The Best Winter Jackets for Women, According to a Mount Everest Climber

The perfect winter jacket does not exist (read in the Mean Girls voice) is something residents of cooler climates often say after feeling defeated by the fickle winter weather one too many times. As someone who calls New York her current home, I can attest to struggling to find a winter jacket I can really count on. Sure, I have ones that will "hold me over," but as I sat there pondering, I wondered what I would do if I ever needed a jacket to really keep me warm—you know, in a life or death kind of situation—like if I were to climb Mount Everest, for example.

Well, what started as a mere daydream turned into a deeper investigation as I asked a Mount Everest climber herself. Today, you'll get to hear from the American women’s record holder for Mount Everest ascents, Melissa Arnot, on the three things she looks for in the best kinds of winter jackets for women. As someone who has climbed Mount Everest not one, but six successful times, during one of which she set the record for being the first American woman to ascend and descend Everest without supplemental oxygen, Arnot is undoubtedly an expert on the kinds of clothing that will actually keep you warm. And if they kept her warm while climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the world, I have a feeling you and I will be just fine.

Ahead, read up on the details Melissa Arnot looks for in a foolproof winter jacket. As an official Eddie Bauer athlete, Arnot clearly has a specific brand preference, but the tips she gives us here are universal.


Courtesy of Eddie Bauer

“When selecting a winter jacket, I always consider not just what I want to use it for, but what is the range of things I can use it for. The main qualities I look for:

“Versatility: Can I use it for many different conditions/activities?

“Packability: Is it easy to stow when I don’t need it? I am more likely to bring it with me if it is.

“Weather Resistance: I prefer a jacket that is both warm and resistant to a little moisture to help me get more range out of it.”


Courtesy of Eddie Bauer

“The Eddie Bauer Evertherm Jacket is my ideal choice when I need a low profile (i.e., not super bulky!) but super-warm down jacket. I prefer to always have a hood for that little extra warmth. If I know there is likely to be moisture in addition to the cold, I will choose something like an Eddie Bauer Microtherm 2.0 Stormdown, which is treated, so it doesn’t get wet. In general, I like to choose a jacket that is slightly on the warmer side and know that I can keep it vented if it is too warm or add it to other layering items if I need an extra boost of warmth. Fit is super important, and I prefer to have something with power stretch panels if I know I am going to be aerobic or active at all.

“Those are the basics of what I look for whether I am climbing a big mountain or heading out on the town in the chilly winter months!” — Melissa Arnot, Eddie Bauer Alpine Climbing Guide