Does a temperature of -5 degrees F mean a warm day to you? Do you wake up in the dark to go outside to clear the driveway with a snow blower? If this is starting to describe a typical winter day for you, you might be interested in what the Canada Goose Expedition Parka Heritage can offer. This burly winter parka provides incredible warmth and function in severe conditions, designed for polar expeditions and long, frigid snowmobile commutes in the cold northern latitudes. It is undoubtedly the most niche jacket in our review and is likely too much jacket for a lot of people, and many would be better off choosing a different product. But if you are looking for the ultimate in cold weather protection, our Top Pick for Extreme Cold will fit the bill.
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Too warm and heavy for most users
Consider Donating to Polar Bears International with PBI Expedition model
The Expedition Parka is part of a line of custom products that donates a part of your purchase to Polar Bears International. PBI is a non-profit organization that strives to protect polar bears and the habitat crucial to their survival. For a little extra, the Canada Goose PBI Expedition Parka comes in a signature royal blue. A Polar Bears International patch is sewn on the right shoulder, and your contribution to the future of a vulnerable species.
Editor's Note: The Canada Goose Expedition Parka review was updated on February 23, 2022, with additional sections on the products we would buy for ourselves and what we would recommend to others.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Weighing in at 4 pounds 9 ounces, the Canada Goose Expedition Parka is the most substantial and bulkiest jacket in our winter jacket review. The reason for this weight is the immense amount of 625-fill-power duck down and the heavy-duty Arctic-Tech outer shell material. Storage is not an issue with a total of 10 exterior pockets, with a mix of zipper and Velcro closures, as well as one interior zippered pocket. Additional features like a snow skirt and best-in-the-business hood make this jacket one of the most effective dedicated winter parkas out there.
Like many specialized products, the very excellent Expedition Parka doesn't rank very high in our lineup. The overall performance of a product like this involves inherent compromises. Warmer jackets are less comfortable, for instance. The Expedition Parka optimizes for warmth at the expense of other things, hence the less-than-stellar overall scoring.
Unless you want to zip yourself into a full-body Himalayan down suit, you would be hard-pressed to find a warmer jacket elsewhere. It earned one of the best scores in this metric. During our review, we saw temperatures from 40 down to -10. This coat was comfortable while standing around but was too hot when doing something active like shoveling snow. This warmth comes from 625-fill-power duck down. Although it is not the highest quality down available, the amount of down fill is the root of this parka's warmth.
It has a full-length parka with a snow skirt and an insulated hood lined with genuine coyote fur that is roomy enough to fit a beanie under. This jacket does an excellent job of trapping body heat and keeping cold out. Long rib-knit cuffs provide a superb seal while allowing gloves to be worn over the top. The only cold spots we could find were in the outer pockets, which are non-insulated. While we liked the warmth offered by this model, the Marmot Fordham is a much more versatile insulated jacket and one-quarter the price.
The Arctic Tech fabric that constitutes the outer shell of the jacket is coated with a DWR treatment, which is unsurprising given this jacket's intended environment. It is one of the more wind and waterproof options.
While able to shed snow and sleet, the fabric did begin to show wetting in prolonged exposure to moisture. Again, if it is raining, it is probably way too warm to wear this parka, so it is unlikely you will find this a problem. Because it's meant to be used in the coldest of cold climates, it will be overkill in areas with more temperate winters.
The integrated snow skirt keeps updrafts from entering from below. An insulated adjustable hood with coyote fur trim keeps the face warm and is less ticklish and more resistant to freezing up than the faux fur trim of the The North Face Gotham III.
We like the recessed rib knit cuffs that provide a snug fit and the soft real coyote fur trim around the hood. The Expedition is a beast of a jacket, though, and its bulk makes it tough to sit down comfortably while wearing it. Also, due to the volume, exertion is laborious. Again, though, you are unlikely to be exerting a high amount in this jacket, as you will be just too warm. It earned a relatively low score for comfort due to these factors.
The size of the front zipper means that not only will this jacket be durable, but it is also much easier to operate with gloves on than any of the other contenders. This isn't directly a factor of comfort, but it does help improve the overall experience.
Features? You name it. This jacket has it.
The hood uses a three-way adjustable drawcord to keep the snow and wind from whipping you in the face and is lined with real coyote fur to provide more protection. The waist also uses a drawcord, although the fabric is so bulky that it is hard to cinch tight. A Velcro snow skirt wraps tight around the inside waistband, keeping you dry when riding fast on a snow machine or walking out into the whipping snow.
Canada Goose put every bell and whistle it could on this parka, and although a researcher in the Antarctic may find a use for the ten exterior pockets, the average consumer will be hard-pressed to use them all. The only feature we wished for is an extra-large interior pocket for a thermos, gloves, or goggles.
This Canada Goose jacket has a unique style. It might have an application in specific casual settings, but this is a functional parka designed primarily for cold, inhospitable conditions that do not demand a flattering fit. It earned a score on the lower end of the group.
The cut is boxy and allows for plenty of layering underneath, and although it hits mid-thigh, it does not have any of the high fashion of the more casual trench coats we reviewed. Some may find the use of real animal fur unappealing, in which case the faux fur trim used on jackets such as The North Face McMurdo may be a better option.
The Expedition Parka is a tank, and we did not experience any abnormal wear and tear issues during our test.
The zippers on this jacket are some of the largest on the market, and the Velcro closures are burly and held up well to the stresses of the massive outer fabric. With a lifetime guarantee, one can be assured that their investment is protected.
Should You Buy the Canada Goose Expedition Parka?
The Canada Goose Expedition is one of the warmest and most burly jackets available. It will keep you warm and happy if you have to spend extended time outside in the winter, whether you live in Fairbanks, AK, or Ithaca, NY. Despite being a niche parka compared with many others in this review, only the thin-skinned Khumbu can compare when it comes to warmth, which is why we've made this jacket our Top Pick for Extreme Cold. There is a reason why Canada Goose parkas have such a dedicated following.
What Other Winter Jackets Should You Consider?
The Expedition is the most expensive jacket in our review. Although it is a significant investment, this is a jacket that should last for many years of use and is likely less costly than layering two or more lighter-weight jackets together. However, it is overkill for the majority of outdoor enthusiasts. But don't worry, if you are looking for a jacket to keep you warm, other, less aggressive options may be better suited to everyday use, and you don't have to spend thousands to purchase one. The REI Co-op Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka is a great all-around jacket that earned above-average scores in almost every metric and manages to keep the cost down. If you want something more stylish, the Patagonia Frozen Range is our top-ranked option in this review.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.