The comfy and sporty REI Co-op Norseland offers an exceptional value for a winter jacket, earning it our Best Buy award. It's certainly warm, with wrist cuffs and lined pockets that tuck into the down. It also works well for active pursuits or milder weather. Just use the snaps along the storm flap or the two side zips to vent heat and improve mobility. The hood is fleece-lined for warmth but shallow, leaving your face out in the cold. There are no internal pockets for your wallet or phone either. Despite a few flaws, you're getting a lot of downy warmth for your dollar with the Norseland, and we would be happy to add it to our own jacket lineup.Editor's Note: The REI Co-op Norseland Insulated Parka review was updated on February 14, 2022, with additional information on what we would buy and more details to help you better compare individual products.
REI Co-op Norseland Insulated Parka Review
Cons: Shallow hood, no internal pockets
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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|Pros||Warm, comfortable, simple, inexpensive||Comfortable, durable fabric, awesome pockets, weather-proof and breathable||Warm, light, soft, great hood||Warm, flattering, cozy, double-sided zipper, functional pockets||Stylish, comfortable, easy to wear|
|Cons||Shallow hood, no internal pockets||On the bulky side, face fabric holds onto water||No cinch at the waist, not the most stylish||No front snaps, not as warm when compressed, not waterproof||Not as warm, awkward pockets|
|Bottom Line||Cute, streamlined, and warm enough for almost any winter weather, this jacket is a great value||An extremely warm, comfortable, stylish, and durable parka with lots of pockets||This soft, extra-long down parka with a cavernous hood is a dream to wrap up in when the temperatures drop||Serious warmth is packed into this lightweight, flattering, and reasonably priced parka||This cute, casual parka is good for warmer or more active days|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Norseland...||Fjallraven Nuuk - W...||Outdoor Research Co...||Marmot Montreaux||Columbia Suttle Mou...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Norseland...||Fjallraven Nuuk - W...||Outdoor Research Co...||Marmot Montreaux||Columbia Suttle Mou...|
|Insulation and Fill Power||650 fill duck down||Supreme microloft (100% polyester)||700 fill down||700 fill power duck down with water resistant Down Defender||100% polyester synthetic down and thermal-reflective lining|
|Fill Weight||238 g||250 g||240 g||221 g||Unavailable|
|Hood||Fleece lined||Insulated with detachable faux fur trim||Adjustable||Insulated, removable, detachable faux fur trim||Insulated, detachable faux fur trim|
|Pockets||2 zippered handwarmer||2 internal, 2 bellows, 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 2 chest||2 zippered handwarmer, 1 internal zippered security, 1 internal pouch||2 zippered handwarmer, 2 internal chest (1 zippered)||2 snap handwarmer, 1 external zipped chest|
|Weight (size small)||2.0 lbs||3.7 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.3 lbs||2.4 lbs|
|Weather Resistant Features||DWR treatment||Waterproof, windproof||Water and wind resistant||Water resistant down, DWR treatment||Water resistant fabric|
|Sizes Available||XS to XL||XXS to XXL||XS to XL||XS to XXL||XS to 3X|
|Social or Environmental Certifications||Responsible Down Standard - Certified , 100% recycled polyester lining, bluesign approved||Fluorocarbon-free impregnation||Responsible Down Standard - Certified, bluesign approved, 100% recycled nylon shell|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This easy-to-wear, comfortable, warm, and cute jacket offers one heck of a value. It also feels durable, making the cost per wear incredibly reasonable. If you're looking for a good deal, you've found one.
REI calls this jacket one of its warmest. With 238 grams of 650 fill-power down and a fleece-lined hood, we agree that it keeps you pretty darn toasty when the temps fall. The 650 fill power tells you that this down is light and fluffy, holding on to lots of air (and thus heat) while packing down impressively. And 238 grams is a good amount of it, packed in thick from your head to mid-thighs.
The jacket flares a bit at the bottom. It looks cute, but it's also a bit drafty. There are also two 6-inch zippers on either side, extending up from the hem. They let you move around at will but can leave your legs chilled. When they're all zipped up, we stay toasty in this jacket around the freezing point and well into the teens.
The fleece-lined, insulated hood holds in warmth. Unfortunately, it looks cozier than it feels. If you have hair, you don't feel it at all. It's a reasonable size, not so big that it's hard to see out of but not restrictive. It is snug enough to make it hard to fit a beanie underneath and shallow enough that it doesn't protect your face from wind or snow.
The sleeves end in a knit cuff, hidden away and unexpectedly cute with cake layers of color. They aren't the softest in the test, but they help block drafts. We also love that the back of the jacket is a bit longer than the front, which helps keep you insulated when you need to sit down.
The Norseland isn't waterproof, and it earned a slightly below-average score. However, it is water-resistant, with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish. It shed water well when we stood in the shower for 2.5 minutes. Towards the end, some moisture did soak into the face fabric, but it wasn't enough to make the jacket heavier or to require you to wring it out at the end. The storm flap makes sure no water works its way past the zipper.
The hood is nice but isn't deep enough to keep the water off your face or the wind from ripping across it. In our wind-resistance test (standing out in a stiff breeze ripping in off the North Atlantic), this jacket blocked every bit of wind almost as well as a standard wind breaker but did little to protect our face. You might want a gaiter for more protection in truly miserable weather.
The cotton wrist cuffs are tucked beneath the face fabric, keeping them dry even during our shower test. If they happen to get wet, the thick cotton collects water and doesn't dry quickly; however, they keep out the wind and cold. All told, this jacket offers the best protection in below freezing temps and relatively calm conditions.
Lightweight with a generous cut that never inhibits your movements, this jacket is among the most comfortable we've tested. It helps that it keeps you warm with soft fleece-lined pockets and a well-fitting hood. The bell-shaped bottom with optional side-zips makes sure you never have to shorten your stride. It earned an above-average score for the group.
We also consider front snaps to be a considerable bonus to comfort. It's so lovely to pull on the jacket, snap a few buttons and go. They do wonders to help you regulate your temperature while popping in and out of doors.
Our only comfort complaint is that the collar zips up right under our chin. It doesn't jab you, but it does rub. We would tuck our chin into it to stay warm if it was a bit wider. It doesn't bother us when the jacket is unzipped.
This jacket isn't exactly elegant. It has a sporty, outdoorsy look but is somewhat streamlined, helping us feel put together.
There aren't too many pockets or tons of toggles to get in your way. It's also light, so if you need to pull it off and tote it around indoors, you won't feel as frazzled.
The fleece-lined hood gives it an extra-cozy look, and the zipper-divided hem swoops down in the back, giving the eye something to follow. The bell flare at the bottom is somehow cute on its own. It also helps define the jacket's very subtle waist. The bottom three zipper toggles are prettily knotted parachute cords to complete the outdoor-chic vibe.
Compared to the more rugged options in the test, this type of down jacket will not excel in durability ratings. Puffy options wrapped up in thin nylon tear relatively easily. When they do, those feathers take flight. That said, we think this puffy is about as durable as they come. This REI jacket is among the group's low scorers.
Its shell fabric feels like sturdy nylon, and the three zippers work exceedingly well, almost eagerly. The two toggles that cinch down the hood are simple affairs that offer very few parts to break.
It can take a few tries to get the storm flap snaps to do their job, but this may be less of a durability issue and more of an annoyance.
Should You Buy the REI Co-op Norseland Insulated Parka?
We're fans of this functional, no-fuss winter jacket. It gets the important things right — comfy pockets, an insulated hood, and plenty of down in a light and comfortable package. Unless you need a waterproof option for warmer climes or a burlier hood for the worst of weather, we think you'll like this one.
It's also responsible down standard certified, Bluesign approved, and the lining is 100% recycled polyester. If you care about sustainability and limiting animal cruelty, these facts increase its value further.
What Other Winter Jackets Should You Consider?
We find that this light, warm, and stylish jacket performs well in wintry weather for a very reasonable price, and is a good item to complete your jacket wardrobe. It is hard to compete with the great value of this product, but the Marmot Montreaux tries its best. The slightly higher-priced jacket has better warmth, comfort, and style ratings. If you need something more durable and heavy-duty, you may want to look at the Fjallraven Nuuk, which is a top scorer in our tests. But with the excellent performance comes a higher price tag.
— Clark Tate
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