For anyone who’s reading the news and wondering: What does one wear in a state of deep freeze? Ski-wear (+ all the Heattech) or maybe a spacesuit, that’s what. Though, when the low is minus 50, why risk frostbites when there’s shelter?

But for those, like me, who are battling merely average winter temperatures in a humid continental climate, here’s an outerwear review for you:

FYI, I got my mom the Arc’teryx Patera Insulated Parka pictured here as a gift last fall and borrowed it for a weekend recently to take some photos for this review. I probably wouldn’t buy this for myself as I prefer coats with more bells and whistles.

FIT Sizes run XS to XL; consult the Arc’teryx sizing & fit guide if you are new to the brand. The Patera fits somewhat boxy (though slim compared to caterpillar coats) and straight, so I would recommend ordering a size up to allow for layers. The coat in XS measures 36″ in length (center back) and 18.5″ at the chest, with 25.5″-long sleeves.

MATERIAL/CONSTRUCTION The outer shell is a matte, lightly-textured GORE-TEX fabric (which has not been finished with an anti-static coating so will attract lint) with taped seams that is wind-resistant and waterproof. The fill is a blend of 750 fill power goose down and Coreloft™ synthetic insulation. The only glaring issue I found is the plastic-y full front two-way zippers, which are stubborn and extremely sticky to zip up. (I admit my feelings are strong because my mom texts me frequently to complain about the issue, but many reviews mention the problem so it’s not an isolated incident.)

PRICE The $649 price tag is reasonable compared to its competitors in the 1k range, so if you are looking for a warm, “everyday” coat with a clean design, this might be a better choice for you than a $240 synthetic puffer that leaks after a few wears or a $950 down coat with design details that don’t matter to you. And while Arc’teryx doesn’t discount perennial styles like the Patera in-season, I’ve seen Backcountry run special promotions during the holidays, so a 15%-25% discount is possible if you are willing to wait for a sale.

SEASONALITY Warm enough for an average winter day, but will require strategic layers and other warming elements in -10°F conditions. It is the second warmest coat in the Arc’teryx “urban” lineup (after the Centrale).

FEATURES If you are into sleek, utilitarian designs, this is the coat for you. The details are all functional: draft collar with chin guard (which is too tall and consequently awkward for those with short necks), knit cuffs, pockets (3), and an insulated hood with drawcords. But while there are no extraneous details that might date the style after a few seasons, it is so plain that, if you have other options and are someone who is modish, you might struggle to get excited enough to wear it.

Buy the Arc’teryx Patera Parka at Arc’teryx, Amazon, Backcountry, eBay, and Zappos.


My outerwear picks for extremely cold but (mostly) dry conditions:


Lastly, I wish those of you in the throes of the arctic blast many cozy blankets and all the hot chocolate.

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