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.

Follow Alex on Instagram here.

Tags: alyx, karrimor, junya-watanabe, visvim, stone-island, l-l-bean, ll-bean, canada-goose, uniqlo, barbour, mackintosh, puffers, fleece, nike, arcteryx-veilance, arcteryx, moncler, patagonia, acronym, down-jackets, primaloft, gore-tex, the-north-face