Columbia In the Light - $380
Last winter this became my go to jacket — whether it was skiing at the hill or walking the dog on the beach. The lightweight, synthetic dynamic duo of Omni-warm and Omni-heat insulation kept me toasty, even when the wet cold and even colder wind did its worst. And when the snow melted on impact and the rain fell in buckets the Omni-dry outer shell kept us, and the insulation, bone dry. We can't think of a better winter jacket for Western Canada's finicky weather.
Helly Hansen H2 Flow Jacket - $200
Yes, this jacket's insulation - 200 gram Polartec fleece - is as hole-y as Swiss cheese. The idea with the circular holes is that the fleece traps heat when you need it, but when things get steamy the holes vent excess heat easily for better temperature regulation. Wrapped in a rip-stop, windproof shell, with two vertical zip vents running down the front of the jacket, we found it did a good job as a midlayer and worked equally well on its own on a chilly evening in camp.
Mountain Equipment Co-Op Storm Degree - $350
Down's kryptonite is water. Get it wet and the loft that traps heat and keeps you warm disappears, which is why the advent of water resistant down is so welcome. By washing the feathers in a hydrophobic coating they maintain some of their loft even when soaked. MEC is one of several companies introducing the technology this winter in their super puffy Storm Degree. Stuffed with 800-fill goose down, the outside baffles on this duvet like parka are welded, so there are fewer holes for cold and wet to seep through. Putting it on feels like a warm hug.