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The North Face Arctic Parka Review

A warm and waterproof winter jacket that is available at a reasonable price
The North Face Arctic Parka
Photo: Amazon
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $299 List | $179.37 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Waterproof, windproof, breathable, warm, durable
Cons:  Cold pockets, slightly tight shoulders, and collar
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Clark Tate ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 18, 2021
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 15
  • Warmth - 30% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 8
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Style - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The North Face Arctic Parka is a warm, weatherproof, and dependable winter jacket. The jacket is largely insulated with 550 fill goose down with 150 grams of recycled polyester in the side panels, which cuts down on bulk. Add a generous hood and weatherproof exterior, and you get a hardy dose of cold weather protection. The jacket also seems to breathe well. On the downside, the hand warming pockets are uninsulated, the rain flap covering the zipper closes with hook-and-loop strips instead of snaps, and the wrist cuffs are water-catching cotton. Still, you'll stay mostly warm and dry, for a great price.

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Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $179.37 at Backcountry
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$421.85 at Backcountry
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$329.45 at Backcountry$650.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Waterproof, windproof, breathable, warm, durableComfortable, 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 Cold pockets, slightly tight shoulders, and collarOn 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 A fully-functional winter jacket that won't break the bankDurable 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 The North Face Arctic Parka Fjallraven Nuuk - Women's Arc'teryx Patera Parka Tres 3-in-1 Parka Canada Goose Camp Hooded
Warmth (30%)
8
9
6
7
8
Weather Resistance (25%)
8
7
9
9
6
Comfort (25%)
6
9
9
7
9
Style (10%)
7
7
8
9
8
Durability (10%)
8
9
9
7
7
Specs The North Face... Fjallraven Nuuk -... Arc'teryx Patera... Tres 3-in-1 Parka Canada Goose Camp...
Insulation and Fill Power 550 fill goose down and recycled polyester insultation Supreme microloft (100% polyester) 750 fill down 700 fill recycled duck and goose down 750 fill hutterite white duck down
Fill Weight Down - unavailable, Synthetic - 150 g 250 g 59 g Down, 100 g Coreloft 150 g Unavailable
Hood Adjustable, insulated with removable faux fur trim Insulated with detachable faux fur trim Insulated hood Uninsulated, removable 2-way adjustable tunnel hood
Pockets 1 internal, 2 external 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) 2.8 lbs 3.7 lbs 2.0 lbs 2.9 lbs 1.3 lbs
2-way zipper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weather Resistant Features Waterproof, windproof, breathable (DryVent), DWR Waterproof, windproof Waterproof, windproof, and breathable barrier, DWR finish Waterproof, windproof, and breathable barrier, DWR finish Windproof, DWR treatment
Sizes Available XS to 3XL XXS to XXL XS to XXL XS to XXL 2XS to 2XL
Social or Environmental Certifications Lining 100% recycled polyester, Responsible Down Standard 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

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.

Performance Comparison


The Arctic Parka is a well-rounded winter jacket with very few flaws.
The Arctic Parka is a well-rounded winter jacket with very few flaws.
Photo: Clark Tate

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.

Fake fur for days.
Fake fur for days.
Photo: Clark Tate

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.

The hand-warming pockets are nicely sized but outside the insulating...
The hand-warming pockets are nicely sized but outside the insulating down layer.
Photo: Clark Tate

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 ribbed cuff is comfortable but a bit of a liability in wet...
The ribbed cuff is comfortable but a bit of a liability in wet weather.
Photo: Clark Tate

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.

A tall and wide collar protects some of our face. When we flip that...
A tall and wide collar protects some of our face. When we flip that faux-fur ruff out like a brim, it protects most of the rest.
Photo: Clark Tate

Weather Resistance


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 isn't exactly comfortable, but it is warm. When the collar is...
This isn't exactly comfortable, but it is warm. When the collar is unzipped we find this jacket quite comfortable.
Photo: Clark Tate

Comfort


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.

This is a pretty classic winter coat, we think it looks good.
This is a pretty classic winter coat, we think it looks good.
Photo: Clark Tate

Style


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 tough fabric and solid seeming zippers make us think this jacket...
The tough fabric and solid seeming zippers make us think this jacket will last a long time.
Photo: Clark Tate

Durability


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.

We don't love the hook-and-loop closures on the rain guard. They...
We don't love the hook-and-loop closures on the rain guard. They snag and may wear out.
Photo: Clark Tate

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

An elastic band across the back adds definition but also this odd...
An elastic band across the back adds definition but also this odd bunching when you're weighing the pockets.
Photo: Clark Tate

Clark Tate