Winter coats are one of those purely Canadian essentials. They make or break the cold weather experience. If you live in Quebec or the Prairies, with temps getting down to minus 20 or more, a good coat makes the difference between life and well, numbness. And while a lot of coats look the same, styles, brands, and materials differ enough to make it hard for a winter rookie to make the right choice. To help you get the most out of winter this year, the team at Bentall Kennedy Residential Services brings you this list for choosing a great winter coat that will keep you cozy.

Down

Arguably the warmest and most insulating material, down is hands, well, down, one of the top-3 best coats for winter. Keep in mind however they're generally not waterproof (unless in higher priced models), can be bulky, and are definitely not vegan (if you're into that).

Gore-Tex

The space age material of the 70s, Gore-Tex is still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to keeping the cold weather out. Waterproof and windproof, breathable, and easily layerable with liners and inserts, Gore-Tex isn't bulky and lasts forever.

Pockets Please

Sound funny? I mean what coat doesn't have pockets? A lot of them. You'd be surprised how many winter coats don't come with pockets - or come with ones that aren't insulated, or are small, or thin, or not deep enough. Make sure your coat has pockets. Your hands will thank you for it.

Short or Long?

Last season, shorter cut coat styles were in fashion and winter jackets were trying to mimic lighter weight fall and spring wear. While maintaining winter hipness is obviously essential, keep in mind short coats leave certain rear-areas of the body exposed, not to mention the thigh area protected by long coats.

Quality

There are myriad options for off brand and discount winter coats out there. And while some stand up to Canada's beastial temperatures, many spring leaks or spout rogue threads weeks after purchase. If you don't want to play winter Russian-roulette, go for something at least mid-range for price point.

Ugly is often better

While fashion can rule all of us at times, winter should not be one of those times. We've all seen that super cool guy in the thin leather jacket, waiting to cross the street, teeth chattering, eyes red, fingers blue. Trust us, don't be cool, be warm.

Off Season

As with any price-conscious shopping, off-season is many times the way to go. While it generally means you have to buy winter coats in June or bathing suits in October, there are great deals to be had with off-season wear.

A good coat makes winter a wonderland. The Bentall Kennedy Residential Services blog team hopes this list helps you make the right choice when buying a winter coat this season. For more information about Bentall Kennedy properties in your city, please visit our website.