gear · Uncategorized · winter

What to do: winter coat?

Last year, my winter riding coat finally kicked the bucket. The zipper irrevocably broke – not just broke, flat out informed me that it had been zipped about eight million times too many, and would split as soon as it was zipped up. The tines were worn down too thin.

Considering it was a gift from my parents when I was 18 and started skiing, it more than performed adequate service over the years and I do not begrudge it retirement to a farm upstate.


However, that leaves me without a good barn winter coat option, so I am seeking advice.

Keep in mind that by winter I mean WINTER. We’ll have at least one week, if not two or three, of well-below-zero temperatures. I ride down to single digits. (And have been known to sit on him for a walk around in single digits out of desperation.) I need something that breathes and keeps me warm when the weather is actively trying to kill me. The ideal jacket will be so warm I have to unzip it once it gets back up to the 20s.

I’ve been thinking about one of the down jackets – like LL Bean’s Ultralight Down Jacket – but I’m a bit worried about the surface. Will it hold up to the barn? Those always struck me as finer/lighter/more delicate fabric.

Ultralight 850 Down Jacket

I’ve looked a little bit at horse-specific winter jackets but I think the equestrian fashion world’s version of winter (when it comes to jackets, anyway) is “lolol idk sometimes it gets cold after dark at Wellington?” This Mountain Horse jacket has a review from a Vermonter at Smartpak who says it’s good “to 10 or 20” over a base layer which is…not the kind of warm I’m looking for.


Looking at Patagonia ski jackets quickly skyrockets out of my price range. But I don’t know enough about ski fashion to pick out a good off-brand.

So: any fellow winter sufferers out there have a recommendation? What do you do for really cold weather outerwear? I’ve got the breeches, boots, gloves, and helmet cover figured out, but it is proving more complicated than I thought to decide on jacket.

14 thoughts on “What to do: winter coat?

  1. Nothing keeps me warm in the winter in Maine LOL! I do love my Carhartt coat and the full overalls/coverall thing. I have been known to ride in the coveralls haha. I also love Smartpak’s winter overpants, which seem really bulky at first but are fabulous to ride in. For actual winter riding coats, I do wear the Smartpak Piper insulated jacket, which is warm but I always wear layers underneath.


  2. Definitely go with a down jacket. You get warmth without bulk. Look into REI, Columbia and obvs LL Bean. They have rating systems for how cold the jacket will keep you warm to.

    I have a Columbia down jacket and the fabric is hardier than you think. Mine has been doing fine this past Michigan winter.


  3. Our barn coats are by Port Authority. They’re suuuuper warm, and I usually end up unzipping mine doing chores in negative temps. I’ve never been cold in it and I hate layering a bunch of stuff under my coats. I have a Kastel coat that’s the same fabric as that LL Bean coat and I’ve never had an issue with it snagging or tearing at the barn. The stupid zipper broke on it though so I have to get that replaced before it comes back out of the closet. It’s also warm, but not polar vortex warm.


  4. You might look at Horze. We don’t really do winter here in Oklahoma, but the reps always have a lot of heavy winter coats they try to convince us to carry! They’re usually pretty well priced and have lots of nice details.


  5. Check out Mountain Equipment Co-op. They have jackets for mountain climbing, hiking, skiing, etc. Their stuff is designed for movement. North Face is a great name too.


  6. When we lived in WI I layered like crazy and was comfy down to -5 when riding. My outer jacket was an ancient Columbia coat that has the inner fleece jacket that unzips and the outer waterproof shell. The hoof was big enough to fit over the helmet which was a bonus. It’s $$ but I’ve had mine since high school so nearly 20 years and it is holding strong.


  7. I have a Patagonia lightweight down and it’s not warm enough for really cold days. When we got down to 0 and below this year, my heavyweight Marmot was a lifesaver. And I am a WIMP about cold.


  8. I have a light LL Bean down and it was okay for DE but there were days it was not and i dont think the outside of it would hold up to barn use. They are pretty pricey too.

    UGH I dread the cold for you. I think you should look online to see what you can find. I have a Columbia regular down ski jacket that i have had for years and it is warm as toast but doesnt cover my butt. BRHHH

    Post what you find for us inquiring minds. I HOPE i dont need a really warm coat here but unfor/fortunately (HA) I also am not in a boarding situation anymore so bad weather I will have to be out in to feed horses!


  9. I haven’t exposed it to the actual winter yet, but I have an Ororo heated coat. It comes with a little battery and I quite like it. My Columbia heat shield coat is also great in actual winter (have worn it skiing and in the east coast during ice storms). Maybe Farmway will have something.


  10. ugh yeah I am no help being from California, but you are reminding me that my down jacket died too – same death as yours and probably about as old. I do think the newer winter jackets look much nicer than the old ones, better fabrics, better cuts!


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