Review: Canada Goose Rideau Parka

In January, I finally wiped out into a pile of snow (or two) so that I could accurately assess how warm my Christmas gift to myself really was. Now that it’s February, I’ve had enough time to burrow into my first ever Canada Goose jacket, so that I can write more than an “OMG it’s cute” review after owning it for 1-2 weeks.

With lululemon, that’s generally what needs to happen before a product becomes irrelevant. Given that Canada Goose products require a significant financial investment, I wanted to make sure I really WORE the jacket in appropriate conditions before going on the record with my thoughts.

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Buttermilk Mountain, Aspen, CO / January 2019

Aside from being available online and at their (few and far between) flagships, Canada Goose is available off the rack from a handful of locations, think high-end outdoor retailers and department stores. Mine came from Nordstrom.

For those who have not heard of the brand, Canada Goose has been selling some of the warmest jackets out there since the 1950s. Business Insider attributes a huge spurt in sales growth to Hollywood over the last 10-15 years. When the temperatures dipped to -25°F in the midwest last month, Chicago Police reported at least 6 instances in which people were robbed not of their wallets, but of their Canada Goose Jackets, while walking down the street. I kid you not.

But anyway. I’ve got multiple perfectly good North Face jackets, so who the hell did I think I was considering it okay to spend this much on a jacket? Love at first sight drew me in, because CAMO. I went to the mall for an innocent trip to lululemon, and my usual route from the garage takes me through Nordstrom’s outerwear section (coincidence, I swear).

A sucker for camo, the classic camo Canada Goose parka that stopped me in my tracks the first time I saw the print in person was NOT the Rideau, but the longer Canmore Parka. On my way out of the mall I hesitantly tried it on in an effort to talk myself off a very expensive ledge. Maybe if I didn’t like it, then a bullet would be dodged.

Lululemon is pricey, but Canada Goose is on a different level. To spend the equivalent of what some would call a month’s rent on one piece of clothing? Oof. I ultimately left the store empty-handed because the Canmore was HUGE. It’s a longer length, and I simply looked lost in it. It has no waist to cinch, and I looked like I was wearing a giant (albeit toasty) sack. HOORAY fiscal responsibility, right?

BUT THEN… I ended up at the mall the next day with my friend Jen to show her a few things at lulu. I was drooling over the camo, still, as we walked by the Canmore on display again the next day. The Canmore wasn’t the only option in stock, it was just the only option that I’d tried on the day before. Enter the Rideau.

Review: Canada Goose Rideau Hooded Parka ($750) in Classic Camo

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11,000 feet = my happy place

The Nordstrom I purchased my jacket from only had a small Rideau in stock, so I didn’t even bother giving it a second look on Day 1. Why? I am not small. Jen could tell that even though the Canmore wasn’t right for me, I was still in absolute love. She encouraged me to attempt the Small just to see if a shorter style was better suited for me. I grabbed said tiny coat and was surprisingly able to zip it up. While unquestionably fat (wo)man in a little coat, I got enough of the look that there were hearts in my eyes. Plus, it cost less than the Canmore.

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After reminding myself that I averaged 55 hrs/week at work in 2018… I wanted that Rideau for my upcoming trip to Aspen and I knew I could afford it. I cautiously threw down the Amex and asked the saleswoman to order up the M from another location. I walked out of the store in disbelief of what I just did. Approximately 3 days later, the Rideau was officially mine.

Fit & Length

Canada Goose has four classifications of fit:

  • Fusion Fit – based on the average of over 26 body measurements and over 16,000 individual scans of Korean, Chinese and Japanese body frames.
  • Slim Fit – an athletic cut and are designed to fit closer to the body. This fit maximizes mobility while maintaining core warmth.
  • Regular Fit – great for layering and are a good balance between Slim Fit and Relaxed Fit.
  • Relaxed Fit – CG’s largest fit and corresponding styles have been developed for layering in extreme weather and industrial applications. (Read: you probably don’t need this unless you’re climbing Everest or touring Antarctica.)

CanadaGoose_Sizing.pngThe Rideau is a Slim Fit. I feel like I probably could rock a Large without it being *too* baggy, but when you’re looking for warmth, extra air inside actually hurts how effective your outer layer is.

The Canada Goose size chart (above) says my bust & waist fall dead smack in the size M range yet my hips are in L territory. So for a shorter jacket, I ended up with the right size after all. This parka hits me just above the fullest part of my hips, and stays out of the way for snowboarding. Snow sports are the #1 reason I spend prolonged periods of time in the frigid winter (unfortunately shoveling is 2nd), so it’s important to me to have a jacket I can DO things in.

The Sleeves

When I first put the jacket on, the ribbed cuff (keeps snow out, hooray) goes about a centimeter past the base of my thumb. I probably lose about 2cm in sleeve length once I throw my hands up in the air like I just don’t care.

I’ve got large shoulders, so there is a slight pull in that area when I reach my arms out in front of my face. It doesn’t stop me from being able to lean over and fasten my snowboard bindings while seated in the snow. When I reach, the shoulders don’t pull as much other jackets do (ahem Lululemon Pack It Down Again), but the sleeves do get shorter, as happens with any other non-stretchy item I own.

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Sleeves: all warmth no bunching, no air gaps either.

When this happened the first time, I thought “f*ck, did I stupidly think I was a Medium when I still should be in a Large?” But then, I put on my ski gloves. I’ve experienced this with a couple other cold weather jackets I have. The sleeves seem uncharacteristically short, until you put your huge gloves on. Once that happens, you realize that the professionals know exactly what they are doing, and you’re covered without any uncomfortable bunching on your forearms. So, if you try one on and are hit with that same WTF cloud about the sleeves, just wait until you put your gloves on. You will be thankful.

Design Details

I appreciate that this particular CG parka does not feature fur trim on the hood. Fur to me says “SEE ME HERE ON MY POLAR EXPEDITION”, and if I’m not snowboarding, I’m just going to be rocking this in and around frosty suburbia and/or ski towns.

Fresh out of the box, I had a little bit of poorly-lit fun in the living room. I was both figuratively and literally overwhelmed by this jacket.

Zipped fully, the collar goes up to your eyeballs, and the hood is MASSIVE. It’s definitely going to make you feel like you’re in your own personal cocoon wherever you go.

That said, because there’s so much going on with the collar and hood, I’d recommend wearing a turtleneck, balaclava or a neck warmer under this parka, instead of a bulky scarf.

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The oversize hood lends a hand if it’s especially breezy on the lift.

Once I got the Rideau out on the mountain, I found that while the hood is so large it could fit over my helmet, it blocked my peripheral vision if I didn’t cuff the edge of the hood. For skiers, this may be less of an issue, but snowboarders are constantly looking to the side as they ride. I ended up working around this by either tucking the left flap under my chin while riding (first photo below), or cuffing the entire hood (second photo).

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Left flap tucked in
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Entire hood cuffed down

On the inside, there are these backpack-ish straps that allow you to wear your jacket around the lodge without, actually… wearing it? I’m not a polar explorer or a Swiss Alpine regular, so who knows every in and out of what the hardcore people do.

I found the straps quite useful while traveling so that I could sling the jacket over my shoulder and easily carry it around the airport. My train of thought choo-choo’ed along like this: the Rideau is too warm to wear on a plane, but too expensive to trust an airline with in my checked baggage. Flight attendants pay attention to your status, personnel on the tarmac DGAF.

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Still haven’t figured out if my arms go in front of the straps, or behind them.

The pocket situation is solid. There are total of 5 external pockets, all in front. The first is on the right chest, which is the only external zip pocket. Put your lift ticket (if RFID) in here. The two front pockets with the button flap closure can hold an iPhone X vertically. The other two vertical slot pockets behind them are deeper, but they don’t close. Good for jamming your gloves in right quick.

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The two internal pockets are designed differently. At left, ease of access is the priority. To the right, gravity helps secure valuables you can’t afford to lose.

You’ve got two more places to stash your crap on the inside. Inside the left breast is a top-loading pocket that doesn’t zip shut, it relies on gravity. The one inside the right breast has a vertical zip on the side. Stash your credit card and beer money in here.

The Fabric

The Rideau falls in the middle on Canada Goose’s trademarked Thermal Experience Index, as Fundamental:

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This jacket is rated -10°/-20° degrees Celsius (that’s -4° F to 14° F for us fahrenheiters), which seems cooler than your average day on a ski mountain. I’m not sure how to put this in an eloquent manner, so I’m going to be blunt. It’s as warm as a damn house.

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Aspen Mountain Summit / January 2019

I run cold (thanks Reynaud’s), so I am comfortable in this jacket up to 25° F. Into the 30’s and above freezing, this TEI-3 jacket is too warm, even for me. Out of sheer excitement, one of my first days in Aspen I wore the Rideau snowboarding when it was 42° F.

Note: the start line of my last half marathon was 48°, and I was in a tank top.

Worst decision I’d made all week. I went for one single run and I couldn’t wait to rip my parka off the second I got inside. TOO HOT TOO HOT TOO HOT.

After multiple (cooler) days suspended on a ski lift at 10,000ft and 16° F with nothing underneath but a thin base layer like a Sweaty Betty piece or a lululemon Swiftly, I was just as warm as if I were indoors. This jacket keeps you warm without having to layer up underneath.

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The Rideau passes the water-resistant test. Any time I wore it I was as warm and dry as could be.
Verdict

I am happy to share that I don’t regret a cent of this splurge. I’ve been lucky enough to end up in Aspen for work each year, and it gets COLD. At 33 years old I am done trying to ‘tough it out’ with Reynaud’s; I hate that my fingers turn white in 60-degree temperatures, but the only way to beat it is to heat it. There have been times when I can’t do my job because after 30min in sub-freezing temperatures WHILE BUNDLED UP IN FULL SKI GEAR I’m unable to feel my extremities and, well… function.

Simply Put: if you put on a Canada Goose, you’re not going to be cold.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend spending the money if you’re only in it for aesthetics. If your idea of ‘going out in the cold’ is walking 10 feet to the car and then another 100 feet into the grocery store in January, a Canada Goose will likely be overkill for you, unless you live somewhere north of Minneapolis (or in Chicago 3 weeks ago).

If you live in a large northern city and commute on foot, spring for a longer length version of a Canada Goose. My Rideau is a cozy little personal house, therefore putting on a long-length version must feel like being in a toasty mansion.

As with any significant investment of cash, be real with yourself. Do you want the patch, or do you need to keep warm? If that shoulder patch is what you’re after but you’re not outside for prolonged periods of time in the winter, consider one of Canada Goose’s Lightweight options, which are rated for 23° F – 41° F.

Are you outside a lot in sub-freezing temperatures? Do you need to keep warm?

After 2000+ words of rambling, it all comes down to the answer to one simple question: do I feel that this Canada Goose was worth my money?

Yes.

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10 comments

  1. wow awesome post and thanks so much for all the details! Next winter I will be looking at a jacket like this one for sure! Reynaud’s sucks doesn’t it? I have it too, makes being outside and cold weather times/sports a lot more challenging and people just don’t get why you always want to go inside and warm up. 🙁 anyway, glad to hear this helps and will be on my mind next season!

    • I feel like such a wuss when after 2 runs down the mountain, I have no choice to go inside and warm up – can’t steer my snowboard if I can’t feel my feet 🙁

      While taking my warmth game to the next level this winter hasn’t been cheap, in addition to the Canada Goose I also ponied up $140 for a pair of heated ski gloves off Amazon and they were a game changer out in Aspen. I need to remind myself it’s not being a princess if you’re just trying to avoid frostbite. Being a ‘hero’ does nothing but keep me cold, useless and mad about it.

      Heated snowboard boot liners are next on the list.

      • What are the gloves you bought? I might need to get a pair of those! Boot liners too next winter if more serious snow sports, that would be incredible. 🙂

      • I got a pair by Savior – I was a bit too hesitant to drop $300-$400 on some of the luxe/well-known outdoor brands, so I took a gamble on a middle of the road Amazon pair.

        Here’s the link to the exact model I got: https://amzn.to/2ImCUDl

        So far, I have only maxed out the batteries on the HIGH setting, and twice they have both petered out practically simultaneously after 3 hours. They take 4 hours to recharge back to 100%, so I ordered a replacement pair of batteries for my upcoming trip to Sun Valley, so that way I’ll be warm all day.

        As for the boots, I’m a Burton girl for my snowboard gear, so I ordered their Toaster liners for my Burton Mint boots and am still waiting for that delivery to come in later this week. Figured that I should stick with the same brand for compatibility’s sake. Plus, they were on sale for $100 off!

  2. Thank you for this! I enjoyed reading it and hearing about the details. I love this jacket!! The fit and the camo!! But it looks like it would be a big waste of money for me, since it never really gets cold enough in the Bay Area (even though we whine like babies about it being “freezing” when it hits 50.) I’m not even sure it would be worth it for Tahoe.

    It looks so good on you though! Better than the model photos!

    • Definitely too toasty for the Bay Area 🙂

      It’s technically overkill for me too when I’m home living life in the New England ‘burbs, but because I get annoyingly cold so easily, it’s been an absolute rock star of a jacket on those freezing winter trips when I’ve needed it most.

  3. I have been curious about Canada Goose and so this review was very interesting to read and was really well done. I loved all the pictures. This jacket is awesome and it fits you so well. I appreciate that you didn’t post until you actually spent time in it in the elements it was made for. I love how it is not too bulky for such a warm jacket. I like the ribbed cuffs and it makes complete sense that this jacket has them. The straps inside the jacket to carry it instead of holding it is quite genius I think. My only reservation about this jacket is the very high collar. Overall I think you made an excellent decision in buying this jacket and an excellent investment that will pay off for years to come.

    • The oversized hood and collar took me a bit by surprise when I finally got the right size delivered. Because I didn’t go full zip on the Small in store, I don’t think I stopped to really consider it.

      There is a little adjustable strap on the crown of the hood so that you can adjust it and stop it from going so far down in front of your eyes, but I never bothered. Once I got used to it, I actually quite liked how big the hood is (it’s got down insulation in it too) – whenever you put this parka on the neck goes up a bit higher in back, and makes you feel incredibly cozy and protected from the wind.

  4. Really interesting detailed review and the jacket looks gorgeous on you – living in Atlanta and not doing winter sports it wouldn’t be for me….but I’m excited for you to splurge on such a beautiful AND functional jacket. Your review, for just a moment, made me want one though.

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