The best winter coats for kids

  • Kids love playing outside in the winter, but they also lose body heat rapidly in cold temperatures. A great kids' winter jacket can preserve core warmth while enhancing your child's style.
  • The Columbia Sportswear Whirlibird II Interchange Jacket is our top pick because its removable liner can be worn separately as a mid-weight coat, making it three coats in one.

The human body loses heat rapidly in cold temperatures, though the process actually begins when the ambient temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of heat reduction accounts for about 65% of total warmth lost, and because children are smaller than adults, they are even more susceptible to over-cooling.

As such, don't send your kids out to play, wait for the bus, ski or snowboard, or any other activity with extended exposure to cold weather unless they're wearing a great winter coat, like one of the options we've selected below. 

We researched top picks based on safety and performance. Our favorite kids' winter coats will help your child maintain core warmth, looks great, and comes in many sizes to accommodate plenty of age groups. Of course, it's also highly likely that your child will outgrow their winter coat after one or two seasons. Finding a jacket you'll be happy to hand down to a younger sibling (or niece or nephew or friend) will help soften the blow of the annual process of buying a children's winter jacket.

Here are the best kids' winter coats:

  • Best overall: Columbia Whirlibird II Interchange Jacket
  • Best on a budget: Amazon Essentials Lightweight Packable Puffer
  • Best fleece-lined coat: The North Face Mossbud Swirl Reversible Jacket
  • Best ski jacket: Patagonia Snowshot Jacket
  • Best for babies: Infant Foxy Baby Sherpa Jacket

Updated on 10/23/2020 to edit prices, titles, and formatting and remove references to third-party reviews, because we've found them to be unreliable in the past. We also swapped a new choice for the best for babies, as our previous pick was out of stock.

The best overall

The shell and liner of the Columbia Whirlibird II Interchange Jacket make it a three-in-one combination, so your kid will be ready for both the coldest and mildest of winter days.

I've entrusted my safety to Columbia apparel and gear on frigid mountains, in tropical jungles, and on multiple outings and been thoroughly impressed every time. So naturally, when it comes time to select gear that will keep my kids safe and warm, I turn to them first. And with the Whirlibird II Interchange Jacket, that has proven to be a good choice.

When fully assembled, this coat consists of a waterproof and wind-breaking shell and an insulated inner jacket that, zipped together, provide enough warmth for use playing in the snow, on long walks through the city or countryside, or for making that trip to and from school on gray wintry days.

Zipped apart, the shell is great worn on milder days when precipitation threatens, while the inner jacket looks and functions just like a warm puffer coat. And in fact, it's warm enough on its own for days when the temperatures are cool but not frigid.

The inner jackets insulation is thanks to a synthetic fill and also through Columbia's patented Omni-Heat Reflective system, wherein a pattern of metallic dots reflect radiated heat back toward the body. And while the outer jacket is waterproof, it's still breathable, releasing excess heat and moisture built up from sweat.

When Columbia makes kids' stuff, they make sure it's of the same quality as gear designed for adults. Which is only proper, of course.

Pros: 3-in-1 design allows use in varying temperatures, breathable waterproof exterior,  multiple pockets and adjustment points

Cons: On the pricey side

Shop all kids' jackets from Columbia

The best on a budget

At the rate kids outgrow clothes, any garment that performs as needed without breaking the bank is a no-brainer for parents, and the Amazon Essentials Lightweight Packable Puffer hits both of those marks.

Most kids grow so fast that they will only get a single season out of a piece of clothing. But when it comes to winter coats, you still need a jacket that will keep your child warm regardless of price. With the Amazon Essentials Lightweight Packable Puffer, the price is a mere $35, which certainly helps. The polyester down-alternative fill insulation and a smooth nylon lining also provide warmth and comfort.

This puffer jacket will keep your child warm on milder days when layered over a T-shirt or sweater, while on bitterly cold days with rain or snow, adding a waterproof shell over the top ensures your kid is ready for even the roughest elements. Its elasticized cuffs and hood add to the jacket's warmth preservation, and when not in use, it packs down into an included stuff sack.

The Amazon Essentials Lightweight Packable Puffer comes in multiple colors, too.

Pros: Great low price, packs down small, comes in multiple colors

Cons: Occasional sizing issues

The best fleece-lined coat

The North Face Mossbud Swirl Reversible Jacket has a lining that's so soft and cozy, your little one will ask to put the jacket on instead of fighting with you about getting dressed.

Parents will love the super-soft lining of The North Face Mossbud Swirl Reversible Jacket as much as their kids inevitably do because this soft, cuddly coat is one that kids will love to wear.

Even the exterior of the coat is soft and comfortable, so when worn in reversed fashion with the fleece on the outside, your kid will like it just fine. That reversible design gives more flexibility fashion-wise, while both materials — the fleece and the water-resistant taffeta — play a role in performance. The high pile fleece and insulated fill provide plenty of warmth, while the exterior repels light rain and snow and reduces wind chill.

And like any good kids garment should be, the Mossbud Swirl Reversible Jacket is machine washable. Just be sure to note the sizing with care to ensure a proper fit.

Pros: Reversible design, soft and warm fleece lining, exterior repels water

Cons: Sizing sometimes runs small

Shop all The North Face kids' winter coats at Nordstrom

The best ski jacket

While Patagonia Snowshot Jacket was designed for use on the slopes, it will keep a little one warm and toasty just fine in the city, suburbs, and countryside, too.

The ski pass pocket built into the sleeve of the Patagonia Snowshot Jacket is a tipoff as to the design of this winter coat. It was made for use by kids carving their way down snowy slopes. As such, it can handle the cold that comes with everyday winter wear extremely well, too, and without that huge puffy parka look that so many ski coats have.

The Snowshot has a durable water repellent shell that features taped seams for excellent wind-resistance, while the inner layer is soft thanks to a polyester plain-weave lining and warm 150 gram down alternative fill. A drop tail hem gives extra protection against wind and precipitation, while the hood can be cinched down tight around the face when the weather is frigid and foul or removed entirely for milder days.

And while the Patagonia Snowshot is a pricey jacket, it might last for more than one season. The sleeves have a "grow-fit" feature that allows them to be extended (or retracted) by as much as two inches, helping the coat weather a growth spurt or two.

Pros: Excellent insulation, water-resistant shell, removable hood, media and ski pass pockets

Cons: Expensive

Shop all kids' snow gear at Patagonia

The best for babies

This Infant Foxy Baby Sherpa Jacket is the perfect outer layer for a baby who needs to be warm but also comfortable through their first or second winter.

The Infant Foxy Baby Sherpa Jacket might not the warmest baby coat ever made, nor is it waterproof, wind-breaking, or high-tech. However, it's warm, soft, and not too bulky, which is important when transporting your brand new bundle.

When out of the house, babies spend most of their time in a car seat, a stroller, or in an adult's arms. This sherpa jacket fits well over base layers (onesie and sweatshirt, e.g.) and is more than soft and cozy enough for wearing over only a onesie. 

The Sherpa Jacket comes in sizes ranging from zero to three up to 18 to 24 months, so your kid can enjoy one for a couple of cold weather seasons.

Of course, if you live in an area prone to extremely cold winters and/or lots of precipitation, you may need to consider a heartier coat. Just be sure to follow safety regulations, as many must be removed before placing your infant in a car seat.

Pros: Warm and soft materials, perfect for layering, cute animal-themed hood

Cons: No water resistance

Check out our guide to the best kids' gear for wintertime fun

The best sleds for winter fun

Grownups and kids alike love to jet down snow-covered slopes on sleds, so we've put together the best sleds you can buy.

Whether you love the classic sleigh-style runner sled, the Griswold go-to saucer, or a big and comfy inflatable tube, you're sure to find a perfect downhill vehicle on our list.

The best places to shop for kids' winter gear

If you're looking to buy winter gear for kids, head straight to the following retailers. Whether it's clothing or fun accessories, these are the best places to shop for kids' winter gear. 

 

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