Last Updated: May 25, 2021

North Face Gotham Jacket Review (Men’s And Women’s Versions)

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North Face Gotham Jacket

The North Face Gotham Jacket is a super warm, waterproof & windproof jacket that knows how to laugh at cold temperatures. The Men's is slightly better, but both are worthy winter jackets. View Latest Deal

You might love jackets and you might hate them. But whatever the case, you can’t deny that you really need one, especially for the upcoming winter. And what better brand to take a chance with than North Face – the established champion of jackets?

In this review, we will check out their Gotham jacket. I already love the name and the inspiration behind it, but what about the jacket itself? Well, we’ll take a look at everything important about it in this detailed review!

There is both a men’s version and a women’s version, and so I will divide this post into two mini-reviews.

North Face Men’s Gotham III Jacket

The men’s Gotham jacket is of much higher quality than the women’s jacket. I think that’s partly due to the fact that this is the the third iteration of the men’s jacket, while it’s only the second iteration of the women’s. Which you can tell from the III and II marks in the style names.

I won’t compare the Gotham III to the previous models, since it is the only version that you can currently buy. And honestly, you shouldn’t even look into the previous models – with each version North Face improved some features, and the Gotham III is by far the best iteration of the jacket you can get. So, let’s talk about its features.

Shell, Lining And Overall Weather Resistance

The North Face Men's Gotham Jacket III, TNF Black, 2X

If you saw the photo of the men’s and women’s jackets side by side, you can tell that their shells are completely different. The men’s jacket actually has two different types of shell, depending on the color that you choose. The solid and dobby colors are made from 100% Nylon, while the herringbones are made from 100% Polyester Herringbone.

And they all share something – regardless of the underlying material, the shell of every Gotham III jacket is breathable and seam-sealed DryVent 2L shell. That is actually a proprietary North Face technology, in case you are wondering. Additionally, DryVent refers to two important features of the jackets – the breathability and waterproofing.

In addition to that, the Gotham III is also 100% windproof. That is partly because of the fabric used, and partly because of the stormflap with snap closure that promises to keep the draft out at all times. Overall, if you are looking for a jacket that is ultimately weatherproof and that you can wear even in a snowstorm, the Gotham III is a great choice that won’t let you down.

The lining of this jacket is ribbed and made from 100% Polyester Taffeta. This material is UV resistant, retains very little moisture, which allows it to dry quickly. That’s actually very useful – in case you get too hot and start to sweat, your jacket won’t retain it. And in combination with the breathable shell, it will air out in time.

Insulation Of The Jacket

The men’s Gotham jacket is insulated with 550 fill power goose down. This is actually a little surprising – I excepted at least 700 fill power down in this jacket. But, does that impact the warmth of the jacket? Not really.

Firstly, the Gotham III is pretty heavy, at nearly 1.5 kilos (50 oz). A large part of that has to be insulation – 300 grams at the most is the outer shell, and 100 grams max is the lining. Which leaves over 1 kg to be distributed among zippers, buttons and insulation. Unfortunately, North Face does not tell us anywhere exactly how much insulation is in this jacket but judging from the weight and the photos, it is a lot.

The second thing to consider is what other people are saying about the jacket. And more than 400 people categorized the Gotham III as a really warm jacket, so I think it is safe to trust them. However, keep in mind that the lower the temperature gets, the more layers you will need to wear to stay warm. You can’t really wear the Gotham III over a t-shirt when it’s -20 degrees Celsius outside, and blame it for getting cold. But, I think you already know that!

How Many Pockets?

The North Face Men's Gotham Jacket III, Urban Navy, Small

A total of 6 pockets, which means that you can pretty much use this jacket as a duffle bag and fit all of your on-the-go must haves in it.

There are two handwarmer pockets, which is pretty standard. They are positioned so that you can comfortably rest your hand inside them, and they are at just the right height for that. This is actually great – you’d be surprised how many manufacturers don’t really consider the height of the average person and place these pockets too high or too low.

Then, there are two patch pockets that are on the upper part of the torso. These are actually placed pretty high, and they are slightly awkward to open up if you are wearing gloves. And there is another patch pocket on the left arm, which frankly seems like an afterthought to me. But hey, the more the merrier, right?

The last pocket is hidden on the interior of the jacket, and it is zippered. Plus it is media compatible, meaning that there is a tiny hole through which you can pull out your headphones so that you can listen to music without having to take your phone out of the pocket. This is pretty cool, but I’m afraid not for too long. So little phones still have headphone jacks, and it seems that wireless headphones are becoming increasingly popular. However, for all of who are old-school, I’d say this is a really useful feature.

Additional Features And Fit

There are a few more things left to mention about the Gotham III jacket, like the hood. It’s not removable, which is a bummer for me. But it is completely adjustable, and the faux fur trim on it can be removed, which is a plus. I’m not really a fan of the faux fur trims, simply because they are decorative and don’t really serve a purpose. Plus they tend to get soaking wet in the rain, unlike the rest of this weatherproof jacket.

Something else that caught my attention is the rib-knit hem of the jacket. It plays a big part in making the jacket windproof, and so do the rib-knit cuffs. Which are actually hidden and barely noticeable. But, they are there, and they are meant to ensure that draft can’t get inside your jacket through the cuffs, which is awesome.

As for the fit of the Gotham III, I would say go with your instinct. It is a standard fit jacket that runs true to size, so get the size that you normally wear with jackets. If you plan to wear thicker layers underneath it, I would recommend going a size up, so that it doesn’t feel too tight with hoodies and sweaters. It is available in sizes ranging from XS to XXXL, so I think all of you will manage to get the right fit.

North Face Women’s Gotham II Jacket

The women’s Gotham II jacket is pretty, but a little underwhelming. In some areas it actually performs better than the men’s counterpart, but it still hasn’t gotten the newest upgrade that will significantly improve some of its weaker spots.

I will make sure to update this review if North Face comes out with the Gotham III, so be sure to check back when it comes out! And, keep in mind that there are actually two options for the ladies – a regular jacket and a parka. I will focus on the plain jacket in this review, as I’ve already talked about the Gotham II parka in another post, so be sure to check that as well.

Weather Resistance, Shell And Lining Materials

The North Face Women's Gotham Jacket II, TNF Red, X-Small

The women’s Gotham jacket is nowhere near as weather-resistant as the men’s one. It seriously lacks in this aspect, and most of that is because its shell is not reinforced with DryVent technology, like the shell of a men’s jacket. In fact, the shell of this jacket is either made from 100% Nylon or 100% Polyester, depending on the color you get.

This North Face jacket is water repellent at best, meaning that it will perform badly in heavy rain. This is not ideal, especially considering the price of the jacket. But, you will be fine in some light snow or rain.

You can tell that the two jackets are vastly different just by looking at them. The outer shell of the women’s version resembles the lining of the men’s version more than the actual shell. And that’s a red flag right there. As for the lining of the Gotham II, it’s made from 100% Nylon. It will do a decent job at retaining body heat, but it is not the most breathable material out there.

It also disappoints when looking at wind resistance. North Face categorizes the Gotham II as a “wind resistant jacket”, which is in the middle between wind repellent and windproof. But, since it does not have either ribbed hem or cuffs or a stormflap, I frankly doubt that. Draft can get inside your jacket through various openings, and that is seriously disappointing.

The men’s previous iteration of the Gotham jacket was similar in this regard. So, maybe all the women’s jacket needs is a redesign – hopefully, one with all those proprietary materials and technologies that we saw in the men’s version.

Down Insulation And Heatseeker

In this aspect, the Gotham II kind of makes up for the lousy exterior. It is insulated with 550 fill power down, just like the men’s jacket, but this one also features 160 grams of Heatseeker. That is North Face’s proprietary synthetic insulation, which has a great warmth-weight ratio.

Heatseeker is also very compressible and lightweight, which accounts for the fact that the women’s jacket is nearly three times lighter than the men’s one. In fact, the Gotham II jacket weighs only 633 grams (22.33 oz), a large part of which is actually down insulation.

Warmth is pretty much the only aspect in which both the men’s and the women’s jackets rate the same. And there are hundreds of happy customers which confirm that – more than 300 people rated this jacket as warm. However, most of them also stated that they wouldn’t wear it in extreme colds, and that is something you need to keep in mind.

Additionally, North Face doesn’t even mention breathability when talking about this jacket, which is another red flag. That makes me believe that they didn’t really put much thought into that aspect, which could cause you some serious issues down the line. For one thing, if you get sweaty, the moisture will be absorbed by your jacket and it will take longer to air out. And my other worry is how long will it take for the Gotham II to dry off if you get it wet in the rain? Will all that water get into the insulation, making the jacket heavier and significantly increasing the time it takes to dry? Consider that before purchasing.

Not Many Pockets For The Ladies

The North Face Women's Gotham Jacket II, TNF Red, X-Small

Well not “ZERO”, but still pretty disappointing compared to the men’s version. Only three pockets, while the men’s jacket had six.

You get two zippered handwarmer pockets on the outside, which are pretty small compared to the men’s Gotham. You can’t fit pretty much anything other than your hands inside them, meaning that you will need a purse if you want to have anything other than your phone with you.

The phone actually goes in the internal media pocket, which is pretty similar to the one we saw on the men’s version. It features a tiny hole that you can pull your earphones through, allowing you to listen to music on the go, without having to take your phone out of your pocket.

And that’s all of the pockets. Funnily enough, this is pretty standard for women’s jackets – and the inclusion of that interior pocket is actually very useful and convenient. So, I guess that most ladies are pretty much used to this already, and won’t find this to be a deal-breaker.

Other Features And Fit

The women’s Gotham jacket features a non-removable, but adjustable hood. There is a removable faux fur trim on the hood, which actually looks pretty good, but serves no particular purpose. But unfortunately, there are not a lot of other features left to talk about.

So let’s talk about sizing – it’s a standard fit jacket that runs true to size, so you should be able to order it in the size that you usually wear. Naturally, go a size up if you want to be able to wear it with thick sweaters, but still have some room inside it. As for the fit of the Gotham II, it is slightly cinched in at the waist, but not a lot. Which is fine – I much prefer this to a completely shapeless jacket. However, its length is somewhat weird – it is a pretty short jacket, as it measures just 26” across the center back. It does not cover your thighs at all, and keep that in mind.

This North Face jacket is available in sizes ranging from XS to XXL, so it will be easy enough to find the one that fits you well. Just keep in mind that not all sizes are available in all colors, so double-check what you are buying.

Overall, if you look at just the Gotham II, it is a decent jacket for dry and mildly cold weather. It’s when you compare it to the men’s jacket when you begin to see all the flaws and start to feel disappointed.

North Face Gotham Jackets: Should You Buy?

I’m guessing you are here, looking at North Face jackets because you presume they are the best in the market. And in a way, you are right. But only if we are talking about the men’s Gotham jacket.

It is warm, all over weatherproof, and remarkably well designed. It’s made from premium materials, including 550 fill power down, and it also features an abundance of pockets of various shapes and sizes. The only downside to it is that it is pretty heavy, but that’s all the insulation doing its job and keeping you warm. Overall, if you are a guy looking for a highly functional winter jacket, the Gotham is one of the best ones you will find.

But it’s not the same with the women’s jacket. The Gotham II for ladies is still waiting for the final redesign, which will turn it into Gotham III. Its current design is kind of underwhelming – it’s not really waterproof or windproof, so it won’t perform well in wet weather. It’s also not really breathable, and it will retain moisture and take a long time to dry. But, it is insulated with 550 fill power down and North Face’s proprietary Heatseeker, so it will keep you warm.

Overall, ladies looking for the perfect, warmest winter jacket shouldn’t get the Gotham II. But the ones looking for a decent, good-looking jacket for mild winter will find it to be the perfect fit.

Head over to Amazon to check out the prices of both of these North Face jackets, and also to see all the different colors they come in!

About The Gotham Jackets And Down Insulation

Unite Down Bulk Natural Goose Down Filling, 750 Filling Power, Fill Your Own Comforters, Pillows, Jackets and More (1/4 Lb)

There are some differences between the men’s and women’s versions. The most notable one is the appearance of the shell and the materials used in it. And, as you probably expected, the men’s jacket has a lot more pockets than the women’s – no surprise there.

So, I will tell you about the men’s jacket in the first part of the review, and about the women’s in the second. Feel free to jump to the review which you are looking for with the quick navigation above. But, before we get to the specifics of each jacket, let me tell you a little bit about down insulation in general, and what you should be looking for.

There are two main types of down that are often used as insulation – goose down and duck down.

Duck down is thinner than goose down, and so you need larger quantities of it to insulate the same amount of space. However, duck down is also more affordable, since it is more easily produced, which is why most brands use it for insulation. By using cheaper insulation they can make the jacket more affordable, and in turn, more people will buy it. Simple.

Goose down, on the other hand, is harder to come by and produce safely. But it is chunkier and fluffier, meaning that one gram of goose down will insulate more space than one gram of duck down. This also means that jackets insulated with goose down tend to be lighter since they have less insulation in them.

Some brands use a mixture of goose and duck down, to achieve a balance between warmth and affordability. Which is completely fine. Other brands, including North Face, often mix down with some type of synthetic insulation, which we actually see in the women’s Gotham jacket.

However, you also need to consider the fill power of the down. And this is where things get tricky and more complicated, so bear with me. The fill power of down is a number, which refers to the volume of a single gram of down in cubic centimeters . And generally, down fill power ranges from 500 (medium) to about 950 (very high).

And that means that a jacket insulated will 950 fill power duck down will be much warmer than a jacket with 500 fill power goose down. And also much lighter, which brings me to another relevant point – the amount of insulation. 200 grams of 550 fill power down (regardless of type) is warmer than 100 grams of 850 fill power down.

So, those are the three main things that determine how warm your down jacket is – type of down, fill power, and amount. All of them play an equally important role, and the effectiveness of insulation usually depends on how balanced they are.