The North Face Gotham Puffy Down Jacket - Gear Review

May 10, 2008

The North Face Gotham jacket is a heater like no other -- it is a puffy down jacket from The North Face that will keep even the most anemic girl warm on the coldest of days. I should know -- I finally got my wife a gift she is stoked about! Okay, okay -- I'm not terrible but I do admit to sometimes getting her a gift that's more for me than for her. Like that Flip video camera? I thought she'd love it --- which she does, just not as much as she would have loved a spa treatment. Me on the other hand? I'm using that Flip video thing every time I go skiing with my little boy so I can pull it out of my pocket & shoot pics of him. So this Mother's Day, get that special mom in your life something that will keep her warm when winter rolls around next year. Heck, with the way it is STILL snowing here in Utah, she may be pulling it out right now! Snowbird is open until June with a 134" base this year, by the way.... I picked up The North Face Gotham puffy jacket for my wife last year, and she has loved it on the slopes -- since she is chronically cold on the hill. I had picked her up a Marmot shell and (a fleece to layer under the shell) but in the Utah winters it just wasn't enough. In Utah, you really don't need as much waterproofing on your outerwear as in other places like the Sierras or the Cascades. The snow has a water content of only a few percentage points, so it really just fluffs off of the jacket. And when the sun comes out (as it does almost every day in a desert climate like this) then those cold smoke flakes just plain evaporate. So the Gotham puffy is perfect for a gal who rides in the Rockies, and needs to just plain stay warm --- no eVent fabric, no triple-layer black tag Gore-Tex XCR material, nothing. Just warm, soft down and a furry hood. The knit cuffs are a great no-fuss comfort fit, and same with the knit waist band. It also looks great around town, and unless you are wealthy then you usually need your gear to play double-duty like that. And how often do you get a piece of killer gear that is also trimmed with faux fur? Come on, you've gotta think that's cool! The downfall is that it can get really warm when the temps are above freezing or when you are really over-exerting yourself. That makes me wish that there were some pit zips. I know -- pit zips on a puffy? Doesn't that defeat the purpose? I think not --- my wife says she likes the warmth, but it would always be nice to let the breeze flow a bit to cool down the core for a moment in between runs. All in all, a solid jacket for casual skiing or snowboarding. But not the jacket you would want for backcountry skiing -- you would get sweaty and stinky before you took your seventh step. Also, it isn't as packable as many non-down puffy jackets, so it really is just for staying warm on weekend riding and around town. But for those activities, it excels. Click here to find out more about The North Face Gotham puffy down jacket, or to buy it on

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