This week I decided to proceed with a review of four classic down jackets for men. Even though each one of these models was made for braving extreme cold, their urban look makes them excellent city coats. Anybody who has waited at the bus stop for twenty minutes in Québec’s bone-chilling winter winds will understand the advantages of a good coat. The four models under review are: The North Face McMurdo Parka, The North Face Ice Jacket, the Canada Goose Expedition Parka and the Canada Goose Ontario Parka.

canada goose expedition parka Four Classic Down Jackets for Men Reviewed canada goose ontario parka Four Classic Down Jackets for Men Reviewed
Canada Goose Expedition Parka Canada Goose Ontario Parka
the north face ice jacket Four Classic Down Jackets for Men Reviewed the north face mcmurdo parka Four Classic Down Jackets for Men Reviewed
The North Face Ice Jacket The North Face McMurdo Parka

Where They’re Made

Many people are initially surprised by the difference in price between these two brands. I don’t really like to repeat or quote myself, but for the benefit of the cause here is an explanation from my previous article: Canada Goose is made in Canada, whereas The North Face (in the case of the McMurdo Parka and the Ice Jacket) are made in China.

Click here for more information in my most recent article: The North Face Gotham vs. the Canada Goose Chilliwack (in French).

The Down

After trying them last winter, I have to say they’re all very warm: the kind of jacket good for walking around outside in, but that needs to be taken off on the bus or in the metro. The differences between each one are small in detail. For example, the Expedition has more down than the Ontario. The North Face Ice Jacket and the McMurdo Parka have the same amount of insulation. The down used in both the Canada Goose jackets is white duck down with a fill power of 625, while the two North Face Jackets are filled with goose down with a fill power of 550. In my opinion, the difference between the two types of duvet is too small to cause any hesitation.

Blocking the Wind: Two Schools of Thought

A good winter coat is waterproof and will break the wind, and our featured companies have different ways of satisfying these demands. The external material on The North Face jackets is lined with a waterproof breathable coating – The North Face HyVent – and both jackets have sealed seams. This guarantees that they are waterproof and will block the wind. Aside from really extreme conditions, I don’t think it is necessary for these jackets to be waterproof. They are so warm that it is rare you wear them when it is warm enough to rain. Concerning Canada Goose, they use a very strong, robust outer material that cuts the wind. In this way, the Arctic-Tech (polyester and cotton) material used on the Expedition is slightly more efficient than the Commander used on the Ontario, which uses more cotton in its blend.

Details about the Fit

All four coats have a very roomy fit. I am 5’9 (1.75 m) and weigh 155 lbs (70 kilos) and usually take small or medium, but only the small in The North Face Ice fits me; the others in the same size are too big – the Expedition being the largest (I would need an extra small). When it comes to length, the Ice Jacket is the shortest, ending at the waist, while the others come down to about mid-thigh. The Expedition differs from the McMurdo Parka by its elastic storm skirt at the waist. The other four coats have quite a few storage pockets as well as hand-warmer pockets. At the wrist, The North Face coats have adjustable Velcro® strips on the back of the sleeves. The Canada Goose parkas have long fitted inner wristbands. The North Face jackets have detachable hoods, whereas they are secured on the Canada Goose. I also would like to point out that the zippers on the Canada Goose are very big and consequently very sturdy.

Real Fur or Synthetic?

The North Face parkas have removable synthetic fur around the hood, whereas the Canada Goose parkas have real coyote fur. To get more information on the advantages and disadvantages of each type of fur, click here to read the related section of this article: The North Face Gotham vs. the Canada Goose Chilliwack (in French).

Each of these coats would be perfect for those of you who want to be (really) warm all winter long while doing a moderate activity like walking.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions. You can also click on the models I just reviewed in the section “Related Products” for more details.

Talk to you soon,


P.S Guillaume: I hope this helps you with your shopping!

*This article was originally published on 2010.10.22