The North Face Arctic Parka Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Waterproof, windproof, breathable, warm, durable
Cons: Cold pockets, slightly tight shoulders, and collar
Manufacturer: The North Face
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The North Face Arctic Parka
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|$294.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Waterproof, windproof, breathable, warm, durable||Warm, flattering, cozy, double-sided zipper, functional pockets||Stylish, incredibly warm, lightweight to down ratio, detachable fur hood||Warm, stylish, comfortable||Stylish, comfortable, easy to wear|
|Cons||Cold pockets, slightly tight shoulders, and collar||No front snaps, not as warm when compressed, not waterproof||Somewhat bulky, not waterproof, some feather & down loss||Runs small, tight shoulders, limited mobility||Not as warm, awkward pockets|
|Bottom Line||A warm and waterproof winter jacket that is available at a reasonable price||Serious warmth is packed into this lightweight, flattering, and reasonably priced parka||A stylish winter jacket that will keep you warm when temperatures start to drop||A comfortable, warm, simple, and sweet puffy winter jacket||This cute, casual parka is good for warmer or more active days|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Arct...||Marmot Montreaux||Rab Deep Cover Parka||Patagonia Down With...||Columbia Suttle Mou...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||The North Face Arct...||Marmot Montreaux||Rab Deep Cover Parka||Patagonia Down With...||Columbia Suttle Mou...|
|Insulation and Fill Power||550 fill goose down and recycled polyester insultation||700 fill power duck down with water resistant Down Defender||650 fill RDS Certified Hydrophobic European duck down||600 fill recycled duck and goose down||100% polyester synthetic down and thermal-reflective lining|
|Fill Weight||Down - unavailable, Synthetic - 150 g||221 g||340 g||200 g||Unavailable|
|Hood||Adjustable, insulated with removable faux fur trim||Insulated, removable, detachable faux fur trim||Insulated, detachable hood with faux fur trim||Insulated, removable||Insulated, detachable faux fur trim|
|Pockets||1 internal, 2 external||2 zippered handwarmer, 2 internal chest (1 zippered)||1 internal, 2 external||2 zippered handwarmer, 1 internal zippered chest pocket||2 snap handwarmer, 1 external zipped chest|
|Weight (size small)||2.8 lbs||2.3 lbs||1.9 lbs||2.2 lbs||2.4 lbs|
|Weather Resistant Features||Waterproof, windproof, breathable (DryVent), DWR||Water resistant down, DWR treatment||DWR treatment||DWR treatment||Water resistant fabric|
|Sizes Available||XS to 3XL||XS to XXL||6 to 18||XS to XL||XS to 3X|
|Social or Environmental Certifications||Lining 100% recycled polyester, Responsible Down Standard||650 RDS - (responsble down standards) certified hydrophobic European Duck Down, fluorocarbon-free Hydrophobic Down||100% recylced down, 100% recycled polyester shell, 100% recycled polyester lining, Fair Trade Certified sewn, bluesign approved fabric|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This weatherproof jacket gives you a great deal on the basics and looks good doing it. The North Face says the jacket was designed for city use, and we think it's a great fit for that purpose. Though your hands are more exposed to the hardest core options, this jacket will serve you well in all but the coldest, windiest, gnarliest weather. Weighing in at 2.2 pounds, it's also light enough for your commute.
With 550 fill goose down and thick, windproof fabric that reaches mid-thigh, the Arctic Parka kept us comfortable in cold weather. We stayed cozy when standing around for 10 minutes in 17-degree weather with just a wool shirt and snow pants and felt a little too warm during a 25-degree snowshoe adventure. Since our base layers stayed dry even though we worked up a sweat a time or two, we believe The North Face when they say this jacket is both warm and breathable.
The hood is insulated and warm, with a robust faux-fur ruff. The ruff can roll up over the rim of the hood, or fold out to form a fur-lined tunnel, completely blocking wind from the side. It is a little hard to see when the hood is unfurled, but if you need that much protection from the wind, you won't care. When it's rolled back, it still cuts the wind from the side and holds heat around your face. It's shallow, though, and on a cold day with a brisk wind, you'll want it down.
When zipped, the collar doesn't cover much more than the bottom of your chin, and your face stays quite exposed if the ruff is rolled up. It is, however, one of the wider collars we tested, giving you enough room to tuck your chin into it and breathe at the same time. This is sadly a rare combination.
The handwarmer pockets are soft and lined with microfleece, but they aren't tucked into the insulation and do very little to keep your hands warm. Wrist cuffs help, but they're made of absorbent cloth and stay cold when wet. This is a jacket to wear with gloves and a scarf if you'll be outside for any length of time.
The Arctic Parka is a good option in sloppy weather. The exterior twill face fabric is treated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish that is non-PFC (aka, no hazardous per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals). It protects a waterproof DryVent layer. The combination blocks water and wind and seems reasonably breathable.
Water rolled right off this jacket in our shower test. We don't worry about the jacket soaking through, even in wet snow. Our phones stay safe too. There is a pocket large enough for a cell phone inside the jacket.
This jacket is light and easy to wear, with a smooth lining that glides over layers. And, despite its sturdy, well-insulated construction, the jacket itself is soft and pliable. It is a bit snug in the shoulders, though, and has a straight cut with minimal stretch.
The sizing is less forgiving, and our normal size small feels a tad restrictive. Not so much so that we would size up, though. We can still fit a wool top and light jacket underneath. We just don't want to move our arms much when we do.
Sitting with the jacket zipped up is fine, though the fabric bunches around your belly. A two-way zipper gives you plenty of room to walk. As we said, the collar is roomy enough to tuck your chin into when it's zipped all the way up, but it's still too tight for extended comfort. We also don't love having hook-and-loop closures on the zipper protecting flap. It can scratch our face or catch in our hair or on delicate scarves.
The Arctic Parka offers streamlined good looks. Its synthetic side panels are less bulky than down, lending the Arctic Parka a relatively trim silhouette. The face fabric has a nice weight, a clean look, and simple seams add a bit of visual interest, as does the elastic band that defines your waist on the back panel. We feel casually stylish when wearing the Arctic Parka and prepared for almost anything.
The hood doesn't zip off, which we're fine with for two reasons. One, if it's cold enough to need this jacket, we want a hood around. Two, cutting out the buttons or zippers needed to remove and reattach the hood cuts down on clutter. The faux-fur ruff is detachable, letting you customize your style. But, that ruff is highly functional. It's one of the best versions we've tried, cutting down on wind when rolled up over your head and all but obliterating it when rolled out like a brim.
The Arctic Parka seems made to last. The thick outer shell and minimal seams don't give the feathers much room to escape. It isn't prone to snagging either. Though the liner isn't as hardy, it won't likely need to be. During the month we tested it, we didn't have any issues with rips or snags.
The front zipper and the zipper that attaches the ruff both seem sturdy. We do worry that the hook-and-loop strips on the rain flap may lose their grip over time.
The Arctic Parka is a great deal. A good-looking, warm, waterproof parka with environmentally friendly construction details at a reasonable price point — score! Make sure you find the right size for you, though, to make it last.
By environmentally friendly, we mean that the liner is 100% recycled polyester and the down insulation meets the Responsible Down Standard. The North Face also claims to create positive and safe work environments for its employees.
This jacket has very few flaws. It could use a roomier cut in the shoulders or more flex in the fabric, and insulated hand-warming pockets would be rad. Otherwise, it checks all the boxes — warm, dry, and fairly fashionable with your own personal face shield to hide your delicate skin from the harshest winds of winter.
— Clark Tate