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The North Face Gotham III Jacket Review

A solid, inexpensive, all-around winter parka with just minor fit issues and limited wet weather performance
The North Face Gotham III Jacket
Photo: The North Face
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Price:  $299 List | $188.32 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, heavily featured, stylish
Cons:  Not very warm, marginally weather resistant
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 26, 2018
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 15
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Style - 20% 6
  • Features - 10% 7
  • Durability - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The North Face Gotham III Jacket combines apr├Ęs-ski style and modern features at a great value. A great winter coat can be worn day-in and day-out during the harsh winter season, and this product is up to the challenge. It protects against normal U.S. winter temperatures for up to an hour or so of light activity and is equally appropriate whether you're on a ski run or huddled around a campfire. We would have preferred a few more weather-resistant features and thicker insulation, but this jacket still performs well on day trips to the mountains or cold evenings downtown. Everyone has their idea of what winter looks like. For those that take advantage of crisp temperatures to check out the local ski hill and enjoy an evening at an outdoor concert, this jacket is just right. The Gotham III is not designed for the alpine climber or backcountry skier, but for the everyday user who can throw it on to run to the store in a storm and then ski in it the next day.

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Price $188.32 at Amazon
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Pros Comfortable, heavily featured, stylishWarm, long hem, comfortable hood, great featuresDurable, warm, super comfortableWarm, durable, good styleAffordable, weather resistant, comfortable
Cons Not very warm, marginally weather resistantBulky, faux fur hood is polarizingLimited wet weather protection due to non-sealed seamsPoor weather resistance, bulky feelUnremarkable style, not as warm as other jackets, not fully waterproof
Bottom Line A solid, inexpensive, all-around winter parka with just minor fit issues and limited wet weather performanceA warm, stylish, and budget-conscious jacket for those in the coldest regionsThis jacket offers comfort, warmth and durability at an attractive priceA warm and durable winter jacket for dry conditionsA good all-around winter parka at a great value
Rating Categories Gotham III Jacket McMurdo Down Parka Marmot Fordham Patagonia Maple Gro... Columbia Boundary B...
Warmth (25%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
6.0
6.0
4.0
5.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Style (20%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Features (10%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (5%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Gotham III Jacket McMurdo Down Parka Marmot Fordham Patagonia Maple Gro... Columbia Boundary B...
Down Fill Power 550 550 700 600 Synthetic
Total Weight (pounds) 3.10 lb 3.55 lb 2.75 lb 3.46 lb 2.86 lb
Pockets 6 (2 zippered hand, 2 patch chest, 1 patch arm, [internal] 1 zippered media) 2 chest height, zippered handwarmers, 2 exterior top-entry Velcro flap pockets, 1 sleeve, 1 interior media pocket, and 2 side-entry waist handwarmers 2 zippered handwarmer, 1 flap chest pocket, 1 zippered internal media 2 handwarmer, 2 cargo, 1 external chest, 1 internal chest 2 handwarmer, 2 external chest (buttoned), 1 internal chest (zipper)
Hood Yes Yes (removable) Yes (removable) Yes Yes, removable
Hood Adjustments Adjustable Rear drawcord Adjustable drawcords 3 adjustable drawcords 2 side drawstrings
Baffle Type Sewn-through inner layer Sewn-through under an outer shell fabric Sewn-through Sewn-through under an outer shell fabric Discontinuous quilting
Main Fabric DryVent 2L 100% nylon DryVent 2L 100% nylon MemBrain 2L 100% polyester 67% Cotton 33% Polyester 100% Polyester with Omni-Tech

Our Analysis and Test Results

The North Face Gotham III is an insulated parka that uses 550-fill-power goose down. A time-tested North Face material, HyVent, acts as a waterproof/breathable shell to keep out snow and rain. It also keeps moisture from building up inside the down insulation. The jacket has a number of useful features, like a hood with detachable faux-fur trim, a dedicated internal media pocket, and an integrated neck gaiter. There are five pockets, four external and one internal, providing lots of room for gloves, wallets, and phones.

Performance Comparison


A shorter, more fashion-oriented piece, the Gotham III is different than the other jackets in our test. It stands out. Performance-wise though, it's nothing notable. It does it's winter jacket duty, keeping you warm in moderate cold and shrugging off light weather.

This is a fashionable jacket that keeps you warm. The design...
This is a fashionable jacket that keeps you warm. The design prioritizes form over function, but the result works well enough.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Warmth


The Gotham III jacket is a basic design laden with cool features, none of which add much warmth. The 550-fill goose down insulation is not overly light or efficient compared to the 800-fill that high-end coats use these days. However, for the jacket's intended use the fill choice feels appropriate. The waterproof/breathable HyVent two-layer fabric traps warm air while remaining breathable in cold conditions.

We really liked the ribbed sleeves and hem and appreciated the snug fit that keeps cold air out, even in strong winds. The tight-fitting cuffs also allow you to use gauntlet style gloves without having to tuck them underneath. Unfortunately, the cut keeps the fit shorter than a traditional parka, which reduces the warmth factor. The exterior pockets are fleece lined but not insulated.

The waist of the Gotham jacket is shorter than other products in our...
The waist of the Gotham jacket is shorter than other products in our review. For certain looks and wearers, this is a good thing.


Weather Resistance


The North Face uses their own two-layer waterproof/breathable material called HyVent on this model. It does a good job of keeping snow and rain out, while also trapping body heat. While the shell material is waterproof, the knit cuffs and hems are not. So while this jacket can withstand cold temperatures and a certain amount of wet weather, we would want to weather a prolonged storm while wearing it. Small storm flaps conceal the handwarmer pockets, but the closure is only a single button. We would rather have a fully zippered pocket to keep out rain or snow.

This photo shows both the shorter waist of the Gotham (note the...
This photo shows both the shorter waist of the Gotham (note the testers belt-line revealed with upraised arms) and the integrated neck gaiter.
Photo: Meagan Buck Porter

Comfort


The Gotham III is burly on the outside with a soft and comfortable inner lining. We enjoy wearing this jacket for a lot of reasons, but the smooth nylon lining and the snug knit wrist cuffs topped the list for some. Other testers thought the dampness-prone knit cuffs took away from the comfort factor.

The HyVent shell is durable without feeling like coated canvas. It did not bunch up in the front or feel like sandpaper when our faces brushed up against it. With such a supple outer fabric the jacket did not bunch up while seated. On the downside, our taller testers had to pull the ribbed elastic hem down constantly. Users with shorter torsos may not experience this problem.

The Gotham moves the media pocket to the inside, with a slot for...
The Gotham moves the media pocket to the inside, with a slot for your headphones.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Features


What the Gotham lacks in warmth it makes up for in cool features that are stylish and functional. Two chest pockets provide ample space for keys, a phone, gloves, goggles and more. There is also an internal Napoleon pocket (remember the famous pose?) with a headphone channel to keep your electronics dry and protected.

Our favorite single feature of this whole jacket is the stowable neck gaiter that adds warmth and protection. We would like to see this feature used on more jackets. We also like that you can cinch the hood tightly around your head.

The faux fur hood trim is removable, which we think is terrific as it tended to tickle the face and obstruct vision without providing benefit when used in anything but the coldest of conditions. Although the faux fur is removable, the hood itself is not. We wish it was, as it would give the wearer more options to control warmth and style.

This shoulder pocket must be "just for show". We suppose you could...
This shoulder pocket must be "just for show". We suppose you could keep a credit card or drivers license here, but if you're anything like us, you will completely forget it is there.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Style


While style is ultimately a personal choice, cut and fit are quantifiable. A good winter coat should cover your backside and allow for proper mobility and range of motion while providing protection and warmth.

The Gotham made sacrifices in warmth and weather resistance to achieve a certain look. The cut is trimmer and more athletic than the other products we reviewed. While the faux fur can lend warmth in truly cold conditions, it's also a style choice. It's not for everyone, but you can remove it. While many reviewers love the design and athletic cut, others did not appreciate the aggressive outer pockets. Overall, we felt that the rib knit hem is too short. It did not fit tall, skinny users very well.

The short cut of The North Face Gotham is a unique, polarizing style.
The short cut of The North Face Gotham is a unique, polarizing style.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Durability


The North Face constructed this jacket with a used strong nylon fabric. We had no issues with the product failing. We guess that the elastic sleeves may go first. They could stretch out from being pulled over gloves. While we like the removable hood trim, anything that can be removed can be lost, so take care to keep track of it. Despite repeated and forceful use, the buttons appear to be solid and did not pull through the fabric.

The range of motion of the Gotham isn't ideal, but its nimble enough...
The range of motion of the Gotham isn't ideal, but its nimble enough for some basic yard tasks.
Photo: Meagan Buck Porter

Value


The sticker price is surprisingly low for a waterproof/breathable down jacket. The value is high enough that the Gotham III was a candidate for our Best Buy award. Despite its relative lack of warmth and weather-resistant features, the Gotham III is easily worth the cost for anyone looking for a basic winter coat.

Conclusion


Anyone living in colder climates and looking for a coat to do it all, from commuting to sightseeing to light outdoor activities, will likely come to love this jacket. You may find yourself wearing it just about every day you can.

Jediah Porter