What Is a Parka?

Do you need something to help keep you warm during the coming cold weather? If your answer is yes, then you are probably looking at parkas and jackets right now. You might not know it, but there are differences between parkas and jackets, which you should consider before making your choice.

What Makes a Parka a Parka?

When you first look at a parka, you might think that it is essentially the same thing as a regular coat. After all, both are supposed to keep you warm and comfortable when it’s cold outside. But even though a parka is a type of jacket, not all jackets are parkas. There are certainly some similarities, but there are three differences in particular you should know about.

  • 1. First, there is the hood. While only some jackets have a hood, every parka has one. Often, the hood is lined to keep your face warm and offer additional protection from the wind. In the past, the lining would typically be made with fur, but today, they mostly use imitation fur.
  • 2. Unlike most jackets, every parka that is worth considering is windproof.
  • 3. A parka is typically longer than a jacket, so it covers more of the body. Naturally, this makes it better suited for keeping you warmer overall.

These are the biggest differences between a parka and a jacket. Both can be useful, and you may want to include both in your wardrobe.

Common Materials Used in Parkas

Traditional parkas used to be made from caribou and even seal hides. Some were stuffed with down. In some areas of the world, parkas are still made with these materials.

But the majority of parkas today are made with synthetic materials for both the shell and the stuffing. They hold up well, and the parka can be insulated to provide additional warmth. Parkas are waterproof and will protect you from wind, snow, and freezing rain.

Why Choose a Parka Instead of a Regular Jacket?

First and foremost, you need to know where and how you will be using your outerwear. For those who will spend long periods outside in cold and brutal weather—or even short periods, depending on just how cold it is going to be—a parka is the better option. The length of the parka and its hood will make it an essential piece of clothing to keep you warm.

Of course you might also choose the parka for its aesthetics. Just because you are not headed into cold weather and won’t need the parka for the warmth it can provide doesn’t mean you can’t purchase one. But keep in mind that you are going to be warm in this gear, so if it doesn’t get too cold where you will be, it might not be the best choice—no matter how good you look.

Tips for Choosing a Great Parka

If you consider buying a parka, there are some important factors to consider to make sure you purchase the right parka for your needs:

  • Where are you going to wear the parka? Is it going to be cold or moderate? Will temperatures vary? Obviously, a parka that works well for a rainy day in New York City might not be the best option for a winter hike through the wilderness of Alaska or Canada.
  • What material is the parka made from? As mentioned, most parkas are made with synthetic materials. However, you can find parkas made with wool and goose down stuffing if you don’t like or can’t wear synthetic materials.
  • Does it have features that are essential to you? Look at the weight of the parka and whether it has a fur-lined hood. Check to see if it has enough pockets for your needs.

Above all, make sure it is a truly high-quality garment that will keep you warm no matter what adventures await you.

Now that you have a better understanding of what a parka is, how it differs from a jacket, and how to choose a good parka for your needs, it’s time to make your choice. Don’t forget to take some time to read reviews from actual customers. They will give you a realistic idea of what owning the parka you choose will be like.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Valerie Johnston

Valerie Johnston has over a decade of experience in writing over survival skills, homesteading and self-sufficiency. With a Bachelor's in Agriculture, she enjoys helping others learn about their options in homesteading and survival prep and how to apply it to their lives.

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