Winter is coming! Living in Canada or the Northern US means months and months of snow storms, wind chill, and freezing cold temperatures. A warm and waterproof winter coat is a must-have!

Thankfully, there are more and more alternatives on the market that don’t involve forcefully taking the feathers away from duck and geese to stuff them into our winter coats.

But what exactly is down and why is it bad?

Down is the layer of insulating feathers that keeps birds warm and toasty. They can be found on the chest and sit right under the rougher exterior feathers. Down feathers are light and fluffy and trap air, thereby preventing the loss of body heat. It all sounds very nice, doesn’t it?

The truth is though, that down is either picked from birds after they are slaughtered or in some cases, they’re even picked while the birds are still alive. In either case, the duck and geese in question generally live short lives in terrible conditions and die a painful, unnecessary death.

What down alternatives should you be looking for?

The names of synthetic fillings can be confusing as almost any big name brand has trademarked their own technology. Overall, Primaloft is a name that you’ll see over and over again as it is used by many manufacturers. Primaloft was originally developed for the U.S. military as an alternative to down. It was made to be something that would not lose its insulation when wet but would retain the lightness, softness, suppleness, and compressibility.

7 Down-Free Jackets To Keep You Warm & Dry All Winter

1. HoodLamb – Nordic Parka

A PETA approved brand, a member of 1% For The Planet and a partner and collaborator of Sea Shepherd, HoodLamb is a vegan’s dream come true. The Amsterdam-based brand has been around since the 90’s and was the first to make winter jackets out of hemp. The Nordic parka features “an inner shell insulated with Thermore Rinnova, a duck-less down that resists extreme cold, and is lined with a 7mm pile height natural hemp and recycled PET faux-fur”. Find it here.

2. Wully Outerwear – Doe Parker

Wully Outerwear’s Doe Parker is “built to battle and beat whatever winter brings”. They won’t reveal what synthetic material they use for their 200g insulation, but with Wully Outerwear being a completely vegan and cruelty-free company that designs and manufactures in Canada, they can be wholeheartedly recommended. Find it here.

3. Vaute Couture – The Lincoln Future

The world’s first all-vegan fashion brand, Voute Couture designed The Lincoln Future for extremely cold winters. It’s insulated with 200g Primaloft ECO, and is lined with a windproof ripstop made from 100% recycled fibers. Find it 

4. Save The Duck – Long Puffer Winter Coat

This winter coat from vegan brand Save The Duck uses a thermal insulation called Plumtech. It’s a padding created to imitate the fluffiness of down while preserving the advantages of a technological thermal lining. Their long winter coat is also ultra water-resistant and breathable keeping you warm and cozy. Find it here.

5. Patagonia – Women’s Transitional Parka

Patagonia’s Transitional Parka is the warmest synthetic winter coat the environmentally-conscious company offers. The winter coat’s HyperDAS high-loft insulation is extremely warm, and the polyester shell (which is 100% recycled), includes a water-repellent finish to provide protection from rain and snow. Find it here.

6. Helly Hansen – Blume Puffy Parka

Helly Hansen offers a range of winter coats with synthetic insulation. The Blume Puffy Parka features a “waterproof fabric combined with 200mg high loft synthetic insulation for extra warmth”. Find it here.

7. Columbia – Women’s Mighty Lite Hooded Jacket

Columbia is a great brand for the budget-conscious vegan looking for a warm and cruelty-free winter coat. The Mighty Lite jacket features Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining and insulation. Find it here.

Author credit: Katharina Otulak | Website | Instagram | Facebook