This review was a bit challenging to bring together because I had to amalgamate the comments of all the Geargals who kidnapped this coat from the gear closet to use it at some time or another. If you really need an Arctic parka, you really need one, so who am I to say no?

I asked Canada Goose if we could try this piece because I selfishly wanted something super warm to wear while standing around responding to or training for avalanche rescues. People think there is a lot of action in SAR, and I guess there can be, but there is also a lot of standing around and when the standing around is occurring at 10 below, you really need some warm gear to do it in. Little did I know that not only is the Resolute parka an outstanding bit of kit, but that it is THE super fashion item to have in – no surprise, here – Canada.

The Resolute did a season of standing around in Alaska, and then was taken to Antarctica by one of my lucky compatriot Geargals. She’s one of those biology nerds that goes to distant places and walks around putting birds in her pockets and what have you. Luckily no birds ended up in the pockets of the Resolute. After that, the parka went with me to Canada where I had to literally tie it to my body to prevent someone from stealing it. Yes, folks – not only is a trip to Vancouver guaranteed to result in your car getting broken into at least once, but you stand a chance of getting your jacket ripped off your back. If you are an Olympic mucky-muck, you might get your credentials cut off your neck too. This seems to be a state of affairs that Vancouver residents are OK with. I’ll never understand it. When our car got broken into, the Vancouverites all laughed and said “it won’t be the last time, honey.” What?!? Now that is a society tolerant to crime. At times I miss the good old USA where it’s OK to dump a can of bear spray down someone’s neck if they try to steal your jacket off your back. In Vancouver I was advised to find ways to tie the jacket to myself so that it couldn’t be torn off and stolen. Just…wow, Vancouver. Wow. I have a hard time with this aspect of Van culture. Still…I guess it’s differences that make the world go round.

One of the reasons this is a fashion item is that it’s a) expensive and b) used by lots of famous people. I’ll skip listing all the Hollywood nitwits that wear Canada Goose jackets when it’s fifty degrees out and refer you to the most famous Resolute wearer of all: Lance Mackey, Alaska’s Iditarod hero. Lance is sponsored by Canada Goose so if you see him mushing you’ll see him in a black Resolute parka. Now, it’s pretty cold in Alaska and I refer you back to the problem of “standing around.” You’d think that traveling overland for 1,000 miles would create some body heat but mushers are in large part standing on the rails of their sleds, getting cold. OK, so there’s more to it than that, but rest assured that to mush the Iditarod, you need warm clothing. And Lance uses the Resolute parka. That’s all you need to know.

But my job requires that I tell you more than that, so keep reading. The features of this parka are not for fashion. It’s all function, baby. There are several grab straps on the shoulders and back that are designed for rescuers to use to hoist the unlucky wearer out of water or a crevasse. Mesh pockets line the inside of the parka and on the off chance the purchaser couldn’t figure out what they were for, they come helpfully stocked with chemical warmers. The ruff of the hood is lined with coyote fur, and I’m sure there is some bitching and complaining about that and I’m not a fur-for-fashion supporter either; but if you’re in actual arctic conditions you’ll be glad to have it. Nothing keeps the warm air in and prevents frosting like real fur, so that’s what CG uses.

The parka is nice and long, almost to knees, to keep in as much heat as possible while allowing freedom of movement. The size Small fits me just fine and, though it’s by necessity a bulky piece, allows me to move around relatively comfortably. I have my doubts as to whether or not the parka is actually designed for a women’s body; it’s just too hard to tell with a pice this bulky so I guess it doesn’t matter. It fits fine, so there you go. It seems maybe a little longer than the men’s version but that could be just because I’m short. The Antarctic Geargal reports that she was able to hike around without getting too overheated even though there are no pit zips (because that would be stupid on an Arctic parka) and that the hooks located all over the jacket are useful for carrying things and clipping your mittens to the parka so they don’t get blown away. I liked the ID sleeve on the chest and the many fleecy pockets. I’m not wild about the velcro used on pretty much all the flaps, but I realize that its par for the course these days and that it’s probably better than snaps for cold conditions.

Our Resolute has had a lot of use in some pretty cold parts of the world, and it’s held up well. We have the red color so it can get dirty if you, say, crawl around in BIRD NESTS in it, but even after that debacle there are no scuffs, wear marks, or damage of any kind. The seams stay nice and tight and the burly zipper shows no sign of tweaking. If you’re using this coat as it’s intended, you really can’t afford to have the main zipper go bust, so it’s good to see a top quality zipper holding it all together.

I don’t think you could find a better piece for extreme cold. It’s not light, it’s not cute, it doesn’t flatter your figure – but it ensures that you’ll live another night when you really need to.