What's the Difference Between a Puffer Jacket and a Parka?

Puffer jackets and winter parkas are two excellent outwear options to keep you warm during winter season. They may look quite similar but with a few differences to mention so you can properly compare them and pick the perfect match. Let's see all the differences between a puffer jacket and a parka together!

Shape and Look

Foremost, let's talk about the design and fashion look of the two of them. Parka coat is known for being longer in length and offer extending below the waist or to mid-thigh. They also often feature a faux-fur trimmed hood for added warmth and protection against the rain, wind and cold (we only use faux-fur at Columbia). They come in different colours and patterns so you have stylish options to choose from.

On the other hand, men and ย women's puffer jacketsย are usually shorter in length. On our Columbia online shop, you can buy short, cropped or mid-length puffer jackets, for example. Moreover, a few puffer insulated jacket also features a quilted design filled with down or synthetic insulation. They can come with a type of big baffles for a very urban look, or small baffles for a lighter jacket. You can find them in many colours, shapes, with different features (several pockets, packable...) and looks.


A parka winter coat is more of a winter piece used for limited activities. In other words, they are a great option for urban activities, but less comfortable for sport activities, for example. Plus, parkas are usually waterproof and water-resistant, which make them great options for activities where insulation is more important than activity level. They are stylish and versatile and can be insulated with down or synthetic fabric materials like polyester or recycled polyester.

As for puffer jackets, they can be worn in the city, as well as for outdoor activities, as we find them with many different features. Some puffers are lightweight, easy-to-pack and compressible, which make them great options for hiking or other outdoor activities. Depending on our inner reflective technologies, they can protect you from mild to extreme cold temperatures to keep you warm and comfortable in all weather conditions.

The Origin of The Parka

The parka was invented before the puffer jacket by the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic. They called it "Amauti" and the jacket was usually made of caribou skin and sometimes coated with fish oil. They created it to protect them from the extreme cold weather conditions.

As for the word "parka" as we know it, it comes from the Nenets language, spoken by the indigenous people of northern Russia. These people were used to make parkas out of animal skins, as the Inuit people did. Later, during WWII, parkas were worn and used by military forces for their warmth and durability.

The Origin of The Puffer Jacket

The puffer jacket has been invented in the 30s in the US. At first, it was designed and developed only to protect from the cold during outdoor activities like fishing or hiking, and had absolutely no fashion value. Over the years, it became a must-have in any woman's wardrobe and one of the best winter jackets options.