The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The North Face Aconcagua II - Women's Review

This is a jacket best suited to urban adventures.
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Price:  $160 List | $76.98 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Water resistant, wind resistant, most stylish jacket for around town, warm
Cons:  Low quality down, heavy, bulky
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 20, 2018
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52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Warmth - 30% 6
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Compressibility - 20% 4
  • Features - 15% 3
  • Durability - 10% 9
  • Water Resistance - 5% 8

Our Verdict

The North Face Aconcagua II is a great jacket for your urban adventures. It is warm, durable, and looks sharp and the design is sleek and flattering. It is also a relatively heavy and bulky down jacket which does not excel on many strenuous outdoor adventures. It will certainly keep up on your cool weather day hikes, but if you need to carry much more than a jacket, water, and snacks, you'll likely look critically at this jacket for its bulk and weight. The 650 fill down is heavier for the weight, making it clear this is not designed to be your fast and light adventure companion.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The North Face Aconcagua is a heavy, but decently warm jacket. The name is deceiving, as it is not a jacket you would want to lug with you on a cold, high altitude mountain.

Performance Comparison


The Aconcagua is a durable  weather resistant down jacket.
The Aconcagua is a durable, weather resistant down jacket.

Warmth


The Aconcagua scored well in the warmth metric for its use of heavy 30D nylon and a thick layer of 550 fill down. This is not the warmest down for the weight; in fact, it is the lowest quality compared to the rest of the models in this review—but it is so dense and impermeable to wind that it retains a fair amount of body heat.

The Aconcagua uses lower quality down but a lot of it  combined with thick outer materials  making it relatively warm.
The Aconcagua uses lower quality down but a lot of it, combined with thick outer materials, making it relatively warm.

For the warmest jackets for their weight, check out two of our award winners, the exceedingly warm Feathered Friends Eos and the amazingly lightweight Ghost Whisperer.

Weight


This model is one of the heaviest in this review with the lower quality down and burlier outer fabrics. It is not a down jacket you would want to carry with you for climbing or backpacking trips due to the weight and bulk. However, if you're looking for something warm and light compared to many traditional winter coats, this might fit the bill.

For the lightest jacket in this review, check out the Ghost Whisperer, and for the warmest for the weight, we loved the Feathered Friends Eos.

Compressibility


The Aconcagua does not compress well due to the use of lower quality 550 fill down and thick 30 denier fabric. It does not stuff into any of the pockets (it's way too big for that), so you can't easily carry it with you clipped to a harness. If you're not planning to take it backpacking or climbing, compressibility may not be a deciding factor for you. The Aconcagua is a bulky jacket, not designed for backcountry use. If you want something super compressible, check out the Ghost Whisperer.

Features


The Aconcagua is a very basic down jacket. It has no hood, no adjustable drawcord at the bottom hem, and no chest pocket. The hand pockets, however, are fleece lined, which we loved. And the creative baffling design looks cool and helps this jacket move more easily with you than it would otherwise, given how thick and dense it is. This does, however, detract from the insulating properties around your core, which is less ideal (smaller baffles and more stitches mean more heat lost).

The Aconcagua was not full of features for climbing or outdoor use. If you like pockets, hoods, and adjustability, we really liked the Arc'teryx Cerium SV and the Rab Microlight Alpine.

We liked the variable baffling on the Aconcagua  it looked cool and allowed improved movement.
We liked the variable baffling on the Aconcagua, it looked cool and allowed improved movement.

Durability


This model from The North Face is a seriously durable jacket due to the use of 30 denier nylon. Durability is one of its strongest categories. The baffles are also mostly on the larger side, which will help keep the down from getting broken down over time. Larger baffles allow the down to loft more fully and create a larger chamber for it to loft into, so bigger baffles tend to translate to a longer lifespan of the loft.

The North Face was also wise to use durable 30 denier fabric for the 550 fill down. This lower quality down fill often has more pokey and sharp feathers which will more readily puncture lighter weight fabrics. Durability was a strength of the Aconcagua. If this is important to you, but you want something lighter or more compressible, we also liked the Arc'teryx Cerium LT and the very stylish Kuhl Spyfire.

The Aconcagua is a durable  weather resistant down jacket  but it is not as light or compressible as the rest in this review.
The Aconcagua is a durable, weather resistant down jacket, but it is not as light or compressible as the rest in this review.

Water Resistance


The thick outer shell of this jacket is highly water resistant, making it a great choice for urban adventures in damp climates where you might get caught out in a downpour more often than you'd like. The Aconcagua is a tough, weather resistant down jacket, truly unusual in its category. For a more fully featured backcountry savvy down jacket, we liked the Arc'teryx Cerium SV and LT as well.

Best Applications


This is an urban-ready down jacket designed for those who like its style. The Aconcagua is heavy, thick, stiff, and not very versatile. It will look good for business meetings, however, so this might be a great choice for casual use in cold urban settings.

Value


The Aconcagua is definitely a more affordable down jacket, but we have a tough time calling it a "good value." It is not versatile, and really just not designed for outdoor use. If you need a business casual warm jacket, however, this is certainly a good value.

Conclusion


The Aconcagua is a heavy, warm winter jacket that is too bulky and heavy for most outdoor activities. It's incredibly stylish and will perform best in an urban environment.

The Aconcagua is not quite ready for the mountain it is named after  but it looks good from several angles  perhaps that is what it has in common with the Seven Summit peak it is named after.
The Aconcagua is not quite ready for the mountain it is named after, but it looks good from several angles, perhaps that is what it has in common with the Seven Summit peak it is named after.


Lyra Pierotti