The Best Men’s Outerwear For Winter Adventures

Ski season is already looking a lot different this year. We will still be wearing masks but we can branch out and ski and snowboard in Europe, Japan and Canada as well as the United States. The uphill skiing boom will also continue, as people continue to enjoy aerobic exercise paired with solitude in the great outdoors. Cross country skiing, which enjoyed a renaissance last winter, is also set to grow even more.

Every outdoor adventure requires different equipment and you should plan accordingly with a jacket that can go the distance. Remember that for every winter jacket, there’s a smart layer to pair it with, so a selection of those are included. To round it out, I’ve added a necessary accessory as well.

OR Helium Insulated Hoodie

Outdoor Research (OR) came up with this ultra-lightweight jacket that’s especially welcome in the mountains, where it could serve as an under layer. It’s eminently packable for travel as well. The OR Helium Insulated Hoodie has a windproof shell made from Pertex® Quantum fabric with Diamond Fuse technology. The warmth comes from 60g VerticalX ECOSR insulation, made from REPREVE® recycled polyester and 37% bio-based Sorona®. It’s a sustainable piece, pairing partially recycled and naturally derived contents. OR says that “this combination of materials results in a higher-loft insulation, offering 20 percent more loft over regular VerticalX insulation.” Too technical for you? Let’s just say you can wear it on your flight to the Rockies and let it keep you toasty on Vail Mountain once you get there. $199.

Houdini’s Mono Air Houdi

Hoodies rule the winter months, whether you’re running, snowboarding, climbing  or trailblazing in the backcountry. Swedish brand Houdini has released its Mono Air Houdi, made from mono materials and engineered to reduce microfiber shedding by 80 percent. The aim is to reduce micro plastic waste ending up in the ocean. It is light and remarkably stretchy, truly torso-fitting. It’s good on its own when the temperature allows but because it’s breathable, it also acts as a great insulation layer. It’s essentially a four-season insulation garment for all types of outdoor activities. $200

Norrøna Trollveggen Superlight Down850 Jacket

When you want to stay warm while enjoying winter sports, it would be tough to find a more authoritative source than a Norwegian outdoor company that’s been around since 1929. Norrøna is known for extremely high quality and stylish winter clothing. Their new Trollveggen Superlight Down850 Jacket is the lightest and most-packable down jacket they’ve ever made. They claim it’s the lightest down jacket in the world with pockets. There are indeed two pockets and yes, it is remarkably light, with a near gossamer-like quality. It may be the ultimate layering piece, but also warm enough on its own for a morning walk in sub-freezing temperatures or as an indispensable layering piece for ski touring. The fabric is a high-tech and windproof 100% recycled 7D nylon and the fill is high-quality RDS-certified 850 fill goose down. Apart from being light, the jacket has a slim fit, with a slightly longer cut in the back. There’s a cuff closure and elastic bottom hem. It is the essence of simplicity and warmth. $349

Mammut Aenergy Air HS Hooded Jacket

This is one of the best ski shells that I’ve seen in a while. Mammut is a venerable Swiss brand and their new Aenergy Air HS Hooded Jacket is light and packable enough so that you can use it alpine skiing, ski touring or even as a shell for winter hiking. The outer material is Pertex Shield Air, which allows perspiration to easily escape. At the same time, it’s a hardshell jacket that protects you from the elements. It’s windproof, waterproof and tough. It comes with 2-way underarm zippers and a helmet-compatible hood. You’re good to go. $449

Crazy Men’s Pull Resolution

The Pull Resolution  hoodie is a mid-layer from the Italian sportswear company, Crazy, which is making inroads into the US market. The company is helmed by designed Valerie Colturi, a former cross country skier and climber based in the ski resort town of Bormio in Northern Italy. This is part of their Fast and Light Mountain Clothing Collection. Remarkably thin, the Men’s Pull Resolution will nevertheless will keep you toasty on cold mountain mornings and can serve as a solo layer when the sun is shining and the weather is tempered.  Made of HP3D fleece, it has a honeycomb structure for high breathability. It has a an elastic edge at the bottom, with a zipped front opening zippered pockets, a much more athletic fit than its American counterparts, and strong graphic design that is more Milan than Montana. $200.

Salt Life Thunder Jacket

It’s rare that a jacket seems to almost redefine a clothing style but the Salt Life Thunder Jacket does that. It’s a fine mashup of a rain jacket, a sailing jacket and something considerably more stylish that you could wear into a smart restaurant or hotel just about anywhere. This zip front hooded jacket is made with waterproof polyester fabric and has sealed seams, front pouch pockets, chest pocket, sleeve pocket, and an adjustable hood. There are underarm zip mesh vents, reflective metal mesh heat transfers and heat seal trims. The zippers are waterproof, there’s a cinch bottom band and an adjustable hood. The jacket has front and sleeve zip pockets, cinch cuffs with rubber logo tabs and a fabric tab at front neck for comfort. It feels technical but even with its tasteful logo, looks like something that would pass muster most anywhere. $176.

Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket

Jack Wolfskin is a German brand of outdoor wear that can be found all over the Alps. Their style is sporty and uncomplicated, and they have a reputation for durability. Thanks to their prominent logo, spotting one of their jackets on the streets of Zermatt or Chamonix is easy. The new JWP Down Jacket is an instant favorite. Part of their Pack and Go! Collection, it stuffs into a suitcase or backpack. It’s windproof, with rip stop reinforcement to improve durability and comfort when worn in harsh elements. The Stormlock shell is breathable, keeps the wind out and provides some protection from showers. It’s been filled with 700-fill responsibly sourced duck down. There are two hand pockets and reflectors, and it could be worn under a ski shell on a cold day. This is a very lightweight piece and the price is also right. $179.95

AETHER Paulson Insulated Vest

Given the vagaries of temperature, a jacket can be overkill, and sometimes, a vest is all you need. The  Paulson Insulated Vest is one of the most handsome pieces I’ve seen in a while, the kind of vest you could wear on the streets of Kitzbuhel after a day spent testing your mettle on the Hahnenkamm. The Paulson Insulated Vest is made from a premium Italian brushed cotton and lined with premium Italian recycled-fiber ripstop. It features custom AETHER quilting and is insulated with 100g of PrimaLoft® Bio™ insulation, made from 100% post-consumer recycled, biodegradable fibers. It has a donut snap at the center-front collar with logo snaps along the center-front placket. Additionally, there are welt hand pockets with hidden-snap closures and a hidden phone pocket in left-hand pocket and inside, a zippered chest pocket on the left side. It looks great on its own but also works well under a shell. $325.

Mountain Hard Wear Men’s Stretchdown™ Light Jacket

This is the kind of jacket that you could wear all winter long, from walking the dog to backpacking to staying warm during late fall and early spring outdoor forays. It has a nice, moveable feel, and is made with pockets of down insulation from a single stretch fabric. That makes the Men’s Stretchdown Light Jacket stretchable indeed. There are two zippered pockets and the insulation is high quality 700 fill goose down insulation. The jackets is treated with PFC Free DWR, but when the going gets wet, use it under a waterproof shell. The result is a jacket that offers freedom of movement for all sorts of winter activities. $240

Tracksmith Franklin Fleece

This independent New England brand headquartered in Boston headquarters has become a cult-favorite, a running brand in the city with the world’s most beloved marathon. The Trackhouse, their headquarters on Newbury Street, is their shop, corporate hub and even a community hub for local runners. The Franklin Fleece is their first-ever running fleece, a Polartec winter running jacket that delivers exceptional warmth across your core. It has breathable stretch panels and offers very good ventilation. Consider it for winter hiking as well. $158

Wūru® Men’s Everyday Merino Wool Zip-Up

This feels like a mid-weight fleece performance jacket, except that it’s not made of fleece. It’s made of Nuyarn® – The World’s First Performance Wool. Wūru says that “Nuyarn offers a proprietary spinning technology that releases the natural performance characteristics of wool.” That’s another way of saying that it’s an incredibly warm piece. There’s 15% nylon added to the NuYarn, the tailoring is topnotch, and it has a stylish, minimalist look, as well as a comfortable fit. The Wūru® Men’s Everyday Merino Wool Zip-Up jacket has invisible thumb loops, front zipper pockets and a large interior stash pocket. It’s a great addition to your winter wardrobe. $195.95 

Patagonia Downdrift Jacket

Sustainability is a core belief at Patagonia, which has launched the first-ever collection of apparel and outerwear made from Bureo’s fully traceable, 100% recycled fishing net fabric called NetPlus. By using it, Patagonia was able to divert 105 tons of discarded fishing nets from South America from ending up as trash in the ocean. The Downdrift Jacket has a retro look and is insulated with recycled duck and goose down from reclaimed products. Warm, durable and ready for winter in true Northern climes, from Minnesota to Manitoba. It has a removable insulated hood and two patch pockets. $299

SPY+ Marauder Elite Snow Goggles

Now that you’re geared up, don’t forget a new pair of ski goggles. SPY + has become my go-to brand for alpine skiing and ski touring. I like the wide field of vision they offer, the quality of the lenses and the fact that those lenses are easily changeable. They’ve used a magnet system for a while, but now their new SPY + Marauder Elite Snow Goggle utilizes a six magnet system that allows you to swap out the lenses even faster, which can be critical when your sunny snow day heads south fast as the clouds roll in. The new SPY+ model is the first to boast the improved optics of a Toric lens and also uses the Happy Lens technology, which harnesses the beneficial effects of longwave blue light. $270

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