The Warmest Parka

Since freezing my butt off for more than a week straight earlier this month in Paris/Budapest, and returning home to record low temperatures (yes, I know that century record low in California = regular day in Boston), I’ve become obsessed with the idea of finding a super warm down parka. Not that I will really need it here in the Bay Area necessarily, but I am scheduled to be returning back to some very cold places in these coming months, and I vowed never again to have to cut short a lovely evening walk simply because I felt like a frozen popsicle!

I am no strangers to parkas either  – here have been some of my past experiences:

1. ADD Down. One of my favorite down outerwear brands, and I wore my parka for two years straight in Boston. The zipper finally broke during one of my last days in Budapest (completely my fault). Great quality – I just wish mine were a little longer (because yes – it’s literally my butt freezing when it gets below a certain temperature outside!).

2. Mr. & Mrs. Furs jacket (via this post). I think almost everything from this line is so cool. My little version below gets by far the most compliments, and I just love the combination of mink plus vintage camouflage. That being said – my particular model doesn’t have a hood, and the fur makes it HEAVY. A bit cumbersome to carry around if you keep popping in and out of heated buildings (why are all the shops in Paris so, so warm inside)?

3. Moncler.  Yes, I love Moncler like many others out there, but I’ve actually had a few quality issues with my one Moncler puffer parka. The inner arm seam ripped after about a year of infrequent use, and I also found the material quite delicate (I was afraid of ripping it).  While I have always liked the style of Moncler coats, what I really like from the brand are their sleek vests and little lady like jackets

Also, just as a warning – I’ve had very varied experiences in the boutiques. Everything from very good, sincere customer service, to the unspoken sneer of  “Don’t touch the jacket…feeble peasant!” 

Anyway…I decided to go out and hunt around for the warmest, best quality parka..and after I had tried on a bunch of different makes and models…I found a great one, via Canada Goose. It was warm, had a nice hood to block out the wind, and most importantly, the very convincing salesman said that he had never had a customer have a quality complaint about Canada Goose. The zippers also looked nice and sturdy, to withstand my clumsy fingers. Sold!

My size and color weren’t available, so I went home and placed an order online. Apparently everybody else in the U.S. suffering from the cold had the same idea…because it immediately became backordered. Don’t you hate it when that happens? I thought I might cancel my original order and get it at Bloomingdales...but then I noticed my shopping cart stated “ships within 46 business days.” Whoa!

I was very sad about this, as I’m heading back to icy Europe later this month, but I still can’t wait to get my super warm parka. It’s my gift to myself!

Are there any more of you out there, who suffer from my disease – “perpetual coldness”? What are your go to parkas and outerwear for the coldest environments that you visit? And psst – any readers with Canada Goose experiences that you could share?

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  • Groupthink7
    December 11, 2013 at 8:18 am

    What about Mackage? I purchased a coat there yesterday. Here is the link.

    • Katherine
      December 11, 2013 at 8:40 am

      That is beautiful!! Tell me how you like it, I love the fur hood!

      • Groupthink7
        December 11, 2013 at 9:27 am

        I will. I live in Chicago and it is cold; but not as cold as people make it out to be right now. It has been colder. I like stylish puffer jackets. I had a long North Face Coat which was warm but I lost a ton of weight last year and had to get rid of it. I tried on the Moncler puffer vests; and I didn’t like the fit on me. It was too big on top and too tight at the bottom. With Moncler, do you think that the brand is overrated because of the quality issues?

        • Katherine
          December 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

          I think Moncler has a lot of great items but they are quite expensive and from what I hear they keep lowering their production costs..but the prices stay the same/go up! What has really annoyed me has been the service in their boutiques.

  • Quyen
    December 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Wow, that parka looks amazing! I would love to cuddle up in that jacket during the coldest days of winter!

  • Irene
    December 11, 2013 at 9:22 am

    It’s not fancy, but I’m a huge fan of Uniqlo – its ultra lightweight down line, heat tech, etc. I layer throughout the New York winter and all of its items are also super easy to travel with (compact, light).

    • Katherine
      December 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      I’ve heard amazing things about Heat Tech – at the very least I am planning on adding a few of the under layers. Glad to hear that the jackets are great!

  • Revanche
    December 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I’m ALWAYS cold, unless it’s 80 degrees, so I’m on your side here. I wore my warmest winter coat every day to work for a couple yrs because the BART was so “cold”. Certified wimp, here 🙂

    PiC bought a Patagonia coat for me, and it has been amazing. No nice fur ruff but very close to this:

    Super handy: warm insides, waterproof outside, can wear together or separately.

    • Katherine
      December 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      That looks super cozy! And I think on BART, better to be prepared for any situation…who knows what will happen on it!

  • Jenny G.
    December 11, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I bought Canada Goose Kensington Parka, and haven’t had any problem with it! It’s super warm and yet stylish.

    • Katherine
      December 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      I think this is the model that I actually ordered…glad to hear the good feedback!

      • Jenny
        December 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm

        I forgot to say, I think it is really lightweight for the warmth it provides! I ordered it online and when I got the box, it felt so light I was worried there was nothing inside.

  • Lara
    December 11, 2013 at 10:23 am

    It’s really interesting that you posted this now, bc I just ordered this Canada Goose jacket last weekend, and the package was delivered this morning, so I’ll try it on tonight. I always buy from Nordstrom but they were sold out in xs, so I ordered it from ssense. I’m not sure if it’s still In stock. I’m always cold so hopefully it will keep me warm outside. Have fun in Europe!

    • Katherine
      December 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Please share how you like it! I ordered mine from Nordstrom but now am just realizing that it’s a slightly different model. Did you get the Trillium? I really like the colors that SSENSE has.

      • Lara
        December 14, 2013 at 8:33 am

        I really like the jacket; it is extremely warm. The trillium was back ordered in xs so I got the montebello instead. It looks very similar, and I believe the only difference is that it’s not as long as the trillium. I’m only 5’2″ so I think the montebello suits me. On the model the jacket only reached her waist, but on me, it covers my hips.

  • Justine
    December 11, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I traveled to Norway one winter and everyone there was wearing Canada Goose or Helly Hansen! Very little Moncler or North Face and I do think that means a lot given they live in thick jackets and only buy the best. I think the fox fur on Canada Goose hoods makes it a more stylish alternative to HH, though some CG jackets are also a bit boxy. Good luck and show us what you decide on! 🙂

    • Katherine
      December 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      That is exactly what I heard – actually I heard that CG is a bit “overdone” in the Nordic countries, since everybody wears them…you rarely see them in California..probably as it isn’t good enough!

  • Yumi
    December 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I’m definitely one of those people who’s perpetually cold. I complain about it even when it’s 80 degrees out, I’m so bad. Until that past year I’d been resisting a down coat, preferring the stylings of wool.

    But after freezing during a winter trip to Europe, I made it a priority to buy a nice warm down coat. I wound up getting getting one from Marmot that I love (Marmot Chelsea). I’d tried on a few before but the things I loved about the Marmot were:

    1. Short sleeves. I’m 5’4″ and easily overwhelmed by anything too large so I’m always wary of brands for “regular” height people. The sleeves were a perfect length for me.

    2. Nipped in waist. Small frame means puffers can look huge so this was really helpful.

    • Katherine
      December 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      I really like Marmot products – I have stolen my husband’s fleece and wear it all the time. I’ll keep them in mind for future down purchases, thank you!

  • FL
    December 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    My Canadian cousins love their Canada Goose coats but I notice they tend to retire them once they hit their 20s. From what I gather there’s a “rich teen” image associated with the brand? I’m not entirely sure what that means but I find their large logo patch on the obnoxious side and reminiscent of teen brands here in the US like Ambercrombie & Fitch jackets that have prominent logos.

  • Jenny
    December 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I live in Toronto in Canada and I wear a Canada Goose Victoria parka. After going through a new down coat every year or so, I took the plunge and bought the Canada Goose last year. It is really warm and does a great job of blocking out wind. Sometimes I wish my legs could be covered too because they just feel so cold compared to my body 🙁 One of the greatest things about their coats is that even the hood is down-filled!

  • Sofie
    December 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Hey kat!

    I moved to Toronto from Cali. My first winter jacket was the CG Kensington, which I love! It’s super warm and I like the fact that they have 2 straps inside the coat so you can carry it as a backpack. However, I can’t say the fit is flattering and it’s CG is like a uniform here. You will see it everywhere. Not that it’d matter to you since you won’t be in canada. Lol.

    However, I do want to suggest that you look into nobis parkas. They are a Canadian company. They are just as well made as CG and they are very flattering!!! I have the Tula style. The shell is waterproof vs the water resistant of CG.

    Good luck on your hunt!

    • Tifany
      February 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

      I think the fit of CG Kensington is perfectly flattering given how it’s a thick winter jacket. I got the CG Kensington in XXS even though my measurements were 38in-24in-38in and customer service at CG told me to get a L as my boobs fit the largest size despite my waist fitting XXS and the fact that im 5 ft 6 at 105 lbs. I tried it on at a store and got XXS and that fit me even while wearing two sweaters (with two sweaters it is a bit snug), but generally with a CG jacket you don’t need to wear two sweaters. I would say the only thing about CG is that it fits extremely big as I normally wear S. I find it surprisingly flattering if your figure is a perfect hourglass like mine!

  • Cassie
    December 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Don’t cancel that order! You will not regret that purchase. I’m going on my second winter with my Canada Goose Kensington parka (red) and I’ll never go back! I’m in the perpetually cold camp as well, and the coat was worth every penny. I regularly see -30 to -40 without the windchill where I live, and it keeps me nice and toasty warm.The hood is big enough that I can put it over my head easily and the fur helps keep the wind off my face.

    Word of advice though, don’t trim the coyote fur on the hood. It’s uneven in length because of the natural grain of the hide, but apparently some people don’t like it and cut it to an even length. I was told by a sales person that you’ll void the warranty doing that.

  • jen
    December 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    postcard is the best … the one I have- fox fur trim lira is one sale at saks

  • Y.
    December 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Love the camo with the fur lining, it looks so cool and warm.
    My go to winter coats have been from The North Face. I have several since I don’t keep up well with coats it seems. They have a variety of styles and warmth to choose from. I have some of the ones that has a zip-in liner, that way I get to wear the liner part when it is not so cold. Those work ok most of the time. For places that have temps below zero such as Colorado in the winter, I have the one that looks like a puffer coat. I tried different ones but finally settled on one from the kids section. Since I’m petite, the one from the women’s section didn’t work for me. I wanted a long coat to keep me warm but some of the sleeves are just too long to be comfy. Surprisingly the one from the kids section looked similar and fit better.

    • Katherine
      December 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Great tip about the kids section! My favorite fleeces and vests were from TNF – I think they really do last forever.

  • Celina
    December 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Just remember that Canada Goose does fit larger. I have the Canada Goose Kensington and though I fluctuate between a small/medium, the XS fit me well!



    • Katherine
      December 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Oh no…I ordered a XS, I wonder if I should have gone with a XXS. I guess we’ll see how it goes!

  • Beautella
    December 11, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I just got Canada Goose Kensington last night after a month of searching for my size XS. Finally got it from Amazon. So worth it!! Check our Amazon and also they had small sizes few days ago

    • Katherine
      December 12, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Thank you Beautella! I hope you really like yours!

      • Celina
        December 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        Or get a friend in Canada to ship that sucker over! HaHa

  • Stephanie
    December 11, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Katherine, I just came back from 10 days in Budapest (for work) and I can’t wait to see your post(s) on the city! Everyone there was indeed wearing a parka and I’m convinced I need one too! Also, i love all your travel posts..

    • Katherine
      December 12, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Thanks so much Stephanie! I’m so glad you like the posts. Did you get to enjoy the Christmas market?

      • Stephanie
        December 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        Hi Katherine,
        Yes, I did make it to the Christmas market, and I also got to catch the Nutcracker at the opera house. It really put me in the Christmas spirit. Anyway, just wanted to say again that I love your blog and your blog’s really informative, well written, and smart. I also went to Cal, lived in Boston after that for five years, and am now back in the SF bay area so I can totally relate. Happy holidays!

        • Katherine
          December 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

          Thank you so much Stephanie! And cheers to another Cal/Boston/now Bay Area resident! Happy holidays!

  • Belen
    December 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    I’m sitting at the Denver airport wearing my Victoria’s Secret super long puffer down jacket, coming from Ohio where it was close to 0F this week. I had never experienced this kind of cold before -I live in LA- and it kept me cozy -almost too cozy- for the whole trip. I don’t usually like VS clothing but this jacket has a vey flattering cut and it feels heavy, good quality. Must be sold out because I don’t see it in their site now, but they have it every year.

  • Mel from Greece
    December 13, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Dear Katherine,

    Have a look at
    I think you will like this brand a lot. It’s like Moncler, but in a more chic way. Plus, they are so well tailored.

    Big hug,

    • Katherine
      December 13, 2013 at 8:04 am

      Hi Mel, thank you so much! Will definitely check them out!

  • anne
    December 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Searle coats are my go-to but always on the look out for a good coat not from china

  • susan
    December 14, 2013 at 9:29 am

    How do you clean the Mr. and Mrs. Furs parka? Thanks!

    • Katherine
      December 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      I haven’t yet but I’ve been recommended a specialty cleaner, unfortunately it’s quite a lot – something like over $100. Egads!

      • susan
        January 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm

        Thanks for the quick response! One more question- Is the fur detatchable?

        • Katherine
          January 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

          No it isn’t…at least not on mine

  • Trey
    December 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Katherine,for me the secret to staying warm is form fitting (no air pockets), *wool* (synthetics just aren’t as good) base layers. Look at Icebreaker, Smartwool in particular but, Arcteryx, Patagonia even Marmot all have a few good items too. The trick is to buy them a size down so they fit snug with no gapes. Then you can layer whatever you want on top and ifs its really cold, add a down vest, jacket, maybe both. And BTW, many down vests literally fold up into their pockets and would fit into a large handbag, back pack etc. Perfect for that chilly SF evening walk home!

  • Weekend Update | Feather Factor
    January 10, 2014 at 8:07 am

    […] First, a quick update on my search for the warmest parka. My Canada Goose Kensington parka finally arrived from being on backorder, and I have to say that […]

  • June
    March 7, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Dear Kat,

    After this post about Mr and Mrs Furs I’ve been looking at it on and off. I love camp and love furs…. the only thing is I stay in Singapore where it’s hot all year round!

    There are some on discount now and I wonder if I should bite the bullet and buy it for myself. I have a few questions though and I hope that you don’t mind me asking

    1) do you think that it’s value for money?
    2) is it difficult to maintain?

    Thanks much!

    • Katherine
      March 7, 2014 at 9:36 am

      Hmmmm. It’s a fabulous parka but if you live in a warm climate it may not be value for money.

      Not difficult to maintain for me, but I don’t wear it very much…maybe after a few years will take it to a fur cleaner..

  • a
    June 11, 2014 at 6:52 am

    I’ve been looking for a parka. I’ve been using my old Moncler for 11 years. It lasted long because I was living in warmer climates.

    The weather has been so crazy here and my body feels cold all the time, even during summer. I have to move to Hawaii…

    So I decided it’s time to get a new warmer – Canada Goose.

    I chose the Dawson style because it can be worn in the extreme cold under -30 celsius.

    I discovered that if you buy from –

    Free shipping from Canada (if shipped to US), 5% discount, no sales tax. A few days ago I bought a Canada Goose vest from Amazon. If I bought from (they didn’t have my size and color though), I would have saved over 50 USD!

    • Katherine
      June 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Awesome, thanks for sharing about altitude! I looked up the Dawsom and it looks lovely!