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What’s the Best Cold-Weather Gear?

We asked, you answered.

A Patagonia coat on a blue background. Photo: Patagonia

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

It’s the middle of January, which means that yes, it’s really winter, and yes, much of the country has been plunged into freezing (or below freezing) temperatures. It sucks! We’ve spent the last few months telling you all about the best puffers (some of which are now on sale) and cheap beanies we’ve found, but we also wanted to hear about your favorite recs. Coats, boots, mittens, long underwear — here’s all the tough stuff that keeps you very, very warm when it’s very, very cold.


I just discovered and purchased a Rudsak coat. I never thought I could be so toasty and still feel chic. Oh, and my White + Warren travel scarf. It's so huge, nothing can penetrate my neck! —Sonia, New York

My Ugg Kensington Boots with wool inside. I can wear them in the snow and ice without socks, and my feet are always toasty warm! Also, a tube scarf I made myself in a round loom; you can make it long and pull over your head like a hood when needed. —Chryl, New Jersey

There is nothing warmer than my Penfield Hoosac down mountain parka. My first DC winter was rough — I quickly learned that the oh-so-cute jean jacket I love would not cut it. After weeks of searching (and freezing), I finally found this cozy, down-filled coat. It's water-resistant, the coyote fur around the hood doesn't freeze when it gets wet, and it's pretty stylish, too. This jacket literally prevented me from relocating back to Georgia! —Elizabeth, Washington, DC

I love this Madewell hat for winter because it doesn't slide off my head. It hangs at just the right angle to keep my head warm and is made of soft cashmere. Not only that, but the subtle color can match with anything. —Charlene, New York

New England can be -5 degrees or 20 or 40, but no matter what, you gotta have long underwear. My all-time favorites came from the Athleta catalog before they were Gapified. You can wear them under any pair of pants, and I do all winter, November to April. And you need a fleece: I could not get by without the purple herringbone Columbia zippered jacket I got a few years ago at REI. It is just the right weight to pair with a turtleneck (like a cotton one from Uniqlo) and goes with everything — at least, everything I wear all winter long. —Vicky, Massachusetts

A hot water bottle with a cashmere cover. I guess it's more of a sleep accessory, but I am OBSESSED. —Alex, California

My Hunter boot socks are my favorite cold weather item because while I love my Hunters for trekking through the NYC post-snow slush, they aren't really that warm. The boot socks make a difference in keeping my toes cozy! I size up in the boots to have room for the socks and a pair of regular socks. —Dina, New York

My Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 traceable down parka. Waterproof, windproof, and temperature-rated for -20 degrees. It’s the best $600 I ever spent, and way warmer than a Canada Goose. —Katie, New Jersey

I’m pretty much obsessed with all of Uniqlo Heattech. I wear it underneath everything, including my jumper skirts and blouses, to keep me toasty. —Carolyn, Pennsylvania

I nabbed a $5 Army surplus jacket from a thrift shop in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley area. (Here's a 'gram of it!) I was shopping with my sister and her two tiny children — who were wailing at the time — so it was a hard/fast game-time decision. It's so easy to layer for chillier days or wear over just a tank top when it's more balmy. Kinda perfect for Atlanta's erratic winters. —Beca, Georgia

Mittens. I know: Who wants to look like a five-year-old? Turns out I do! I have never been happier to have my hands ensconced in a cartoonish bubble of Thinsulate-lined fleece. They are Bickley + Mitchell brand, which meant nothing to me until I bought these two winters ago. —Asad, New York

SmartWool socks! If you can’t shake the cold from your feet, you will never feel warm. I tend to overheat easily, but SmartWool socks don’t make you sweaty at all; they just seem to insulate you and ward off bone chills. —Hillary, California

I’ve had this North Face down jacket for ten years now. I bought it before going to Paris to visit my daughter when she was studying abroad there. It’s practically an antique at this point, but it’s the best coat I’ve ever bought. —Michele, Florida