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The North Face Outer Boroughs Parka - Women's Review

A classic winter parka that is warm, waterproof, windproof and breathable.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $420 List | $251.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Stylish, faux-fur ruff, adjustable waist, waterproof, windproof, breathable, insulated inner collar, six exterior pockets, rounded drop-tail hem on hood for extra coverage.
Cons:  Runs large, hood isn’t detachable, heavy, finicky zipper, stiff collar.
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Liz Williamson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 21, 2020
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 18
  • Warmth - 30% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Style - 20% 9
  • Durability - 5% 10

Our Verdict

The North Face Outer Boroughs Parka is a show stopper, to say the least. Insulated with 550 fill goose down, reaching just above the knee and with a heavy-duty waterproof exterior - the Outer Borough Parka is a practical jacket that can easily withstand whatever winter throws at you. Besides ticking off all our boxes that make it a desirable winter jacket for stormy weather, it also is a highly attractive coat. We received compliments left and right about the slim fit, adjustable waist for a more tailored look, convertible mitten storm cuffs, and lofty faux fur ruff around the hood. The North Face really paid attention to details when constructing this parka, and that's why we are awarding it our Editors' Choice award this year.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award   
Price $251.95 at Backcountry$189.99 at Backcountry
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$389.98 at Backcountry
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$995.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Stylish, faux-fur ruff, adjustable waist, waterproof, windproof, breathable, insulated inner collar, six exterior pockets, rounded drop-tail hem on hood for extra coverage.Insanely warm, form-fitting, thick down, removable faux fur ruff, double sided full zipperForm-fitting, sleek waterproof and durable, three jackets, ethically sourced and cozy downInsulated with 750 fill down, stylish, simple, lightStylish, warm, nice features, durable, highly water-resistant, windproof, good quality construction, interior carrying straps
Cons Runs large, hood isn’t detachable, heavy, finicky zipper, stiff collar.Heavy, somewhat bulky, limited mobility, some feather loss, not waterproofSleeves are short, uninsulated hood, tight shoulders, no two-way zipper on down jacket, pockets lack zippersHood doesn’t detach, no internal cuffs on sleeves, not waterproofExpensive, heavy, feels like a lot of jacket, huge hood, doesn’t detach, boxy fit
Bottom Line We stayed warm and dry in wet snowy weather.An insanely warm jacket that won't break the bank.The Tres Down Parka is a superior waterproof option for winter climates.We stayed warm while looking good when temperatures dropped down to freezing.A high fashion jacket with a high price tag.
Rating Categories Outer Boroughs Parka Marmot Montreaux Tres 3-in-1 Parka Arc'teryx Seyla Canada Goose Shelburne Parka
Warmth (30%)
10
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8
10
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10
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7
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9
10
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8
Weather Resistance (25%)
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9
10
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6
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10
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7
10
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9
Comfort (20%)
10
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8
10
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8
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8
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8
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7
Style (20%)
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8
Durability (5%)
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10
Specs Outer Boroughs Parka Marmot Montreaux Tres 3-in-1 Parka Arc'teryx Seyla Canada Goose...
Insulation 550-fill down 700 fill down with Down Defender 700-fill recycled down 750-fill European grey goose down 625 fill duck down
Hood Adjustable hood w/ faux fur lining Zip-off, down-filled hood with removable faux fur ruff Removable hood Insulated hood Adjustable hood with removable coyote fur ruff
Length Above-the-knee Knee-length Above-the-knee Above-the-knee Knee-length
Pockets 2 high handwarmer, 2 top-entry front, 2 side-entry front, 1 internal media compatible 2 internal, 2 external 2 zippered handwarmer, 1 internal chest two zippered hand,1 internal zippered security 3 internal, 2 external
Weight (size small) 3.5 lbs 2.25 lbs 2.9 lbs 1.1 lbs 4 lbs
2-way zipper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Main Fabric 49% nylon, 33% polyester, 18% cotton canvas 100% polyester with DWR treatment 100% polyester Arato 10 (100% nylon) Arctic-Tech (85% polyester, 15% cotton) with DWR finish
Unique Features Water-proof shell, storm cuffs Fleece lined torso, hydophic down Zip-out two layer design DWR coated down Durable outer shell, coyote fur ruff, carrying straps, kick pleats

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


This parka stole the show this year. Insulated with 550 fill goose down we stayed warm when temperatures hit freezing. The outer shell is durable and highly waterproof. There is an adjustable cinched waist that allowed us to tailor the look.
This parka stole the show this year. Insulated with 550 fill goose down we stayed warm when temperatures hit freezing. The outer shell is durable and highly waterproof. There is an adjustable cinched waist that allowed us to tailor the look.

Warmth


Insulated with just the right amount of 550 fill goose down we had no problems wearing this jacket on cold mornings walking the dog or even running errands around town. The Outer Boroughs Parka isn't loaded with lofty down like some of our award winners, but it has just the right amount to make it practical to wear while doing almost anything this winter, and we even stayed warm on super cold days after skiing.

There are a lot of features on this jacket that contributes to its warmth despite not being smothered with down insulation. The hood has a good amount of insulation and also has a thick collar with down as well. This was an added bonus that was comfortable as well as warm. The faux fur ruff around the hood did a great job of keeping cold air out of our faces on stormy days. One feature that stood out and kept us warm is the convertible mitten storm cuffs. We have never tested a jacket that offered this feature before and it was amazing! Big ups to The North Face for thinking of this. There are four exterior pockets, and each set has a microfleece-lined on one side. The handwarmer pockets located by our rib cage were great to use on chilly mornings.

Waterproof  windproof  breathable  and insulated with 550 fill goose down  this Parka ticks off all the boxes and thats why it's our Editors' Choice award winner. Loaded with features and highly practical  the North Face hit the nail on the head with this classic style winter parka.
Waterproof, windproof, breathable, and insulated with 550 fill goose down, this Parka ticks off all the boxes and thats why it's our Editors' Choice award winner. Loaded with features and highly practical, the North Face hit the nail on the head with this classic style winter parka.

There is an adjustable cinched waist on the outside of the jacket. The jacket is form-fitting but  having the option to tailor the look is a nice feature.
There is an adjustable cinched waist on the outside of the jacket. The jacket is form-fitting but, having the option to tailor the look is a nice feature.

Weather Resistance


The exterior of the jacket is extremely waterproof, windproof, breathable, and heavy-duty. When tested in the rain, snow, and wind, the Outer Boroughs Parka could withstand whatever mother nature had to throw at us.

The hood played a key role in keeping us warm and dry when we were testing in the elements. The faux fur ruff is great at blocking wind and rain, but keep in mind if you were it in heavy wet weather, you could jeopardize its loftiness and stylish look. It is detachable, and we recommend taking it off on days that are going to be super wet.

The hood fits perfectly and is insulated with a good amount of down. It did a great job of keeping us warm in winter conditions and cold temperatures. The hood isn't detachable  but we didn't find it to be a problem.
The hood fits perfectly and is insulated with a good amount of down. It did a great job of keeping us warm in winter conditions and cold temperatures. The hood isn't detachable, but we didn't find it to be a problem.

Style


Sleek, stylish, and a slim fit, we absolutely loved the way the Outer Borough Parka looked and felt when wearing it. There are a lot of stand out features that make this jacket one of the most complimented jackets we tested. The Outer Boroughs Parka's exterior material is composed of nylon and polyester with little exterior stitching and gives the jacket a smooth appearance. Depending on your style preference, this is important to consider. There are four earth-tone style colors to choose from - Black, Dark grey heather, Taupe, and Urban Navy. We tested the Taupe, which has a hunter green look to it, rather than taupe.

The hood on this parka fits well without being restrictive  and the fur is detachable. Out of all the jackets we tested  the ruff around the hood was one of the softest and most stylish and lofty. We recommended detaching the faux fur ruff when the weather gets very wet so that that the quality doesn't get jeopardized.
The hood on this parka fits well without being restrictive, and the fur is detachable. Out of all the jackets we tested, the ruff around the hood was one of the softest and most stylish and lofty. We recommended detaching the faux fur ruff when the weather gets very wet so that that the quality doesn't get jeopardized.

The Outer Boroughs parka has a slim fit, meaning they tailor the fit to give the jacket a feminine look. On the side of the jacket, there are snaps that allow for you to adjust the waist, giving it even more tailored fit. This is a great feature on jackets if you are someone that wants a tighter fit around the waist.

From all angles this coat is stylish. We contribute its tailored look to its adjustable cinched waist.
From all angles this coat is stylish. We contribute its tailored look to its adjustable cinched waist.

Comfort


Weighing in at 3.5 lbs, this jacket is one of the heaviest ones we tested. During testing, it didn't feel as heavy as it weighed, but if you had to take it off and carry it, it wouldn't be fun. Insulated with 550 fill goose down we felt snug and comfortable while shopping, or even taking the dog for a walk.

There is one small issue with the collar of this jacket. It feels a bit stiff, despite having a plush insulated collar. After wearing the jacket for a couple of months, the collar did become less rigid, but something to take into consideration.

The collar was somewhat stiff when we first started to test this model. The more we wore the jacket  the less stiff it became.
The collar was somewhat stiff when we first started to test this model. The more we wore the jacket, the less stiff it became.

There are six exterior pockets; four are lined with microfleece on one side, and two don't have any lining. We love fleece-lined pockets, and they make all the difference in cold weather.

There are six exterior pockets. Two on the chest  two at the side and two attached to the bottom side pockets. Despite there being so many pockets  they actually blended in well and were highly practical.
There are six exterior pockets. Two on the chest, two at the side and two attached to the bottom side pockets. Despite there being so many pockets, they actually blended in well and were highly practical.

Features


The Outer Boroughs Parka offers very practical features, as well as features we have never seen before. There are convertible mitten storm cuffs. This is a game-changer. This exterior of the jacket is waterproof, and by adding on the convertible mittens, it allowed us to stay outside longer in the elements than a jacket that didn't have them or even cuffs in the sleeves.

One feature that we absolutely loved was the the cuffs that turned into mittens. This was a unique feature that we used a lot when temperatures started to drop.
One feature that we absolutely loved was the the cuffs that turned into mittens. This was a unique feature that we used a lot when temperatures started to drop.

The hood isn't detachable, but we didn't mind that as much as we thought we would. The hood is quite elaborate. There's a beautiful faux fur ruff around the opening, and the fur is detachable - which is great because we would hate for the quality or loftiness of the faux fur to be jeopardized. Another feature that we don't often see on hoods is a rounded drop-tail hem for extra coverage.

The hood isn't detachable  but the faux fur ruff is. We loved how shiny and beautiful the ruff is. For being fake fur  the quality is outstanding.
The hood isn't detachable, but the faux fur ruff is. We loved how shiny and beautiful the ruff is. For being fake fur, the quality is outstanding.

There are six exterior pockets. Two of the pockets are located at our ribs on the side and are perfect for hand warming. Microfleece lines one side of the pocket. There are also snap-top patch pockets lined with microfleece and are oversized, perfect for a cell phone, or anything else you need to keep secure. There are two side pockets attached to the snap-top pockets. There is no microfleece in these pockets, and we didn't use them as much as we thought we would.

Pictured above is the adjustable cinched waist  and one of the six exterior pockets. The lower side exterior pockets do not have any kind of microfleece lining them.
Pictured above is the adjustable cinched waist, and one of the six exterior pockets. The lower side exterior pockets do not have any kind of microfleece lining them.

There is a double-sided zipper that allows access from both ends. There is also a storm flap that goes over the zipper for extra protection in wet and stormy weather. It secured with buttons. Depending on the kind of jacket you are looking for and the environment you live in, this could be the necessary feature to keep you dry and warm.

There is double-sided zipper that allows access from both ends. This helped with mobility as well as access. There is a storm flap over the zipper as well as buttons to secure it.
There is double-sided zipper that allows access from both ends. This helped with mobility as well as access. There is a storm flap over the zipper as well as buttons to secure it.

Durability


Hands down, this is a tough, durable jacket that will withstand harsh winter conditions for years to come. Over the two months that we tested this jacket, we had no issues with durability. The outer shell is made of nylon/polyester and is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. There is minimal exterior stitching, so we don't see any snags or tearing happening. Often this is common with jackets that are waterproof because by limiting the amount of exterior stitching, there are fewer spots for water to leak in.

Value


You can't beat this jacket for its price and what it has to offer. It's loaded with features like a removable faux fur ruff, adjustable waist, six exterior pockets, convertible mitten storm cuffs, and a down-insulated inner collar. Besides all the practical features, this jacket is waterproof, windproof, and breathable.

Conclusion


Overall we were very impressed with The North Face's Outer Boroughs Parka. It ticked off all the boxes we look for when awarding a jacket an Editors' Choice award. Warm, stylish, practical, and waterproof. This jacket is meant to handle some serious winter weather or to simply be worn in an environment that experiences cold weather. You can't go wrong with all that this jacket as to offer.


Liz Williamson