The North Face Arctic Parka Review
Compare to Similar Products
The North Face Arctic Parka
|Price||$174.93 at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
$227.37 at Backcountry
|$129.98 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$199 List||$90 List|
$59.97 at Amazon
|Pros||Waterproof, windproof, breathable, warm, durable||Warm, light, soft, great hood||Warm, flattering, cozy, double-sided zipper, functional pockets||Warm, comfortable, simple, inexpensive||Inexpensive, comfortable, decent waterproofing, quite warm|
|Cons||Cold pockets, slightly tight shoulders, and collar||No cinch at the waist, not the most stylish||No front snaps, not as warm when compressed, not waterproof||Shallow hood, no internal pockets||Short, no wrist cuffs, questionable quality|
|Bottom Line||A warm and waterproof winter jacket that is available at a reasonable price||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||Cute, streamlined, and warm enough for almost any winter weather, this jacket is a great value||This low-cost winter jacket is warm and waterproof but much shorter than others we tested|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Arct...||Outdoor Research Co...||Marmot Montreaux||REI Co-op Norseland...||Wantdo Waterproof Snow|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||The North Face Arct...||Outdoor Research Co...||Marmot Montreaux||REI Co-op Norseland...||Wantdo Waterproof Snow|
|Insulation and Fill Power||550 fill goose down and recycled polyester insultation||700 fill down||700 fill power duck down with water resistant Down Defender||650 fill duck down||Unavailable|
|Fill Weight||Down: unavailable; Synthetic :150g||240g||221g||238g||Unavailable|
|Hood||Adjustable, insulated with removable faux fur trim||Adjustable||Insulated, removable, detachable faux fur trim||Fleece lined||Detachable, insulated hood, with removable faux fur trim|
|Pockets||1 internal, 2 external||2 zippered hand warmer, 1 internal zippered security, 1 internal pouch||2 zippered hand warmer, 2 internal chest (1 zippered)||2 zippered hand warmer||2 zippered hand warmer, 2 internal - 1 zippered chest, 1 drop-in pocket|
|Weight (size small)||2.8 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.3 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.5 lbs|
|Weather Resistant Features||Waterproof, windproof, breathable (DryVent), DWR||Water and wind resistant||Water resistant down, DWR treatment||DWR treatment||Waterproof|
|Sizes Available||XS to 3XL||XS to XL||XS to XXL||XS to XL||S to XXL|
|Social or Environmental Certifications||Responsible Down Standard (RDS), lining 100% recycled polyester||Responsible Down Standard (RDS), Bluesign approved, 100% recycled nylon shell||None||Responsible Down Standard (RDS), 100% recycled polyester lining, Bluesign approved||None|
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 coat was designed for city use, and we think it's an excellent fit for that purpose. Though your hands are more exposed than in 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 hood's rim 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 isn't that tall and doesn't cover much more than the bottom of your chin. Your face stays quite exposed if the ruff is rolled up. However, it is one of the wider collars we tested, giving you enough room to tuck your chin into it and breathe simultaneously. Sadly this combination is pretty rare.
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. The Arctic Parka 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, as its performance was nearly on par with some of the best women's rain jackets. Our electronics stay safe with 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 and has a straight cut with minimal stretch.
The sizing is less forgiving, and our standard size small feels a tad restrictive. Not so much so that we would size up, though. We can still fit a wool top and a fleece 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, 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 okay 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 required to remove and reattach the hood cuts down on clutter and potential broken hardware. 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. We didn't have any issues with rips or snags during the month we tested it.
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.
Should You Buy The North Face Arctic Parka?
This cozy winter 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 personal face shield to hide your tender skin from the harshest winds of winter. If you are looking to add a heavy-duty option to your jacket arsenal, we recommend this coat for budget buyers who are The North Face loyalists or just find that the cut works well for their shape.
This jacket is also manufactured with somewhat environmentally friendly methods. 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.
What Other Winter Jackets Should You Consider?
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. Other jackets in this style included the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka, which is warm and also very weatherproof. Suppose you live in a dryer climate or don't often venture out in wet conditions. In that case, the REI Co-op Norseland Insulated Parka is another affordable, warm, cozy, and comfortable option.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More