5 vegan outerwear options that bring the heat

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      The leaves have fallen and the mercury is steadily dropping, which means it’s time to pack up the windbreakers and dust off the coats and parkas. And in Vancouver, one of the outerwear and outdoor-equipment capitals of North America, the options are endless—including, unsurprisingly, those in the vegan and cruelty-free department.

      So if you’re on the hunt for winterwear but can’t reconcile investing in something that uses animal byproducts like down and leather, read on—and prepare to get a little toasty.



      Sleepy hollow

      According to Arc’teryx, every single person (!) at the company’s North Vancouver HQ owns an Atom LT hoodie ($300). Given the fact that the outdoor-gear giant manufactures no fewer than 75 technical-jacket designs, that’s gotta count for something, right? Available for both men and women—the latter version has a slightly slimmer cut—the insulated, super-lightweight piece is water-resistant and easily compressible, and helps regulate body temperature thanks to its breathable, quick-dry insulation. Plus, it promises to offer all the snug comfort of a sleeping bag, which is extra appreciated during a time of year when all we want to do is stay in bed.

      Find it at Arc’teryx (various locations).



      Sweet swede

      Better known as the creator of those colourful square backpacks you’ve seen on everyone from your fair-weather-cyclist neighbour to your kid nephew, Swedish outdoor-equipment label Fjällräven is committed to sustainability—and it shows in its outerwear. Take the men’s Yupik parka ($569.99), for instance, which is crafted using a synthetic lining, boasts artificial-fur trim along the hood, and is filled with the brand’s proprietary warmth-trapping Supreme Microloft. A look that screams urban cool more than hard-core Arctic expedition, plus plenty of conveniently placed pockets—seriously, we’re counting no fewer than 10—help seal the deal.

      Find it at Fjällräven (147 West Broadway and 1976 West 4th Avenue).


      Frank & Oak

      Hip hygge

      As any Danish citizen will tell you, hygge isn’t just a word—it’s a cozy, pleasing, all-is-right-in-the-world, sipping-cocoa-by-candlelight-as-a-blizzard-rages-on-outside feeling. And while, clearly, it’s a concept that’s hard to nail down, Montreal-based label Frank & Oak has done a decent job of interpreting the sentiment as a piece of functional outerwear with the recently released women’s Hygge Cocoon coat ($349). Like Frank & Oak’s entire winterwear line, the oversized garment is crafted from mostly recycled polyester and is filled with 3M Thinsulate, a synthetic insulation that’s light but still manages to keep your body toasty in subzero temps. (It was designed in Montreal, after all.) Deep, cleverly concealed pockets—two for your hands, one for your phone—complete the comfy look.

      Find it at Frank & Oak (316 West Cordova Street and 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby).


      The North Face

      Have a ball

      The North Face may be best recognized for its boxy, oversized-baffle down coats—you know, the ones that were the outerwear option of choice for approximately 30 percent of your high school’s student body. But the Cali-based outdoor-goods behemoth offers a range of animal-byproduct-free garments, too. We love the Thermoball men’s and women’s hoodie ($269.99), which features a compact design and an innovative warming solution developed in partnership with the makers of PrimaLoft, the world’s first biodegradable synthetic insulation. Pick from a range of patterns and hues like navy, red, kelly green, and camo.

      Find it at The North Face (various locations).



      Low-key heat

      Not into the puff and excess bulk that typically dominate retail racks around this time of year, but still want to survive that four-hour snowshoe trek that you will inevitably be dragged on in the name of exploring the outdoors, spending quality time with your friends, or some other inane nonsense? Then the Fairing jacket ($195)—a new release from the Vancouver-based RYU’s women’s range—may be your best bet. With its sleek motorcycle-jacket-inspired design and smooth matte finish, the piece is about as inconspicuous as outerwear gets. Layer it underneath a more heavy-duty shell for maximum protection against the elements.

      Find it at RYU (various locations).


      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.