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Review: Outerwear for cold weather

POSTED: October 17, 2017 9:01 a.m.
Grant Olsen/

Sweater weather is swiftly transitioning into jacket weather. And the better you’re prepared, the more enjoyable it’ll be.

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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — The mountains are dusted with snow and some folks are even waking up to the sight of snow piled on their cars in the morning. Yes, sweater weather is swiftly transitioning into jacket weather, and the better you’re prepared, the more enjoyable it’ll be.

This article looks at a handful of outerwear options that could help you comfortably make it to spring.

Aventura Chantel Poncho

PRICE: $79

GRADE: A-

This comfy poncho is perfect for the cool days before winter truly takes hold. It’s got a T-neck and cross-body seam detailing, for a unique look that also provides warmth. And unlike most ponchos, the sleeves can be pulled down lower on your arms to provide more coverage on colder days.

With a surprisingly soft fabric blend (35 percent rayon viscose, 30 percent wool, 25 percent nylon, 5 percent cashmere and 5 percent silk), this poncho’s not at all scratchy or itchy. And it can be paired with a coat when the temperature drops.

L.L. Bean Ultralight 850 Down Hooded Coat

PRICE: $259

GRADE: A

This popular coat from L.L. Bean is super lightweight, yet provides solid protection from the elements. In fact, of all the water- and wind-resistant coats the company makes, this one’s the lightest.

The Ultralight 850 gives ample coverage from the cold, with an adjustable hood and an extended length that falls to midthigh. It’s loaded with 850-fill goose down insulation that’s coated with DownTEK. This treatment ensures the down absorbs much less moisture than traditional down while drying two-thirds faster.

The 100 percent dense ripstop nylon shell repels water and wind but is still malleable enough to allow you to pack down small for storage. For a long coat with serious warmth, the Ultralight 850 is as convenient as they come.

Adidas Fast X High GTX Boots

PRICE: $185

GRADE: A-

These hiking boots certainly aren’t intended for trekking through deep snow, but they’re ideal for cold weather. The GORE-TEX lining keeps your feet warm and dry, while the Ortholite insole provides advanced cushioning and breathability.

The outsole on the Fast X High GTX is perfect for slick surfaces, with TRAXION lugs that really dig into the terrain. It’s actually designed in partnership with Continental Rubber, a standout manufacturer in the auto and bike tire realm. The result is an outsole that provides about 30 percent more traction in wet conditions compared to other boots on the market.

Bernardo Fashions PrimaLoft Contrast Bib Hooded Walker

PRICE: $188

GRADE: A

This ultra-comfortable coat is filled with PrimaLoft Silver, a hybrid with 60 percent down and 40 percent PrimaLoft synthetic fibers. PrimaLoft is a synthetic insulation that was originally developed by the military in the 1980s. It behaves similar to regular down, with the big difference being that it retains nearly all of its insulation when wet. So if you want to comfortably endure the wet weather of winter, it’s a really solid option.

Housing the PrimaLoft fill are a 100 percent nylon shell and lining. While they provide great protection from the elements, the coat can be packed down to about the size of cantaloupe for storage. In fact, the coat makes a great travel pillow when it’s packed into the included bag.

Other features include a drawstring hood and a bib that zips out when needed. For warmth and protection in a convenient package, this coat is a great option.

Muck Pursuit Supreme Boots

PRICE: $219

GRADE: A-

These boots eschew style for pure, unadulterated utility. They’re made for times when you need extreme stability and weather-protection. And, like other Muck product, they deliver on all fronts.

First off, the Pursuit Supreme boots are 100 percent waterproof so you can wear them in any conditions. And they’re insulated with 5mm neoprene, which seals in the warmth and is also quite comfortable on your feet. To ensure the boot’s lifespan, the neoprene has a secret ingredient called Spandura, which protects against wear and abrasion.

Inside the boots is a fleece liner that keeps your feet warm in temperatures dipping as low as -40 degrees. Even though these boots are built like tanks, they’re actually quite flexible and foot friendly. And they have a rugged outsole that will keep you stable and safe on rough or slick ground.

Icebreaker MerinoLOFT Departure Jacket

PRICE: Varies by retailer

GRADE: A

Icebreaker uses a unique insulation called MerinoLOFT for their Departure jacket. It’s an excellent alternative to synthetic downs, with comparable warmth-to-weight ratio, breathability and water resistance. One major benefit is that MerinoLOFT is machine washable.

The Departure jacket excels in cold weather with a rugged polyester body. To increase its abilities, the polyester is treated with durable water repellent, helping it repel water and resist saturation. And the sleeves, hood and pockets are all made with heavyweight wool for durable warmth.

On the interior, this jacket has a soft merino flannel lining. Combined with the adjustable hem and hood, you can really seal in the warmth.
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