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Canada Goose Expedition Parka - Women's Review

This jacket keeps you alive in killer weather but is too much for most conditions
Canada Goose Expedition Parka - Women's
Photo: Backcountry
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $1,395 List | $993.50 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Extremely warm, waterproof, lots of pockets, soft collar
Cons:  Too warm for most conditions, heavy, real coyote-fur could deter some
Manufacturer:   Canada Goose
By Clark Tate ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 18, 2021
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 15
  • Warmth - 30% 10
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 10
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Style - 10% 4
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

It is hard to find environments challenging enough to put the Canada Goose Expedition Parka to good use. A short, -20-degree (with wind chill) walk near the Canadian border in Vermont did the trick. That makes sense since Canada Goose developed this parka for scientists at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. They rate it for -22 degree weather and below. If you're in extreme weather often enough to need this jacket, it's a revelation. If you're not legitimately risking frostbite when heading outside, you could go with a less intense option.

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$650.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Extremely warm, waterproof, lots of pockets, soft collarComfortable, durable fabric, awesome pockets, weather-proof and breathableAthletic fit, comfortable, stylish, temperature regulating, waterproofFlattering, waterproof, durable, three jackets in one, recycled down and polyesterWindproof, warm, super comfortable, lightweight, packs into a pillow
Cons Too warm for most conditions, heavy, real coyote-fur could deter someOn the bulky side, face fabric holds onto waterSleeves and hem are less insulated, tricky hood tightened, expensiveUninsulated hood, tight shoulders, no two-way zipper on down jacket, tricky pocketsNot waterproof, hood doesn’t detach, finicky zipper
Bottom Line For the few people who need fail-proof protection in temperatures of -22 and below, this is the one for youDurable and waterproof, this jacket is a great option for cold or wet weatherStylish and functional, this jacket will keep you dry and warm when moving around in the winter monthsThis parka is a versatile option that shines in wet winter conditionsThis parka is windproof and warm
Rating Categories Expedition Parka Fjallraven Nuuk - Women's Arc'teryx Patera Parka Tres 3-in-1 Parka Canada Goose Camp Hooded
Warmth (30%)
10
9
6
7
8
Weather Resistance (25%)
10
7
9
9
6
Comfort (25%)
6
9
9
7
9
Style (10%)
4
7
8
9
8
Durability (10%)
9
9
9
7
7
Specs Expedition Parka Fjallraven Nuuk -... Arc'teryx Patera... Tres 3-in-1 Parka Canada Goose Camp...
Insulation and Fill Power 625 fill duck down Supreme microloft (100% polyester) 750 fill down 700 fill recycled duck and goose down 750 fill hutterite white duck down
Fill Weight Unavailable 250 g 59 g Down, 100 g Coreloft 150 g Unavailable
Hood Insulated with detachable coyote faux fur trim Insulated with detachable faux fur trim Insulated hood Uninsulated, removable 2-way adjustable tunnel hood
Pockets 4 large handwarmer, 1 sleeve utility, 1 flap-closure sleeve, 3 internal pockets - 1 zippered security, 1 drop-in 2 internal, 2 bellows, 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 2 chest 2 handwarmer, 1 internal chest pocket 2 zippered handwarmer in shell, 2 zippered handwarmer and 1 internal chest in down liner jacket 2 external, 1 internal, 1 internal stretch mesh pocket
Weight (size small) 4.6 lbs 3.7 lbs 2.0 lbs 2.9 lbs 1.3 lbs
2-way zipper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weather Resistant Features Waterproof, windproof Waterproof, windproof Waterproof, windproof, and breathable barrier, DWR finish Waterproof, windproof, and breathable barrier, DWR finish Windproof, DWR treatment
Sizes Available XS to XL XXS to XXL XS to XXL XS to XXL 2XS to 2XL
Social or Environmental Certifications Fluorocarbon-free impregnation Some materials meet bluesign criteria
Responsible Down Standard
100% recycled down, 50% recycled polyester shell, 100% recycled polyester jacket, Fair Trade Certified sewn

Our Analysis and Test Results

Excellent in its element, the Expedition Jacket is a fortress against frigid temps and biting winds. Since it was designed for scientists and all the gear they carry, Canada Goose gives you pockets galore — four hand-warming side pockets underneath four drop-in pockets, two on your sleeve, two internal options. Ample 625 fill duck down is held around you in a cloud with durable Arctic-tech fabric. It weighs a startling 4.6 pounds and earns every bit of it in the right conditions.

Performance Comparison


The Expedition Parka is rated to -22 degrees and below.
The Expedition Parka is rated to -22 degrees and below.
Photo: Clark Tate

Warmth


It's hard to imagine a jacket being warmer. As we mentioned, it shrugged off -20 degree wind chills on a stroll. The only real challenge is finding pants warm enough to keep up. This extreme heat retention does limit the jacket's versatility. For example, a moderate snowshoe jaunt in sunny, 5-degree weather had us sweating. That said, it was comfortable for a slow walk on a 32-degree day with biting winds. We had the hood up, the zipper undone, and the Velcro storm flap partially latched. When we sped up the tempo much in any temperature above zero, we got hot in a hurry.


Aside from the bomber, wind-stopping, waterproof fabric, and fluffy 625 fill duck down, the jacket includes a number of Arctic-smart features. There are two storm flaps, one above and one beneath the zipper. The hood is lined with real coyote fur, a removable ruff that works wonders to cut the wind and hold heat around your face. You can roll the ruff back to frame your face or flip out a wire-rimmed brim that blocks wind or harsh reflective sunlight while still giving you a reasonable field of view.

Real Coyote Fur — Most winter jackets force us to consider whether we're okay with using goose or duck feathers to keep us warm and, if so, what type of animal treatment we can live with. Few jackets require us to address whether or not we're okay with hunting wild coyotes in the US and Canada.

There are two main factors to consider. One is the environmental impact. Another is each animal's right to life and/or a respectful death. Predators have a much larger impact on environmental health than prey species do since they control prey numbers and, thus, the number of plants those animals eat. So it's important to know how the coyote population is doing. According to the International Union of Conservation Species (IUCS), the North American coyote is a species of least concern, and its numbers are growing, a promising sign.

Canada Goose claims that their suppliers source fur from wild animals, not fur farms, that their trappers follow government standards, and that "they do not tolerate any willful mistreatment, neglect or malicious harm of animals." Canada Goose did launch an initiative to use reclaimed fur last year and hope to stop buying new fur in 2022.

We often kept the Expedition Parka unzipped to regulate its extreme...
We often kept the Expedition Parka unzipped to regulate its extreme warmth.
Photo: Clark Tate

The jacket color also zips up to your eyeballs, meaning you just need to add goggles to block out cold air. The collar is tight in the size small we tested, though, jamming against our mouth and nose, making it hard to breathe. If you need this feature often, consider sizing up. Rib-knit cuff gaskets hold heat and are soft on your wrist, tucking away in your sleeve to stay them dry. A nylon snow skirt and drawcord waist further keep cold air from infiltrating your core. The four hand warming pockets aren't insulated, but they do add wind and weather protection.

The soft rib cuffs are pleasant and tuck into the sleeve enough to...
The soft rib cuffs are pleasant and tuck into the sleeve enough to stay out of the snow, usually.
Photo: Clark Tate

Because it's so easy to overheat, you do need to manage how much you sweat. The jacket doesn't breathe particularly well, and when we were working hard, the moisture had nowhere to go and clung to even our techy wool base layers. Being wet is uncomfortable and can give you a chill, so you have to pay attention to your activity level in warmer temps.

Slap on a pair of goggles, and you'll have little to no skin exposed.
Slap on a pair of goggles, and you'll have little to no skin exposed.
Photo: Clark Tate

Weather Resistance


The weather protection that the Expedition Parka offers is arguably more impressive than its warmth. When we tested the jacket in the shower with the hood flap extended, we could barely even hear the water. With most of these jackets, we had to be careful not to let the water come right in at our faces. In this coat, it didn't matter. The water couldn't dodge that hood, and we tried.


You're not really supposed to get the ruff wet (water should be frozen at the temps you'll need this jacket in after all), but we did. It smells like a wet coyote, like a zoo. It hits home that a life was taken to keep you warm.

The Arctic-tech fabric shrugs off water like few materials we've tested and is similarly effective at blocking wind. All the other aspects of the jacket that keep you warm also keep you dry and out of the wind.

While this coat is heavy, integrated straps make it a breeze to...
While this coat is heavy, integrated straps make it a breeze to carry around.
Photo: Clark Tate

Comfort


This jacket can keep you wildly comfortable in inhospitable conditions but is not an easy-wearing coat. It's heavy at 4.6 pounds. We don't notice it when it's on, but it can feel like a lot if you're commuting or moving in and out of doors often. Though the internal shoulder straps that let you tote it around like a backpack help a lot.

The internal pockets are disappointingly small. The powder skirt and...
The internal pockets are disappointingly small. The powder skirt and drawcord help keep the jacket sealed and fitted.
Photo: Clark Tate

The fabric, burly enough to block out Arctic conditions, is somewhat stiff. When you sit down when all zipped up, the jacket shifts off your shoulders and into your face. And when you walk, the bottom strip of Velcro always rips apart. The jacket has a generous cut in the shoulders but is straight through the body and can feel restrictive. It worked much better when we tightened the waist strap, forming a bell shape around our hips. Still, you may want to consider sizing up to give you more layering room and more room in the collar, which, again, is tight when zipped.


Oh, and that collar, it's lined with the most luxurious high-pile fleece we've ever experienced. You want that collar to fit so you can chin-snuggle it. The cuffs are soft as well, offering small comforts in harsh conditions.

We consider this parka to be Arctic scientist chic. Its form is...
We consider this parka to be Arctic scientist chic. Its form is completely driving by function.
Photo: Clark Tate

Style


If your style is super-hardcore Arctic explorer or scientist chic, you'll be nailing it with this one. Function is fully guiding form here. You don't feel cute in this jacket. You feel ready.


The only part of this parka that seems vulnerable are the Velcro...
The only part of this parka that seems vulnerable are the Velcro patches. They already have loose strands and can wear down over time.
Photo: Clark Tate

Durability


Again, the Arctic-tech fabric seems indestructible, and even the softer lining fabric feels sturdy and tightly woven. The zippers seem high quality, and the hood isn't removable, so there is little to fail there. All told, we don't expect any major durability issues with this jacket.


There are some sloppy details that are annoying in a jacket at this price point, however. The storm flap uses Velcro to hold it closed over the zipper. That's great if you need to slap it shut while wearing mittens, but Velcro can wear out over time. Some of the strips on our test jacket are already losing threads. It's not likely to cause catastrophic failure, but we wish the stripes were more robust.

It may be overkill for runs to the market, but if you're heading to...
It may be overkill for runs to the market, but if you're heading to the Arctic, you'll get use out of it for years.
Photo: Clark Tate

Value


For anyone who truly needs this jacket, it is likely worth the cost. For most of us, who rarely, if ever, expect to be outside for extended periods in temperatures dropping well into the negative double digits, it's a lot of money for more jacket than you need.

This parka is comforting when heading out for a walk as temperatures...
This parka is comforting when heading out for a walk as temperatures dive past -10 degrees.
Photo: Clark Tate

You'll also have to weigh your own environmental and ethical values. Coyote populations are doing well, but you'll have to be okay with trapping one unless you wait till 2022 to buy your jacket. Canada Goose is working towards compliance with the Responsible Down Standard and hopes to be fully certified this year. Most of their jacket production occurs in Canada, and they claim a zero-tolerance policy against human rights abuses.

Conclusion


Canada Goose has a reputation for durability, and we'd expect this jacket to last long enough to earn its keep if you need it. If you're likely to find yourself in biting winds and bitter temps on a featureless polar plain with shades of white stretching to the horizon, it's an easy decision. But it could also be a great companion for snowmobilers sitting still in negative temps or anyone in extreme latitudes that never lets the weather keep them inside.

Not gonna lie, we feel like the real deal in this jacket.
Not gonna lie, we feel like the real deal in this jacket.
Photo: Clark Tate

Clark Tate