Winter is coming, and that means it’s time to prepare for the rain, as well as the cold. Perhaps you live in an area like Seattle, where rainy days are more common than sunny ones. Perhaps you live in a more temperate climate, with occasional rainy days.
No matter where you live, rain protection is essential, particularly when temperatures start to fall.
There are many types of jackets and coats that can keep you dry, with parkas being one popular option. Are parkas good for the rain? What are the other options?
What is a Parka?
First, it’s important to know what a parka is. Parkas were originally worn by Inuit people in the Arctic circle. They were made from seal or caribou skin.
During the 1900s, they became popular because of their utility. They allow freedom of movement and unsurpassed warmth.
Parkas are longer than most types of jackets. They range from going below the waist to knee length. This length helps keep warmth in.
They also have a hood, which is typically fur or faux fur lined. This provides cold protection for your head, and the lining helps shield your face from rain and wind.
Many parkas have drawstrings or other closures to protect you from wind and cold air.
Types of Parkas
You may expect parkas to be waterproof. After all, they are designed to take on cold winter weather. However, not all parkas are waterproof.
Some offer no waterproofing at all. More commonly, parkas are water resistant. This means they will keep you dry in a light rain or snow. However, they will not hold up in a rain or snow storm.
They are great if you don’t plan on being exposed to a lot of precipitation. If you are commuting to work, for example, this is all you need. However, if you plan on going hiking or hitting the ski slopes, you’ll need a waterproof parka.
A waterproof parka is designed to handle any precipitation mother nature can throw at it. You can weather heavy rain, or make snow angles, without getting wet and cold.
Related: Are Parkas Good For the Rain?
You should also consider fill options when considering a parka for rain. The basic fill options are goose or duck down and synthetic fill. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Down is considered the gold standard when it comes to keeping warm in the winter. It’s lighter than other fill options, and it provides more warmth.
The downside is that down isn’t waterproof. If the outside of the jacket is waterproof, this may not be a concern. However, it is something to keep in mind.
Synthetic materials aren’t as warm as down. However, it is much more water resistant. This means if the material does get wet, it will still keep you warm.
Related: What Are Parkas Made Of?
Some parkas are designed to keep you warm in extremely cold temperatures, with some being rated to -30 degrees. This is great if the temperatures in your area often plummet below zero.
However, more isn’t always better. If you live in a more temperate climate, you’ll find this type of parka too warm and bulky.
For moderate temperatures, you’ll want a parka that provides less warmth. They are less bulky, and won’t cause you to overheat.
One great option for all types of weather is a 3-in-1 parka. These are made of 3 layers. The outside shell is waterproof. Next, there’s a liner, which is often made of fleece or down.
You can wear the outer layer as a rain jacket, or a light windbreaker. If it’s cold and dry, the inner layer will keep you warm and toasty.
For the coldest days, pair them together for a waterproof parka. The two layers will provide maximum warmth while keeping you dry.
The Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 parka is a perfect example. The outer shell is made from performance laminate that is waterproof yet breathable.
The inner liner is made from down, with a 700 fill rating. This makes it an extremely warm parka, perfect for subfreezing temperatures.
If you are battling cool rain instead of snowstorms and freezing, a rainjacket parka is the answer. These parkas are lightweight and completely waterproof.
Wear them alone in milder climates, or pair them with warmer clothing in cooler temperatures.
The North Face Antora Rain Parka is a great choice. It’s completely waterproof and windproof. For rough weather, it offers a stormflap zipper closure to keep wind and rain from finding its way inside.
Parkas Vs. Other Rainwear
How does a parka stand up to other rainwear gear? It really depends on what you are looking for. If you are planning on braving extreme conditions, a parka is really the best option.
If you need a coat for around town instead of the wilderness, you have more options.
Any raincoat or rainjacket that is labeled as waterproof will work for keeping the rain out, so it’s more a question of which style you prefer. Do you prefer a simple poncho, a trenchcoat, or a typical rain jacket?
If you also need protection from the cold, be sure that whatever you choose offers warmth as well. Puffer jackets and other winter coats that are well insulated are good options, along with parkas.
Are Parkas Good for the Rain FAQs
When should you wear a parka?
This really depends on the parka. A waterproof parka is perfect for rain, but a non-weather resistant parka is only good for dry days. Light parkas are great for cool weather, while winter parkas will keep you warm in extreme temperatures.
Are parkas good for skiing?
Some parkas are excellent for skiing and other winter activities. Look for a parka designed for skiing, or a technical parka. These will have features like plenty of pockets, lots of warmth, and are designed for movement.
Why do parkas have a fur-lined hood?
Parkas traditionally had a fur-lined hood, but that’s not the reason they are still included today. It’s because they keep you warmer. The fur creates a boundary around your face. This prevents cold air from getting in, and keeps warm air around your face.
Microfiber, gore text, PU-coated fabric. Wool, cotton, synthetic, blended?