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Hands-on Gear Review
Canada Goose Kensington Parka Review
Cons: No full zip, collar is tight when zipped up, back snaps let cold air in, no zippers on exterior pockets, real fur could be a detractor
Bottom line: A classic winter parka with ample warmth and style from head to toe.
A winter jacket comparable to armor, the Kensington Parka is the perfect blend of elegance and durability. Resting just above the knee, this stylish parka stands out with its coyote fur ruff around the hood, smooth exterior fabric, and flattering, feminine look. It's perfect for wearing around town on a frigid day, or shoveling the driveway in a blizzard.
This jacket is a great blend of functionality and style; these are some of the reasons we've given it our Editors' Choice Award. Granted, it was the most expensive jacket we tested, but features like thick ribbed cuffs, ultra-warm down, hand warmers, and water-resistant fabric, are a few reasons why this jacket isn't just a normal winter coat. If you're on a budget, and looking for something half the price our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Montreaux will keep you super warm all winter long. If you have a thinner frame, consider the Canada Goose Kensington Parka Fusion Fit.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Winter Jackets for Women of 2018
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Form-fitting and sleek, this award winner has a lot of appeal. It's packed full of 625-fill-power white duck down with a removable hood and real coyote fur trim. The waist has an adjustable cinch tab for a closer fit according to your curves, and with fifteen color options to choose from you're sure to find one that suits your style. This jacket weighs 2.9 pounds, making it one of the heaviest models we tested.
Finally, a jacket that is warm and flattering! Insulated with 625-fill-power white duck down, this jacket delivers warmth and comfort. The ultra-thick down did a great job keeping us warm while maintaining a stylish look. Being outside for an extended period of time in frigid weather wasn't an issue in this jacket.
There are many features on this jacket that help attribute to it's warmth, as well as a couple that deter it. Let's start with the positive features. We stayed extra warm on cold or snowy days, thanks for the fleece-lined hood stuffed with down. The hood is removable and also features a detachable coyote fur ruff. The ruff performed well and protected our face in snow and wind, while keeping us extra warm. The sleeves have thick, rib-knit cuffs that are comfortable, keep the cold air out, and have an attractive look.
There is also a knitted collar; when it's zipped up all the way, it doesn't allow room for any cold air to enter; unfortunately, it's also very constricting and somewhat uncomfortable. There are button snaps that adjust at the wrist and on the exterior of the sleeves, which allow you to customize the fit (this could be useful on cold or stormy days to help trap heat in and cold air out). The cinched waist offers a tighter fit and keeps heat trapped in. In windy conditions, this jacket will keep you warm. It has a durable outer layer, which consists of 85% polyester and 15% cotton, as well as a DWR coating (durable water resistant); it doesn't have many seams, which would let cold air sneak in.
Don't get us wrong, this jacket is very warm, but there are a couple features that allowed a small amount of cold air to get in. The main issue we have is with the zipper; it's not a full zipper and it stops almost at mid-thigh. This allows for better mobility, but also lets in cold air when we were walking. Unlike the Kensington Parka, the North Face Miss Metro Parka has a snap button at the bottom of the jacket, despite not having a full zipper; this helped keep cold air out.
There are kick pleats on the backside of the jacket that are meant to offer better mobility, but really, we found they just let a small amount of cold air in, leading us to concur that we didn't find them that useful. The Marmot Montreaux scored a perfect 10 out of 10, mainly because the full zipper extends all the way to the knee and offers better coverage, while the Kensington scored a near-perfect 9 out of 10.
This jacket isn't intended for a super wet rainy climate, but is perfect for a cold snowy environment. The "Arctic Tech" exterior fabric consists of 85% polyester and 15% cotton and is treated with a DWR coating (durable water repellent). When tested in the elements, water beaded up and rolled off, but this jacket is not waterproof and will be become saturated after an extended period of time. We were impressed with how well this jacket did in wet weather, especially considering the outer shell is made up of 15% cotton.
For not being a waterproof jacket, the Kensington offers some features that definitely allowed us to extended our time outside in the elements. The coyote fur ruff around the hood added extra protection from snow and wind, while trapping heat in. Heavy duty rib knit cuffs on the sleeves didn't allow any precipitation or cold air to get in. The center front zipper has a storm flap that blocked winds and kept precipitation out. Tested in blizzard like conditions, this jacket did a great job of keeping us toasty and dry. If you live in a milder climate and are interested in a full waterproof jacket, check out our Top Pick for Wet Climates award winner, the Patagonia Tres 3-In-1 Parka - Women's.
Hands down, this parka steals the show when it comes to style. Form-fitting, thanks to the cinched waist, this jacket is very flattering and feminine. The polyester fabric has a matte finish to it and is simple and smooth. The interior is stuffed with 625-fill-power duck down, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the outside; there's no "marshmallow" or frumpy appearance, and we could tell that Canada Goose paid a great deal of attention to style and detail with this jacket. Perfect for a fancy night out on the town or running errands, this jacket is indeed versatile.
A Note on the Fur Lining
A very noticeable detail of this jacket is the real coyote fur lining on the hood, which looks fancy but can make some customers upset. Canada Goose explains that they use real fur because they have designed their jackets for extremely cold climates, and real fur actually holds warm air around the face and protects it from frostbite. Faux fur does not function in the same way and is simply a fashion statement.
If you do live in a cold climate, this is an advantage for you and a selling point for this incredibly warm jacket. If you live in a milder climate, where face protection is not a necessity, and you happen to like the visual statement this adds to your style but you don't want to harm a fuzzy creature, the Marmot Montreaux has a similar overall look with a faux-fur ruff instead.
It is worth mentioning that Canada Goose only purchases fur from certified Canadian trappers who comply with humane trapping methods. They have also chosen coyote fur because these animals are not endangered and stand by saying that coyotes are plentiful in North America. Additionally, by using Canadian trappers for their suppliers, they support aboriginal populations and their lifestyles.
A Note on the Down Insulation
This discussion of fur-sourcing brings up another point: all of the down jackets in this review are created using an animal product. Many consumers choose not to buy products that use real fur, but in most cases, down-filled products also require the death of an animal to produce it. Canada Goose discloses their down supplier: Feather Industries Canada Limited. Both Canada Goose and their supplier do not believe in live-plucking fowl. Feather Industries was founded as a division of Canada Packers, a food distributor, and all down is harvested from animals raised for meat.
No birds are raised for the sole purpose of down production. Likewise, all Patagonia products, including the Patagonia Tres 3-In-1 Parka and the Patagonia Downtown Parka now use traceable down, which is also not live-plucked and comes from animals that are never force-fed. If these ethical practices matter to you, Canada Goose and Patagonia are leading the way in sourcing animal products in the most humane way possible. If these practices bother you, then you can always consider the synthetically insulated Columbia Mighty Lite, Helly Hansen Long Belfast, or the Arc'teryx Sylva Parka.
Comfort and style are not an issue with jacket. There's no extra bagginess or bulk here, unlike some of the other jackets we tested like the Columbia Mighty Lite. This jacket was made with comfort in mind; from the thick knit cuffs on the sleeves, the knit collar, fleece-lined hood, and four exterior fleece-lined pockets, nothing has been neglected. The comfort features that really stood out were the knit cuffs on the sleeves and the fleece-lined pockets. The cuffs did a great job at keeping cold air; they are very heavy duty, yet soft and comfortable. Having double sided fleece-lined pockets was extremely useful and cozy in cold weather.
Despite being one of the heaviest parkas we tested (2.9 pounds), it never felt heavy while we were wearing it. The down is distributed evenly throughout the jacket, giving it a sleek, smooth look. Mobility was never an issue in this parka because of the above knee-length and mid-thigh zipper. There are also kick pleats on the back of the jacket that allowed for better mobility and ventilation, but the snaps that secure them are uncomfortable depending on what we were sitting on (i.e.hard vs soft surface).
If you're looking for something even more lightweight and sporty, check out the mid-thigh length Canada Goose Camp. It's not as warm as the Kensington Parka, but it's close. The down insulation is cozy and snug and we found the Camp Hooded Jacket was even more comfortable than the Kensington Parka.
Features, get your features! The Kensington Parka was designed with the consumer in mind, as Canada Goose goes above and beyond, including features that are not found on all winter jackets. We mentioned some features already, like the cinched waist, knitted cuffs and collar, fleece-lined hood, coyote fur ruff, kick pleats, and four exterior fleece pockets - all secured by military grade buttons.
A double-sided zipper offers access on both ends, as well as more mobility. There is an interior pocket with a Velcro closure; while it's not the most secure pocket, when the jacket is zipped up all the way, everything felt beyond secure.
The most unique and interesting feature on this jacket was the internal carrying straps. For those warm days, or when you are running errands and overheating in a store and you want to have your hands free, you slip the straps on, and the jacket can rest on your back. While this is not the most crucial or important feature on a winter jacket, it's worth keeping and could come in handy, especially considering that it adds little to no weight addition.
Blizzards and cold days won't be a problem in this armor, err, winter jacket. Meant to withstand conditions in the Arctic, this jacket is no joke when it comes to durability. The outside is constructed of 85% polyester and 15% cotton, with a DWR coating. Smooth to the touch, but thick and impenetrable, this jacket won't snag or tear like the Patagonia Downtown Parka or the Arc'teryx Nuri potentially could.
For the price, we are happy to say that quality construction is apparent in all the little details. Military grade buttons are secure, the zippers are heavy duty and don't snag, and the coyote fur ruff maintained its stylish look, even after getting wet. This jacket is an investment, but we see it lasting many winters. Canada Goose also offers a lifetime warranty on their products for manufacturing defects (not normal wear and tear unfortunately) and will repair or replace any issues that arise.
If you live in an extremely cold or snowy climate, like Montreal, New York, or Chicago, this is the perfect winter jacket for you. Designed to withstand bitter temperatures, howling winds, and heavy snow - this jacket is a beast. It's not necessarily the best fit for someone living in mild or warm climate; instead, consider The North Face Thermoball Parka or Arc'teryx Nuri.
With a price tag of $900, this was the most expensive jacket we tested. Don't let that scare you away. The Kensington has a lot to offer for the price. There are tons of features, quality construction, and it's the most form-fitting and flattering style out of all the jackets we tested. This jacket is a worthwhile investment and will last a long time. If you're looking for something a bit cheaper but comparable in warmth, check out our Best Buy Award Winner, the Marmot Montreaux ($300).
The Canada Goose Kensington Parka is a clear Editors' Choice award winner. In every metric we tested, this jacket excelled. Yes, it is pricey, but if you have the money to spend - this jacket can be seen as an investment. The high-quality construction makes this jacket a worthwhile investment for many winters to come.
— Liz Williamson & McKenzie Long
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