Each year in Canberra, as the temperature plummets into minus temperatures overnight, local residents are either relieved they have a toasty warm jacket to wear in the morning - or they wish they had bought one. When you wake up to white frost all over your car and you can see the trees bending over in the wind, you will need the warmest - and most windproof - jacket you can afford to get through those colder days. Perhaps it's your first winter living in Canberra, or maybe you're here on holidays and feeling a little under-dressed, so it can be handy to know where to find the warmest jackets with the biggest range - at the best price.
The following 5 options are my personal recommendations, however there are many more outlets around the city to choose from. If you have a favourite place you have discovered, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article and share your ideas - when it comes to being warm in Canberra, you can never have too many options!
Down jackets from Macpac - Sundowner (left) and Arrowsmith (right). Source: Original photos from Macpac website
1/ Macpac factory outlet is located on Lonsdale Street in Braddon - with Kathmandu factory outlet, Mountain Designs and Paddy Palin also nearby - and all excellent options. Canberra locals will have their own personal favourite out of these four stores, however my personal preference is Macpac. Previous to living in Canberra, our family lived at the bottom of the South Island, New Zealand and locals recommended Macpac for its warmth and wind-proof/ damp-proof features. I then bought a Sundowner jacket (which is available for both men and women) and I wore it for 7 years! I couldn't have lived there without it. To stay warm through New Zealand and Canberra winters, ideally you need to spend as much as you can afford (over $200 if you can) to get a down jacket with enough thickness to stay warm in all conditions. Although it seems expensive, you will be wrapped in a warm doona every winter and can go out and enjoy the season - not stay stuck indoors. See here for details.
If this is out of your price range, another alternative is to buy a cheaper puffer jacket and invest in good quality thermals from any of these adventure stores. Also take a look around local Op Shops (number 5 on this list) and clearance sales at the end of winter - to get prepared for next year.
Enjoy winter this year with a warm down jacket! Source: Macpac Facebook
2/ ALDI supermarket has a ski clothing sale at the beginning of each winter, with a wide range of warm jackets, thermals and waterproof clothing that are the perfect for the ski fields - and for every day in Canberra. In particular, the ski jackets are great for kids as they are in bright colours, have plenty of easy-to-pull zips and have built-in fingerless gloves to keep their hands warm. If you buy a jacket in the next size up, it can last for a couple of years before they outgrow it. Some colours and sizes take longer to sell, so you may find them in their central bins all winter long. See here for details.
3/ Anaconda is another large adventure store located in Fyshwick, just down the road from the Canberra Outlet Centre (where you can also shop for jackets!). Anaconda has jackets for men, women and children in a variety of thicknesses, down weights and sizes. At the end of winter, they often have clearances on their down jackets and ski wear, which are good to put away until next year. See here for details. Whilst in the area, also check out Pauls USA Direct Outlet (previously called Pauls Warehouse) just up the road, which has racks of discounted jackets and winter clothing. It is well worth a look!
Warm down jackets and vests at Anaconda. Source: Anaconda Facebook
4/ TK Maxx (previously Trade Secret) is located in the Canberra Outlet Centre and Woden. If you are looking for a thick jacket or trench coat to wear to work, that is smarter and perhaps made of wool, then TK Maxx has rows of designer work (and casual) jackets to choose from. These outlet stores specialise in selling designer labels at reduced prices, so you will only be paying a fraction of the original price. You will find quality fabrics and workmanship here that you won't find anywhere else, so the jacket should last a few seasons at least. See here for details.
5/ Op Shops are another great idea for when looking for warm jackets at the start of the season - particularly for kids. As kids grow so fast, their jackets may only last a season or two at best, so buying second hand at a cheaper price means you have more money in your pocket to pay for thermals and other winter clothes. After a quick wash, they are good as new - just check the zips before purchase to make sure they work. Also, if you are looking for ski clothing, many get donated at the end of winter as tourists don't need them anymore. My pick? Start with the Salvos at Fyshwick, which is the largest op shop in Canberra and then work through the other big op shops in the region. You could pick up a great bargain!
Hopefully by now you have a few ideas on where to start hunting down your ideal winter jacket. Stay warm this winter and happy shopping!
Girls jackets and Op shop finds at the Salvos and Vinnies!