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Looking for warmest down parka available
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Daniel Anisfeld
(dannynyc) - F
Looking for warmest down parka available on 02/14/2012 10:40:24 MST Print View

Hey everyone, I'm new to the forum. Sorry in advance if this has been discussed ad nauseum, but I don't have time to check all the posts. I just found out I'm moving to Canada and am looking for the warmest down parka I can find. I currently own the Patagonia Fitz Roy hoody, and while it's very warm, I'm not sure it's Canada warm. I'm not overly concerned about weight or compressibility, as this would just be for city use. I prefer a longer parka that will cover at least part of my butt and ideally I'm looking for a material that is more durable than the very fragile shell on the Fitz Roy.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Looking for warmest down parka available on 02/14/2012 11:15:52 MST Print View

For a production model:

Eddie Bauer Peak XV

It comes in a tall and right now you can get last years model for around $299. Or watch the stores, they occasionally have a 30% off day and you can get it then (at least in Seattle).

Tommy Franzen
(Tomlike) - F

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
many ($$$) options on 02/14/2012 11:32:30 MST Print View

Nunatak Torre Parka

Feathered Friends Icefall Parka

Feathered Friends Rock and Ice Parka

Western Mountaineering Ion Parka

RAB Neutrino Plus

RAB Batura Summit

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Looking for warmest down parka available on 02/14/2012 11:44:46 MST Print View

Being from Canada I had to laugh a bit at your post. The funny part being "I'm not sure if its Canada cold".

Really Canada has similar weather to the Northern US but maybe 5 degrees colder. It also really depends where in Canada you are going. Vancouver is very similar to Seattle, Calgary is very similar to Denver, Toronto is similar to Detroit. Montreal you are probably getting close to New York weather with the real high humidty and cold. The Martimes are basically the same as the NE US Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont.

So where are you going and what are you going to be doing. This way it will be easier to offer adivice. I live in Calgary and most of the winter around the city I just wear a soft shell coat. When it gets cold I throw on a down Parka with about 2 inches of loft. This is good for me down to -40 assuming I am also wear a suitable touque, mitts, and leg insulation.

For outdoor actvity it is the same as anywhere in the US. Just find the minimum temp you need to prepare for and dress for it. While active many times it is just a base layer and a shell.

I should note that Calgary is very dry in winter so the wet cold you get out east isn't a factor and makes a big difference in your selection of clothing.

Edited by GregF on 02/14/2012 11:48:18 MST.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Re: Looking for warmest down parka available on 02/14/2012 11:57:39 MST Print View

Not to forget the Montane Black Ice.

Aidan Kerr
(akerr) - F

Locale: Northeast
GoLite Roan Plateau on 02/14/2012 11:59:28 MST Print View

the GoLite Roan Plateau hooded jacket is almost like a parka. Covers my butt (relaxed sizing) and very warm. On-sale right now too (only x-large and xx-large left though). They have a hood-less version in medium.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Looking for warmest down parka available on 02/14/2012 12:00:39 MST Print View

Having lived in Boston and visited Montreal, I would say montreal is considerably colder.

Looking at the data from accuweather for averages, NYC and Boston have hi/lo of 38/27F and 36/22F in January where as for Montreal it's 22/04F. Add to that the windiness of montreal and you are looking at frigid temps.

But you are right in that where matters. You just can't compare cities on the Eastern Seaboard to Canadian cities because the seaboard gets the warmth of the gulf stream and coastal benefits where as the comparable Canadian cities are inland and therefore much colder.

As for which parka:

The author basically says EB Peak XV for down and the MEC Tango for synthetic. He also was pretty hard on Patagonia and Feathered Friends (both companies he expected to like) but his criteria is climbing so may not be a huge issue for you.

Personally I would also look into the Rab Neutrino Endurance/Plus parkas or the Montbell Permafrost (it's virtually waterproof).

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
mec on 02/14/2012 12:02:30 MST Print View

just buy something at MEC ... you can still find the reflex on sale in some stores for $175 ... that jacket will stand up to any of those $$$$$ UL brand jackets for a fraction of the price

or whatever else you find out there

the downside is that some gear snob with a fancy brand name jackets look down any any poor bum sporting a MEC logo ...

Daniel Anisfeld
(dannynyc) - F
_ on 02/14/2012 12:21:39 MST Print View

Fair enough Greg -- I'm moving from NYC to Toronto. Granted, Toronto is mild compared to much of Canada (even to Montreal), but I find the Fitz Roy to be just warm enough for NYC, and not a bit too warm. My investigation suggests Toronto is about 10-15 degrees colder on average.

A caveat that should be obvious: I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to cold, and will want something a lot warmer than the average Torontonian would need.

These are awesome recommendations, and in such a short time! Thanks everyone.

Andrew Jennings
(breaktheshoal) - MLife

Locale: West of the Mississippi
Montbell Frost Line Down Parka on 02/14/2012 12:33:39 MST Print View

Hey Daniel,

A few months back I picked up a couple Montbell jackets on sale and I think the Frost Line Down Parka will fit the bill for your move to Canada. With winter still AWOL in southern California I hadn't had an opportunity to try it out until I went to visit family in Chicago a few weeks ago. A few days before I left I checked the weather which called for highs in the low 20s and snow - PERFECT.

Departing LA I was so pumped to try out the new jacket and even more excited upon arrival when the flight attendant announced that the temperature in Chicago was 7 degrees. As soon as we stepped outside of baggage claim it became apparent that this jacket was worth its weight in gold. Not once did I feel cold (this with just a long sleeve shirt underneath) the entire trip, and the 30D nylon stopped the "Windy" City in its tracks. If I had a complaint about the Frost Line Parka it would be that sometimes I got too warm, and after browsing through Backcountry it appears I'm not alone with this sentiment.

I guess it all depends on where you end up, but if you're looking for a jacket that will keep you warm druing the next ice age, this is the jacket for you.

Daniel Anisfeld
(dannynyc) - F
Montane Black Ice on 02/14/2012 12:40:03 MST Print View

I'm very interested to hear more about the Montane. Can you tell me what kind of conditions you've used it in?

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Re: Montane Black Ice on 02/14/2012 22:07:35 MST Print View


I do not own the Black Ice jacket, but have put my hands on it as well as many of the other jackets mentioned in this thread. All I can say is that it is a burly coat in the realm of a Neutrino Plus or a Peak XV. It also has some well thought out features, esp for the climber in you.

I personally own the little sibling of the Black Ice, the North Star Jacket. It is a sweet piece of kit. Not baffled though, so probably not warm enough when compared to the others here.

Edited by nicktruax on 02/14/2012 22:08:24 MST.

Nigel Healy
(nigelhealy) - F

Locale: San Francisco bay area
Beware TOO WARM on 02/14/2012 22:29:37 MST Print View

So what I own is a Montbell Alpine Light Parka, and a Patagonia Down Sweater.

The reason for buying two is that I'd have places like Chicago which does cold I could never describe, to places like New York which over a 5 day period would vary between very cold and above-freezing rain. My Montbell Alpine Light Parka, if I'm walking more than about 10mins, it has to be a max of -10C /14F for me to not overheat. If I'd gone for anything thicker I would not move without sweating above 0F. However, down when you put it on is not initially warm, it has to build up some heat from the wearer so for the first 10mins it can be quite chilly. That's the downside, what do when its not "Canada cold" ?

For temps about or just below freezing the Montbell is too warm so then I have the thinner and more ubiquitious on sale Patagonia.

For more stationary or very cold I then wear BOTH, I got the Pata in medium and the Montbell in Large and I put the Montbell on the outside. That is then what I'd call "Canada cold" but at least you bought two items which in combination will see you through more conditions, if you bought one thick Parka you'd solve one problem but then still need to buy something again not as warm and end up spending more.

The Montbell packs to 3L, the Pata packs to 2L so carrying both and packing what I don't need needs 0L/2L/3L/5L stored space.

I travel across USA widely, last week I went as south as Panama City, Panama. My luggage is 40L, and I brought the Patagonia as I was only passing through Houston, TX. If I were passing through Chicago I'd pack the Montbell. As it turned out, I was in an exit row seat near the the exit (first off the flight through immigration) but I had to wear my Patagonia zipped around my legs as there was an icy blast coming through the door, and then a windproof on my torso.

Montbell is cracking good value and quality, but is harder this year to get the value, I paid $140 for my Alpine Light Parka in Nov '10 and I paid $100 for my Patagonia but it took patience to not get it in 'orible orange.
My 2cents....

Edited by nigelhealy on 02/14/2012 22:38:45 MST.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
TNF / Canada Goose on 02/14/2012 22:46:37 MST Print View

Daniel, I'm going to assume that weight isn't your main priority in this purchase, so my recommendations are for options that you wouldn't wear backpacking.

Last year I commuted throughout the winter from Denver to Calgary each week. As a roadwarrior, I avoid checking bags whenever possible, and the commuter jet United Airlines laid on for this route had very limited carry on space. I tried layering jackets, but it didn't work at -25C temps plus windchill. Right around Presidents' Day 2011 I went shopping for a down parka, hoping for one that was packable but warmer than anything else I own. Sales were good, but stock in the Denver area was limited. I wound up buying a North Face Vostok in black, size medium. Normally I wear large, but TNF seems to run at least one size up in their outerwear. It's not light, at 53oz, but it's damned warm. I think I got it for around $200 in the sale. I keep it in reserve for those days in Colorado when the temps don't get out of the single digits (F).

The gold standard in parkas seems to be Canada Goose. Made north of the border, they're probably cheaper up there too. But prices seem to run $500 and up.

Lastly, when are you moving? By mid March I had given up on the Vostok in Calgary. If I were still commuting there now, it would have come out again in late November or early December. Do you really need to buy a parka this season?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Looking for warmest down parka available on 02/14/2012 23:56:41 MST Print View

No question about it, get one of the top-of-the-line down parkas from Feathered Friends.


Richard Fischel
couple of options on 02/15/2012 05:54:18 MST Print View

If you are in nyc and spending top dollar and having it instantly available is important walk into paragon and try on the north face himalayan and the marmot 8000M. You might also find borh of these downtown at tent & trails. If you want what many consider to be the ultimate give feathered friends a call. Discuss with them your intended use and they may convince you that one of their expedition parkas are too heavy. Also talk sizing. If you want the warmest at best value by a preowned north face baltoro on line. If not layering lots of stuff under it get your true size.

Happy hunting

Ankar Sheng
(Whiskyjack) - MLife

Locale: The Canadian Shield
Canada Goose on 02/15/2012 08:22:31 MST Print View

Canada Goose parkas really are top notch. Not the lightest option though, the shell fabric is quite a bit heavier than the light nylon shells (that my Cloudveil parka uses, and it looks like Feathered Friends as well). They also have really nice hoods trimmed with fur (coyote?).

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Warmest on 02/15/2012 12:01:31 MST Print View

“The Rab down Expedition Suit has been developed over many years in conjunction with active Himalayan climbers and has been designed for high altitude climbing and prolonged travel in extremely cold climates The Expedition Suit has been used extensively on 8000m peaks and Polar expeditions for many years. Rab sponsored athlete Gary Rolfe credits his down suit with saving his life when his dogs and sled fell through Arctic sea ice. Weight: 1600g / 56oz
o Water resistant Pertex® Endurance outer
o Filled with 750g (L) of superior quality European goose down fill power 850
o Box wall construction for greater insulation efficiency
o Fixed down filled hood with peaked visor
o 6 outer pockets and 2 mesh internal pockets
o Full length side zips with multiple pullers
o Main zip extends under seat for toilet access”

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Canada cold on 02/16/2012 02:49:58 MST Print View

"A caveat that should be obvious: I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to cold, and will want something a lot warmer than the average Torontonian would need."

Daniel, when I moved to Canada (Alberta and BC) for a couple years, it took me about a year to acclimate to the weather (and I was born and raised in sunny So. Cal). A year was about the same time most of my stateside buddies took to acclimatize as well. Just as a head's up. I'm not sure how long you're moving up there for, but you will get more used to the cold over time.

When I moved up there I bought an old USAF artic parka. It was plenty warm and very inexpensive.


Locale: Western Michigan
Everest Parka on 02/16/2012 05:51:14 MST Print View

Dan.....Email me for more info.