The vegan winter coat is one of the most elusive things in the world. Oh, you can find coats that are vegan, sure. But ones that will actually keep you warm while being at last somewhat fashionable? Oy, not so much. It's that time of year again. It seems like every vegan I know, regardless of how long they've been vegan, goes into "Shit I need a good coat!" mode as soon as the first leaf falls. There's very little effort to make or market coats specifically to vegans, and looking through tag after tag for the absence of wool and down can be a neverending chore. Why can we buy vegan haggis (and Tofurky soda), but no decent coats? Having just moved to a much colder, wetter climate, I needed a new coat in so many ways. When I first went vegan I got this one from the Vegan Store. A vegan peacoat you say? Peacoats are warm and cute, yes? Um, no. I would recommend this one if you are a man living in a relatively warm climate. It says they have unisex sizing, but by that they mean "Hi females. Here is a fleece rectangle." It's cut like a refrigerator box, not flattering at all for us ladyfolk. And as for warmth: it's not bad, but not terribly good. Meh. If it ever dances towards freezing where you live, look elsewhere. And the Polartec fleece would not hack it at all if you live, like me, somewhere with a wet winter. When it gets wet, it gets wet and kind of...filmy. If you're a man who doesn't see much snow, you'd probably be very happy with this, if not, not.
This year, however, I have this one from Columbia and I love it!
Don't I look happy and warm? (That's not me.) It does keep me happy and warm though. It has a nice thick Polartec layer on the inside that can zip in and out, making it work as both a winter coat and something of a heavy-duty windbreaker. It hasn't gotten too cold here yet, but so far I've been nothing but toasty. I have it in a light/dark blue & white combo that isn't on the website, and it's cute. The outer layer is waterproof and it has a detachable hood, musts for the Pacific NW. There are also stealth pockets on the inside for being sneaky. I am really happy with this coat and think that I'm finally out of the endless vegan coat search. It is a little pricey, but I think it's worth it to have a high quality coat, and I'm sure it will last me several years at least. Columbia also has a lot of outlet stores, so if you can find one near you, do it, I got this for about half the price.
As for other vegan coats, sportswear brands like Columbia, North Face, etc. are, though pricey, promising. While a lot of their coats do have wool and down, they are designed for being X-TREEM in the winter and thus aren't 100% wool like peacoats, because that doesn't protect you from the spray you get as you schoop down a black diamond ski slope. Or so I would imagine. My home state of Kansas is not notorious for its skiing. Anyway, they like to use manmade materials with names like Opti-Warm and Microtemp to show they are approved by Science.
Here are a few other vegan ones I've found:
the Zurich Parka from Columbia
the High Jump Parka from Columbia
the Bugaboo from Columbia
Boulevard Jacket from North Face
Ava Insulated from Merrell
Amber Road Coat from ModCloth - a friend just got this one and describes it as "not that warm, lighter than I expected", but it's so cute!
The interwebs are your friends. All of them. Stay warm, vegans!