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Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka Review

This parka is light and comfortable, making it an easy choice for moderate winter weather
Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka
Photo: Eddie Bauer
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Price:  $299 List | $179.40 at Amazon
Pros:  Comfortable, great hood, pretty warm, soft fleece cuffs and pockets
Cons:  No storm flap or front snaps, not waterproof, not our favorite style
Manufacturer:   Eddie Bauer
By Clark Tate ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2020
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Warmth - 30% 3
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 4
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Style - 10% 5
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Lightweight with a smart cut, cozy hood, and soft fleece cuffs, the Sun Valley Down Parka is a pleasure to pull on. The fit gives us plenty of room to move our shoulders and stretch our legs, but the parka never looks bulky or shapeless. It doesn't handle bitter cold temps or sloppy wet weather as well as other parkas we tested, and we don't love its style. Our arms are often chilly when temperatures drop below freezing. When we hopped in the shower to test water-resistance, the fabric soaked through at the seams and shoulders within the first minute. If you can duck out of the weather quickly and don't live in the coldest climate, this parka could be right for you.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $179.40 at Amazon$350.00 at Amazon$389.40 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$329.45 at Backcountry$625.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Comfortable, great hood, pretty warm, soft fleece cuffs and pocketsComfortable, 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 No storm flap or front snaps, not waterproof, not our favorite styleOn 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 Light and easy to wear, this parka's thoughtful details keep you warm in less severe winter weatherDurable 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 Sun Valley Down Parka Fjallraven Nuuk - Women's Arc'teryx Patera Parka Tres 3-in-1 Parka Canada Goose Camp Hooded
Warmth (30%)
3
9
6
7
8
Weather Resistance (25%)
4
7
9
9
6
Comfort (25%)
8
9
9
7
9
Style (10%)
5
7
8
9
8
Durability (10%)
7
9
9
7
7
Specs Sun Valley Down... Fjallraven Nuuk -... Arc'teryx Patera... Tres 3-in-1 Parka Canada Goose Camp...
Insulation and Fill Power 650 fill RDS down Supreme microloft (100% polyester) 750 fill down 700 fill recycled duck and goose down 750 fill hutterite white duck down
Fill Weight 300 g 250 g 59 g Down, 100 g Coreloft 150 g Unavailable
Hood Detachable hood, with removable faux fur trim Insulated with detachable faux fur trim Insulated hood Uninsulated, removable 2-way adjustable tunnel hood
Pockets 2 zippered handwarmer, 1 zippered chest 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) 2.9 lbs 3.7 lbs 2.0 lbs 2.9 lbs 1.3 lbs
2-way zipper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weather Resistant Features Water-resistant Waterproof, windproof Waterproof, windproof, and breathable barrier, DWR finish Waterproof, windproof, and breathable barrier, DWR finish Windproof, DWR treatment
Sizes Available XS to XXL, Regular, Petite, Tall and Plus XXS to XXL XS to XXL XS to XXL 2XS to 2XL
Social or Environmental Certifications Responsible Down Standard - Certified 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

The Sun Valley isn't the warmest jacket we tested or the best at fending off wet weather. Its easy wearability and cushy features make it a comfortable option for milder climates. It also comes in a wide array of colors and sizes from XS to 3X and in tall, plus, and petite size options. We found the jacket to be trim and true to size. Our friends and online reviewers agree.

Performance Comparison


It's not the warmest jacket we tested, but the 650 fill down keeps...
It's not the warmest jacket we tested, but the 650 fill down keeps you plenty cozy in moderate winter weather.
Photo: Clark Tate

Warmth


The Sun Valley Parka is a warm winter coat, but we don't rate it at the top of the test. Our arms were often chilled when temperatures dipped below freezing, and our bums got cold when sitting out in the cold. A fleece lining along your back keeps your core comfortable and cuts down on any wind. We wish it wrapped around the entire torso for more warmth.

It's common for companies to rate sleeping bags and winter jackets generously, and we don't buy the -30 F rating. It's just not that thick and didn't keep us toasty in temperatures well above zero. The fabric doesn't claim to be windproof, and we felt a chill creeping in through the seams.

Soft fleece cuffs kept our wrists happy and held drafts at bay.
Soft fleece cuffs kept our wrists happy and held drafts at bay.
Photo: Clark Tate

The jacket's 650 fill power down offers middle-of-the-road loft amongst the jackets we tested. Down's fill power measures its quality. The higher the fill number, the more room the down takes up and the more air pockets it captures. Your body heat warms up those air pockets, so the more you have, the warmer you are.

Down fill weight measures how much down is in a jacket. Eddie Bauer says this jacket has a 300-gram fill weight, which is one of the highest in the test. On paper, this jacket should be one of the warmest in the test. We didn't find that to be the case. That said, the Sun Valley is adequate for moderate winter temperatures outside of the deep-north.

The DWR beads water well, but this jacket let more water in than...
The DWR beads water well, but this jacket let more water in than most in the shower test.
Photo: Clark Tate

Water Resistance


The outer shell has a durable water-repellant (DWR) finish to help water bead and roll away before soaking into the fabric. It's not waterproof, and the DWR doesn't work for very long. In our four-minute shower test, water quickly soaked through the baffle seams and shoulders. It kept beading water on the shell throughout the test, but water worked its way through to our back, chest, and thighs by the end. Rain didn't charge through the zipper, though, which is nice. And the hood kept our head dry.

While this parka can shed some splashes, it won't give you much time to get out of the weather in a rainstorm or wet sloppy snow. The fabric isn't windproof either. Though the layer of fleece in the back provides some extra protection from cutting winds. Overall, this jacket is best for cold, clear days without dangerous weather.

Soft features, a light feel, and generous cut kept us comfortable in...
Soft features, a light feel, and generous cut kept us comfortable in the Sun Valley Down.
Photo: Clark Tate

Comfort


Lightweight, with a comfortable cut that gives us plenty of shoulder room, this is jacket is one that we quickly forget after pulling it on. It doesn't feel like wrapping up in a cloud (our favorite winter jackets are wearable sleeping bags), but plush fleece cuffs and pockets and a cozy hood keep us happy.

The fleece lining on the back is also soft and comforting. Oddly, the type of fleece lining you get varies by jacket color. The black version we tested has short-pile fleece. (So does the navy, carbon, DK loden, driftwood, and plum.) The other colors have a high-pile sherpa fleece. That sounds even softer, so we're all for it.

Soft fleece along the back liner blocks out wind and holds in heat.
Soft fleece along the back liner blocks out wind and holds in heat.
Photo: Clark Tate

This jacket is never restrictive, giving your arms and legs plenty of room to move. If you do need more space to increase your stride, a two-way zipper lets you open up the hem. This jacket gives us no cause for comfort complaints as long as you keep it out of wet weather.

The jacket looks nice, but its stiff face fabric doesn't work as...
The jacket looks nice, but its stiff face fabric doesn't work as well with chevron baffles as thinner and softer materials did.
Photo: Clark Tate

Style


The Sun Valley's function lends grace to its form, but it's not a style standout. The exposed zippers and arm pocket are visual distractions that feel dated. The shell's sheen that comes from a metallic cross dyeing process according to Eddie Bauer, looks a little plastic on the relatively stiff shell fabric.

The chevron baffling and shiny fabric is similar to several very fashionable jackets we tested. While their light and soft polyester fabric have a subtle drape, the Sun Valley's stiff outer fabric stands straight up and down. The effect isn't as appealing, but the slim cut does flatter. This jacket isn't bulky and has a pleasing line, and the faux fur ruff is among the prettiest we tested.

The Sun Valley Down Parka is well made and seems durable. The zipper...
The Sun Valley Down Parka is well made and seems durable. The zipper appears less expensive than others we tested but always worked well.
Photo: Clark Tate

Durability


The Sun Valley is a well-made parka. It does have many seams on the shell that could snag and rip, but we don't expect that to be a game-changing issue. The zipper works well, but it does seem less expensive and possibly less durable than those on other jackets.

The Sun Valley's pockets, hood, and cuffs are all well-executed.
The Sun Valley's pockets, hood, and cuffs are all well-executed.
Photo: Clark Tate

Feature


Cozy, well-executed features make this jacket a joy to wear. Super-soft fleece cuffs caress your hands, hold in heat, and tuck smartly away behind the protective shell, so they're not likely to get wet. The same fleece lines the well-placed hand-warming pockets that tuck into the soft down insulation.

This hood is one of our favorites. It fits wonderfully and is a snap...
This hood is one of our favorites. It fits wonderfully and is a snap to pull off.
Photo: Clark Tate

Those pockets zip and are big enough for a cell phone, but sitting down with one zipped into either of them is uncomfortable. The chest pocket is a great place to carry valuables, though. It zips and is big enough for most smartphones. Most jackets tuck this pocket into the coat for a more streamlined look. Putting it outside just makes it easier to access in a storm, and we like that.

The pocket on the left sleeve is less functional. When you're wearing the jacket, it's hard to reach across your body to access the opening. If you're trying to curb your spending habits, it's an excellent place to keep your cash. You may decide that whatever your heart desires at the moment isn't worth the hassle of breaking into that little pocket.

The two-way zip ensures we never have to shorten our stride.
The two-way zip ensures we never have to shorten our stride.
Photo: Clark Tate

The jacket's hood is nicely sized and insulated with a functional faux-fur ruff. It protects our ears and faces without restricting our field of view. The ruff and hood both snap off so easily that you can do it while wearing the coat. We appreciate this functionality, and fabric flaps do a fair job of covering the inelegant snaps.

The two-way zipper doesn't have an external storm flap. We like these flaps for their weather protection and because their snaps offer a quick and easy way to fasten your coat without reaching down for the zipper. An internal flap helps keep water and wind from rushing in.

There are other jackets that offer more weather protection or warmth...
There are other jackets that offer more weather protection or warmth for the same price.
Photo: Clark Tate

Value


This jacket performs well in moderate winter weather and is easy to wear. It should also last for years. That means it gives you good value. Other coats in the test offer more warmth, weather protection, and style for about the same price, though.

Eddie Bauer is Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified. If cruelty-free down sourcing matters to you, this jacket honors that value.

Conclusion


The Sun Valley Down Parka has very few flaws, and if the style and level of weather protection work for you, we have no hesitations in recommending it.

Clark Tate