What Is A Parka? How Is It Better Than Other Jackets?


Winter is around the corner, and all we can think about is buying some new outer layers to stay warm in freezing temperatures. But which one to buy? There are tons of options in the market like an anorak, a parka, or a coat? In this post, we will talk about what is a Parka  and how it is different from other jackets.

What Is A Parka?

Parka is a type of clothing traditionally worn by the Inuit in the High Arctic. These are basically outer layers of clothing made with natural water-repellent materials. These coats are made of traditional materials like skins and marine mammal intestines and help the Unit provide protection and warmth from external elements. 

Nowadays, the word Parka is referred to as any warm jacket. Commercial parka jackets are long and well-insulated and have a synthetic fill instead of the traditional materials.

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How Is a Parka Jacket Different From Other Types Of Jackets?

With so many terms to describe an outer layer for backpacking, hiking, and winter camping, knowing what to pack for your next adventure can be a little difficult. 

Parka vs. Jacket

Parka is a type of jacket; however, Parka refers to a well-insulated, long jacket designed to suit colder environments. On the other hand, a jacket is any outer layering used as upper body clothing to protect from the external elements. This includes everything from sports to hiking jackets and rain jackets that you can wear to work or any outer gathering.

If you are talking about puffy jackets that run down below the waist, then you are referring to a parka jacket.

Parka vs. Coat

There is not much difference between coats and jackets. However, a coat is referred to as a fashionable clothing item that is not suitable for a camping trip. 

The major difference between a coat and a parka jacket is that parkas are puffy, big, and well-insulated jackets, while a coat is thin with no to minimal insulation. 

Anorak vs. Parka

Anorak is a pullover jacket that comes with a hood. These are generally waterproof, but nowadays, these come with modern anoraks with proper insulation and warmth instead of rain protection. 

Both these jackets are made for weather protection and insulation; however, parkas are larger and thicker than Anoraks. If you love spending time in cold weather, a parka might be a great choice. Anoraks are lighter and thinner, so they are mostly popular for nordic skiing. 

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Benefits of Parkas Over Other Types Of Jackets

Parkas work similar to other jackets, but they have some unique features which set them apart.

  • Lots Of Insulation. 

Parka stands for insulation, so any jacket labeled as Parka refers to an outer layer that will keep you warm. Parkas are the warmest of all jackets available. These are made of both synthetic and down insulation, so make sure to check the specification to ensure that these are well suited for you.

  • Longer Length.

Another good thing about the parka jacket is that they have a longer length. Parkas traditionally fall below the waist and sometimes as slow as the middle of the thigh. The length of a parka will vary from model to model, but the average length is longer than the hips.

  • Hood. 

Although a hood is not a must with all parkas, the premium quality ones nowadays come with a hood. We lose most of the body heat through the head, and only one body part is not covered with clothes properly. Wearing hoods help in keeping the body warm in extremely cold conditions. 

Now parkas are also available in waterproof material, which helps when you are planning to go for a hike in wet and cold weather conditions. 

Who Should Get A Parka?

Parkas are officially designed to be used outdoors like winter camping or hiking on mountains etc. These work as a warm outer layer to walk around the town, especially when you live in colder regions.

Parkas are well suited for frigid temperatures because they are bulky and offer a lot of insulation, making them unsuitable for warmer climates. 


Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about parka jackets.

How Should A Parka Fit?

 A perfect parka jacket fit depends on how you intend to use it. If you are buying a parka jacket for regular day outings around the town, it should fit over one or two layers.

 However, if you want a parka jacket for adventurous sports or hiking, get a large parka to be layered over multiple base layers. Since Parka works as the outermost layer, it needs to be comfortable to be worn over all your clothing.

Can You Wear A Parka In The Rain?

There is no fixed answer to this question. Some parkas are made using waterproof material that will keep you dry and warm even if the weather is not in favorable condition.

However, mostly parka jackets that are made for winter are made of water-resistant material but are not completely waterproof. These parkas are best to be used in a rainy or snowy environment but cannot withstand rainstorms.

Do Windbreakers Keep You Warm?

Yes, windbreakers help you feel warm because they block the cold wind out; however, these do not come with propeller insulation to be used in colder environments. 

On a windy, sunny day, a windbreaker can be a perfect outer layer to add. When going in colder environments, you need to put on some inner fleece layers or a puffy jacket.

Is A Down Jacket Worth It?

Down jackets are loved by people to wear in cold environments because of their excellent warmth to weight ratio. This means that you can save by adding extra weight to your bag without compromising on warmth on high mountains. 

However, remember that the downside of no insulation; therefore, these are not suitable for rainy areas. Also, there are more expensive than synthetic insulation, which is an essential considering factor when choosing different types of jackets

If you want to keep your luggage weight to a minimum, then a down jacket is a great choice. However, if you are on a budget 0r like to camp in rainy places, you should consider buying synthetic insulation.