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The North Face Arctic Parka II Review

A waterproof, windproof, warm winter jacket that's also budget friendly
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $299 List | $149.48 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Waterproof, windproof, breathable, warm, faux fur ruff, durable
Cons:  Cold pockets, tight collar, runs small, tight in shoulder, loose elastic waist
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Liz Williamson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2020
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Warmth - 30% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 8
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Style - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The North Face Arctic Parka II is a dependable winter jacket that won't break the bank. Insulated with 550 fill goose down, this jacket is windproof and waterproof and is ready for cold and sloppy winter weather. It isn't the warmest we tested and isn't the best option if you live somewhere that experiences bone-cold temperatures. It keeps us comfortable on chilly winter walks, though. It can be hard to size. In previous test years, the jacket ran small. We ordered up a size for the last round, and now it's a little loose. Regardless of its downfalls, for a weatherproof winter jacket, this price is hard to beat.

New Color Options

The North Face Arctic Parka II is now available in new colors (like the white shown above) but remains otherwise the same.

August 2019

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The North Face Arctic II is rugged and impenetrable to weather. The removable hood has a fashionable faux fur ruff, giving the parka a classic winter jacket look. It's insulated with thick 550 fill down. This contender weighs in at 2.8 pounds and is one of the heaviest models we tested.

Performance Comparison


A classic winter parka style jacket with a faux-fur ruff around the hood  550-fill down insulation  and a waterproof exterior - all for a reasonable price! The Arctic Parka II did a stand-up job against the competition  especially when it came to durability.
A classic winter parka style jacket with a faux-fur ruff around the hood, 550-fill down insulation, and a waterproof exterior - all for a reasonable price! The Arctic Parka II did a stand-up job against the competition, especially when it came to durability.

Warmth


The Arctic II is insulated with an ample amount of 550 fill goose down. We stayed warm and cozy in temperatures around freezing. When the thermometer dipped further, we started to feel the cold seep into our arms. The Arctic II isn't as warm as jackets like the Arc'teryx Seyla Parka. But its thick, exterior fabric does an excellent job of keeping cold air out in windy or stormy conditions.


And our hands froze in the pockets. There is little to no down insulation around them. Even though they're lined with microfleece, we could quickly feel the cold air through them. The fleece lining on both sides helped, but it was distractingly apparent that there isn't enough down tucked over our hands. The nylon cuffs on the sleeves keep cold air and precipitation out and helped to keep the heat in.

Adding internal nylon cuffs to a winter jacket really makes a difference in cold weather. Jackets that lacked cuffs had a hard time keeping warm air in and cold air out. We also noticed in stormy weather internal cuffs did a great job at keeping precipitation out.
Adding internal nylon cuffs to a winter jacket really makes a difference in cold weather. Jackets that lacked cuffs had a hard time keeping warm air in and cold air out. We also noticed in stormy weather internal cuffs did a great job at keeping precipitation out.

The hood has a moderate amount of down insulation. It kept us much warmer in cold weather than jackets without insulation in the hood. The faux fur ruff helped. Faux or real fur does a great job of trapping warm air in and keeping cold air out.

This model did a great job in wet weather and is also budget-friendly.
This model did a great job in wet weather and is also budget-friendly.

Weather Resistance


This is a bomber jacket for sloppy weather, especially if you are on a budget. The exterior cotton and nylon twill face fabric cover a waterproof DryVent layer. The combination blocks water and wind while remaining sturdy and breathable. When we're outside for an extended period in rain and snow, we never worry about getting wet.


Insulated with comfortable 550-fill down  the Arctic II kept us warm when temperatures started to drop. The thick and durable outer shell did a great job at blocking cold temps and strong winds.
Insulated with comfortable 550-fill down, the Arctic II kept us warm when temperatures started to drop. The thick and durable outer shell did a great job at blocking cold temps and strong winds.

Comfort


Awkward sizing kept this jacket from being very comfortable. Our standard size is too tight in the shoulders, and the next size up swamped us. Neither option is a joy to wear. It's also heavy on and feels a little stiff. Still, we stayed warm enough to be happy, and some lovely, soft details helped.


The microfleece-lined pockets are soft, even though they don't do much to protect from cold air. The collar is a bit stiff when we zipped it up all the way — almost to the point of being very uncomfortable. Fortunately, the more we wore it, the more the collar relaxed.

The material by the chin was quite stiff the first couple times we wore the jacket. We had to break it in a bit before it was comfortable to zip all the way up.
The material by the chin was quite stiff the first couple times we wore the jacket. We had to break it in a bit before it was comfortable to zip all the way up.

Weighing in at 2.8 lbs, the Arctic Parka II isn't a light jacket. We also went up a size this year. It feels like there's a lot of jacket, especially in the chest area. On the plus side, the extra room allowed us to wear an extra layer underneath, though we'd prefer the jacket just fit better.

The hood on the Arctic Parka II was satisfactory at trapping heat and keeping cold air out. Though it wasn't as high quality as the real fur ruffs on the Canada Goose jackets  we were still pleased. It was also quite stylish!
The hood on the Arctic Parka II was satisfactory at trapping heat and keeping cold air out. Though it wasn't as high quality as the real fur ruffs on the Canada Goose jackets, we were still pleased. It was also quite stylish!

Style


Resting mid-thigh, the Arctic II has the potential to be highly fashionable, and don't get us wrong, it does have a nice look. The only issue we have is with the coat's sizing. A poor fit makes for a messy style.


Our usual size is too small. When we sized up, the jacket was almost boxy looking around our chest and waist. It left us looking shapeless, despite having an elastic band at the waist.

We did like the Arctic II's smooth exterior appearance. There isn't much exterior stitching to interrupt the effect, and the cotton/nylon fabric has a subtle matte finish. The faux fur ruff around the hood offers extra warmth and even better style. Thumbs up to that!

Durability


The Arctic II Parka is one of the most durable jackets we tested. The highly durable outer shell has a nylon/polyester blend face fabric and is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. During the couple of months we tested it, we didn't have any issues with rips or snags on the outer fabric. The thick outer shell and minimal seams don't give the feathers much room to escape.


Features


The Arctic Parka II is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. That's the main feature of this model. We got outside on sunny, windy days, as well as in stormy weather, to test each one of these features. For the price, it performed better than expected. Since we last examined this jacket, The North Face added more micro lined fleece to the pockets. Now it lines the palm and back of your hand instead of only one. This made all the difference, especially since there is thin insulation on the outside of the pockets.

A simple but appreciated feature  microfleece-lined pockets really make a difference in cold weather. Jackets that only had nylon on the inside didn't help keep our hands any warmer in cold weather. These pockets had a soft  cozy lining  but we wish there was down insulation in between the pockets and the front of the jacket.
A simple but appreciated feature, microfleece-lined pockets really make a difference in cold weather. Jackets that only had nylon on the inside didn't help keep our hands any warmer in cold weather. These pockets had a soft, cozy lining, but we wish there was down insulation in between the pockets and the front of the jacket.

There is an interior media pocket with a zipper, perfect for storing keys or a cell phone. The main zipper on the jacket is double-sided for access from both ends. This also helped with mobility, even though we didn't find it that necessary since the jacket only reached mid-thigh. The sleeves have nylon cuffs at the wrist. We liked how easy it was to detach the hood and faux fur ruff on the Arctic Parka.

Value


This jacket is an excellent option for someone looking for a winter coat that can handle cold temperatures and wet weather — all at a reasonable price. It wasn't the cheapest jacket we test, but for all that it offers, it's a good deal.

We found this jacket stylish  but we were upset with its sizing and construction. We decided to order a size larger than we did for the last review because we wanted more room in the shoulders and arms. We got it  but then there was too much extra material in the chest and mid-section. The internal elastic waist did an okay job at adding shape to this coat  but it might lose its elasticity over time.
We found this jacket stylish, but we were upset with its sizing and construction. We decided to order a size larger than we did for the last review because we wanted more room in the shoulders and arms. We got it, but then there was too much extra material in the chest and mid-section. The internal elastic waist did an okay job at adding shape to this coat, but it might lose its elasticity over time.

Conclusion


We were impressed with the functionality of The North Face Arctic Parka II, but we're frustrating with its sizing. Before buying this jacket, we recommend looking at the sizing chart or going to a store to try it on. We just couldn't find a size that fits well.

Otherwise, it's incredibly waterproof and windproof. When we pulled it on, we didn't mind being outside in the cold and stormy weather. For the price, this jacket offers a lot of protection from winter weather, while still having a somewhat stylish look. We can't deny how much we love the faux fur ruff around the hood, which gives the jacket an authentic winter parka vibe.

Liz Williamson