The North Face Gotham Parka offers sleek simplicity in a lightweight, stylish parka. This jacket wasn't as warm as the Patagonia Downtown Loft Parka, or our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Montreaux, but it still managed to keep us warm on mild to moderate days. Its mid-thigh length is easier to move in than a knee-length parka, but you'll notice that lack of coverage on a really cold day. The nylon shell is treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating, which helps keep the down protected in a light snow or rain, but is not fully waterproof. If you're looking for a waterproof and seriously warm winter jacket, check out our Editors' Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka or our Top Pick for Wet Climates, the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka - Women's.
The North Face Gotham Parka - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Warm, sleek, stylish, practical, lightweight.
Cons: Non-detachable hood, not waterproof, finicky zippers.
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Gotham Parka has a quilted look and cinched elastic waist for a feminine and stylish look. It's insulated with 550-fill-power down and weighs 1.8 pounds.
It comes in five colors: Urban Navy, Graphite Grey Heather, Forest Night Green, Juniper Teal, and TNF Black.
This form-fitting jacket does a great job at keeping heat in and cold air out. The mid-thigh length makes the jacket more functional, but decreases its warmth compared to a knee-length parka like the Marmot Chelsea Down or the Arc'teryx Patera Parka. While our core stayed warm in this model, when out in high winds or stormy conditions we could feel the difference from the lack of coverage. The 550-fill-power goose down is evenly distributed throughout the jacket, but is not as lofty or warm as the Marmot Montreaux with its 700-fill-power down. The hood on the Gotham is filled with down though, which helped keep our heads warmer than the un-insulated hood that is on the Patagonia Tres Down Parka.
The shell is made of 100% nylon that is coated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. While water initially beads up and rolls off the shell, it is not fully waterproof like the Patagonia Tres Down Parka or Arc'teryx Patera Parka. The elastic cuffs on the sleeves helped keep precipitation out and heat in, and the adjustable cord around the hood lets you get a tighter fit in bad weather. This jacket doesn't have a weather flap across the main zipper which allows cold air to leak through in windy conditions; the Mountain Hardwear ZeroGrand Metro Coat and The North Face Arctic Down Parka both did a better job of blocking the wind than this model.
We liked the style of this jacket. It is form-fitting and not bulky, and the nylon fabric has a satin look to it that works well with the five color options. It's classy enough to wear in the city, but functional enough for the mountains.
This jacket fits like a glove and scored high in the comfort category. The down insulation is comfortable and not overly bulky, which allowed us to be active in the jacket without feeling weighed down. It has cozy fleece-lined pockets and the insulated hood kept us warm and protected.
The stand-out feature on this jacket is the elastic waist, which makes it form-fitting and feminine looking. This is something that other models, like the Columbia Snow Eclipse Mid Jacket - Women's lacked, leaving them boxy-looking and not as flattering. The exterior fleece-lined pockets with zippers are a nice feature, as is the interior fleece-lined media pocket. A full two-way zipper allows access and ventilation from either end, which is a nice feature for better mobility. Though the hood isn't detachable there is an adjustable cord, which came in handy in stormy conditions.
We had a few issues with the zippers on this jacket. While it is hard to find a zipper that works perfectly, the ones on this model were particularly finicky. The full length two-way zipper has to be lined up perfectly or it won't zip up properly. The exterior pockets have a curved shape and the zippers are small, which makes them snag frequently. Snags can rip the material and also put the teeth out of the zipper, so be careful when using these pockets and open and close them slowly.
This parka is a good choice for someone living in a milder climate where winters are cold but not freezing, and not very wet either. It's lightweight and functional, and it is perfect for an active lifestyle, from commuting to work, running errands or walking the dog.
With a price tag of $249, this jacket is one of the least expensive models we tested. While it isn't waterproof, it's a good choice for a basic all-around winter jacket that delivers warmth, style and simplicity.
Even though The North Face Gotham Parka wasn't a top contender, we still recognize it as a great choice for a winter jacket. With its sleek fit and comfy down, it kept us warm and looking great on milder days.
— Liz Williamson