Even though I consider myself a certified California girl, I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. I’ve lived in LA for a decade now, and when winter rolls around I always joke “In LA, coats keep you warm, but in Boston, coats keep you alive.” And while it’s meant to be a joke, it’s also very much true.
If you grew up in New England (or anywhere cold) you know that not having warm enough outwear can actually be dangerous. I grew up in a small town north of Boston, and the winters would get so brutal that sometimes in school we would have “cold days,” kind of like a snow day where school is canceled—but because it was just too cold and it was a liability for kids to stand outside in freezing temperatures waiting for the bus. Frostbite sets in within just minutes when windchill factors are well below zero. And you wonder why I moved to sunny California?
As a Bostonian, the best advice I can give you about winter coats is that the cheaper versions are never worth it. Sure, you can find great budget verses of jeans or dresses, but at the end of the day, there’s no comparison between a budget winter jacket and a high-quality coat. If you’re going to splurge on one product, I truly think outerwear is the best choice.
It’s also really hard to find a “mid-length” winter coat. They’re all either cropped (which doesn’t keep you as warm) or very long and well below the knees (which is great if you’re ice-fishing or doing some below-zero activity), but if you just want something in-between that will keep you extremely warm, the best quality coat, in my Boston-born opinion is, the Triple F.A.T Goose Askya Two-Tone Puffer Down Parka ($600).
Now, let’s talk about price. Its biggest competitor (another brand with Goose in the title), has down parkas that run for $800-$1K+. So while it’s certainly an investment, this coat is comparatively much more reasonably-priced. What I love about the Askya style is that it has a two-tone look where the sleeves are slightly more matte and the body of the coat is shinier. One of my biggest complaints about puffer jackets is that they’re so freaking unflattering. Most down jackets make me look like a block of soap. But the two-tone style gives it more dimension, and makes it way more stylish and less bulky.
Another feature I love is that Triple F.A.T. Goose lets you browse their product by warmth. So their “warmest” coats are truly best for sub zero temps, if you’re going on a freezing skiing trip or an outdoor winter trip where you know most of your time will be spent outdoors. While I’ll be going to Boston where the temps can dip below zero, most of my time will be spent in the heated indoors. So a coat one level below, like the Askya is perfect.
Now, if you are going to freezing temperatures and plan on spending a lot of time outdoors in the cold, you’ll want to get a jacket in their “warmest” category, which is their Isberg Waterproof Parka ($750). But if your winter plans aren’t quite as intense—like mine—you’ll want something maybe one level below, but still very warm, like the Askya style.
In addition to warmth, you can also browse their coats by water-resistance, wind-resistance and weight. So if you know you’re going to a place where there’s going to be a ton of precipitation, you’ll want something that scores high in the water-resistance department, for example.
I also love that it has a detachable hood. If you’re going anywhere where there’s inclement weather, you want a hood. Even if it doesn’t rain, it will likely snow or hail. And for the days it doesn’t, it’s nice to be able to take off the bulky hood.
Another design element I love? There are side pockets, but also pockets on the front–which is perfect for slipping my phone into if I want to go on a winter walk. We all know the side pockets on puffy jackets don’t work for phones—they just slide right on out. There’s also a convent zippered pocket on the inside of the jacket.
As for sizing, it runs true to size–but with winter coats, typically a good rule of thumb is to go one size up since you’ll likely be wearing thick sweaters and warm weather clothes. I got a small and it fit perfectly over my sweatshirt without being too tight or bulky.
Lastly: the material and ethics around wearing down. Triple F.A.T. Goose uses recycled down (in fact, all materials this coat is made with are recycled), but it is, in fact, an animal product. The brand ended all new production of fur-based products in 2021. If you're allergic to feathers, this also may not be the best option for you—check out these down alternative jackets, instead.
Triple F.A.T. Goose is also on Amazon, although the Askya style isn’t available there yet. But everyone raves overall about the quality and warmth of the brand. Said one reviewer, “This is one of the highest quality parkas I’ve ever bought. Keeps me warm in below zero temps, and the weight to warm ratio is spot on.” Said another reviewer, “It’s amazing. I went to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, where it’s extremely cold, and I was absolutely comfortable in their down puffer jacket.”
Bottom line? If you need something heavy duty this winter–Triple F.A.T. Goose, while an investment, is the best bang for your buck. And they have excellent mid-length coats, which are still very hard to find a quality version of.
We’ve outlined the importance of proper outerwear during the winter and how not having warm enough coats can be dangerous in freezing temperatures. So this season please consider donating to your local mutual aid group that provides winter clothes, boots and other cold weather essentials to your unhoused neighbors.
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