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Are Polyester Jackets Good for Winter? (Explained!)




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When it comes to staying warm in winter, polyester is often overlooked as a material. But the truth is, polyester can be just as effective at keeping you warm as any other fabric – if not more so!

Modern technology has made it possible to make polyester filling for winter jackets that is almost as fluffy and insulating as down and wool. In fact, polyester can be warmer in certain conditions such as when wet or after being compressed for longer periods of time, which it tolerates much better than down and wool!

So whether you’re looking for a new winter jacket or just want to understand how your existing one keeps you cozy, read on!

Is a Polyester Jacket Good Enough for Winter Use?

Yes, a polyester jacket is definitely good enough for winter use! It may not be as good as a quality down jacket, but a polyester insulated jacket will do for most people.

Here are some reasons why:

  1. Polyester Is Actually Quite Warm. Especially puffer jackets with polyester insulation or jackets made for skiing can be very warm and polyester filling is only 20% colder than down, which is the current gold standard in winter clothes insulation.
  2. Polyester jackets are also typically cheaper than down jackets making them a more budget friendly option if you’re trying to save money this winter season.
  3. Polyester is easier to wash and lasts longer. Another great benefit of choosing a polyester jacket over other materials is that they tend to be much easier to care for and don’t require as much special attention when it comes to washing and drying (unlike delicate materials like down and wool).

Overall, polyester jackets are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a warm and budget-friendly option this winter season.

So, let’s get into the details.

Key Takeaway: Polyester jackets are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a warm and budget-friendly option this winter season.

Does A Polyester Jacket Keep Warm?

As someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, I can tell you that a polyester jacket can absolutely keep you warm.

In fact, polyester is one of the most popular materials used in jackets and other cold weather gear precisely because it does a great job of trapping heat and keeping the wearer warm.

There are different types of polyester fill, and the warmth of the jacket will depend in part on the type of fill used.

However, in general, polyester is an excellent material for keeping people warm, and I would not hesitate to recommend a polyester jacket to anyone looking for a good way to stay warm in cold weather.

How Does Polyester Keep You Warm?

Polyester is a fabric that is often used in making clothing because it is lightweight and durable. It can also be helpful in keeping you warm, as it does not absorb moisture like other fabrics such as cotton.

Polyester puffer jackets can keep you very warm and handles water better than down jackets do!

When the air outside is cold, your body loses heat faster than usual. This causes blood to flow away from your extremities and toward your core to keep vital organs functioning properly.

Wearing polyester helps prevent this heat loss by creating a barrier between your body and the cold air outside.

The fabric’s fibers are able to trap warmth close to your skin, which keeps you feeling comfortable even when temperatures drop.

Polyester insulation materials

There are several polyester based synthetic insulation materials used to make winter jackets, sleeping bags and gloves.

Synthetic insulation materials are made from man-made fibers and are used in outdoor and cold weather gear to trap and hold heat. They are often compared to down feathers and share many properties, although also differ in a few critical ways.

They are known for their warmth, durability, and moisture-resistance, and are often used as a cheaper alternative to natural down or wool insulation.

These include:

Synthetic InsulationBrand Example
ThermoliteThe North Face
MicroloftMountain Hardwear
Pertex QuantumThe North Face

Synthetic insulation materials and examples of outdoor brands using them.

Polyester is often used in winter gloves although wool is warmer.

Primaloft is a synthetic insulation material made from ultra-fine fibers that are designed to mimic the warmth and softness of down. It is known for its ability to retain warmth even when wet and is often used in outdoor and cold weather gear.

Thermolite is a synthetic insulation material made from hollow fibers that are designed to trap and hold heat. It is lightweight, breathable, and moisture-resistant, making it a popular choice for activewear and outdoor gear.

Thinsulate is a synthetic insulation material made from microfibers that are designed to trap and hold heat. It is lightweight, breathable, and moisture-resistant, and is often used in gloves, hats, and other cold weather gear.

Polarguard is a synthetic insulation material made from crimped fibers that are designed to trap and hold heat. It is known for its warmth, durability, and moisture-resistance, and is often used in outdoor and cold weather gear.

Microloft is a synthetic insulation material made from ultra-fine fibers that are designed to trap and hold heat. It is lightweight, breathable, and moisture-resistant, and is often used in activewear and outdoor gear.

Climashield is a synthetic insulation material made from continuous filament fibers that are designed to trap and hold heat. It is known for its warmth, durability, and moisture-resistance, and is often used in outdoor and cold weather gear.

Coreloft is a synthetic insulation material made from crimped fibers that are designed to trap and hold heat. It is known for its warmth, durability, and moisture-resistance, and is often used in outdoor and cold weather gear.

Pertex Quantum is a lightweight, breathable, and water-resistant fabric that is often used as a outer layer for insulation materials. It is designed to protect the insulation from wind and moisture while allowing excess heat and moisture to escape.

ThermaTech is a synthetic insulation material made from ultra-fine fibers that are designed to trap and hold heat. It is known for its warmth, durability, and moisture-resistance, and is often used in outdoor and cold weather gear.

All these have common properties that make them useful for certain purposes and not for others.

Pros of synthetic insulation materials include:

  • They are generally cheaper than natural down insulation
  • They retain warmth even when wet, making them suitable for wet or humid environments
  • They are hypoallergenic and do not contain any animal products, making them suitable for those with allergies or who follow a vegan lifestyle

Cons of synthetic insulation materials include:

  • They may not be as warm as natural down insulation
  • They may not compress as well as natural down insulation, making them less suitable for compact packing
  • They may not last as long as natural down insulation, as the fibers may break down over time.
Polyester can indeed be warm, but they are usually not as warm as thier down counterparts.

However, it is not only the insulation material that matters, but also the layers on top or below the pockets containing the insulating fibers.

How Warm Is a Polyester Filled Jacket?

When it comes to outdoor gear, there are a lot of different materials that can be used in order to keep you warm. One such material is polyester, which is often found in jackets and other winter apparel.

I did an analysis of the average temperature ratings of down vs. polyester jackets and sleeping bags. The results are shown in the graph below:

According to my research, down-filling is 71% more insulating compared to polyester when used in sleeping bags, whereas 100% polyester filling is only approximately 20% colder compared to down when used in the winter jackets of top outdoor brands. 

This means that when you wear a polyester filled jacket, your body heat will stay trapped inside the coat slightly less than if you wear a down jacket with the same fill mass.

This might be because of the smaller pockets, flatter design and many other layers that gives a jacket its insulating capabilities. Whereas a sleeping bag is fundamentally just a bag of insulating filling!

Polyester filled puffer jackets are among the warmest winter jackets available.

So, it is pretty clear to me that the down jackets are much better than synthetic jackets when considering insulating ability at the same weight!

But synthetics are also not made equally and both nylon and polyester may be used for jackets.

However, some might prefer polyester over down, and there are some reasons to do so!

Key Takeaway: Polyester is a great insulator and has a high warmth-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

Is Polyester Filling Warmer Than Down?

No, down-filling is 71% more insulating compared to polyester when used in sleeping bags, whereas 100% polyester filling is only approximately 20% colder compared to down when used in the winter jackets of top outdoor brands.

Down insulation is warmer than synthetic insulation because down fibers trap more air pockets than synthetic fibers, which creates more insulation.

Down is just more fluffy than the insulation made from polyester.

Additionally, down fibers are naturally curly, which helps them trap more air pockets than synthetic fibers that are typically straight.

The trapped air in the down fibers also provides more insulation per ounce than synthetic fibers, which means that a down jacket or sleeping bag can be lighter and less bulky than a synthetic one while still providing the same level of warmth.

Are Polyester Puffer Jackets Warm Enough For Winter?

Polyester puffer jackets are designed to be both lightweight and warm. The puffer helps to trap air between the layers of fabric, providing additional insulation from cold temperatures outside.

Puffer jackets often come with features such as adjustable cuffs and drawstrings that can help provide extra warmth when needed.

The construction of polyester puffer jackets is key in determining how warm they will keep you in cold weather conditions.

Polyester has excellent thermal properties in jackets, meaning it retains heat better than other fabrics like cotton or wool. But polyester is still 20-30% inferior to down insulation.

This makes it an ideal choice for outdoor activities like skiing or hiking where you are active and need protection from the elements without adding too much bulk or weight to your gear.

When shopping for a polyester puffer jacket, look for one with thick padding and multiple layers of fabric which will offer more insulation against the cold air outside.

Additionally, some models may have features such as hoods or high collars which can help keep your neck area protected from chilly winds while still allowing you to move freely without feeling restricted by bulky clothing items.

In terms of breathability, polyester puffer jackets are generally quite good at keeping out moisture while still allowing sweat to escape so you don’t get too hot during strenuous activities outdoors.

Some models also feature water-resistant coatings on their outer shells which can help protect against light rain showers if caught off guard while exploring nature trails or camping sites away from civilization areas.

Overall, polyester puffer jackets are a great option for those looking for lightweight yet warm winter wear that won’t weigh them down during outdoor adventures and explorations throughout the colder months of the year.

Let’s explore the insulating properties of polyester windbreaker jackets next.

Are Polyester Windbreakers Good enough for Winter?

No. Windbreakers are usually not warm enough for cold winters on their own, but with a thick e.g. woolen base-layer underneath it can suffice.

Because windbreakers are usually made from lightweight materials such as nylon or polyester, which can be thin enough to let some air through while still providing warmth.

The thickness of your windbreaker will also determine how warm it keeps you in cold temperatures.

Thicker fabrics like wool or fleece offer more insulation than thinner materials like cotton or silk, so if you’re looking for something to keep you really warm on a cold day, opt for one with thicker fabric.

However, if you’re only looking for something to take the edge off of a cool breeze or for heavy physical activity during winter, then the thinner windbreaker material should do the trick!

The perfect temperature for wearing a windbreaker of course also depends on your level of physical activity!

It’s important to note that windbreakers aren’t designed to keep out rain or very cold weather; they’re mostly made to protect against wind chill and light precipitation.

If it’s raining heavily outside then you’ll want something waterproof instead – preferably with sealed seams and hooded protection – such as a raincoat or poncho. For extreme cold temperatures (below freezing) layering up with additional clothing such as woolen coats and down jackets may be necessary too!

In summary, windbreakers can be beneficial for winter weather depending on their material and thickness.

They provide an extra layer that can keep the wind out. They are ideal for spring or fall days when there is still a bit of cold in the air but not enough to require heavier outerwear such as coats and jackets.

Windbreakers can be a good option for staying warm and comfortable during the winter months, especially when combined with additional layers. Now let’s look at how to choose the right windbreaker for your needs.

Key Takeaway: Windbreakers are an essential piece of outdoor gear for any season. They provide warmth on cold days and extra protection from wind and light rain, while also being lightweight and packable.
To get the most out of a windbreaker, it’s important to layer underneath it, wear waterproof outerwear in case of heavy precipitation, and use them as an extra layer on warmer days when temperatures start dropping after sunset or during strong winds.

Are Polyester Jackets Warm When Wet?

The short answer is no – most types of polyester does not retain heat when it gets wet. This means that if you’re out on a hike and your clothes get soaked with rain or sweat, they won’t be able to keep you as warm as they would if they were dry.

Polyester is not waterproof and will eventually absorb some amount of water in the rain. This water will create a conductive bridge for heat to escape from your body.

The same goes for cotton and nylon fabrics; all three materials absorb water and cool down quickly when exposed to moisture.

Wool clothing, however, offers much better insulation even when wet because its fibers are designed to trap air which helps maintain warmth even after getting soaked through with water or sweat. Wool also absorbs less moisture than other fabrics so it dries faster too!

Some polyester fibers like Primaloft promises a high heat retention even when wet, which is due to the water repellant nature of the fibers.

Polyester is great for keeping you cool during hot weather hikes, but it’s not the best choice for cold weather conditions where staying warm is essential.

Wool might be a better option in this case since it provides good insulation regardless of whether it’s dry or wet outside; however, this comes at a higher price tag so make sure to factor that into your decision-making process before investing in any new gear.

Although polyester is not a great insulator when wet, it still provides some warmth and can be a good choice for outdoor activities.

Polyester is breathable!

When you’re out on a hike, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your clothes are going to make you sweat. But if you’re wearing the wrong fabric, that’s exactly what will happen.

So, what makes polyester breathable?

A lot of factors contribute to making material breathable. These include the weave structure, the weight of the material, and the ability to absorb liquid.

When it comes to breathability, it is important to consider the fabric’s weave or knit.

The weave structure is important because it determines how much air can flow through the fabric. A tighter weave will trap more heat and sweat, while a looser weave will allow air to circulate more freely.

Infographic showing the factors that influence the breathability of a fabric.
Factors that influence the breathability of polyester.

The weight of the fabric also matters. Heavier fabrics like denim or wool will trap more heat than lighter fabrics like cotton or linen.

Finally, the ability to absorb liquid is important because sweat can quickly make a fabric feel damp and uncomfortable.

Synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon are less absorbent than natural fabrics like wool, so they can often feel clammy against the skin.

Cotton is also often heralded as a breathable fabric, but it only works when it is dry! Also, in some cases, polyester can be just as breathable – if not more so!

This is because polyester is a synthetic fabric that can be carefully structured to provide moisture-wicking and great airflow.

However, if it is not structured properly, it can cling to your skin in hot weather.

What Is Warmer, a Cotton or Polyester Jacket?

When comparing the two fabrics side by side in terms of warmth retention and overall performance during cold weather activities such as hiking or camping trips, polyester offers superior protection against the elements when made as the lofty fleece garment or as insulating fibers.

This is largely due to its high lofting capabilities combined with better resistance against water absorption, making it an ideal choice for those who want maximum comfort and protection outdoors no matter what Mother Nature throws their way.

However, when worn as a plain thin single layer fabric, cotton tends to be denser and warmer than polyester although much less breathable.

When comparing polyester vs cotton in terms of warmth, there are several factors to consider. Cotton fabric is naturally more breathable than polyester fabric; however, this can be offset by using special fabrics with moisture-wicking technology or adding insulation layers such as fleece or quilting between the two materials.

Additionally, while cotton may provide better air circulation than polyester on its own (depending on the fabric type!), once wet it loses much of its insulating ability due to water absorption and will take longer to dry out compared to synthetic fibers like polyester which repel water instead of absorbing it.

In terms of weight per square inch (WSI), both materials have similar WSI ratings but because of its superior lofting capabilities—the ability for a material’s fibers trap heat—polyester provides greater insulation value than cotton at any given thickness level due to its higher density structure.

This means that you can get more warmth from a thinner layer of polyester compared with an equal amount of cotton fabric without sacrificing comfort or mobility.

Finally, when looking at durability over time both materials hold up well but because they are made from different types of fibers their longevity differs slightly, and cotton tends to be more durable.

Generally speaking though you should expect your garments made from either material last through multiple seasons before needing replacement if cared for properly according ot manufacturer instructions..

Tips On Choosing the Best Material for Winter

When you are choosing the material for your winter clothing, you need to make sure that you pick something that will actually keep you warm.

A lot of people believe that any material will do as long as it is thick, but that is not the case.

You need to make sure that the material is not only thick, but also able to breathe a bit and resist water.

A lot of materials are good at trapping heat, but they will make you sweat and in turn freeze from getting wet under your jacket!

Here are the most relevant factors to consider:

  1. Warmth: The most important factor to consider when choosing a winter jacket material is warmth. Look for materials that are thick and insulating, such as down, goose down, or synthetic insulation. These materials will keep you warm in even the coldest temperatures.
  2. Breathability: It’s also important to consider the breathability of the material. Look for materials that allow air to circulate, such as Gore-Tex or other breathable membranes. These materials will prevent you from overheating and getting sweaty while still keeping you warm.
  3. Water resistance: Winter jackets should also be water resistant to protect you from snow, sleet, and rain. Look for materials that are treated with a water-repellent finish, such as Gore-Tex, to keep you dry.
  4. Wear resistance: Look for materials that are durable and able to withstand the wear and tear of winter activities, such as skiing and snowboarding. Materials such as nylon and polyester are known for their durability and resistance to wear and tear.
  5. Price: Lastly, consider the price of the jacket. Winter jackets can range in price from budget-friendly to high-end. Decide on a budget before shopping and look for a jacket that fits within that budget while still meeting the other criteria.

Overall, the best winter jacket material is one that balances warmth, breathability, water resistance, wear resistance, and price. Consider these factors and look for a jacket made of a high-quality material that will keep you warm and protected during the winter months.

What are some other good fabrics for winter?

When the temperature drops and the snow starts to fall, it’s time to start thinking about what materials will keep you warmest. If you’re not a fan of polyester, don’t worry – there are plenty of other materials that will do the trick.

Here are the five best materials for staying warm in winter:

  1. Merino Wool. Wool is an excellent insulator and will keep you warm even when wet. It’s also breathable, so you won’t get too sweaty when you’re bundled up.
  2. Down. Down is a great choice for winter clothing because it’s light and very warm. It’s also easy to compress, so it’s perfect for packing into a small space.
  3. Fleece. Fleece is a synthetic fabric that’s often used as a liner for other winter garments. It’s extremely lightweight and provides good insulation. It can be made from polyester, but is not always! 
  4. Flannel. Flannel is a cotton fabric that’s usually brushed or napped to create a softer surface. It’s often used for making shirts, but it’s also great for keeping you warm in winter.
  5. Cashmere wool. Cashmere is a luxurious fabric made from the hair of cashmere goats. It’s soft, warm, and very light, making it a great choice for winter clothing.

Overall, there are many different fabrics that can be used to make warm winter clothing. Whether you prefer natural or synthetic materials, there is something for everyone.

Consider your personal preferences and what activities you will be doing in the winter when choosing the best fabric for your winter wardrobe.


Does 100% polyester keep you warm?

No, polyester does not keep you warm. Polyester is a synthetic fabric made from petroleum-based products.

It is typically used in athletic and performance apparel because it wicks moisture away from the body and dries quickly. However, because it does not insulate well, polyester does not retain heat and will not keep you warm in cold weather conditions.

Does polyester make you feel hot?

Yes, it can! Especially when used as insulation in jackets. A thin layer of polyester fabric though, will not keep you warm on its own. 

Is polyester as warm as wool?

It can be, but usually polyester is not as warm as wool. This is due to its denser structure and is especially true when wet. Wet wool is much warmer than wet polyester!


Yes, polyester is warm and can be used in outdoor winter jackets.It is made of synthetic materials that are designed to trap heat and keep you warm.

The shell material helps to protect against the wind and the insulation material helps to keep you even warmer.

Down is a natural insulator that is often used in outdoor clothing because it traps heat very effectively. However, polyester filling can also provide good insulation and may be more practical for some people since it does not require special care like down does.

This synthetic fabric is often used as both the shell material and insulation material in outdoor jackets, and it does an excellent job of trapping heat to keep you comfortable in cold weather.

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