When winter comes, you need a nice warm coat to keep the cold at bay. But with so much choice out there, how do you know which one is the most comfortable, or the warmest? Which will keep you dry? And how do you avoid looking like a giant marshmallow? Afterall, we want to look stylish too, right?

The cold wet weather shouldn’t stop us from getting outdoors. Fresh air has so many health benefits, so with a good winter coat, there’s no need to be cooped up inside as the temperature starts to drop. We’ve put together a list of the warmest waterproof coats for winter to help keep the whole family toasty and dry this season.

What type of winter coat is the warmest?

It’s much easier to stay warm than it is to get warm, so you need a coat that traps body heat. There are two basic types of insulation in a warm winter coat: down and synthetic insulation.

Down insulation

Down is the soft and fluffy feathers underneath the normal feathers of ducks and geese. Down insulated jackets are usually the warmest as they’re better at retaining heat. And they’re often the lightest too. However they are more expensive than synthetic filled jackets, and they don’t perform too well in wet weather.

Synthetic Down

Synthetic fills are a good choice for cold and damp conditions. Synthetic insulation is much better at handling moisture than down as the fibres have been treated so they are hydrophobic and do not absorb water. That means if they do get wet, they retain most of their insulating properties. They also dry much more quickly compared to natural down jackets, and are a lot easier to clean.

Fill Power

When you're shopping for an insulated jacket, you’ll need to check the fill power of the down. The higher the number, the more space the down takes up and the warmer it will be. If you just want a coat for everyday use—to go shopping and walk the dog—then a fill power of around 500 should be more than suitable. But if you’re an outdoorsy person and need a jacket which will protect you from the harsh, bitter cold, then go for one which has a rating of 600 or higher. It’s important to note that Decathlon and most other major outdoor brands ethically source the down as a product of the food industry to avoid any form of animal cruelty.

Size

When it comes to size, it’s usually a good idea to go one size up if you can. You’ll need room for layers as a coat won’t keep you warm enough on its own in bitterly cold weather.

Are all winter coats waterproof?
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To stay warm, you also need to stay dry. So while it’s important to have a well-insulated winter coat, the outer shell also plays a huge part in how warm or cold you will feel, and not all will protect you from the rain. Water-resistant is not the same as waterproof. A waterproof jacket will keep you dry in heavy rain and snowfall, whereas a water-resistant outer shell will only keep you dry in light drizzle.

A quality winter coat should always keep wet weather away and keep wind from getting in to steal your body heat. Drizzle and downpours can ruin a day out, or a weekend away, so it’s important to have a warm waterproof coat. A quality jacket can make all the difference, so what makes a good waterproof jacket?

You need a coat that’s well-made and practical. It needs to have a waterproof and windproof hood, watertight pockets, and it needs to be lined to keep you warm. Lightweight waterproof jackets are often compact so you can stuff them into your backpack, but they’re unlikely to keep you warm in winter. Though if you do already have a trusty light waterproof jacket, then layering it over an extra warm down jacket is also a good option.

How waterproof a jacket is will depend on its waterproof rating. The higher the rating, the longer the fabric will remain waterproof for. Check out our handy guide to waterproof ratings.


Guide to Waterproof Ratings
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Jackets with a rating of under 2,000mm are suitable for everyday use, like shopping or walking the dog. They may also be suitable for walking and camping, as long as you’re not expecting heavy rainfall. A rating of 5,000mm or more is suitable for all weather conditions, great for a serious trek in bad weather. And the higher rated jackets will usually be breathable too, making them perfect for any moderate to high level of outdoor activity.

What technology goes into Quechua waterproof jackets?
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Quechua is Decathlon’s own hiking and camping brand. Founded in 1997 in the French Alps, they’ve been designing and innovating for more than 20 years to make the right clothing and equipment for our customers.

Since the launch of the 2-second pop-up tent in 2005, Quechua has never stopped inventing. And reinventing, with their modular hiking trousers that become shorts in the blink of an eye. And it’s that level of detail, innovation and technology that goes into their waterproof jackets too.

The Components

The resistance of a fabric to a water pressure expressed in mm of water column is measured (test based on the ISO 811 standard). The higher the pressure, the more waterproof the fabric. A component with an impermeability of 2000 mm therefore resists the pressure exerted by 2000 mm of water (which corresponds roughly to a downpour of 2 hours).

Water Repellency

The water repellency of a fabric is its ability to let water run off its surface without absorbing it. Thus the textile does not soak up water and remains light, breathable and warm. Water repellency is obtained by a treatment applied to the outer face of the fabric. This treatment needs to be renewed during the life of the garment (we recommend every 3 washes). All Quechua rain jackets have a water repellent treatment.

Shower test

The different jackets are validated in a shower test under a certain number of litres of water / m² / hour for several hours (depending on the requirement). This test reproduces the conditions of a more or less severe thunderstorm in the mountains.

Breathability

The product's ability to release water vapour produced by the body. In addition to the breathability of the fabrics used, Quechua is developing technical solutions (zips, vents, mesh, etc.) that improve the overall ventilation of all of its jackets designed for hiking. These ventilation systems both regulate the temperature inside the garment and facilitate the evacuation of perspiration generated by the body during exercise.

The fabric

To find out if a fabric is breathable, we measure its evaporative resistance RET (test based on the ISO 11092 standard). The lower the resistance, the more the fabric allows the water vapour generated by the active body to escape, and the more breathable it is.

Membrane or coated component

The coating is like a paint applied to the inside of the fabric which makes the component waterproof while remaining breathable. It is often less expensive than a membrane, and requires a liner to protect it. The membrane is a kind of very thin plastic film (polyurethane) which makes the component waterproof while remaining breathable.

It has the advantage of being more flexible, lighter, more durable and often more breathable than the coating.

Find out more about the Quechua brand and its products.

Our pick of the top 10 winter coats

The warmest waterproof jacket for you will depend on your activity. A coat to wear for the school run will likely be very different to one worn for hiking or skiing. And cold weather runners or cyclists will have different requirements too. We’ve put together our list of the best warm waterproof coats for men, women and children, to keep the whole family warm and dry this winter:

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Women’s SH500 U-Warm Waterproof Hiking Parka

This ultra-warm and protective parka is super stylish, with its anti-blizzard faux fur hood and drawstring waist for a perfect fit. It’s the ideal jacket for hiking in the cold, snow and wind, and it offers optimal protection against the cold, even at temperatures down to -20°C. It has a warm and waterproof comfortable lining, and it has lots of handy pockets so you can keep your valuables safe.

We love it because:

✓ It’s stylish

✓ Keeps you warm in the snow

✓ Lots of colour options

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Men’s SH500 X-Warm Waterproof Light Snow Parka

Ideal for winter hiking enthusiasts, this lightweight very warm waterproof coat is halfway between a parka and a padded jacket. It keeps you warm, even down to temperatures of -15°C, and it has warm pockets and a double cursor zip for easy ventilation. It’s super comfortable, offering maximum protection with minimum weight, and the 2,000mm waterproof coating can withstand the equivalent of a rain shower lasting 2 hours.

We love it because:

✓ Removable faux fur hood

✓ Lightweight & comfortable

✓ Easy ventilation

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Kids’ 500 Ski Jacket

Our team—parents of young skiers—developed this ski jacket to keep kids warm and comfortable on the slopes. With 100% taped seams, this jacket will keep them dry all day long, whatever the weather! The snow skirt adjusts automatically when the jacket is fastened to prevent snow from entering at the bottom of the jacket, and it has 5 pockets with 1 ski pass, 1 secure inner pocket and 1 inside goggles pocket to keep all their belongings safe.

We love it because:

✓ Snow skirt adjusts automatically

✓ Excellent storm protection

✓ Inside goggles pocket

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Women’s 700 3-in1 Waterproof Trekking Jacket

This stylish 3-in-1 jacket features I-reflect technology which improves insulation by 15% and keeps you warm even down to -10°C. The waterproof membrane and taped seams will protect you from a 3-hour storm, and it has 9 practical pockets (including 5 zipped and 2 fleece-lined), and it has a removable inner jacket so you can adapt it to suit any climate.

We love it because:

✓ 3-hour storm protection

✓ Removable inner jacket

✓ 9 handy pockets

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Men’s 3-in1 Waterproof Trekking Jacket

Travel the world in this warm, waterproof, durable and multi-pocket 3-in-1 jacket. It keeps you warm even down to -10°C, and it has a removable and compressible padded inner jacket so you can adapt it to suit your environment and activity level. The waterproof membrane and taped seams will protect you from a 3-hour storm. Available in 3 colour options, it’s the perfect men’s trekking jacket.

We love it because:

✓ Durable reinforced structure

✓ 3-hour storm protection

✓ Removable inner jacket

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Men’s SH100 X-Warm Waterproof Snow Jacket

Perfect for hiking in the snow, this warm and waterproof jacket has a high coverage lined hood, fleece-lined pockets and a wide padded flap behind the zip for extra warmth. The adjustable sleeves and jacket tightening system with toggle limits snow entering, and it has a 100% recycled fleece lining which has been designed with our planet in mind.

We love it because:

✓ Eco-friendly lining

✓ Limits snow entering

✓ Excellent price

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Women’s 500 Piste Ski Jacket

Ideal for regular skiers, this technical down jacket will keep you exceptionally warm. It has an 8,000mm waterproof membrane and taped seams for excellent protection against bad weather, and the breathable fabric and back ventilation strip ensure you don’t get too hot. It also has an automatic snow skirt which stops snow from getting in.

We love it because:

✓ Affordable down jacket

✓ Exceptionally warm & waterproof

✓ Breathable fabric

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Women’s 980 3-in-1 Downhill Ski Jacket

This performance downhill skiing jacket will protect you from the elements. It has a removable down liner jacket to keep you extra warm, and it has a very high 12,000mm waterproof rating to ensure you stay dry in heavy rain and snow. This ski jacket also has zip vents to evacuate excess heat after an intense downhill ski.

We love it because:

✓ Very high waterproof rating

✓ Removable down liner jacket

✓ Zip vents to prevent overheating

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Kids’ 580 Warm Padded Ski Jacket

This 100% waterproof padded ski jacket guarantees excellent warmth to protect your little ones on the slopes. The snow skirt adjusts automatically when the jacket is closed to stop snow from getting in, and the hood fits over a helmet to keep them toasty. It has a soft brushed lining for extra comfort and 4 pockets, including 1 ski pass pocket and 1 secure inside pocket.

We love it because:

✓ Hood fits over the helmet

✓ Label to write your child’s name

✓ Soft brushed lining

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Men’s 500 Piste Ski Jacket

A warm down jacket for regular skiers, it has an 8,000mm waterproof membrane and taped seams for excellent protection against snow and heavy rain. The breathable fabric and back ventilation strip also ensure you don’t get too hot while skiing.

We love it because:

✓ Down insulated body

✓ Hood and cuff adjustment

✓ Ventilation strip

Finding the perfect winter jacket for your outdoor adventures means understanding what goes into them, and choosing a style that works for you. If you choose an insulated jacket, make sure it's water-resistant at the very least. Synthetic insulation is a great alternative to down as it handles moisture better. Or how about a 3-in-1 coat with a removable inner jacket? It’ll keep you extra warm in winter, and you can wear it all-year-round too. And if you’re looking for a coat for skiing or hiking, choose one that’s breathable so you don’t get too hot. Take your time in finding the perfect winter coat and it will be sure to last you for years to come.

View all women’s waterproof jackets and men’s waterproofs from Decathlon.