The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The North Face Gotham Jacket II - Women's Review

This jacket is short, simple, and will keep you warm and cozy all winter.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $230 List | $229.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Stylish, form-fitting, warm, fun colors, faux fur ruff, down and synthetic insulation
Cons:  Not waterproof, runs small, lost some feathers, finicky zipper, non-removable hood
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Liz Williamson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2018
  • Share this article:
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 18
  • Warmth - 30% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 5
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Style - 20% 10
  • Durability - 5% 6

Our Verdict

Resting just below the waist and insulated with the perfect amount of 550 fill goose down, the North Face Gotham II Hooded Down Jacket is an excellent option for someone looking to stay warm, yet stylish this winter. Unlike the classic knee-length winter parkas we tested, the Gotham II's shorter length offers better mobility and practicality for an on the go lifestyle. The outer shell is water-resistant, not waterproof, and isn't the best option if you live in a wet climate. With eight color options to choose from, and a soft, removable faux fur ruff around the hood, this jacket has a sporty, yet classic winter parka vibe. It's a fun and functional option for less than severe winter weather at a reasonable price. Don't forget to size up though; it runs small.

If you are in the market for a more extended, warmer, parka option, check out the best buy award-winning Marmot Montreaux. For more waterproof performance, see our top pick for wet climates, the Patagonia Tres Down Parka, or the North Face Arctic Parka II.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Warm  form-fitting  lightweight  this jacket was one of our favorites to test.
Warm, form-fitting, lightweight, this jacket was one of our favorites to test.

Warmth


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. Insulated with both down and synthetic insulation, it does a better job holding warmth than Columbia Heavenly, which is insulated with only synthetic insulation. 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.

We loved the faux fur ruff around the hood. It was soft  lofty and removable. When jackets have a removable fur ruff it allows us to tailor the look  and it becomes more practical for different situations. Besides looking great it worked well in cold temperatures. It did a great job at trapping heat in and cold air out.
We loved the faux fur ruff around the hood. It was soft, lofty and removable. When jackets have a removable fur ruff it allows us to tailor the look, and it becomes more practical for different situations. Besides looking great it worked well in cold temperatures. It did a great job at trapping heat in and cold air out.

The removable hood with its faux fur ruff added extra protection and warmth when the temperatures started to drop. The hood is nice and rooming, 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, a feature we enjoy with the Patagonia Down With It Parka. This isn't a big problem, and it's better than having no fleece lining at all, like the North Face Arrowood Triclimate Jacket or Canada Goose Camp Hooded Jacket. 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.

Overall, the Gotham II is not as warm as the Kuhl Arktik Down Parka or the Fjallraven Nuuk Insulated Parka, but it does a better job in cold weather than the Arc'teryx Darrah and the Legendary Whitetails Anchorage Parka.

Insulated with a perfect amount of 550 fill down  we had no problem wearing this jacket on crisp mornings or even in a light snowfall. The outer shell is water-resistant  but not waterproof and this jacket isn't intended for super wet weather.
Insulated with a perfect amount of 550 fill down, we had no problem wearing this jacket on crisp mornings or even in a light snowfall. The outer shell is water-resistant, but not waterproof and this jacket isn't intended for super wet weather.

Weather Resistance


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. It did a better job in wet weather than the Legendary Whitetails Anchorage Parka and the Columbia Heavenly, but it didn't come close to the Patagonia Tres Down Parka, or the North Face Arctic Parka II.

If you are in the market for a winter coat and don't want to break the bank, check out the economically priced Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Jacket. Highly water-resistant, but not waterproof, we are impressed by how well it handles wet weather.

From all angles this jacket was form-fitting  comfortable  and kept us warm when temperatures started to drop below freezing.
From all angles this jacket was form-fitting, comfortable, and kept us warm when temperatures started to drop below freezing.

Comfort


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, but they aren't as deep as the ones on the North Face Metropolis Down Parka II. 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 are a big fan of the nylon cuffs on the Rab Deep Cover Parka and the Kuhl Arktik Down Parka.

The exterior of the jacket has a classic "puffy" jacket appearance  while the inside is smooth. We actually liked the camouflage print in the inside of the jacket and the hood.
The exterior of the jacket has a classic "puffy" jacket appearance, while the inside is smooth. We actually liked the camouflage print in the inside of the jacket and the hood.

Style


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 more form-fitting than the Rab Deep Cover Parka or the Canada Goose Hooded Down Jacket or Shelburne Parka. If you are looking for stylish winter parka, that is highly water-resistant, and even more form-fitting, look at the Canada Goose Kensington Down Parka.

The Gotham II's exterior stitching gives it a classic "puffy" appearance. If smooth and sleek is more your style, be sure to check out the Arc'teryx Patera, which is almost comparable in warmth and is fully waterproof. The Patagonia Tres Down Parka is also waterproof, and you get three jackets in one. It has a smooth outer shell and a puffy jacket inside.

We experienced some feathers escaping at the seams  but it wasn't happening at an alarming rate. We don't see this affecting the warmth and durability of the jacket.
We experienced some feathers escaping at the seams, but it wasn't happening at an alarming rate. We don't see this affecting the warmth and durability of the jacket.

Durability


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 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. If you are in the market for a jacket that is waterproof with a more durable outer shell, check out the Fjallraven Nuuk Insulated Parka, the Arc'teryx Patera, or the Patagonia Tres Down Parka.

What is missing?! It's a double-sided zipper. We actually didn't find this to be too big of a problem because the jacket sits just below our waist. If the jacket reached all the way to our knees  we would be more concerned about there not being a double-sided zipper.
What is missing?! It's a double-sided zipper. We actually didn't find this to be too big of a problem because the jacket sits just below our waist. If the jacket reached all the way to our knees, we would be more concerned about there not being a double-sided zipper.

Features


This isn't a feature-heavy jacket, like our Editor's Choice winner the Canada Goose Kensington Parka. 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. But it did do a better job of keeping us warm than a jacket with only synthetic insulation, like the Columbia Heavenly.

This jacket doesn't offer too many features. One of the features on this jacket is the interior media pocket  that is great for keys or a cell phone.
This jacket doesn't offer too many features. One of the features on this jacket is the interior media pocket, that is great for keys or a cell phone.

Unlike most jackets, we tested the hood isn't removable, but it does a have a removable faux fur ruff. If you are looking for a jacket with a removable hood, be sure to check out the Rab Deep Cover Parka or Patagonia Down With It Parka. 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.

Best Applications


This is a great winter jacket for drier, cold winters, but we wouldn't recommend this jacket for a very wet climate like Seattle or Portland. If you live somewhere that experience wet, mild winters, check out the North Face Arrowood Triclimate Jacket, or our Top Pick for Wet Weather, the Patagonia Tres Down Parka.

This is also a good option for someone who wants a shorter option that doesn't go all the way to the mid-thigh or knee, like the Rab Deep Cover Parka and Marmot Montreaux.

Even when we weren't wearing the hood it rested perfect on our back and didn't disrupt the style of the jacket. The hood isn't detachable  but the faux fur ruff is.
Even when we weren't wearing the hood it rested perfect on our back and didn't disrupt the style of the jacket. The hood isn't detachable, but the faux fur ruff is.

Value


With a price tag of $230, the Gotham II falls right in the middle 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.

This jacket will likely last more than a couple winters, but if you are looking for a more water-resistant and durable option, check out the Editor's Choice winning Canada Goose Kensington Down Parka or the the Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Jacket.

Conclusion


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.

Other Versions



Women's Gotham Parka II
  • $249
  • Mid-thigh length
  • No faux fur ruff














Liz Williamson