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Help me find a really good winter riding/barn chore coat

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    Help me find a really good winter riding/barn chore coat

    I've decide it's time to treat myself to a truly nice barn coat after years of layering fleeces, warm-up jackets, and vests that seem to have ever declining quality and longevity.

    I don't like the stiffness of a Carhart. Want something that will move with me and be light weight, but nice and warm.

    Must haves/really want:
    • Light weight but warm. I'm in the upper midwest, so we get real winter; often in the single digits.
    • Wind resistant, for when I go put hay outside. I have an indoor to ride in, so not need to be something for riding outdoors. (We get to much deep sow anyhow.)
    • Material that sheds hay, bedding, and other barn dirt (no fleece type stuff)
    • Long enough to cover most of my behind. When my butt gets cold, my back gets tight.
    • 2 back zippers so I can ride and post without always getting caught/sitting on the long back (I know I have seen these, unzip to kind of a flap for when you ride.)
    • Good quality zipper that won't give out in less than a season or two
    • Two way zipper so I can unzip from bottom when riding so zipper doesn't get hung up on or scratch the saddle
    • Quality fabric that will last several seasons

    Would prefer:
    • Doesn't cost a fortune. I know that is relative. The better quality and the more wish list items it has the more I may be willing to pay
    • Knit/stretchy cuffs to keep wind out
    • Soft collar, something that is not scratchy
    • Collar doesn't come up so high in the front that your breath is always making it damp and cold
    • No hood or a hood that zips off (must have a zipper that won't scratch when unzipped). I have very thick, long hair that, with a good ear band, keeps my head more than warm enough

    Nice features, but not critical:
    • Zip out layers, arms, vest, hood etc
    So bring on your suggestions, reviews of coats you've really liked (or hated and would not get again). TIA.

    Also consider a different chore coat, that has different needs than a riding coat.

    Easier to find a chore coat that fits all you want but riding and one that is limber and light and just right for riding that is maybe not quite what holds up to chores.

    Riding coat can stay with the saddle and other tack, just for riding?

    I have that and one problem, bought a good 20+ years ago a really cheap Walmart mens winter jacket with many big roomy pockets.
    I expected it to last a couple years, but it is still going strong, thru many, many washings, refuses to die so I can get a nice coat.
    The pockets are deep so they hold easily treats, brushes, hoof pick, even feed containers if a horse has need of extra supplements or medications.
    I think that coat is going to outlive me.

    I have one of those neat, light, minimal puffy Outback label jacket for riding, to eventually be recycled as a chore coat if the old one finally gets too unpresentable.
    We don't get as cold as you do, but still get plenty cold spells and blizzards that require serious winter clothing.

    Layering is still the best, because activity and weather changes are easier to handle if you can shed or add layers.
    I hear you on the hoods, I rather have hats with earflaps than hoods for all but rain.

    What has taken us thru some serious blizzards with -60F chill factors while tending to livestock out in it are insulated pants.
    Those are super great, have two way zippers along the whole leg and fit over regular pants.
    When starting colts we felt we had to keep going, we even rode in those thru very bad weather.

    I still think that layering and having choices is still a good way to go, but can also see where having one piece fit all can make sense.


      I have a Riding Sport coat that I've been wearing for years, best coat ever. Not sure they still make it but check Dover's.


        The best winter coat, by far, that I have ever had came from Greenhawk. I bought it about 10 years ago, dark blue, it has all the features you have asked for except nothing zips out, it is a one piece. Unfortunately so old probably not available anymore.
        For a chore coat I suggest looking at something like a 'workwearhouse'. These coats are designed for cold, roomy, with deep pockets and durable zippers. There are many available that are not carhart.


          Original Poster

          Thanks all.

          I'll check some of those suggestions.

          I noticed all your good coats are years old. That's part of the problem, they just don't make 'em like they used too. My golden old ones are getting truly thread bare and my more recent acquisitions just have too short a life in comparison. Arrrrg. There is probably no easy or perfect answer, but I'm still open to suggestion.


            Check out Mountain Horse jackets- wear like iron, super comfortable and have lots of pockets, zippers and do- dads.

            i have a couple that just don't wear out.
            "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


              I would get a knee length waterproof down parka from Columbia or similar for chores. I can also ride in mine, it unzips in front from the bottom so I can let it spread out a bit. These big brands do go on discount fairly often here and there


                I have no idea how you people do this in anything beyond "temperate" locations. No matter what I wear, I'm miserable and hate everything about everything and everybody. This is me, outside in the winter, regardless of what I'm wearing or what I'm doing
                COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                  I'm going to go for insulated bibs and a ski jacket this year, I think, after years in my Carhartt onesie that just doesn't want to die--it's been great but requires me to be a contortionist to get it on, and I sometimes just don't have that in me anymore! Heading for the Columbia outlet, or actually might hit the local ski swap.


                    Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                    I have no idea how you people do this in anything beyond "temperate" locations. No matter what I wear, I'm miserable and hate everything about everything and everybody. This is me, outside in the winter, regardless of what I'm wearing or what I'm doing
                    Bah - humbug

                    You need to learn to dress for the weather.

                    Think, you can't undress enough when it is really hot.
                    Easy to dress for cold weather, is called the Michelin Man look:


                      Down!!! I've switched out to all down. I still use my TNF shell for shows and outdoor chores, but over the down. I use Columbia or The North Face, only because I can get them inexpensively on ebay (look for closeout colors!). I have different weights for different temps. They breath as well, so I don't get quite as chilled after a workout in the indoor.


                        I love my Mountain Horse coat. It’s super warm but doesn’t weigh you down. Double vented in the back. My first one lasted probably about 15 years and my current one is 12/13 years old. Still looks great!


                          Original Poster

                          Thanks, some of those are sounding quite good. I thought I had a Columbia that the zipper went out on after a year or two, but it was a Champion, so I'll look at the other "C."

                          How is the fit on the Mt. Horse? True to size or tight in the shoulders? IIRC, I tried one years ago when Dover had one on closeout and it was way to tight in the shoulders for me (I'm broad). Maybe that is why it was on closeout. Liked the other aspects of it and I think that may be where I saw the two zippers/flap in the back and liked that idea a lot. Will take another look.

                          Jenners - LOL, that is me when my winter clothes give out in the middle of January and all the local stores have started stocking spring break bathing suits.

                          Bluey, that photo would have been my DH many of the winters up here. Snowmobile suit, balaclava, and lots of additional layers. As our Christmas present to ourselves 3 years ago we bought a nice Kubota with front snow blower and heated cab. We live on a very windy hill with a long drive. Now we fight over who gets to snow blow... heater, cue music and a job that used to take half a day now takes less than an hour. DH now complains he's too hot. I just tell him it's male menopause.

                          Again, thanks all.


                            My favorite chore coat is made by Berne. It's not lightweight, but it's much softer than the Carhartt jackets (and less expensive), long enough to cover my butt when doing the barn chores, but has vents on the side than can unsnap for flexibility. No hood, and a normal collar but still zips up far enough to keep the cold out. Mine's a couple years old, but they still make the same model with a couple of nice updates. Lots of pockets, good cuffs, cannot be killed. The only thing is it's heavy enough that I would not wash it in a top-load machine. Other than that, it is the warmest barn jacket I've ever had (often too warm for my NC winters). It's a men's jacket, and they run big. I have broad shoulders and no issues (I sort of wish I had gone one size down because it's so warm I don't need the room for an extra layer).


                              I know you said you didn’t like carhartt, but....I have a carhartt jacket that is a women’s cut. It is so different from the men’s jackets I’ve been wearing all these years. It’s shorter, for one, so the downside for chores is that your butt gets cold. But I can ride in it, and sit in the truck or on the tractor without having to unzip from the bottom. The arms have a different cut as well. I think the word swing is used in the description. The fabrics is softer and doesn’t feel like a bulky heavy coat like the men’s do. And it’s purple! Just as warm as the men’s coats. I am quite impressed with it.


                                I have a mountain horse parka that’s about 12 years old and I don’t find it to be tight in the shoulders. It seems proportionally normal for a winter coat - that is, I didn’t expect the body to be super fitted or anything.

                                Man, do I love that coat. Warm (really too warm for riding in our mid Atlantic climate all but the few worst days/weeks of winter), lightweight for its warmth, soft where it touches skin, heavy duty outer, and all the riding-specific bells and whistles.


                                  I am in Canada so I feel like I know cold. 🇨🇦 🥶

                                  The best for me? Layers. Base layer, fleece, down vest. The coat overtop is the ll bean Baxter parka, slightly oversized so I can marshmallow lady underneath. When I start riding or working, slightly warming up, coat comes off and vest etc remain on. The Baxter parka has the best outer shell (sturdy but not too thick), double layer zipper with snaps, comfortable hood and warmer fleece lined pockets. Plus giant chore pockets if you need to stuff your gloves in. Worth every penny in my book.


                                    I do basically the same thing as Mouse&Bay but I have as my overtop coat the LLBean Rugged Ridge Parka. It has the two way zipper, a hood that can detach, windproof, waterproof and lightweight. I ride in it outside at night all winter. I generally keep the hood on because it's big enough that I can pull it up over my riding helmet.