Never before has a good, warm coat been so important than during this pandemic. Insulated jackets have become a must-have during the past 12 months, with most of us taking more walks than ever before, sitting on park benches for longer and – when restrictions allow – hanging out in the beer garden of the local pub until late.
Now is the time to invest in a solid insulated jacket, not least because with summer coming, many are on sale already. Plus, you’ll want something to keep you toasty on all those late evenings spent outdoors with your rule-of-six-adhereing friendship group.
To find the best jackets out there right now, we’ve spent the past month rigorously testing the biggest brands. We’ve taken them on brisk dog walks, tested them while sitting out in the garden on a frosty morning, and spent wintry evenings staring at the stars.
We even took them for a spin during one of the windiest weeks of the year, so we could decide which had the best protection from the unpredictable British weather.
If you’re in need of a solid insulated jacket, look no further. These are the best available to purchase right now.
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Mountain Warehouse Alaskan 3-in-1
Best for: Great-value versatility
Simply put, this jacket offers the most for your money. It’s not the most stylish – though it does have a nice fit – and while its RRP sits at £199.99, it’s still an excellent investment.
The key feature here is that it’s two jackets in one, offering you three different options for all weathers. The interior insulated down jacket is lightweight but cosy, with decent deep pockets and elasticated cuffs to keep your arms warm when there’s a wintry chill in the air. The outer waterproof layer is also lightweight and while it’s not insulated, it fares well in the rain and has a hood and deep, zipped pockets – perfect for a wet spring or summer day. Together, they make an excellent insulated jacket for cold, rainy days.
The inner insulated layer is easy to remove from the outer layer and just as simple to reattach, with a zipper mechanism on the front and poppers on the sleeves and back of the neck. As this coat is long, coming to just above the knee on our 5”2’ tester, it keeps the thighs and bum toasty warm and is ideal for park-bench picnicking.
Arc’teryx atom LT hoody
Best for: Rainy spring days
This lightweight jacket doesn’t feel like it’ll be hugely effective but it really does a good job of keeping you warm. It has coreloft compact insulation – a synthetic material designed to keep you warm even if it gets wet. The outer layer is water-resistant and while not entirely waterproof, we walked for around 40 minutes in the rain and it kept us dry and warm the entire time.
The insulated hood has a nice fit, with a slightly stiff cap to keep it out of the eyes and a toggle at the back for tightening. The jacket has a useful inside breast pocket and deep pockets on the waist, all with zippers, and it comes in seven different colours. We loved the flattering fit and its slightly longer-than-usual length. Given it’s so lightweight, it’s ideal for sticking in your backpack when you’re heading off on a long walk.
Regatta serleena II waterproof insulated fur trimmed hooded parka
Best for: Style and substance
We love the look of this parka-style jacket with its faux-fur trim and cinched waist. But aside from style, it also has serious substance. For starters, it’s waterproof and has taped seams to keep you dry even in a downpour.
The faux-fur trim is removable so you can wash it when needed or remove it if you know it’s going to be a wet day, and the hood has toggles for adjusting it to the right fit. It does well in the wind, too, with its thick outer layer keeping you sheltered from the chill. It also has excellent pocket game: dual access to its front pockets comes via a popper flap at the top or zip on the sides, and there’s an internal security pocket for safekeeping.
This coat is long, so it keeps the thighs warm and dry, and the fishtail hem means it’s still easy to move about in. It comes in four colours, but we love the classic khaki green.
Parka bomber jacket
Best for: Staying on trend
We lived our best Karamo life wearing this bomber jacket around town in February this year, and it kept us pretty warm while on the go. The faux-fur collar and inner not only provide warmth but are smooth on the skin, though the inner sometimes gets caught in the front zip. The insulation is mostly recycled PrimaLoft, and its pockets have zips for keeping your belongings safe. There’s an interior pocket, too, and a utility pocket on the sleeve which seems more for style than function, though you could potentially store some cash or your cards in there. The outer fabric has a slight shine to it and feels really high quality, though it does let a strong breeze in, so it needs layers underneath.
Allbirds trino puffer
Best for: Sustainability
This great puffer jacket is stuffed with sustainable, ethical goodness – literally. While traditional puffers tend to be made from synthetic fabrics, toxic water repellent chemicals and animal down, this one is different. Its exterior is a merino wool and Tencel blend, so it’s soft to touch and largely natural, plus it has a fluorine-free water-repellent finish for keeping you dry. Inside you’ll find more Tencel (a type of rayon made from wood pulp) and recycled polyester. Its kudos doesn’t come at a cost, either. It’s still as warm as you’d expect, it looks great and has a pair of handily deep pockets. This jacket is ideal for chilly spring mornings or mild winters. The only downside is that there’s no hood, but if you’ve got a woolly hat you’ll be laughing.
Montane women’s flylite packable down jacket
Best for: Springtime sports
This lightweight insulated down jacket has to be one of the most practical on the market. Created by Montane, experts in adventure and endurance clobber, it is not just incredibly warm but also exceptionally comfortable. Its lightweight nature means it’s flexible, making it ideal for outdoor workouts or sports, and its insulated hood is the best-fitting one we’ve found. It really hugs the head to keep warmth in and doesn’t cover your eyes at all, making it a completely practical wet-weather coat. There’s a cinch hem at the bottom to reduce heat loss, and the entire jacket packs away into its own interior pocket, making it a fantastically portable piece of outdoor wear. It’s a close-fitting jacket with a slight exterior shine, so it looks pretty sleek, too.
Klättermusen alv hoodie
Best for: Adventurous types
With PrimaLoft insulation, this jacket by Swedish company Klättermusen is as warm as it is stylish. It’s both smart and practical, with minimal quilting and a fluorocarbon-free water repellent treatment on the outside. An elasticated pull on the hood enables clever fitting for when it rains, and it has a two-way zip so you can ventilate when necessary. Elastic arm cuffs ensure no heat escapes, and the jacket is bluesign approved, meaning it has met the sustainability standards for responsible manufacturing.
The best thing about this jacket is its zipped pockets – rather than sitting closer to the hips, they sit right beneath the breast area. This means the jacket is compatible with a climbing harness, so it’s perfect for the adventurer in you, and it means you can fill your pockets with phones, wallets and more without it impacting the style and shape of the coat.
Berghaus tephra stretch reflect down jacket
Best for: Mid-season rambles
A stylish and flattering jacket packed with Hydrodown insulation that keeps you toasty inside and a Pertex Quantum outer layer that stops the wind from blowing a chill through the coat, this Berghaus piece is a brilliant investment. It’s not entirely waterproof, but the treated goose down inside is hydrophobic, meaning it won’t retain water and dries out fast.
The coat has a light stretch to it, meaning it’s easy to move around in and is perfect for walking or more technical adventures like climbing or even running. It has zip pockets and the insulation runs all the way down the arms and into the hood, too, to ensure no part of you is left out in the cold. The soft elasticated cuffs also add warmth and ensure the breeze doesn’t get up your sleeves.
Columbia women’s grand trek down jacket
Best for: Extra cold evenings
Columbia is one of the top outdoor gear brands and its down jacket doesn’t disappoint. It has so many excellent features – the soft, extra cuff with the thumb hole, for example – and is so well insulated, it’s an absolute steal at £140 right now. The jacket is waterproof and seam-sealed and has a clever thermal reflective interior that keeps your body heat inside. It has a drawstring adjustable hood and zippered pockets, and its stitch-free baffle design means it looks great while keeping you warm and dry. Size-wise, we wore the large, which came up a little tight on our UK14 tester, so it might be worth getting a size up from your usual choice. It comes in either blue (which is currently on offer), “nocturnal” or black – we think the latter is most stylish.
The verdict: Women’s insulated jackets
The Mountain warehouse alaska 3-in-1 is by far the best value jacket on this list, which is why it’s our best buy. We’ve been wearing it for all sorts of activities and it’s the perfect insulated jacket if you want something versatile.
We’re also huge fans of the Arc’Teryx atom hoodie, though, because it’s so lightweight and incredibly effective. A shoutout also needs to be given for the Columbia grand trek down jacket, too – those thumb holes in the sleeves are a really great added touch and the fit is just beautiful.
If you are looking for something a little more lightweight check out our 9 best women’s trench coats for Parisian style this spring
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