After an unseasonably mild festive period, the winter weather feels like it has well and truly set in (at least in the south-west of England where I'm writing this from). As Outdoors editor I get sent plenty of waterproofs – I've tested a bunch of the best lightweight waterproof jackets around – but while they'll stop you getting wet in a downpour, they're not built to keep out the chill on a frosty morning.
So when I got a chance to try out Finisterre's new Vellus parka, a winter coat that's designed for the chilliest, grimmest days, I was all over it. I'm a pretty big fan of this brand – its Finisterre Stormbird jacket and Finisterre X Blundstone Vegan boots are regulars in my winter wardrobe – so I was keen to see if the Vellus held up too. It has not disappointed.
This coat lands a triple-whammy: it's extremely warm, it's weatherproof, and it's comfy too. I tried the women's version, but a teammate happened to purchase the men's version at the same time. Sure, it's a bit awkward when we both wear them at the same time, but my new sartorial twin has assured me that this new official T3 Team Jacket is also one of the best winter coats for men. (No matter whether you go for men's or women's, I'd say it's a better fit on a boxier frame.)
- Complete your getup with a pair of the best cold weather gloves
- ... and perhaps some of the best wellies for men, if it's really wet
The torso section is quilted with insulation, there are chunky knitted cuffs hidden up the sleeves to stop drafts escaping up your arms, and the hood has a snuggly textured fleece lining to keep your head warm too. That all pales into the background compared with my very favourite feature on this jacket: hand warmer pockets. Finisterre says they're lined with fleece, but it feels more like an ultra-soft and strokeable kind of velour / microfibre that provides instant cosiness akin to one of today's best hand warmers.
There are two sets: one accessed through the side of the hip pockets and the other tucked up near your ribs. My preference is the latter, because they make me feel like some kinds of wintry kangaroo, although my tall male teammate says the hip pockets are more comfortable for his lanky limbs. Taped seams and a Hydrostatic Head rating of 20k mean you'll stay dry even in a deluge, and this coat does a great job of providing an effective barrier against wind too.
All that insulation means this coat is an absolute dream in the winter, but it's too warm and heavy for anything but very cold weather. I don't imagine mine will be getting many Spring or Autumn outings – although with global warming going as it is, who knows? Perhaps if the Day After Tomorrow lot had had a Vellus each when the big freeze set in, it could have been a very different story. (On a vaguely related note – as a brand, Finisterre is known for its focus on sustainability, and we're pleased to note that this coat is made from recycled fabrics throughout.)
The Vellus is available to buy now from Finisterre for £360. The Women's version (opens in new tab) comes in Black and Moss Green, while the men's version (opens in new tab) is available in Black (sold out at time of writing) and Burnt Orange.