The North Face Outer Boroughs Parka blocks out cold and windy weather with 550 fill goose down. An insulated hood and generous faux-fur ruff help fight off the chill. The winter jacket also breathes well. Its fabric is durable and pliable, but we found the cut tight in the shoulders and wide in the hips relative to other jackets we have worn. So, while we should size up for our shoulders, we don't want that much jacket flaring around our hips. However, this cut may be better for those with wider hips or thighs. If you can nail the sizing, this weatherproof jacket will serve you well.Editor's Note: The North Face Outer Boroughs Parka review was updated on February 14, 2022, with additional information on what we would buy and help to better compare products.
The North Face Outer Boroughs Parka - Women's Review
Cons: Tight shoulders and tricky fit, gaps between the hood and ruff
Manufacturer: The North Face
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|Pros||Warm, waterproof, windproof, breathable, faux-fur ruff||Comfortable, durable fabric, awesome pockets, weather-proof and breathable||Warm, light, soft, great hood||Flattering, waterproof, durable, three jackets in one, recycled down and polyester||Warm, comfortable, simple, inexpensive|
|Cons||Tight shoulders and tricky fit, gaps between the hood and ruff||On the bulky side, face fabric holds onto water||No cinch at the waist, not the most stylish||Uninsulated hood, tight shoulders, no two-way zipper on down jacket, tricky pockets||Shallow hood, no internal pockets|
|Bottom Line||A warm and protective option for anyone with narrow shoulders||An extremely warm, comfortable, stylish, and durable parka with lots of pockets||This soft, extra-long down parka with a cavernous hood is a dream to wrap up in when the temperatures drop||Wet, sloppy weather doesn't stand a chance against this versatile winter jacket||Cute, streamlined, and warm enough for almost any winter weather, this jacket is a great value|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Oute...||Fjallraven Nuuk - W...||Outdoor Research Co...||Patagonia Tres 3-in...||REI Co-op Norseland...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||The North Face Oute...||Fjallraven Nuuk - W...||Outdoor Research Co...||Patagonia Tres 3-in...||REI Co-op Norseland...|
|Insulation and Fill Power||550 fill goose down||Supreme microloft (100% polyester)||700 fill down||700 fill recycled duck and goose down||650 fill duck down|
|Fill Weight||Unavailable||250 g||240 g||150 g||238 g|
|Hood||Adjustable, insulated with removable faux fur trim||Insulated with detachable faux fur trim||Adjustable||Uninsulated, removable||Fleece lined|
|Pockets||2 zippered chest, 2 zippered hand, 1 sleeve||2 internal, 2 bellows, 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 2 chest||2 zippered handwarmer, 1 internal zippered security, 1 internal pouch||2 zippered handwarmer in shell, 2 zippered handwarmer and 1 internal chest in down liner jacket||2 zippered handwarmer|
|Weight (size small)||3.1 lbs||3.7 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.9 lbs||2.0 lbs|
|Weather Resistant Features||Waterproof, windproof, breathable (DryVent)||Waterproof, windproof||Water and wind resistant||Waterproof, windproof, and breathable barrier, DWR finish||DWR treatment|
|Sizes Available||XS to XXL||XXS to XXL||XS to XL||XS to XXL||XS to XL|
|Social or Environmental Certifications||Responsible Down Standard||Fluorocarbon-free impregnation||Responsible Down Standard - Certified, bluesign approved, 100% recycled nylon shell||100% recycled down, 50% recycled polyester shell, 100% recycled polyester jacket, Fair Trade Certified sewn||Responsible Down Standard - Certified , 100% recycled polyester lining, bluesign approved|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Outer Boroughs Parka is windproof and waterproof with enough warmth to shrug off winter. Weighing 3.1 pounds, it's also one of the heavier jackets we tested. It has five external pockets, including one on the left wrist for credit cards or ski pass, which is cool. But it doesn't offer any insulated or internal pockets to keep our phones (or hands) out of the cold.
The Outer Boroughs Parka encases 550-fill goose down in a thick and durable fabric, a mix of nylon, polyester, and cotton canvas. The combination holds in heat and blocks wind. It also seems to breathe well, making it appropriate for a range of temperatures.
We didn't overheat on a mellow walk in 36-degree weather, and our baselayers weren't soaking at the end of a sweaty snowshoe in temperatures hovering around freezing. It also keeps us comfy when standing around on blustery days in the teens and warmed us up quickly after a long, cold day of skiing. Soft wrist gaskets hold in heat and have a handy thumb hole to keep them snug around your hands.
The collar zips up to just under your nose and is roomy enough to tuck your face inside, a rarity in winter jackets. This feature does a lot to keep you safe and warm on brutally cold days. You can snug the generous, insulated hood around your face and flip the large faux-fur ruff out to extend the hood around your face. The ruff is large, holding in warmth even when you roll it back up and over the hood.
The ruff is a great feature but does have a flaw. It's removable, via five easy-to-use snaps. That makes it easy to pull off and snap-on, but also leaves four large gaps between the ruff and the hood for the wind to funnel through. On a cold and blustery day, the frigid breezes that sneak in can be breathtaking.
The pockets are all outside the insulating layer. They don't keep your hands very warm, so you will want to bring along your warmest gloves when going out in frigid temperatures. The upper, outward-facing pockets aren't deep enough for your hands anyway. There are no internal pockets, which is rare. Most winter jackets have one for your phone so it stays in the bubble of warmth, which helps maintain battery power in cold conditions. All told, this jacket does a really good job of keeping the cold out and warmth in.
Armored in two-layer fabric with a waterproof, breathable membrane, and a storm flap that snaps across the zipper, the Outer Boroughs Parka keeps the weather out. You won't need to worry if you're out in wet snow or sloppy wintry mix weather. And the same features that keep your face and hands out of the cold, will keep them out of wind and snow.
You will want to remove that ruff in the rain though. For one, it doesn't look great when wet, and it takes a while to dry. For two, water sneaks through the same snap-gaps that the wind does. When you roll the ruff back over the hood to frame your face, it forms a funnel that directs water into your collar. Once you take it off, the parka works great as a very warm rain jacket.
If you find the right size or have the right build, this jacket is plenty comfortable. As we've mentioned, the shoulders are narrow relative to the rest of the jacket. Most of our testers have quite broad shoulders and would have to go up a size to move their arms comfortably in this coat, especially when wearing multiple layers underneath. However, if this is not your body type, you may not experience this problem. In fact, it may be a better fit than most if you have proportionately small shoulders and wider hips or booty.
Otherwise, the fabric is pliable and moves easily, and you can sit down in relative comfort thanks to the generous cut through your hips. The cozy wrist gaskets, warm hood, and roomy collar also keep you warm without feeling like you are fighting for air or a clear line of sight.
This parka is on the heavy side, but it does provide internal backpack straps so you can walk around hands-free if you pop into a store. Its pockets are lined with soft microfleece but aren't insulated enough to keep your hands very warm.
While it looks elegant on some, we don't love the bell-shaped look of this parka. However, it could really transform on someone with the right proportions.
We also think the upper, outward-facing pockets look silly, mainly because we don't understand the design choice. They function the same way an internal chest pocket does, but are harder to access, and leave your devices out in the cold. The fabric is high quality though, and we like the hood and large ruff. If this style calls to you, we say go for it.
We have every confidence that this parka is built to last. The outer fabric is tough and not prone to snagging. The inner liner seems durable as well. The zippers and snaps seem high-quality and unlikely to fail. We really couldn't find a weak point in over a month of testing.
Should You Buy The North Face Outer Boroughs Parka?
The Outer Boroughs price tag is above average for the group, but it is not the highest. If this jacket fits you well, and you like the style, this level of warmth and weather protection is in line with the price. If you have proportions similar to our testers, you may have to settle for an uncomfortable fit, it definitely isn't worth the cost, and you will likely find yourself reaching for other coats. If you also value sustainability and the ethical treatment of people and animals, the jacket's insulation meets the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) By Control Union. And it's Durable Water-Repellent (DWR) Finish does not contain harmful PFCs (Non-PFC DWR). The North Face also claims to be, "deeply committed to creating a safe and positive working environment for those men and women who make our products."
What Other Winter Jackets Should You Consider?
Overall we're very impressed with The North Face's Outer Boroughs Parka. It's warm, practical, and waterproof; you can't go wrong with what this winter jacket has to offer. However, due to the fit, this is a jacket we recommend trying on before committing to a purchase. If you have narrow hips, and you already know this jacket is unlikely to work well, we recommend checking out The North Face Arctic Parka which has a slightly different cut and is more affordable. The Arc'teryx Patera Parka is another jacket that is extremely weatherproof but still breathable.
— Clark Tate
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