It is hard to find environments challenging enough to put the Canada Goose Expedition Parka to good use. A -20-degree (with wind chill) walk near the Canadian border in Vermont did the trick. With its bombproof shell, 625-fill duck down, and periscope of a hood lined in real coyote fur, cold weather and sideways snow didn't have a chance. It's our top pick winter jacket for extreme conditions. Since Canada Goose developed this parka for scientists at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, that makes sense. They rate it for -22 degree weather and below. If you're in extreme weather often enough to need this jacket, it's a revelation. If you're not legitimately risking frostbite when heading outside, you could go with a less intense jacket.Editor's Note: The Canada Goose Expedition Parka review was updated on February 23, 2022, with additional comparisons and more information on what we would buy.
Canada Goose Expedition Parka - Women's Review
Cons: Too warm for most conditions, heavy, real coyote fur could deter some
Manufacturer: Canada Goose
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Canada Goose Expedition Parka - Women's
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|Pros||Extremely warm, waterproof, lots of pockets, soft collar||Comfortable, durable fabric, awesome pockets, weather-proof and breathable||Warm, light, soft, great hood||Athletic fit, comfortable, stylish, temperature regulating, waterproof||Warm, comfortable, simple, inexpensive|
|Cons||Too warm for most conditions, heavy, real coyote fur could deter some||On the bulky side, face fabric holds onto water||No cinch at the waist, not the most stylish||Sleeves and hem are less insulated, tricky hood tightened, expensive||Shallow hood, no internal pockets|
|Bottom Line||This jacket keeps you alive in killer weather but is too much for most conditions||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||A classically stylish waterproof winter jacket that helps you avoid overheating||Cute, streamlined, and warm enough for almost any winter weather, this jacket is a great value|
|Rating Categories||Canada Goose Expedi...||Fjallraven Nuuk - W...||Outdoor Research Co...||Arc'teryx Patera Parka||REI Co-op Norseland...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||Canada Goose Expedi...||Fjallraven Nuuk - W...||Outdoor Research Co...||Arc'teryx Patera Parka||REI Co-op Norseland...|
|Insulation and Fill Power||625 fill duck down||Supreme microloft (100% polyester)||700 fill down||750 fill down||650 fill duck down|
|Fill Weight||Unavailable||250 g||240 g||59 g Down, 100 g Coreloft||238 g|
|Hood||Insulated with detachable coyote faux fur trim||Insulated with detachable faux fur trim||Adjustable||Insulated hood||Fleece lined|
|Pockets||4 large handwarmer, 1 sleeve utility, 1 flap-closure sleeve, 3 internal pockets - 1 zippered security, 1 drop-in||2 internal, 2 bellows, 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 2 chest||2 zippered handwarmer, 1 internal zippered security, 1 internal pouch||2 handwarmer, 1 internal chest pocket||2 zippered handwarmer|
|Weight (size small)||4.6 lbs||3.7 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.0 lbs|
|Weather Resistant Features||Waterproof, windproof||Waterproof, windproof||Water and wind resistant||Waterproof, windproof, and breathable barrier, DWR finish||DWR treatment|
|Sizes Available||XS to XL||XXS to XXL||XS to XL||XS to XXL||XS to XL|
|Social or Environmental Certifications||Fluorocarbon-free impregnation||Responsible Down Standard - Certified, bluesign approved, 100% recycled nylon shell||Some materials meet bluesign criteria
Responsible Down Standard
|Responsible Down Standard - Certified , 100% recycled polyester lining, bluesign approved|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Excellent in its element, the Expedition Jacket is a fortress against frigid temps and biting winds. Since it was designed for scientists and all the gear they carry, Canada Goose gives you pockets galore: four hand-warming side pockets underneath four drop-in pockets, two on your sleeve, two internal options. Ample 625 fill duck down is held around you by durable Arctic-tech fabric. It weighs a startling 4.6 pounds and earns every bit of it in the right conditions.
This jacket is nothing if not warm. As we mentioned, the Expedition shrugged off -20 degree wind chills on a stroll. The only real challenge is finding pants warm enough to keep up. This extreme heat retention does limit the jacket's versatility. For example, a moderate snowshoe jaunt in sunny, 5-degree weather had us sweating. That said, it was comfortable for a slow walk on a 32-degree day with biting winds. We had the hood up, the zipper undone, and the Velcro storm flap partially latched. When we sped up the tempo in any temperature above zero, we got hot in a hurry. The Expedition is one of the highest-scoring jackets in our review, and it's hard to imagine any jacket being warmer.
Aside from the bomber, wind-stopping, waterproof fabric, and fluffy 625 fill duck down, the jacket includes several Arctic-smart features. There are two storm flaps, one above and one beneath the zipper. The hood is lined with genuine coyote fur, a removable ruff that works wonders to cut the wind and hold heat around your face. You can roll the ruff back to frame your face or flip it out on a wire-rimmed brim that blocks wind or harsh reflective sunlight while still giving you a reasonable field of view.
There are two main factors to consider. One is the environmental impact, and the other is each animal's right to life and respectful death. Predators have a much more significant impact on ecological health than prey species since they control prey numbers and, thus, the number of plants those animals eat. So it's essential to know how the coyote population is doing. According to the International Union of Conservation Species (IUCS), the North American coyote is a species of least concern, and its numbers are growing, a promising sign.Canada Goose claims that their suppliers source fur from wild animals, not fur farms, that their trappers follow government standards, and that "they do not tolerate any willful mistreatment, neglect or malicious harm of animals." Canada Goose did launch an initiative to use reclaimed fur last year and hope to stop buying new fur in 2022.
The jacket color also zips up to your eyeballs, meaning you only need to add goggles to block out cold air. The collar is tight in size small, though, jamming against our mouth and nose, making it hard to breathe. If you need this feature often, consider sizing up. Rib-knit cuff gaskets hold heat and are soft on your wrists, tucking away in your sleeves to stay dry. A nylon snow skirt and drawcord waist keep cold air from infiltrating your core. The four hand warming pockets aren't insulated, but they add wind and weather protection.
Because it's so easy to overheat, you need to manage how much you sweat. The jacket doesn't breathe particularly well, and when we were working hard, the moisture had nowhere to go and clung to even our techy wool base layers. Being wet is uncomfortable and can give you a chill, so you have to pay attention to your activity level in warmer temps.
The weather protection that the Expedition Parka offers is arguably more impressive than its warmth. When we tested the jacket in the shower with the hood flap extended, we could barely even hear the water. With most of these jackets, we had to be careful not to let the water come right in at our faces. In this coat, it didn't matter. The water couldn't dodge that hood. We tried.
You're not supposed to get the ruff wet (after all, water should be frozen at the temps you'll need this jacket), but we did. It smells like a wet coyote, and it hits home that lives were taken to keep you warm.
The Arctic-tech fabric shrugs off water like few materials we've tested and is similarly effective at blocking wind. All the other aspects that keep you warm also keep you dry and out of the wind.
This jacket can keep you wildly comfortable in inhospitable conditions but is not an easy-wearing coat, and it earned a 6 out of 10 for comfort. At 4.6 pounds, it's heavy. We don't notice it while wearing it continuously, but it can feel like a lot if you're commuting or moving in and out of doors often. The internal shoulder straps that let you tote it around like a backpack help a lot.
Burly enough to block out Arctic conditions, the fabric is somewhat stiff. When you're all zipped up and you sit down, the jacket raises above your shoulders and into your face. When you walk, the bottom strip of Velcro always rips apart. The coat has a generous cut in the shoulders but is straight through the body and can feel restrictive. It worked much better when we tightened the waist strap, forming a bell shape around our hips. Still, you may want to consider sizing up to give you more room for thick layers and more space in the collar, which is tight when zipped.
And that collar is lined with the most luxurious high-pile fleece we've ever experienced. You want that collar to fit so your chin can snuggle it. The cuffs are soft as well, offering small comforts in harsh conditions.
If your style is super-hardcore Arctic explorer or scientist chic, you'll be nailing it with this one. However, most of our testers don't fall into this demographic. Function is fully guiding form here. You don't feel cute in this jacket. You feel ready.
Again, the Arctic-tech fabric seems indestructible, and even the softer lining fabric feels sturdy and tightly woven. The zippers appear to be high quality, and the hood isn't removable, so there is little to fail there. All told, we don't expect any significant durability issues with this jacket.
However, some sloppy details are annoying in a jacket at this price point. The storm flap uses Velcro to hold it closed over the zipper. That's great if you need to slap it shut while wearing mittens, but Velcro can wear out over time. Some of the strips on our test jacket are already losing threads. It's not likely to cause catastrophic failure, but we wish the stripes were more robust.
Should You Buy the Canada Goose Expedition Parka?
Canada Goose has a reputation for durability, and we'd expect this jacket to last long enough to earn its keep if you need it, outlasting most other jackets. If you're likely to find yourself in biting winds and bitter temps on a featureless polar plain with shades of white stretching to the horizon, it's an easy decision. But it could also be a great companion for snowmobilers sitting still in negative temps or anyone in extreme latitudes who refuses to let the weather keep them inside.
You'll also have to consider your own environmental and ethical values. Coyote populations are doing well, but you'll have to be okay with trapping one unless you wait till 2022 to buy your jacket. Canada Goose is working towards compliance with the Responsible Down Standard and hopes to be fully certified this year. Most of their jacket production occurs in Canada, and they claim a zero-tolerance policy against human rights abuses.
What Other Winter Jackets Should You Consider?
It is likely worth the cost for anyone who truly needs this jacket, and there is no better option. If you rarely, if ever, expect to be outside for extended periods in temperatures dropping into the negative double digits, it's a lot of money and more jacket than you would realistically need. A similar but less aggressively warm winter jacket is the Fjallraven Nuuk.
— Clark Tate
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