*THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN 2009. BE AWARE THAT MODELS MAY HAVE CHANGED*
Links to 2013 models:
With winter coming, everyone is starting to shop around for a warm winter coat. But the big question is: which one will keep you the warmest without making you look like an abominable snowman? Today’s article highlights for you two coats that meet these important criteria: the Gotham Jacket by The North Face and the Chilliwack Parka by Canada Goose.
Last winter I answered a lot of questions from many clients on Altitude-sports.com, who wanted to know the differences between these two very similar models, their style and their characteristics. With an urban look, these hip-length jackets are insulated with down and made for men and women. They have plenty of pockets, fur around the hood, and rib-knit cuffs that keep out the wind. One last point before we get into the heart of the matter: down is a very effective insulator, and even though there are other synthetic options such as, Primaloft and fleece, it is still the best for those who don’t stand up very well to the cold.
Made in Canada vs. Made in China
At first glance, customers are often surprised that the Chilliwack is more expensive than the Gotham (for prices see “Related Products” at the bottom of the page). The difference in price can be partly explained because Canada Goose is made in Canada and The North Face is made in China. I think this is an important point because it’s rare that manufacturers make their outdoor clothes in Canada, and a great achievement considering the availability of labour in our country. However, we should consider the fact that Canada Goose produces jackets on a much lower scale than The North Face, for whom it would be impossible to produce such a large quantity only in North American factories. I will leave you to form your own opinion on the subject and to decide whether or not “Made in Canada” is important enough to pay the difference when you buy your next coat.
The Big Technical Differences
First of all, I have to say that both jackets are very well insulated. From Edmonton to Montreal, I’d have no problem recommending either to a customer. The Gotham Jacket uses goose down with a fill power of 550, while the Chilliwack uses duck down with a fill power of 625.
A note on down: a higher fill power number means the coat contains a higher quality down and therefore less is needed to obtain the same level of insulation. Goose down is generally more efficient in terms of warmth than duck down. However, duck down is sturdier and performs a bit better in humid climates. This means it can be used with thicker nylon fabrics. For example, if a thick nylon is used with goose down, the feathers will tend to compress and won’t keep the heat in as effectively. It’s then a question of deciding which compromise is best: light nylon fabrics which are more compact but less sturdy, or strong exterior nylon fabrics that can withstand abrasion.
In both of these cases, these two jackets are equally warm.
With or without a waterproof liner?
Unlike the Chilliwack and Gotham for women, which have a water repellent coating sprayed on the outside of the jacket, making them water resistant, the Gotham for men is totally waterproof. In addition to a spray-on coating, this jacket is lined with a waterproof-breathable liner The North Face HyVent, and has sealed seams, which ensure that water won’t leak into the coat. However, whether a jacket is waterproof or not shouldn’t be the deciding factor in your choice; it’s unlikely you will wear such a coat when it is warm enough to rain. In my opinion, the important point to consider is how wind resistant they are. Both jackets do a great job in this regard. The outer, reinforced fabric on both models for women cuts the wind, while the Gotham for men benefits from a second barrier: its liner HyVent.
Real of Synthetic fur?
Animal lovers will probably prefer the Gotham Jacket with its detachable synthetic fur, making it easier to wash. The Chilliwack has real coyote fur around the hood. I can say from experience that real fur tends to be slightly more durable and will protect your face better from the wind than synthetic. However, I find the Chilliwack’s collar less practical in winter as it comes up awkwardly high around the chin. You either have to wear it zipped down to the base of the neck, or zipped completely up to the nose. The Gotham’s collar has a better design because it zips up high, still leaving room for the chin.
Cut and Style
Apart from their logos, these two coats are very similar in style. They are the same size, but the Chilliwack is slightly more fitted than the Gotham; however, on the same models for women, the reverse is true: the Gotham is more fitted than the Chilliwack. Contrary to other Canada Goose jackets, the Chilliwack will correspond to your normal size. It is also a bit longer than the Gotham.
Well I think I’ve covered all the important points necessary to make a distinction between these two classic jackets, but please don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments box below. Also, if you want to know more, click on the product in the “Related Products” section found at the end of the article.
Until next time,
This article was originaly published on 2009-11-02 and has been subsequently updated.