Rational Preparedness

What Are The Top Parkas To Survive a Cold Weather Emergency?

The Top Parkas Picture

The top parkas for surviving a cold weather emergency are also going to be great for bringing you comfort when you would otherwise be miserable.  When it comes to the cold, I have a great deal of experience with various weather and gear.  Check out the article, Why Everyone Needs a Survival Parka and What You Should Look For.  The article goes into length about this experience and explains how I rated these parkas.

Why Everyone Needs A Survival Parka and What You Should Look For


The parka is the cornerstone to any good cold weather ensemble.    I spent the last couple of months looking the market over for parkas that will save your life in an emergency and keep your comfortable on those cold days.  Then I spent time examining their features and costumer feedback .  I measured them against each other and the criteria that I laid out in the companion article linked above.  From the thousands of parkas, available for sale, I chose 5 that really fit the bill.  There were a number of close contenders that didn’t get selected.  These are my favorites.


Top Parkas Table

Parka Shell Draw Cords Cuffs Zipper / Closing Insulation Insulation Coverage Hood and Neck Design Aesthetics Average Score
Canada Goose Expedition M&W 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 9.75
Mountain Hardwear Downhill Parka W 7 10 10 9 10 10 10 9 9.375
LL Bean Baxter M&W 10 10 9 8 10 9 9 9 9.25
North Face Cryos GTX Triclimate W 11 8 8 10 10 10 9 8 9.25
Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero M 7 10 10 9 10 10 10 8 9.25
North Face Cryos Expedition GTX M 10 8 8 10 10 10 9 8 9.125
Eddie Bauer Men’s Vinson 10 8 8 9 10 10 8 8 8.875
Eddie Bauer Women’s Superior Elsa 10 7 8 9 10 10 8 9 8.875


Wherever possible, I tried to rate the same parka for men and women but I was not always able to do that.  Yet, each maker had enough similarities to the ones I selected for men and women, that I was able to review them mostly together.


Photos that were free of copyright encumbrances, were very hard to get for this series.  It’s because the brand and the seller are one and the same.  For a Honda Generator, I just get the photos from Honda or from Amazon.  I couldn’t do that here.  You can see photos at the links below each section.

Canada Goose Expedition Men’s and Women’s Parkas

The Canada Goose Expedition Parka earned the title: The Ultimate Survival Parka All Other Parkas Hope to Live Up To.  It got a perfect score in all categories except one, Aesthetics.  I didn’t like that it was all one color and it does have a bit of a bulky design, compared to some of the others.  The parka has a snow skirt to keep out wind.  It has the best cuffs, that keep wind out and your wrists dry.

It does not have the most insulation but I gave it and all coats here, a perfect score for this reason.  The Canada Goose Expedition is a coat designed for Antarctica.  It’s so popular there, that they just call it big red.  I think any more insulation than what this parka has, probably offers diminishing returns.  Sometimes once a feature of a product has a number attached to it, makers just pump that number because people will think bigger is better.  That’s not always the case.

The bulky design mentioned above gave the coat the best insulation coverage in its class. The hood and neck offer features most others lack.  These include real fur with a wire for precise shaping.  The neck is high enough to cover some of your face and it has fleece inside to add comfort

Full Review
See the Men’s
See the Women’s

Mountain Hardware Parkas

For men, the Men’s Absolute Zero Parka hit the top.  For Women, it was the Downhill Down Parka.

Both of these parkas took a big hit for shell design.  They are the only ones to make the cut, that did not have a shell separate from the down containing layer.  They had other features that redeemed them from this.

Their cuffs nearly matched those of the Canada goose.  They go inside the gloves.  They offer more insulation than the Canada goose.  The down has a proprietary coating on it, designed to protect it, in the off chance the shell cannot protect it from getting wet.  Down does not work if it is wet.  This down does.

The parkas got top scores for hood and neck design because they cover about as much of you as is possible and the men’s does it twice on the lower face.

The men’s is big an  bulky but the women’s is surprisingly well shaped and not overly puffy.

Full Review
See the men’s at Backcountry
See the Men’s at Amazon
See the Women’s at Backcountry
See the Women’s at Amazon

L.L. Bean Baxter State Parka

The L.L. Bean Baxter State Parka is a market favorite and many people are talking about it on the internet. It offers a design that looks more like something you’d wear to the grocery store than most of the other parkas. Yet it still has features that let it rank as a survival parka.  This is great because it means you will more likely have it with you, in an emergency.

The parka has the preferred hem and waist cords that don’t require tying, or snapping, each time you put the parka on.  The cuffs are designed to keep out wind but you’ll need gauntlets to keep snow off your wrist.  Some users expressed concern about the strength of the zipper.

The parka does not cover as much of the body as some of the others but a good pair of bibs could make up for this, in an emergency.  You’d probably want a pair of those anyway.

The hood and neck on these parkas don’t cover as much as they could. They still scored well because they are the only ones with a shareable ruff that the Canada Goose offers.

Full Review
See the Men’s
See the Women’s

North Face Parkas

For men, North Face offers the Men’s Cryos Expedition Parka.  For women, North face has a lot of close contenders.  They even offer a Cryos Expedition Parka for women but a different one beat it.  The top North Face Parka for Women is the Women’s Cryos GTX Triclmate Parka.

I’ll just jump right in here and tell you why the triclmate won.  It is the only parka in this entire series that offers a removable liner.  This is where it gets its name.  Sure, you could wear the shell as a rain coat.  You could wear the liner as a separate coat.  Given the price of these parkas, I probably wouldn’t do that unless I was traveling and wanted to carry fewer coats.  What being removable means, is that you can wash the liner, yourself, without damaging down.  This is going to be helpful for a coat that could last you two decades.

The men’s parka offers a wind skirt but no waist cord.  The women’s coat has no cords or wind skirts but offers elastic baffles instead.

The parkas both would require gauntlets to keep snow off your  wrists but they do close to keep out wind.

The parkas have the most insulation of any parka in this series.  They earned 10s in this category but as I said, so did the rest.  With diminishing returns, I’m not sure how much this extra insulation helps.  Yet, I do believe that it does help to make the coat more flexible in the body types that can fit in the coats.  All that extra poof can fill in cavities formed by small waists

Full Review
See the Men’s
See the Women’s


Eddie Bauer Men’s Vinson and Women’s Elsa Down Parkas

These parkas have enough insulation in the right places to be parkas that will save your life in an emergency.  They lose points in the details and came in the bottom rank because of that.  The women’s parka did not have a hem cord and the men’s did not have a waist cord.  Their cuffs can be closed down but there are better ones.  Their hoods and necks were sufficient but did not offer as much coverage as some others.  I really liked how the women’s Elsa could be drawn in at the waist, to give it a curvy shape.

Full Review
See the men’s
See the Women’s

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *