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

Kuhl Arktik - Women's Review

A serious winter parka that's warm and durable with a unique style.
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Price:  $450 List | $279.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warm, unique, 800 fill goose down, adjustable waist, durable
Cons:  Exterior pockets sit low, not waterproof, irritates chin when zipped, hood isn’t removable
Manufacturer:   Kuhl
By Liz Williamson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2018
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 18
  • Warmth - 30% 9
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Style - 20% 7
  • Durability - 5% 8

Our Verdict

Unlike any other jacket's we test, the Kuhl Arktik Down Parka has a unique style with it's waxed outer shell and Italian faux leather suede trim. Resting just above the knee, this heavy duty parka insulated with 800 fill goose down kept us plenty warm, even though it wasn't insulated with a huge amount of down, like the Marmot Montreaux. We had no problem taking the dog for an early morning walk or commuting to work in this jacket. This jacket is not fully waterproof but we are still impressed with how well it repels rain and snow, but it only does so for a short period of time. Still, it does a better job in rain and snow than The North Face Gotham II or the Patagonia Down With It Parka.

If you are looking for a stylish winter jacket, that's just as warm and more water-resistant, consider our Editors' Choice, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


This jackets style is different from any other parka we tested. Its exterior is coated in a wax  to make it water-resistant and durable. It also gives the jacket a rustic look.
This jackets style is different from any other parka we tested. Its exterior is coated in a wax, to make it water-resistant and durable. It also gives the jacket a rustic look.

Warmth


Covering almost down to the knee and insulated with the perfect amount of 800 fill goose down, this jacket packs in a lot of warmth. It's not loaded with down like the Canada Goose Camp Hooded Jacket or the Marmot Montreaux, but it still kept us impressively warm when the temperatures dropped below 30 degrees. The durable and heavy-duty outer shell helps hold heat. Made up of cotton, polyester, nylon, and coated with a wax shell, it effectively blocks cold temperatures and brutal winds.

Early mornings in Lake Tahoe were no problem when we had this jacket zipped all the way up and the hood on. The Italian faux trim offers a unique and nice touch.
Early mornings in Lake Tahoe were no problem when we had this jacket zipped all the way up and the hood on. The Italian faux trim offers a unique and nice touch.

Nylon sleeve cuffs with thumb holes work wonders on cold days, and we found them very comfortable and practical. The faux fur hood is adjustable, allowing a tighter fit to keep your body heat from blowing away in stormy weather. It kept us warm in cold temperatures longer than the Eddie Bauer Sun Valley, the Legendary Whitetails Anchorage Parka, and the Arc'teryx Darrah.

This jacket is a great option for someone that lives in a cold climate. Still, it fell being the more durable and waterproof Canada Goose Shelburne Parka. And, we don't recommend it for someone living in a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest. Check out the Patagonia Tres Down Parka our Top Pick for Wet Climates, instead.

We loved the nylon cuffs on the Kuhl. When there are internal cuffs in the sleeves  warm air stays trapped and cold air stays out.
We loved the nylon cuffs on the Kuhl. When there are internal cuffs in the sleeves, warm air stays trapped and cold air stays out.

Weather Resistance


Water-resistant, but not waterproof, this jacket does an okay job in rain and a slightly better job in the snow. After extended exposure to wet weather, the wax exterior shell saturates.

On the other hand, the adjustable hood works wonders in windy or stormy conditions. Allowing us to tailor the fit, the hood keeps us comfortable outside when the weather turns or the temperatures drop. The nylon sleeve cuffs with thumbholes keep us cozy as well. We wish other jackets, like the Patagonia Tres Down Parka had them.

All told, the Arktik is better in wet weather than the Rab Deep Cover Parka and the North Face Gotham II Down Jacket. But the Tres Down Parka, Fjallraven Nuuk Insulated Parka, The North Face Arrowood Triclimate Jacket and North Face Arctic Parka II are all better.

The hood is a great size with plenty of room for a beanie underneath. The faux fur ruff gives this jacket a classic winter parka look and feel. There is also metal wiring around the hood that allows you to tailor the fit. This came in handy  especially in windy and stormy weather.
The hood is a great size with plenty of room for a beanie underneath. The faux fur ruff gives this jacket a classic winter parka look and feel. There is also metal wiring around the hood that allows you to tailor the fit. This came in handy, especially in windy and stormy weather.

Comfort


The Arktik is comfortable but heavy, weighing in at 3lbs. It wasn't the heaviest parka we tested. It weighed slightly more than the Canada Goose Kensington Parka but isn't as lightweight as the North Face Metropolis Down Parka II or Patagonia Down With It Parka either.

It isn't smothered in down insulation, like the Marmot Montreaux, so it never feels cloying. There is enough room to comfortably wear a light sweater underneath the jacket. It's also easier to move in than the Patagonia Tres Down Parka, which runs small and is somewhat restrictive. Again, the nylon cuffs are a soft and cozy addition. Despite being slightly heavy, we found this jacket comfortable to wear.

If you're interested in wearing bulkier layers underneath this jacket, considering ordering a size up.

Unfortunately, when the jacket is fully zipped up, the collar is very stiff and it can irritate your chin. It certainly irritated ours. It was distractingly noticeable, and we had to make sure the zipper wasn't fully zipped up when wearing it. Over time and use it will probably get softer, but it's something to think about. If you are looking for a jacket that is comparable, but with a softer collar, check out, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka or the Fjallraven Nuuk Insulated Parka.

Another issue is the jacket's exterior side pockets. They sit extremely low. Even though they are lined with soft material, the exterior heavy-duty zippers are rough. Every time we put our hands into the pockets we scrape them. It's not the best feeling

Stylish  warm and form-fitting! We loved the look of this jacket even more when we had the hood on. Perfect for cold crisp mornings in Lake Tahoe.
Stylish, warm and form-fitting! We loved the look of this jacket even more when we had the hood on. Perfect for cold crisp mornings in Lake Tahoe.

Style


The Arktik jacket has a unique style, with the appearance of a heavy duty mountain parka. The Italian faux leather micro trim, a water-resistant waxy exterior shell, and an adjustable faux fur ruff are meant to maintain a stylish appearance in some seriously cold temperatures. Faux leather lines the main zipper's exterior and the front pockets. These touches go above and beyond to add style, but we don't find them gaudy. There is also an interior cinched waist that creates a tailored fit. We love when companies add this feature to their jackets. It allows the user to adjust the jacket to make the fit perfect their body type or the style they are looking for.

Unlike the Marmot Montreaux, or the Rab Deep Cover Parka, which both have a puffy jacket appearance, the Arktik has a rustic mountain look. If that's what you're looking for, here you are.

If you are in the market for a durable, stylish jacket that's waterproof, check out the our Editor's Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka or their Shelburne Parka. If you're in the market for something similar, but don't want to put a dent in the piggy bank, the Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Jacket is a solid option. Resting just below the hips this jacket has a simple, stylish look and is more water-resistant than the KUHL.

From all sides this jacket is flattering.
This jacket was quiet comfortable and stylish from all angles  even when the hood was on.

Durability


Durable? We think so. The outer shell is made of cotton, polyester, nylon, and is coated with a water-repellent wax coating. Though there is some exterior stitching, over the months we tested this jacket, we had no issues with it snagging or coming unstitched. The zippers are heavy duty and never gave us cause to complain. This is in contrast to the Fjallraven Nuuk Insulated Parka whose zipper is finicky. Overall, we expect this jacket to last you a good long while.

Features


This jacket is loaded with user-friendly features. There are four exterior pockets. The two on the side have heavy-duty zippers and are lined with microfleece. The two on the front have faux leather flaps and secure with buttons. These pockets are soft, but, as we stated earlier are awkwardly positioned. There is an interior media pocket with a zipper as well, which is perfect for keys or a cell phone. The exterior shell has a wax coat, which gives it a rustic look and works okay as a water repellent but doesn't compare to our Top Pick for Wet Climate, the Patagonia Tres Down Parka.

There is an interior pocket is perfect for a cell phone or keys. We like when jackets offer this feature. It's a small  but nice detail.
There is an interior pocket is perfect for a cell phone or keys. We like when jackets offer this feature. It's a small, but nice detail.

There are plenty of stylish features on this jacket as well, which we discuss in the style section. The cinched waist allows for a tailored fit, as does the adjustable faux fur hood, but it isn't removable.

If these aren't enough features for you, be sure to check our Editor's Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka. It's loaded with even more features like kick pleats in the back for movement and interior carrying straps. If you aren't interested in bells and whistles and are in the market for something simpler, check out the Arc'teryx Darrah or Patera.

Besides having lovely nylon cuffs in the sleeves  the trim of the jacket is Italian faux. We loved this animal friendly option and thought it added a nice flare to the jacket.
Besides having lovely nylon cuffs in the sleeves, the trim of the jacket is Italian faux. We loved this animal friendly option and thought it added a nice flare to the jacket.

Best Applications


This jacket can withstand cold winds and temperatures thanks to the durable outer shell and 800 fill goose down. It's a great option for someone living in a cold environment like as Denver, Jackson Hole, or New York City. If you live in an area that has wet weather, like Seattle, you'll want something more waterproof. In that case, check out, the Patagonia Tres Down Parka or The North Face Arctic Parka II.

Value


With a price tag of $450, it's not the cheapest jacket we tested, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. This is a heavy duty, warm, stylish parka that is going to last many years to come. It would be a great investment for someone looking to buy a jacket and have it last more than one year. The quality of construction is far superior to that of the Columbia Heavenly, Legendary Whitetails Anchorage Parka, or North Face Arrowood Triclimate Jacket.

Conclusion


Overall, we are impressed with the Arktik Down Parka. Insulated with 800 fill goose down, water-resistant, and durable with a unique rustic parka look, this jacket will keep you protected and warm for many winters to come.

Other Versions


Kuhl Women's Arktik Jacket
  • $279
  • Waist length
  • 800 fill goose down

See it here.



Liz Williamson