Lightweight InsulationLightweight Insulation


A suit of armor.

If this thing can make itself at home in Antarctica, then the weather in the suburbs of Wilmington Delaware doesn’t stand a chance. Slip into The North Face Men’s McMurdo Down Parka and forget about what that jackass weather-man said on the 6:00 news. He was probably wrong, but it won’t matter if you have the McMurdo. They just don’t make nasty-enough weather to freak this jacket out.

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The North Face McMurdo Down Parka - Men's

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Here's what others have to say...

5 5

it is not the coats fault

I have read many of the reviews here and there seems to be something everyone is missing, Further down the page you can read Jon Taulbee's review where he wore this parka in -40 to -45 with a windchill of -115f.
from what john says in his review you can bet he was wearing a layer system unlike a few of the reviews where people have said about wearing this parka with just a shirt on, not only that no two people feel the cold in the same way due to the fact of age, weight blood flow and activity body fat etc.
Not many people know this but the UK is the cold death capital of the world according to some scientists??? anyway picture this a man goes to work and is standing on the train platform waiting for his train as has done for years only on this day he starts to shiver and as he goes to work his blood starts to thicken up because of the cold and later that night he goes home and has a heart attack because his blood has thickend up, The reason for the UK being the cold death capital is because the UK is a small island where you can get all four seasons in one day.
But the reason you start to shiver is because your body is trying to generate heat and as your blood thickens from the cold your heart struggles to force this thickend blood around your system as it directs the blood to all your vital organs as it stops sending the blood to less vital areas,
what we must all do when buying these parkas is find a system that works for usand remember no two people are the same.
A while back i bought some sleeping bags that are rated to -20c to -40c and when i bought them the people who made the said they were tested to -50c so i asked them why was there such a big differance in the ratings and he told me that because people go out fishing/camping in the middle of winter and sleep in just their underwear the complain that they were cold or in the worst case die, so for the reasons of health and safety or the fear of being sued they rate these things at a more conservative figure because alot of people don't bother trying to find a system that works for them, so just bare this in mind when you buy these things these parkas are designed for living in hostile weather as jon Taulbee said in his review, Yes Canada Goose are works of art but one sharp piece of steel can rip a hole in it just as it can in one of these and in the UK Canada Goose parkas start at around $1000/$1100 so thats reason enough for me to buy the Mcmurdo parka because the retailers change the Dollar sign to a pound sign so even when it is in a sale over here i still pay more then you guy/gals pay in the USA. where as i can but 3 Mcmurdo parkas for the cost of the Canada Goose model which is the same rating. so people thanks for taking the time to read this and do you homework that way you will live long enough to enjoy your parkas.

blessins to all, John

Write your question here...Hi, anyone know...

Posted on

Write your question here...Hi, anyone know where I can get a replacement hood for a woman's Northface raingear jacket summit series?

Responded on

Rita, I think your only choice is to contact TNF directly. Go to this site:

4 5

Recommend -ab

Yes it is very heavy --But it is also the Warmest coat I have ever worn! I don't mind the weight I am not a small man xxl
I love all the attention to detail, the storm sleeves, the numerous pockets etc. I t is my favorite parka.,Great for a football game & sitting outside .

3 5

Too Expensive for what it is.

Not a bad coat considering I paid $150. No way is it worth the full pop. Had to add Velcro for the fur trim around the hood, for some reason North Face has felt it is necessary around the collar but not around the hood. While I was at it I had a hood stiffener sewn in and that helped. The hood wasn't really useful (especially the fur trim) without these modifications. All in it has cost me about $200 with the modifications and for that price I would say it is good value.

It has lot's of useful pockets, plenty of insulation and the outer shell is very durable. I haven't had any problems with the down settling yet, but I have only had it for one year. For the record I spend a lot of time outside in Northern Alberta with the occasional trip North of the arctic circle so it has seen some pretty harsh weather. Most of the guys I work with wear fur or Canada Goose parkas which are very nice but cost at least 3 times what I paid and get trashed just as easily.

4 5

good, but not for true extremes

(I'm cross-posting this review from the boy's version of this coat, which is what I own. I thought the review would be more useful here where there are probably more buyers. But take it with a grain of salt - there are probably some minor differences between the kid's and men's version.)

At 5'9", which is the statistically average height for an adult male, you wouldn't think I'd be able to foray into children's clothing particularly often, and yet, here I am. I'm a fairly slender adult male, normally a men's size small or a 36R jacket. But since I pretty closely match the measurements for a kid's size XL/18-20, and I know TNF products tend to run large, I decided to see if this coat would fit. (The fact that the kid's version is 2/3 the price of the adult's might have figured into the equation....)

Anyway... the kid's XL in the McMurdo fits me surprisingly well. I can't always get away with a kid's XL, but it seems that TNF's tendency to run large is true for their children's stuff as well. The coat is obviously warm, though in comparing it to my old L.L. Bean one, the McMurdo has significantly less loft. The Bean jacket is so stuffed with down that its baffled compartments look like they've been inflated - not so with the McMurdo. It's a warm coat, but not nearly as warm as it might be, with either higher loft down, or simply a larger amount of down. The fake fur ruff is disappointing - not because I'm a big proponent of wearing fur in general, but because in an extreme weather parka, a genuine fur ruff can really make a difference between a warm face and a frostbitten face. Real fur wicks moisture, resists freezing, and retains warmth - fake fur is purely aesthetic. I'm also a little disappointed that the hood is not a true snorkel hood, ie, it doesn't cinch up all the way to form a small tunnel of warmth around your face. The fake fur ruff does at least fold out to offer some protection.

Having said all that, though, I recognize that this parka is designed more as a lifestyle garment than a true extreme weather parka. From that perspective, it's not a bad value for your money. In fact, if you're an adult like me, getting the kid's version is a GREAT value for your money. ;-) The only way to get what I would really want in a parka - high loft down, genuine fur ruff, snorkel hood - would be to plunk down $600 or so for a Canada Goose product. Like most people, I'm simply not in a position to do that for a coat I only need to wear a handful of times each year. For most climates, particularly in the US, this jacket should be more than enough.

I should mention that while I currently live in balmy Colorado, I spent the past five years living in Minnesota, and I grew up in the mountains of western Montana - so I'd like to think I've got a pretty good perspective on what is important in cold-weather gear.

Responded on

hi Ben,

you sound VERY knowledgeable about cold weather gear, and i was hoping you could help me out a bit. i am moving to alaska soon, coming from ga. i have very little experience with extreme cold. i think i will do fine there provided i have the correct gear to keep me cozy warm.

i was thinking the 3 high price items i am going to need to buy are a large down parka, some sort of rather warm/snowproof pants, and some super serious, waterproof, warm boots. is there any other high price/very important things that jump to mind? any other smaller things that may be of great value to me?

first, the parka. you said canada goose is pretty much the best. i am prepared to spend 350ish on a child's version, but i wanted to make sure that was really the best before i shelled out all that money. i've read some army/navy surplus parkas are a good, cheaper option. do you know anything about that or have any recommendations on specific ones? i am not concerned about having a super light/packable mountaineering jacket or anything here. i mostly just want something ridiculously warm.

second, would down/insulated snow pants be of value on a day to day basis to keep me extra warm? i am going to be a student walking around outside on campus a decent bit. i am going to at least try to get by with out a car as well. also i am not concerned about looking ridiculous wearing snow pants to class/dinner or anything even if no one else really does that.

third, boots. i don't really know where to begin here. i will most likely need a child's size, so any recommendations on the warmest/most water proof that come in a children's version as well? again, not super concerned about these being incredibly light or anything.

thanks so much for your time hopefully giving me some meaningful direction here.


Responded on

one more thing, i'm assuming this site is not legit because it lists men's canada goose down parkas at $220. is there a good way to tell what is a real canada goose offer and what is a copy cat?

Responded on

Hi Sarah,
Gee... where to begin! First of all, it's true that GA to AK is a big leap in climate, but the fact of the matter is that most of cold weather living boils down to two things - being prepared, and adapting to the psychological and lifestyle changes that a cold climate demands. And both of those things are attainable, no matter where you come from.

The nice thing about Alaska, though, is that most of the populated areas are on or around the coast, which has a tendency to regulate the temperature and keep it from getting too extreme. You say you're going to be a student, which I'm guessing means you'll be in Anchorage. Anchorage actually has a fairly mild climate compared to the rest of the state. And its record lows are actually warmer than the record lows for my home town in Montana! So, take heart!

On to your specific questions - If you've got the money to spend, a Canada Goose parka is the best you can get. BUT there are plenty of other options out there for less money that will be totally sufficient. L.L. Bean, though it doesn't have much by way of street cred or "cool" factor, is a great place to get insanely good deals on down coats. Cabela's is probably even lower on the fashion scale, but they too produce excellent products in terms of their winter outerwear.

Real surplus military parkas are difficult to find - that is to say, parkas that were actually in use by the military. There is a company called Alpha that produces military-style N-2B and N-3B replica parkas. In fact, Alpha was once the contractor responsible for making the authentic parkas, though they are now focused more on military "fashion." My dad, a retired Marine and construction worker, owns an Alpha winter parka that he wears under his Carhartt coat for extra insulation. The fake fur ruff is a little cheesy but they're definitely warm, and their price point is pretty fantastic (less than $200 MSRP).

The other option would be to look around at the technical outerwear brands here on Backcountry. A hooded Mountain Hardwear Sub-Zero jacket would certainly be warm enough for you. Really, as long as you get a coat made by a reputable manufacturer, it's going to be warm as long as it has a hood and is long enough to cover your butt and the tops of your legs. Who you get it from will boil down to taste, budget, availability, and so on. Look for something that gives you maximum coverage, especially around your head and face.

If you're dead set on getting Canada Goose, you're right to be aware that they have a real problem with counterfeiters. Luckily they have a list of authorized retailers who will sell you the authentic thing:

As for pants, I've never found insulated pants to be much of a necessity unless you're actually doing some kind of winter sport like snowshoeing or skiing. In that case, you will want to invest in a pair of insulated snowpants (I've not encountered much by way of down-insulated pants but there are plenty of high quality synthetic insulations out there). For just walking around town and going to class, I think you would be better suited by buying a couple pair of high quality base layers. I wear a pair of Under Armour coldgear tights under my pants and I'm basically fine. Plus, if you're wearing a down coat with a bit of length to it, you'll be getting some protection that way, as well.

As for boots, you'll want to find something with a pretty high insulation rating. 400g at least, or something that has a removeable wool or felt liner. I'm not a big fan of Sorel, personally, but they make a pretty large range of boots, some more fashionable than others, that are warm and waterproof. Columbia and The North Face also make fairly decent winter boots. Take a look around here at Backcountry, read up on the stats and reviews of various boots that appeal to you, and that will at least give you an idea of where to start. You could also take a look at the specific manufacuters' websites. For example, the Sorel website allows you to sort products from coldest to warmest.

Another big factor on keeping your feet warm is intelligent use of socks. You may find it useful to wear two pair of socks - a thin liner to wick moisture from your foot, and a thicker wool sock to keep you warm. And if you spend a great deal of time wearing warm boots inside, remember that your foot will start to sweat and wet feet are cold feet. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to bring a lighter pair of shoes to wear inside.

The problem you might find is that manufacturers basically consider winter to be over right now, and most of the best post-Christmas sales are done, so you might have a tough time with selection. But keep in mind that even if you don't find something perfect, you can still get by in cold weather by layering several lightweight sweaters, jackets, or whatever. You could get a lightweight down sweater, like Patagonia's, and wear it under a standard skiing jacket. Plus then you've got something to wear in spring and fall. I didn't even own actual winter boots until recently, and I got by pretty well just wearing ordinary hiking boots with warm socks. If all else fails, just get something from a company with a forgiving return policy like Backcountry or REI, and you can return it later if it doesn't work out for you.

Responded on

Just a couple follow-up things: You can find Alpha jackets at if you're interested in them. Also, I didn't mention this, but L.L. Bean also makes warm winter boots (a lot of them basically identical to the biggest name brands out there).

Also, one more comment is that I've observed that people tend to hate or love winter according to their inclination to get out and actually do things. For example, my mom hates cold and winter because she isn't very physically active and as a result she basically stays cooped up in buildings all winter. I think it drives her a little stir-crazy. My dad and I, on the other hand, both love winter because it's just another opportunity to get outside and enjoy the world through skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, photography, etc.

So my recommendation to you, above and beyond all gear concerns, is to try to let winter facilitate your activities, rather than hinder them. Go out, learn some new hobbies, gain a new appreciation for the joys of hot cocoa, etc.... I think you will be a lot happier that way, rather than if you approach winter with the attitude that it's just standing in the way of spring and summer.

5 5

real outdoor protection from extreme cold

great jacket. the hood has problems fitting correctly. It hags over my eyes... NOT recommended for walking with hood on.

4 5

I love it but it runs size HUGE!!!

I love my mcmurdo parka in swamp green (easlily goes with brown or black leather) just go one size down from your normal in this one because they run huge!! Ever heard of standard sizing north face? Geez...

4 5

McMurdo parka - okay but not perfect.

I just got this parka in small. I'm 5'8", 150 lbs, normal build. It fits a bit loose, it looks VERY bulky. It make me look like a big bodybuilder. This parka is warm and perfect for the cold weather.The jacket IS very heavy and the hood is not perfect!

I have tried the Ice jacket which is more slim fit and perfect as causal wear. However I will still keep this parka for the extra cold days. :-)

Responded on

I'm 5'9", 140ish pounds, normally a men's small or a 36R. I got this coat in the kid's XL size and the fit is almost perfect. You'll still look "big" in a heavy down parka like this, no matter what size you wear, but if you're looking for a snugger fit, take a look at the kid's sizes next time!

5 5

North Face McMurdo is like wearing a warm sleeping bag!

I have a black North Face McMurdo, with the faux fur hood and all. I've had it for a number of years.

What the marketing blurb is true - it's absolutely the best jacket in sub-zero temperatures.

It's even enough to wear it over a T-shirt in some low temperatures, provided your destination is well-heated of course!

The only down-side (no pun intended!)?
If you put it on in the warm indoors, and for some reason you get delayed departing, then you're going to sweat very soon!

Does anyone know what the north face mcmurdo...

Posted on

Does anyone know what the north face mcmurdo parka weighs? Ounces or grams. Thanks

5 5

My McMurdo

I ‘am really satisfied with my “investment” special as we have a rather cold and snowy winter this year in Sweden.

5 5

Years in this Parka

Spent Three Winters at Mcmurdo and two weeks at the South Pole. This coat was Standard Issue for the Contractors and I have to say I miss the one I wore on "The ICE" silly I know but i am From a winter wonderland Michigan and knowing cold makes me apperciate good cold weather clothing. This parka performed well at-115 F wind chill (-40 or -45 ambient ) when all your worried about was your nose frezzing falling off. Just wish they had it in RED.

Responded on

What did you wear for your lower extremities down at the South Pole to compliment this Parka? (I need a good match with this coat as far as pants go...Thanks!)

Responded on

Thanks Jon Taulbee for sharing your first hand experiance with putting this coat to work as it was made for, after reading a few negitive reviews its great to see a real field test been done. I have just bought a green one in size L but I have just lost alot of weight and use to wear an XL.

From what your saying then this coat is the real deal yes? And actually worn at Mcmurdo then, I thought that I'd have to buy a canada goose version until you said what you did.

Thanks Jon for your words of wisdom

All the best John W (an Aussie in London)

I've decided to buy one of these, but I'm...

Posted on

I've decided to buy one of these, but I'm not sure about the size.
I usually land between medium and large - depending on the brand etc. I'm thinking about a medium - I see that these run quite large.

Chest (pit to pit): 23"
Arm Length: 25.5"

Obviously I don't want this to fit supersnug like a shirt, I want to be able to layer a shirt and a semi-thick sweater under.
Should I go for medium?

Responded on

My son who usually wears a large shirt bought the large and had to return it for a medium. It runs quite big so I would recommend the medium for sure.

Unanswered Question

what is the minimun temperature this...

Posted on

what is the minimun temperature this jacket for?

1 5

Way too heavy & makes me sweat....

The jacket has a nice look to it & is really warm but its not breathable at all. I live in NY & even when its in the 20's & I have just a t-shirt on with the zipper fully open I am still sweating. Its far too heavy and uncomfortable to even move your arms in this jacket, its like trying to walk around with the heaviest thick blanket around you. The hood is just a joke it does not work at all. It was my first time buying a north face jacket & I usually wear a size XL in different brands. I bought this jacket in 2007 & spoke to one of the gear heads & told him I was 5'6 & weigh about a 135-140lbs & he suggested I go for a medium. When I got the medium in mail it was it was big & fitted me more like a large. I called back and wanted to to change it for a size small but it was all sold out & I got this jacket at a very good sale price so it wasn't worth the refund. I called and spoke to one of the gear heads named Greg & he said whenever I decided to return this jacket no matter how long would take care of the return shipping as I was suggested the wrong size by the gear head. I tried getting a size small again next year but it was sold out again as it seems to be the size that sells out the most. Now when I am trying return this jacket for a different one says since its been 3 years they are not responsible for the returning shipping. So I am a little bummed about how first I was suggested the wrong size & now they're even refusing the return shipping, guess I will have to take care of that myself. Bottom line is if your in the east coast this jacket might not be the one for you & you might wanna down size as the Mcmurdo does run pretty large.

Responded on

After three YEARS! stop winning.

5 5


So far, so good. Fortunately, the bitter cold has left us. Only time will tell when winter arrives again. He loves the jacket. Likes the way it feels. The hood is too furry against the face, it blocks vision. So, he took off the fur piece. Great idea.

5 5

A must for harsh winters.

I purchased my Northface McMurdo Parka and I love it. Unfortunatley, I only got a chance to wear it once so far because the week I got it the weather in New York suddenly began to warm up which was only about four weeks ago. But I will be ready harsh weather next winter although you never know it has ben known to get coldin New York even during the spring. I recommend this coat. Love all the pockets.!!!

2 5

Not as warm as everyone says

I'm a walker. As such, I'm out for 4 to 6 hours at a time - usually around lower Manhattan, where I do my shopping, get a coffee and rarely use the subway unless I need to go uptown. I got this parka because everyone said it was warm, but was quickly disappointed after about 30 minutes to find that, while my core stayed warm, my arms did not. In fact, they were cold- and the temperature was around 36.

It was also huge - I normally wear a Medium or Large, but in this case I needed a Small. People told me that it runs large so that you can layer, but to me at least, that's not the point of a huge jacket like this.

Basically, if you want something that looks cool and won't be outside at a bus-stop or walking around for long periods of time in cold weather, it's great. If you want to stay warm, this won't do the trick. I can't even imagine how cold I would get in real deep freeze conditions.

By the way, what they don't say about this jacket is that it's only 550 fill power down. Save your money and go for a 700 or 800 to really stay warm.

3 5

Good but not great...

The GOOD: Parka is VERY Warm. I have worn down to -15F and keeps you toasty even with little on underneath. Not completely wind proof though but stil decent.

The BAD: for me and what I needed it for.. it was a little too big. Im a standard medium and the jacket was slightly larger than I was hoping for and fit poorly. I used this mainly to get around the city and commute to and from work so it was a little bulkier than would have been ideal. I subsequently bought a Mountain Hardware Downtown coat and it fits my needs much better. Slimmer fit, not as bulky but still as warm and maybe a bit more wind resistance.

The UGLY: Hated the hood. Useless and horribly designed. There was no way to wear the hood and be able to see out. Poor design with no adjustment as noted in other reviews.

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