Expensive upfront but built to last. Like luxury cars and stain-resistant couches, winter jackets belong to a special class: things best bought secondhand. Unfortunately, despite their shared fondness for waterproof coatings, used couches and used coats can’t both receive the same cursory check-overs. A modern winter jacket is a complicated thing—multilayered laminates, hidden seams and a web of pockets with functionality that could make a G-Wagon blush. While glance may reveal the secrets of a thrifted tee, when it comes to buying pre-love high-tech outerwear, a bit more knowledge is required.
With winter coming, we’ve prepared a guide to help both buyers know what to look for—and, in turn, sellers what to showcase—when shopping. Here’s everything you need to know before forging the market for a used winter jacket.
Broadly, a winter jacket is outerwear designed for cold, wet conditions—snow, sleet, hail, etc. While that seems non-specific, compare the run-of-the-mill The North Face with its thin, athletic spring equivalent and you will notice some glaring differences. As a general rule, a good cold-weather coat will be insulated, windproof, waterproof and designed for exposure. These qualities are not hard and fast: Some great winter jackets lack insulation, instead designed to be worn with layers.
For this guide, we’ll focus on 4 qualities that make the best winter jackets:
1. Face Fabric 2. Coating 3. Weatherproofing 4. Insulation
Each section will cover the basics you need to make an informed decision. Without further ado, let’s get bundled.