Shopping for a parka is an investment that could cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Because of the high cost, consumers want to be absolutely sure they are getting the best parka they can get for their money.
While just a few short years ago the options for parkas were limited, new technologies, accessories and features have allowed a greater range of products and choices. However, more options have lead to more confusion amongst consumers unsure of what features they really need in a down jacket. Adding to the uncertainty are numbers, ratings and jargon that are unfamiliar to the average consumer.
To help navigate through the confusion, we’ve created a list of the Top 5 things to keep in mind when shopping around for the perfect winter parka...
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Hands down, the first question you need to ask yourself when you are shopping for a parka is “How warm is it going to be?”
For those unfamiliar with what temperature ratings are, this is what you need to know; If a parka is temperature rated at 20℉, the 20℉ is a rough estimate rather than an assurance that you’ll be kept warm in that sort of climate.
Here’s the reality: Temperature ratings are better suited as reference points of warmth because one person wearing a down parka may not feel as warm as someone else wearing that same product.
Things like body type, medical history, genealogy and where you live all affect how warm a down parka will keep you in the extreme cold.
The very nature of temperature rating is subjective because of this. If you’ve ever played the thermostat game at the office, you understand this all too well. Your office mate John might find 70℉ to be just right, while David might find it too cold, and while you find it too hot.
Temperature rating doesn’t take into account variables such as environmental factors (30℉ on a sunny, humid day may feel warmer than 30℉ on a dry, windy day) and the person (including body type, genetic profile and attributes, and where they live).
Because of the subjective nature of temperature rating, Triple F.A.T. Goose instead prefers to rely on customer reviews. We are committed to providing transparency by including technical details such as the fill weight (how much down is actually used in a coat) - important information that not all brands are willing to provide.
“This jacket is priced lower than similarly made jackets from other brands, and it’s just as good - if not better. This will be my go-to coat this winter.” - Business Insider, referring to Triple F.A.T. Goose
So if temperature ratings are used as a rough guide of possible warmth, how can you better understand how warm a down parka can be? You should instead look for brands that highlight both the down fill power and down weight. These are the two main factors that determine overall insulation and warmth capabilities.
Fill power measures the loft (quality) of down. The better the down quality, the more loft it will have. Fill power can range from 300 on the low-end to 900+ for the best possible down on the market (and will be much more expensive). When purchasing a high quality down fill parka you should look for a fill power rating of at least 550-600. A jacket in this range will effectively be both warm and comfortable.
Fill weight measures how much down is used in the manufacturing process. The more down that is used, the greater insulation potential the parka can provide.
To remain transparent, Triple F.A.T. Goose provides full disclosure including the fill power and down weight of our products. For example, the Eldridge has 675 fill power, 15.5 ounces of white goose down. This fill power and fill weight combination creates a great balance that is ideal for most cold weather.
Included in the Eldridge are technical features such as storm cuffs, side vents, detachable hood with a removable fur ruff, and handwarmer pockets - features that are unfortunately most often found on parkas that are priced out of reach for most consumers.
The reason that many of these jackets are priced out of reach for most consumers is due to what is referred to as the “retail mark-up” - the cost of doing business with the retailers.
To calculate the retail price, mark-ups of more than 2X the wholesale price are not uncommon. Generally, it is the end user - the consumer who is purchasing the item, that feels the full brunt of these mark-ups.
If a brand fears that increasing the retail price of the item may adversely affect sales, the other option they have is to lower the cost of production in such a way that is not very noticeable to the appearance of the jacket. This may include lowering the quality of some of the features and accessories such as using cheaper zippers, fur, fabric and down.
They may also reduce the amount of down used or simply use a cheaper down alternative such as polyfill. While most of these changes may not be noticeable to most consumers, it will be readily apparent once the jacket has been worn and tested.
As a Direct-To-Consumer brand, we are able to cut out the retailer and the middlemen, keeping the cost of our products low while passing on the savings to the end consumer. This also allows us to provide a better jacket and a better experience for the customer without the heavy retail markup.
“Just Save yourself some cash and buy it from Triple F.A.T. Goose to get the most look, quality, and performance.” - Outside Magazine
So what exactly do you need in the perfect parka? Remember this - It’s not just about how warm the jacket is, but also about the comfort and the quality of the technical features that are added during production to ensure performance that exceeds your expectations.
Features such as storm cuffs, side vents, and premium fabrics are essential and add functional quality to a coat. Any down parka jacket that has fur trimming around the hood is also wise to consider because the fur will deter wind and snow. This will protect your face from frigid weather, preventing frostbite and other health risks.
There are various ranges of quality when it comes to these features. Top-of-the-line zippers, such as YKK for example, are more expensive but are also much more durable than standard options.
Triple F.A.T. Goose, as a direct-to-consumer company, is able to provide these high quality, high grade features on our parkas and jackets without any extra markups.
While there are other characteristics of down parkas that make them wise investments for wintertime, the features mentioned above should be considered first and foremost in order to remain warm. But what about keeping dry?
A working knowledge of the differences between water-repellent, water-resistant and waterproof garments comes in handy as a consumer because not everyone is an expert in these matters.
It is beneficial to brush up on this information because sometimes down parkas are advertised as being “waterproof” when they are actually water-resistant to light rain/snow.
Now, it is perfectly fine for a parka to be water-resistant (which most parkas are) because, generally speaking, it is more than enough protection in typical arctic conditions. But a product of this kind should not be advertised as being fully waterproof, or the waterproofness level should be properly and clearly disclosed.
The reason being: Customers would then most likely assume that the parka can be worn in extreme environments such as a torrential rain, which they cannot do if the product is not entirely waterproof.
So then how can you tell if something is truly waterproof?
There are a few ways brands can enhance water-resistant features to make their products waterproof, such as applying DWR to the external fabric, use of waterproof zippers, sealing the interior seams, and constructing the jackets using various layers to name a few of the more frequently used methods. Be sure to check product labels and descriptions thoroughly.
The new Triple F.A.T. Goose line of down parkas, The Aisen Collection, not only have all the innovative features mentioned above, but they are also feature breathable 3-layer performance fabrication and have been tested to be waterproof to snow and light rain.
“Founded in 1987, Triple F.A.T Goose was known in the 80s and 90s for its extremely warm and stylish designs. Since then, the brand has made a resurgence and the quality is better than ever before.” - Business Insider
Since the 1980s, we’ve been committed to keeping you warm in arctic temperatures. With over 30 years of experience, Triple F.A.T. Goose is redefining luxury outerwear by crafting a better down jacket. Enhancing classic styles with innovative technical features, our brand provides superlative warmth for the true winter adventurer in everyone.
Perfecting the delicate balance between warmth, comfort, and performance, each Triple F.A.T. Goose parka is meticulously crafted with the finest down, fabrics and furs available. As a result, recognition of our brand's quality has been highlighted time and time again as being one of the best down parka options found online.