On October 19, 2022

The must-have puffy coat collection

By Merisa Sherman

Brrr, it has been getting chilly lately. I know, because I am sitting here snuggled up in my favorite down puffy coat getting warm by the remnants of the Killington Block Party bonfire. It’s still going strong this morning after reaching to the treetops last night. Whereas last night, it was surrounded by love and community, today it’s just me, enjoying the peace and quiet of the post-party chaos with my laptop in my lap.

I love puffy jackets. Long ones, shorts ones, down or synthetic, one with hoods and ones without. Pullovers or jackets, they all have their purpose and you simply cannot have just one. I know, first world ski bum problems, but there are so many different types of puffy jackets on the market right now, how does one even begin to establish their puffy coat collection?

And when I say collection, I mean it. I mean, do you even own property in Killington if you don’t have a collection of puffy coats? Each one has a different use, a different style and a different purpose.

I met some lady friends at Liquid Art this weekend and they asked how many puffy coats I actually owned and what they were all used for. Well, here we go.

First, the urban work puffy, a long coat that reaches to at least mid-thigh so you can cover all your clothes, your tush and anything else that might need to be protected from the elements. It should be form fitting to prevent any warm air from escaping and thin enough to fit under your wind and waterproof long length urban coat. This would be more useful as a synthetic jacket in a city, but up here I like the down.

Then you need the Big Poof. This jacket should be long enough to cover your back on the coldest of winter days, but not long enough that it bothers your legs while skiing. This coat is for dry days — not snowstorms — and should be used when you need a sleeping bag surrounding your body and you’re thinking about only riding the gondola. This should also be the puff that goes in the bottom of your skinning pack for those super cold January sunrise skins and on any backcountry adventure. This is the coat that will save your life. Buy a good one.

Then the synthetic laminated shell jacket. This is your ski jacket, your everyday jacket and the one that is just pure you. It’s the jacket you are known by, the one you wear from cold pouring rain days to east coast powder days and beyond. This jacket is expensive, but when you do the daily cost, you’re surprised at how cheap it really is! It’s important that the insulation here is synthetic, because you’ll sweat inside that waterproof shell while you’re skiing powder or rain.

Then you need one of each insulation in the mid-range puffy coat category: the down jacket is in some fun color that makes you feel beautiful and will keep you warm when you are doing something stagnant, like watching an outdoor concert, riding the motorcycle or heading to Billings Farm for the afternoon. Mine is like global purple. The synthetic jacket is for adding another layer under your ski parka, going for hikes in the rain or hanging out when there’s enough moisture in the air to make your down jacket smell. This jacket is your favorite extra layer to throw on under the outer jackets for just a little bit more warmth, going horseback riding or end of season paddling. The synthetic jacket is the one I take camping and hiking next to my first aid kid and emergency bivvy. It never leaves my backpack. Ever.

In a perfect world, everyone would have those five jackets. But I also have few more…

I use my previous Big Poof as my fire pit jacket now and it’s the one I’m wearing now as I snuggle by the fire. This retired puffy smells, it has some burn marks and duct tape, but whatever. I use my old mid-layer synthetic jacket as my work around the house puffy, tucked into my overall, it’s ripped and burned and sliced, but it keeps me warm while I’m shoveling snow or dirt or raking leaves — and I don’t mind if it gets a bit more worn out as I work.

Finally, there is Polartec Alpha. This is a specific kind of insulation designed for high active pursuits is cold temperatures: if you’re working hard under 15 degrees, you should be rocking this insulation. It doesn’t smell and lets you sweat in extremely cold temps while staying perfectly warm enough to make it to the summit. One of the greatest inventions for athletes — I bought mine in high-vis hunter orange, making it the perfect hiking ascent piece in the fall and skinning at the resort.

Each coat has a specific use and purpose for its existence, giving us the freedom to spend more time outdoors and having fun doing the things that we love. As all Vermonters can attest, there is no bad weather, just bad dress. So now’s the time to checkout your capsule closet and get everything ready. What’s in your closet?

Merisa Sherman is a longtime resident of Killington and an avid skier and outdoor lifestyle enthusiast. She can be reached at femaleskibum@gmail.com.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Moving sticks and rocks

May 22, 2024
By Merisa Sherman Then the tough choice of how to play today:ski, bike, paddle, fish, hike, run?  The bug went down my throat. Literally, flew down my throat and landed in the back at such speed that I had no choice but to just swallow. Mmmmm, gotta love that extra protein that Vermont provides during…

What are the chances?

May 22, 2024
Vesna Vulovic is a name etched in the annals of miraculous survival — perhaps the most unlikely survival story of all time. She was thrust into the spotlight on Jan. 26, 1972, when she unwittingly became a symbol of human resilience.  A native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Vesna’s journey to that fateful day began like that…

The Outside Story: Jesup’s milk-vetch: A rare beauty

May 22, 2024
A few ledges along the Connecticut River are home to a rare plant commonly known as Jesup’s milk-vetch (Astragalus robbinsii var. jesupii). In fact, this species, which has been listed as federally endangered since 1987, only grows at six sites along a 16-mile stretch of the river in New Hampshire and Vermont. But conservationists are working…

Boys, brothers, dad, Vermont

May 22, 2024
Building a Killington Dream Lodge: part 14 By Marguerite Jill Dye Dad made progress and forged ahead on our Killington ski lodge while Mom, Billie, and I toured Europe. Our extensive European whirlwind trip was the very beginning of my awakening to understand the world and how I fit in. I had no idea what…