I’ve always been told there is nothing quite like a Minnesota winter. I have now lived in the state for more than six years, and I can testify to the validity of this statement. It gets beyond cold in this state, and I can always count on at least one to two weeks out of the year where temperatures drop well below zero. This year was no exception. Temps dropped to thirty and forty below with wind chill throughout February. When it gets this cold, most folks only plan to go outside if they absolutely must, but this is Minnesota. We pride ourselves on outdoor activities. We have to. Summer is short – winter is long. We find ways to enjoy the outdoors regardless of the temperature. The attitude rolls in tandem with the old Scandinavian saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing.”
For the coldest of temperatures, Backcountry offers the GORE-TEX Down Parka. When I tried the parka on I knew it was a high-quality jacket. It feels wonderfully warm, and I found myself putting it on for rides on my four-wheeler out on the frozen lake during our coldest weather stretch when we hit those nasty lows mentioned above. The jacket is designed to be extra long to ensure a good seal is in place and this helps prevent wind from getting up underneath. The parka kept me warm for the time my face could withstand the temperature (I tend to wear long underwear as well when it is this cold). I had no issues with core body temperatures while wearing it. It was my face and extremities that began to suffer in the frigid weather, but this is to be expected.
As far as how the parka looks, it isn’t necessarily a style that I prefer. Parkas are meant to look large. They have the bulk to them that helps provide space and warmth. I tend to latch on to more form-fitting jackets, however, this can sometimes mean sacrificing warmth. This parka is no exception to the rule. It looks a bit on the big side, but again this is intentional. There are a large number of pockets for excess winter gear, phones, snacks, and the like. I do wish the side pockets had a bit more room for my hands. The hood is adjustable and insulated as well. I was particularly grateful for this as I could adjust it tightly around my hat-covered head for additional warmth. Otherwise, my biggest complaint is that the parka is just big. I tried a large, and I tend to wear medium clothing. Too often I find myself right in-between sizes. I would opt for the medium if given a chance (I’m 5’8” about 175 pounds).
Backcountry’s partnership with GORE-TEX on the parka is important for those who like to head outdoors during harsh weather. Trekking through the high wind wouldn’t be a very pleasant experience without it. Again I was grateful for the chosen materials to protect my core while snowmobiling and riding an ATV.
If you are looking for a really warm jacket that blocks the wind and rain, this Parka is a great option. It will allow you to brave all of the elements, and you can get one now for a reasonable price as winter is coming to an end.