Winter Coats: Guide To Understand Temperature Ratings

After living through more than a few Wisconsin winters, we know what it’s like to be freezing cold. We also know what it’s like to have to live through the freezing cold without the right winter coat keeping you protected from those fierce wind chills and blinding snow storms. Do yourself a favor this season and let our wisdom about winter be your guide when it comes to buying the right coat. Read up on the extremely useful (not to mention pretty scientifically accurate) ‘Temperature Rating Guide” we use to let you know just how warm you should expect to be in our winter outerwear.

What is a temperature rating guide?

At landsend.com you’ll find that all of our winter coats come with a “Temperature Rating” guide from “warm” to “warmer” to “warmest”. It’s our way of letting you know what you can expect from your winter armor. The exclusive Temperature Ratings for our outerwear started out as a gauge to help you determine which coat or jacket works best for your life, but it became so much more than that. It became that extra element of trust that sets Lands’ End apart from other brands that just expect you to buy blind and hope you’ll be satisfied.

You can find our unique Temperature Rating for each coat in a drop down menu on the left hand side of your screen (or at the top of the ‘Product Details’ tab of the coat) on landsend.com. The ratings – Warmer to Warmest – give you a quick look at each coat or jacket’s comparative warmth. The temperature (Fahrenheit) associated with each rating represents a comfort range you can expect the garment to perform well in. And yes, we have taken into account the cool weather clothing you’re likely to have on under the jacket – including a cotton turtleneck, wool sweater and jeans.

How do we determine a coat’s temperature rating?

Would you believe us if we told you we actually have a 5’11” copper “skinned,” instrumented manikin (weird spelling, we know) designed to assess the thermal insulation value of adult clothing systems for clients like us and, oh, the U.S. military? Well, you should, because it’s true. And his name is TIM (a nickname for TIAX Instrumented Manikin).

The heaters and sensors for measuring temperature on TIM help us determine how warm you’d be in one of our coats. Our testers place TIM in a chamber wearing our outerwear over everyday clothing (just like what you may wear on a cold day) and then our testers deliver electrical power to the wires in his copper “skin” to maintain a temperature of 35°C – about the same temp as your skin. The tester’s then measure the power required to keep that “body temperature” constant as the temps in TIM’s chamber drops. With those test results, plus a complicated formula, we arrive at the outdoor temperature range in which someone can expect to comfortably wear the tested jacket, parka or coat. So – basically – we temperature-test to make sure our coats and jackets can cut it when it comes to the real world conditions you’ll encounter on a daily basis.

Which rating works best for you?

Unfortunately this is the one question we can’t answer for you. Only you can decide how warm you need your winter coat to be. If you spend your winters someplace like Wisconsin – where temperatures drop below freezing on a regular basis and you still make it to work on time – then one of our “Warmest” winter coats like a long down coat or Squall winter parka is the way to go.

If you live in a climate that experiences mild winters with little to no snow then we’d suggest having a slightly cooler, “Warmer” rated Ultralight Packable Down on hand for those biting cold (if infrequent) days. Not only will the Packable Down be there to keep you warm when you need it, but when you’re not using it you can pack it away into it’s own pocket for easy storage until those winds start blowing again.

A “Warm” rating often goes to thinner materials like our fleece jackets or insulated vests. Keep warm enjoying a brisk day outdoors or use them as an additional layer for colder days. The choice is yours – exactly how it’s meant to be.

Don’t settle for anything but the best this winter. Shop landsend.com for your personal warmth and style this season and choose the right winter coat or jacket for you.

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