New York City, the location of Gear Patrol’s headquarters, is not known for its mild winters. A better characterization of the climate in the Big Apple during the colder months of the year would be temperamental, capricious, volatile. Once November turns toward its latter days, long-range weather forecasts cannot be trusted; two-day long blizzards are just as likely as a week of temperatures in the upper sixties. The standby norm tends to be gray and cold with a chance of precip — a reliable winter jacket is indispensable. To choose an outermost layer is to perform a balancing act of style and function, and each of us weighs these elements with different results.
Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody
I’ve had this Atom LT for four years. It’s handled just about everything I’ve thrown at it from travel, to rock climbing, to snowboarding, to hiking and it still looks the exact same as the day I bought it. Most importantly though, it’s breathable and keeps me comfortable. I tend to overheat in insulated jackets, but this one hits the sweet spot. — AJ Powell, Project Manager, Gear Patrol Studios
I’ve had this coat for three years. It’s the first heavy-duty parka I’ve ever owned, and it is incredible: incredibly warm, incredibly water- and windproof and, I’ve gotta say, incredibly good looking. It’s very expensive, but I could literally wear a t-shirt under this coat and be super comfortable in crazy cold temps. Its multitude of pockets are useful, and the vents and snow ruff are, dare I say, ski-friendly. It fits a bit snugly because of the cut and serious down fill. Also, I have it on good authority that if you wear one while test driving a purple Bentley convertible, your brother may note you “look like a pimp.” — Nick Caruso, Coordinating Producer
Eddie Bauer Microtherm Stormdown Hooded Jacket
When Eddie Bauer first started designing custom jackets, roughly four years ago, I had the chance to create one. The initial process allowed me to select colors for everything from the body to sleeves to the side panels, even every zipper pull and interior lining. It was, to say the least, overwhelming, and I picked the Dark Pine color for practically everything. Regardless of the low-key design attributes that I tried to infuse in it, once the jacket arrived, I quickly realized how great the fit was for everything from running in sub-freezing temperatures to hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail. This jacket works just as great as an outer layer as it does a mid-layer thanks to its streamlined fit and side stretch panels. Plus, the deep green is neutral for me, so it works with all my gear. — Meg Lappe, Editorial Coordinator
Aether Nordic Jacket
After moving to New York from California in the summer of 2018, I knew that I was unprepared for the looming winter. I asked co-workers and friends about what features they felt were important in an all-purpose winter jacket. The overall consensus was that I needed a down coat that was waterproof, wind-resistant and stylish enough for the city. After perusing stores online and in Manhattan, I landed on the Aether Nordic Jacket in black. It had everything, plus nice extras such as felt accents, easily accessible pockets and the most comfortable/warm hood I have ever had. The best part about the jacket is that I don’t have to layer and can wear a light shirt under it for easy on and off going from place to place in New York. — Joe Tornatzky, Art Director
Patagonia Nano Puff Bivy Pullover
Weighed against the standards of most typical, space-efficient people, my penchant for collecting winter coats might be deemed problematic. I have a lot of them, and I’m not going to minimize, a lot of great ones. Down jackets, synthetic jackets, fleece jackets, shirt jackets, ski shells, windbreakers — I don’t know how anyone chooses one of each let alone just one total. It makes designating a favorite more difficult by magnitudes, but if I have to pick, my Nano Puff Bivy takes the prize. Not because it’s lightweight, packable or versatile enough for year-round use, but because it’s the one with the history. It’s been to snow-covered volcanoes in Siberia and up jagged peaks in the Rockies; it facilitates winter bike commuting in New York City and autumn camping in Vermont; it’s been in and out of Patagonia’s repair shop and has the patch to prove it. It’s accumulated enough memories that, even as other jackets come and go, it’ll always be in my closet. — Tanner Bowden, Staff Writer
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.