General Question

erniefernandez's avatar

Exactly what should I look for in a winter coat for Boston, and how heavy can it be/not be?

Asked by erniefernandez (556points) October 26th, 2011

I’m living in Boston now, am from Miami, and do not know what I need in a winter coat. I don’t want to over do it but I also need one coat that’ll hold me over all winter. Also, what specs should I look for?

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24 Answers

janbb's avatar

Waterproof and warm. I would look for a down jacket that is not real short or a coat. You will certainly have some mild days but in general, the warmer the better. Check out L.L. Bean online for good ideas and value.

Blackberry's avatar

Peacoats are the sex.

Coloma's avatar

Dressing in layers maximizes trapping warm air next to your body.
It also allows for you to remove layers to regulate your temp. accordingly.

I’d wear a tank or tee under a long sleeved, lightweight shirt with a loose sweater over that and then a medium, lightweight but warm jacket.

Synthetic fibers are just as warm as goose down products and you are saving the lives of about 10 geese or more. It takes about 8 geese to produce 1 lb. of down.

Being a goose lover and owner I strongly encourage you to not buy into cruelty based industry.

A long, quilted coat with synthetic fill will keep you just as warm when dressing in the ways I mentioned.

Brian1946's avatar


“Peacoats are the sex.”

When I was in the USN, those things weighed about 20 pounds. ;-0

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

London Fog has a subsidary that makes winter coats, but I’m drawing a blank on the name. Best coat I ever had. I use it in Lake Placid during winter visits there. If you’re from Miami good luck.

Blackberry's avatar

@Brian1946 That’s why I like them, but I wear a London Fog one now. It’s more stylish and weighs a little less.

Brian1946's avatar


“Synthetic fibers are just as warm as goose down products….”

IIRC, synthetic fibers are also more moisturize resistant.

ETpro's avatar

@Coloma‘s advice about dressing in layers is spot on. Winters can get pretty brisk here, but not arctic. Sub-zero readings are a rarity in the city, but do show up in the outlying regions and inland at higher elevations. It is one of the windiest cites in the USA, so a heavy parka with a hood and warm, thermally insulated gloves will be welcome equipment. I have a coat like this one and love it. Heavy wind-breaking pants and an underlying set of long johns will help keep you toasty comfortable as you visit our fine city. Have fun—and shivering isn’t fun.

janbb's avatar

@Coloma makes a good point about the goose down. There are many good synthetic fibers indeed. I would still suggest looking for one of either kind at L.L. Bean. Yes, you need layers but a good warm coat should be the top layer.

Coloma's avatar


Lake Placid..forever branded in my mind from the horror flick LOL

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Coloma That was filmed in NH, it wasn’t even in NYS.

marinelife's avatar

A raincoat with a thick, warm lining would be best.

Scooby's avatar

I have a couple of jackets for winter wear,the ‘Berghaus’ ones I prefer when it’s really cold & windy, also ‘Tog 24’ have a good range too :-/ fleeced lined triple layers good all rounders……..

CWOTUS's avatar

I’ve lived in New England most of my life, and I agree completely with @Coloma on this. No one coat of a particular thickness, style or cut will protect you “adequately but not too much” from all of the extremes you’ll find in our weather.

You’ll have to dress for rainy days that turn to freezing rain; sunny, cold days that turn warm; freezing cold days that get colder; snowy days, and vice versa to all of that.

Water resistant (not necessarily “waterproof”, because those can get pretty steamy underneath) and wind resistant (nylon shells are good) with enough warmth (and length) for the really bad days, in combination with the other layers that you’d use to aid in staying warm, yet able to remove as conditions moderate.

jerv's avatar

For most of the thirty-plus years I lived in New England, I didn’t use a winter coat; I went with layers. Just make sure that the outer layer is windproof and at least water-resistant.

Bear in mind that temperatures vary considerably. Some days it will be in the 30s, some days -20, and sometimes both in the same day. Layers give versatility on those days, and especially in the early Spring where it can go from 30 to 70. Yes, there were days where I scraped frost from my windshield in the morning and had to use my A/C in the afternoon, though temperature swings of more than thirty degrees are uncommon, and ones of 50 degrees like that are rare… which means it usually only happens once a year.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I live in Wisconsin where we have similar weather. I find that a multi layer jacket is best. We prefer the type with zip out linings and a zip off wind breaker (they’re like 3 coats in one) work best for wear-ability and for ease of laundering.

I agree with layering. I rarely leave without a sweatshirt in the car or if walking, around my waist. Weather changes frequently and you’ll need to prepare for that.

If you’ll be using your car, I suggest you prepare to buy a scrapper/brush, and pack extras in your car such as an umbrella, a sweatshirt or jacket, warm socks, an extra pair of gloves…You never know when you may need to shovel your car out, so in winter we also keep an extra shovel in the car…In our SUV we keep a broom to brush off the top of the car.

Coloma's avatar

Oh, California winters, even when we get snow in these hills I can get by with a layer of shirts, sweaters, and, my passion, vests!

I have this great fleece vest and it looks great with my Durango boots or Uggs and jeans/ hippie skirts. lol

The Marlboro hippie woman. haha

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Spatzie also mentioned the car. If you do any traveling you should also have a winter survival kit in the car. Blankets, food, kitty litter (Traction) and warm clothing.

jerv's avatar

And make sure that that kitty litter is the old, gravelly kind; the stuff like Yesterdays News or Feline Pine won’t work.

ETpro's avatar

@erniefernandez Breaking News: There will be rain moving in by dawn tomorrow and changing over to snow with the rain/snow line setting up North and West of the city during the day, and sliding South and East till even Boston sees snow tomorrow night. The ground’s still warm enough we’;re not expecting any accumulation here. But we have a potential for a major Nor’easter which could be an accumulating snow event his Saturday. That’s an early start on the winter season after an unusually warm fall. But that’s a taste of what to expect. Be sure that your outer layers of clothing are water resistant. There’s nothing worse than being out in a raw, biting wind when wet or melted snow soaks your clothing.

jerv's avatar

“If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute.”

Be prepared for just about everything ;)

SpatzieLover's avatar

we say the same thing here in Milwaukee ;)

creative1's avatar

As every one has said to dress in layers, I tend to make the top layer either a wool or a water resistant layer so that if its raining you won’t get wet.

ETpro's avatar

@SpatzieLover The original came from Mark Twain, who wrote, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.”

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