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November 28, 2022

The word jacketis a sort of blanket term. In reality, there are many different types of coats, from windbreakers to puffers and more. One popular winter garment is the parka, which is both practical and stylish. But how exactly do parkas differ from other winter jackets? Read on to learn more about the history of these clothing items, how they became so popular, their defining features, and tips to use when shopping.

A Brief History of Parkas

The word parkamost likely translates to “animal skin,” and it originates from the Nenet language. Invented by the Caribou Inuit of the Canadian Arctic, the earliest parka jackets were made with animal hides from seals and caribou. Fish oil was applied to the clothing as a natural form of waterproofing because these garments were worn for outdoor activities such as fishing and kayaking. Ultimately, the invention of the parka was a form of survival in an unforgiving environment, which is a common theme for these coats throughout most of human history.

When the parka design eventually made its way overseas, many countries outfitted their military in these coats to stay warm in colder climates. They were especially popular garments for early fighter pilots, as airplane designs often featured open cockpits. Pilots required an extremely insulated jacket with extra material and neck and head protection. The US military even invented the fishtail parka that featured an adjustable hem that could insulate more heat; this parka was used heavily during the Korean war.

Parkas in Fashion

But when did parkas shift away from practical use and become a fashion statement? One possible answer was in 1959 when Vogue magazine featured these coats as a fashion item. Vogue was arguably the dominant opinion in the fashion world, and their acceptance of parkas as a stylistic choice opened the doors for designers to create less tactical coats.

Some people believe parkas truly became popular in the 1990s during the inception and rise of Britpop music and culture. Liam Gallagher, the lead singer for the English band Oasis,is famous for almost always wearing these garments, whether he’s on stage singing or out for a bite to eat. He even launched Pretty Green, his own clothing label, in 2009. As expected, they’re known for their excellent collection of parkas!

The history of parkas stretches back thousands of years, with the origin of these jackets stemming from the need to survive in hostile environments. The practicality of parkas allowed them to rise in popularity across the world, first as military garments and eventually as a high-end fashion statement. Today, they remain a solid option when purchasing a new winter jacket because they are suitable for a wide range of activities and situations.

The Differences Between Parkas and Other Winter Jackets

So far, we’ve learned that parkas, due to their design, provide the wearer with superior protection from the elements. But let’s get more specific. What exactlydoes a parka offer that most other winter jackets don’t? Put simply, more material!

While most coats end at your waste, parka jackets extend further, often to your knees or lower. This additional insulating material helps protect more of your body from cold weather and moisture. Another defining feature of a parka is a fur-lined hood. Certain outdoor clothing brands make hoods with adjustable fur linings and drawstrings to make them more practical for winter activities like hiking and skiing. As a bonus, this signature hood design is quite fashionable and a trendy option for casual and formal events.

Along with a hood, parkas often feature down or synthetic insulation and waterproof nylon or polyester build materials. This makes them ideal choices as all-around winter coats. There are plenty of other jackets that boast one or two of these defining characteristics, but parkas are undoubtedly the perfect combination of all four!

Parkas vs. Other Jackets: Arguments For Both

So, after learning about the history and defining features of parka jackets, we can easily crown these garments as the kings and queens of winterwear—right? In truth, various coat designs, styles, and materials are all built to serve specific functions. For instance, insulated waterproof jackets are perfect for commuting to work on a chilly day so you don’t get too hot or cold. However, they are not suitable for winter storms and below-freezing temperatures.

Meanwhile, puffer jackets are great for navigating an urban or suburban town but lack extra features (hoods, extra leg material) to stay warm in rural and remote areas. Simply put, the best jacket for you depends on your environmental and personal needs.

And while parkas aren’t always ideal for everysituation (warmer days, intense cardiovascular activities, etc.), they are highly versatile garments. They’re applicable for outdoor winter sports and activities yet still suitable as a nice coat for a more formal or casual event. Plus, parkas are often extremely high-quality and can last for many future winters, making them a highly valuable investment. If you live in a cold region and spend a lot of time outdoors or need a stylish top layer for your outfit, then a parka is the superior option.

Finding the Perfect Parka

Since parkas look and fit differently from other jackets, it’s important to know how to find the ideal product. First and foremost, you need a coat that provides enough space for mid- and base-layer clothing without restricting your movement or causing you to overheat. Don’t be afraid to purchase bigger parkas. Remember, the extra material helps keep you warm!

You also must ensure you find a qualityparka as there are plenty of subpar products available on the market. We always recommend finding winterwear from top-of-the-line brands with a reputation for producing superior garments. We at Escape Outdoors proudly carry Canada Goose outdoor clothing, including the ever-popular Wyndham and Expedition Parkas.

Understanding how parkas differ from other winter jackets can make you better prepared when purchasing new winter garments. Use this guide to ensure you find the very best product that satisfies all of your preferences and needs. As always, you can find tons of high-quality parkas, coats, accessories, and other outdoor clothing items here at Escape Outdoors.

How Do Parkas Differ From Other Winter Jackets?

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