The North Face Gotham Jacket II - Women's Review
Cons: Not waterproof, runs small, lost some feathers, finicky zipper, non-removable hood
Manufacturer: The North Face
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This jacket is insulated with 550 fill goose down and 160G Heatseeker technology, and we were impressed by how warm we stayed when temperatures dropped to freezing. We did notice that some feathers escaped over the course of several months while we tested the jacket. It wasn't enough to damage the integrity of the jacket's warmth, but it's something to keep in mind.
The removable hood with its faux fur ruff added extra protection and warmth when the temperatures started to drop. The hood is nice and roomy, leaving plenty of room to wear a beanie underneath if you'd like. The two exterior pockets have a fleece lining, but only on one side. We prefer it on both sides of the pockets. This isn't a big problem, and it's better than having no fleece lining at all. Unfortunately, there are no interior cuffs in the sleeves. We find that jackets with cuffs, whether they are nylon or fleece, do a great job trapping warm air.
When we tested this jacket in the rain and snow, water beaded up and rolled off at first. But, shortly thereafter, the coat began to saturate. This isn't a jacket that you want to get stuck wearing in the pouring rain, or even in a bad snowstorm. It's a great option for around town, running errands, and walking the dog, but be careful venturing too far afield if it might storm. If the down insulation gets saturated, it compromises the jacket's warmth.
The Gotham II is one of the more comfortable jackets we tested. Weighing in at 1.2 lbs this jacket is seriously lightweight! It felt like we were barely wearing a jacket. Keep in mind that this jacket does run small, so you may want to consider ordering a size up. Unlike all the other jackets that we tested in a size small, we had to order up to a medium.
The exterior pockets are warm and cozy with fleece lining on just one side. The pockets are just deep enough for a cell phone. There are no interior cuffs in the sleeves, which cuts back on coziness and warmth. Interior cuffs are a great feature for comfort when temperatures get brutally cold and the wind picks up.
We like the sporty, athletic look and feel of this jacket. The faux fur ruff around the hood adds a bit of a classic mountain parka style as well. Compared to some of the other jackets that reached all the way to our knee, the Gotham II Hooded Down Jacket offers a different style. Resting just below our waist, we found this jacket to be very practical and stylish. There is an elastic thread on the waist to add a bit more definition and shaping.
This jacket is not meant for wet, sloppy weather, but it's a great choice for mildly cold to freezing temperatures. We did notice after wearing this jacket for a couple of months that the down insulation was losing some feathers, but it wasn't happening at an alarming rate.
What did concern us was the finicky main zipper since that is a pain to get fixed. It has to be lined up exactly for it to work properly. We didn't have problems with the zippers on any of the pockets. The quality of the faux fur ruff is great, but we could see it becoming wirier and not as soft if it was to get wet for a long period of time.
The exterior fabric is made up of mainly polyester and is very thin. Over a couple of months we tested it, we had no problems with tears or snags, but there is a good amount of exterior stitching, and we could see the potential for a possible snag.
This isn't a feature-heavy jacket, but if you're in the market for a simple winter jacket that delivers warmth without any bells or whistles, this is the jacket for you. One unique feature of this jacket is that its insulation is both down and synthetic. To be honest, we couldn't really tell the difference between this and a fully down jacket.
The hood isn't removable, but it does have a removable faux fur ruff. There are two exterior pockets with zippers and fleece lining on one side. It also has an interior media pocket big enough to fit a cell phone or keys.
The main zipper is temperamental and isn't double-sided, which we didn't really mind since this jacket only goes just below the waist. We find double zippers more useful and necessary on jackets that extended mid-thigh or just above the knee.
The Gotham II falls right in the middle of the pack in terms of price. The construction quality is subpar compared to previous models of this coat. Online reviews back up this statement, and we did lose some feathers.
Overall, this is a solid, warm winter jacket with a sporty and stylish look that won't break the bank. Resting just below the waist and insulated with 550 fill goose down, we found this jacket easier to move around in when we were running errands and walking the dog. The shorter length does compromise the warmth, but for someone looking for extra mobility and practicality, this is a good choice.
— Liz Williamson