re ok with something a little bit heavier, the Fjallraven Nuuk Parka should be your top pick amongst this list of the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold.

The fleece-lined hood comes with detachable faux-fur edging for whenever you need that extra bit of warmth and protection. And added features like the drawcord at the waist and closures at the wrists work to keep every bit of your body heat safely trapped inside.

The bulk of this jacket also means there’s that much more room for pockets! With fleece-warmed hand pockets, top-loading bellows pockets, and four inside pockets, there’s nothing you can’t bring with you on your adventures.

To top it all off, a waterproof and breathable membrane made from recycled polyamide makes it perfect for both your casual outing and for when you want to be a bit more adventurous.


  • Lots of pockets
  • Adjustable hood
  • Breathable and waterproof membrane


  • Heavy

Women’s Winter Jackets Buyer’s Guide

Types of Winter Jackets

Winter jackets can be divided into four main categories. Insulated parkas, casual jackets, and ski or snowboarding jackets often take the top spots amongst the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold.

The tougher, waterproof exteriors of those types are what make them so popular. But lightweight insulated Puffies can be a lot more versatile, especially with the right layers.

Their shells might be a little more fragile but even the longer styles are much easier to pack and keep you just as warm. As long as the weather stays dry, it’s always a good idea to have a puffy around during cold seasons.

Besides that, the best women’s winter ski and snowboarding coats for extreme cold tend to have extra features for fastening and cinching. This is to help keep the coat in place while you move around so that each type of insulation stays in its designated area.

Insulation Materials

For keeping warm, natural down insulation will always be your best option. But it also can’t get wet. The best women’s winter coats for extreme cold are made either completely from a synthetic insulator or a blend of natural and synthetic materials.

There are also some coats that treat natural down with a water-repellent coating. By treating each individual feather at a molecular level, this type of coating is extremely effective. It is also quite expensive.

In terms of your synthetic options, there are three main design options for the fibers used to insulate the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold. The first is to create a cluster of a bunch of tiny fibers to mimic tufts of real down. This is primarily used by North Face and is said to be the best option.

Others, like Marmott, allow the tiny fibers to move completely independently. The last option is to use the fibers to create a continuous filament layer. Arcteryx tends to use a mixture of all three of these options in their designs.

Best women's winter coats for extreme cold

Shell Materials

Insulated parkas, casual jackets, and ski or snowboarding jackets are all hard-shell products. Meaning there is a hard layer of waterproof material above the insulating layer. This outer layer will be a little stiff and will compromise certain amounts of breathability to keep water out.

Some of the most effective hard shells are made from the layered materials of GORE-TEX, eVent, or NeoShell. Out of the three GORE-TEX is the most popular and renowned for its technology. Recently, eVent has become its biggest competitor and maybe even started to outshine them.

For soft shells, the insulated layer is usually coated with some sort of water-repellant. This alleviates the added weight of the hard shell membrane. But it also makes the water resistance weaker. Which is not the best in a women’s winter coat for extreme cold.

The most popular treatment for soft shells is DWR, which stands for Durable Water Repellency. Meant to increase the surface tension of the material it’s applied to, DWR causes water to bead on the surface of clothing. Unfortunately, it will wear over time and become less effective.

Layering Construction

The membranes of hard shells can be layered using three different constructions. The best women’s winter coats for extreme cold will often have 3-layered waterproofing. Where the first layer is face fabric covering the actual membrane, with a liner underneath.

The main difference between the 3 and 2.5-layered coating is that 2.5 might have some sort of coating on the face layer and they use a non-fabric material on the inside. While 2-layered clothing doesn’t always have a liner and doesn’t have the face fabric.

2-layered shells are the heaviest option. Making them the best for traveling and day-to-day activities. While 2.5-layered shells are the lightest and better for hiking or mountaineering.

Fit and Comfort

Even the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold can be hard to size properly. Especially the longer ones.

Looking at each company’s size guide can be really helpful, but it’s also good to know the general tailoring designs that each brand is known for.

For the average individual, Columbia and North Face have the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold that also offer a variety of sizes. The North Face has more technical clothing in sizes that will fit most wearers. But Columbia has slightly cheaper materials but offers their jackets in standard, tall, and plus sizes.

Whereas brands like Arcteryx and Patagonia have amazing products and technology, but very limited fits. Not only because their coats are a lot more tailored than the average product, but because their technology tends to make their materials stiffer.


Well-placed pockets are a massive selling point in all the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold. Besides the obvious pocket choices, things like elevated hand pockets in parkas add a lot of comfort. And zippered pockets are necessary for keeping things safe during your outdoor activities.

When buying a coat for traveling, the weight is really important. Having removable aspects in the design of the coat can be extremely helpful for creating a more versatile product for every specific trip you intend to take.

Drawcords and cinches are some other really great features that can elevate a product to the title of one of the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold. The ability to fasten the openings of your coat traps a tremendous amount of heat. It also allows you to customize the feel and fit of your coat a bit more.

Finally, another feature that can add versatility is layering within the coat’s design. There are lots of companies that now create a three-in-one style coat with zippered layers that can be removed to adapt to each situation.

women's winter coats

Wrapping Up the Best Women’s Winter Coats for Extreme Cold!

Face any weather with one of these top picks of the best women’s winter coats for extreme cold. Whether you’re looking for some stylish city warmth or the perfect winter hiking fit, this list has everything you need!

And be sure to check out our Winter in Minnesota article for everything you need to make the most out of the snowy months!