Canada Goose Snow Mantra Parka

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

The mercury dredged to minus-26 degrees last week here in Minnesota. But I was not worried. A shipment had arrived from Canada Goose, the Toronto-based outerwear maker that still deals in beaver-fur trim, hoods with coyote fur, and buckets of its eponymous goose-down insulation.

The company, which has serviced polar expeditions and Mount Everest climbs for decades, touts its catalog as containing the “best extreme cold weather outerwear in the world.”

My test coat, the Snow Mantra Parka, is bar none the warmest winter coat I have ever pulled on. It has a large tunnel hood with a coyote-fur ruff, a billowed body stuffed two inches thick with pounds of goose down, and a fleece-lined throat latch to seal the neck and chin from chill.

Canada Goose Mantra Parka small photo.jpg

Canada Goose Snow Mantra Parka

The jacket, a model purportedly favored by researchers at the South Pole, has been around for years. It has an expeditionary look that Will Steger could model with no issue, including knit insignia patches, reflective striping, a D-ring clip, and a plastic ID window on the chest pocket so people know who you are under all that fluff.

The company (www.canada-goose.com) touts the Snow Mantra as holding its own to temperatures as low as minus-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

But this warmth does not come cheap. The Snow Mantra, made to last for years in extreme climates, costs an astounding $885.

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Posted by Joy - 02/07/2009 10:23 AM

For standing around in extreme cold, these are great. but if you want to move about, they are constricting. Simply putting on and off is a major task; these coats are bulky.

Posted by shaun donnellan - 08/15/2009 03:11 PM

I have a planned 28 day solo expedtion in the scottish mountains in the winter. I have chosen the harshest months and the weather is very extreme and i will be trekking above 3,oooft as much as possible. I will sleep in snow holes and bivi out at 3,000ft or more each night,
I would like to know if any reader could give me advice on whether the snow mantra jacket is too much for this expedition?
the temperatures can reach well below -10 and even worse in the windchill. any advice on the jacket would be appreciated
many thanks
shaun

Posted by Stephen Regenold - 08/16/2009 10:55 PM

How far will you trek each day? This parka is not made for trips where you will be aerobically pushing yourself. It would be too warm, say, if you were trekking even a few miles a day with a pack on. It would be good at night and during breaks, but not for on the move.

Posted by Josh - 08/25/2009 08:16 AM

This is definitely overkill for a scottish winter trip – warmth wise and costwise. The Snow Mantra is designed for the coldest temperatures on Earth – much colder than scotland. At -10C (14F)I imagine you will be sweating very quickly. The only situation I think this jacket would be useful is if you are not planning on taking a sleeping bag. There are many lighter weight and cheaper down parkas that will be warm enough for you. Consider the offerings of RAB, Mountain Hardwear and Marmot.

Posted by Stefan - 08/27/2009 01:05 PM

This parka is designed for very, very cold cold weather. I live in the very north of Sweden and I use it when I plan to move around very little or perhaps sitting on a snowmobile. But don’t even think of putting of some physical strength in it because it’s to darn hot. It’s a great parka but don’t try to shovel snow wearing it.

Posted by Mark - 09/16/2009 04:23 PM

I own a Snow Mantra. I live in The Yukon Territories, in the Canadian Arctic.

I won’t put this coat on until it is -30. Before that it is overkill for anything but standing around (for instance fishing at a hole). This coat does not breathe well at all. It is perfect for walking, snowmobiling, fishing and working outside when it is wicked cold. You will sweat yourself silly climbing in this coat. As mentioned in the article, with the hood up you have zero peripheral vision. This coat is not designed for active pursuits.

This is the coat you wear when you should not be outside, but have to go anyway. It is truly the warmest thing you will ever wrap yourself in. I am amazed by it every time I venture outside when it is too cold for machines to operate and your breath freezes in mid-air.

Posted by Martin - 10/13/2009 04:54 PM

I live in the Northwest Territory north of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Arctic, and I own a Snow Mantra Parka. Actually, it was issued to me through work and therefore must use it on a daily basis during the winter months. I must admit that I am not impressed at all by this parka. For one thing it fits like a straight jacket, very confining and heavy. It restricts your movements making even the smallest task a herculean effort. Also, in spite of all the praise others have written about it, it simply is not that warm. The insulation is sewn through not baffled like higher quality parkas are, and it’s pretty thin; I can feel many cold spots with no insulation at all. The zipper is backed by some kind of “fun fur” and has already broken after only 2 years of service. The hand warmer pockets are placed way too low to be reached and even if you could there is no insulation in them. I have been quite cold wearing this parka during snowmobile trips on the barren lands. It should be remembered that the poeple these parkas where made for, oil drilling workers and such, always have a warm place to go to at the end of the day. For the cost I think there is a lot better out there. For my money I will take my old NF parka. It is far lighter and much warmer, and best of all, after 25 winters it has kept me alive through some brutal cold, and it is still going strong.

Posted by editor - 10/14/2009 11:54 AM

Martin — Great info from your serious, multi-year “gear test” of this product! Question: What North Face parka are you talking?

Posted by Martin - 10/16/2009 03:57 PM

The North Face Parka I have is an original Expedition Parka. It stuffs down very small, yet is very warm with a proper fitting hood that does not strangle you like the Snow Mantra mentioned above. When I lay them down together on the floor, side by side, my NF Parka has over twice the loft of the Snow Mantra. Best of all it is very light weight (also compared to the Snow Mantra) and allows you ample freedom to move around. A necessary thing when you are on an expedition. To keep the outer material clean and free from holes I also have a light-weight white nylon shell to pull over top. I picked it up at an Army Surplus store down south. It cost $20.00. I have been using this system for almost 25 years now and although I have tried alot of other parkas and clothing systems nothing quite measures up to the light weight warms of this old friend.

Posted by Sean - 12/09/2009 02:55 PM

This parka is unsuitable for any athletic exploits, save for low-exertion walking / skiing. I have one – and it lives up to the hype as far as warmth and durability, but it really is an extreme condition parka meant to be warm above all other considerations, such as visibility, freedom of movement, weight and so forth. It is a fantastic parka for its intended purpose, and I certainly wouldn’t give mine up, but that purpose is specific and you would probably regret taking this parka on any extended climbing or hiking trip unless you are on flat ground and will never need to stow it in a pack. The Snow Mantra is heavy – I use it when working up north in the winter when I need to be outside in ridiculous conditions and may be standing around without exerting myself much. It will stand up to abuse, and makes for a great “industrial” jacket for this sort of exposure, but falls short when you are either working hard or doing anything athletic or requiring much dexterity or situational awareness. I also am an avid mountaineer, but choose to use other products more suitable for that purpose which are not as heavy, easily stuffable, and cut to facilitate easy movement. I have a light down vest that I use under a waterproof / breathable shell for moderately cold conditions, and a Feathered Friends Rock & Ice parka as a belay jacket and for for extreme cold / high wind / summit attempts. The warmth of this one is on par with the Snow Mantra, but it is much more suitable to purpose, being lightweight, stuffable, and easily accomodating movement while wearing a helmet or harness. This is my go-to parka for mountaineering, for sure. Of course, by the same token, I wouldn’t wear the Rock & Ice for working in a northern oilfield or as a daily wear item in the arctic – it would get destroyed in short order. Bottom line: excellent jacket, for the purpose, but make sure that purpose matches what you intend to do with it.

Posted by Ryan - 01/09/2010 04:07 PM

Hi Sean,

When you say the Rock & Ice parka is on par warmth wise with the Snow Mantra do you mean almost as warm? I recently bought a Snow Mantra for its reputation as the warmest jacket in the world but would also like a similarly warm belay jacket for things like winter backpacking. The Mantra is obviously not practical for stuffing in a pack. How long is the Rock & Ice? Also what is the fit of your Mantra like? If I wear a hoodie underneath mine it’s a bit snug.
Posted by mike - 04/18/2010 10:12 AM

I am reading this and I can’t beleive half of what i am reading. I live in fairbanks alaska and i run a trap line across the south side of the brooks range from cold foot to the yukon boarder. I spend alot of time riding snow machines in this parka and working and walking. Last year i had a break down with my sled and walked one hundred and sixty miles while wearing this parka and bibs. I thought that it was a great parka that probly saved my life. It was -68 degrees and i spent alot of days walking and sleeping out side.

Posted by Canada Goose - 09/20/2010 06:49 PM

I spend alot of time riding snow machines in this parka and working and walking. Last year i had a break down with my sled and walked one hundred and sixty miles while wearing this parka and bibs. I thought that it was a great parka that probly saved my life. It was -68 degrees and i spent alot of days walking and sleeping out side.

Posted by Kirsten - 10/29/2010 10:10 AM

Martin, are you sure your parka is not a counterfiet? There are alot of fakes canada goose on the market. And one tell is fake fur. Canada Goose uses only real canadian coyote fur, (which is more environmentally stable then fake fur, and I dont own the mantra I have the chilliwack, which has kept me warm in -50 weather. Fake Canada goose often uses chicken feathers, which do not keep thier lift so does not provide warmth!

Posted by Martin - 11/23/2010 07:45 PM

Thanks Kirsten for your reply. Yes, this is a genuine Canada Goose parka purchased from a registered dealer here in the NWT. It has genuine Coyote fur trim and all the bells and whistles. I understand that CG has a loyal following, a lot of people wear them up here, and I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but, in my humble opinion, the Snow Mantra is way overpriced for what you get. And what you get is a parka that is styled after the old Korean War model, now hopelessly outdated.
The outer layer is advertised as ArcticTec. This is just a trade name for polycotton. Since GoreTex’s patent expired years ago, a lot of manufacturers have incorporated “Tec” somewhere on their product. But 65/35 polycotton isn’t that great a shell layer, no matter what you want to call it.
I also don’t believe in giving clothing a temperature rating; a parka that can keep a well fed person warm while running on snowshoes, probably won’t do that same person much good waiting out a blizzard on the sea ice with no food or external heat source.
Which brings me to the temperatures quoted above. Are they celsius or fahrenheit? Ambient air temperature or wind chill?
I guess in the end if you are happy with your parka and it fulfills your needs, that’s great. As I said, a lot of people here swear by their Snow Mantra, I mostly swear at it.

Posted by jack - 08/29/2011 01:13 AM

Being the leader in extreme weather outwear for over 50 years, Canada Goose jackets was the logical choice to design a parka for scientists working in McMurdo, Antarctica. With that came the birth of the Expedition Parka. Conquer extreme weather and protect yourself from the elements with this highly functional jacket. Stay comfortable in its relaxed fit and mid-length coverage, while taking advantage of a coyote fur ruff hood, the multitude of pockets, and more

When the wind really howls, the tunnel-shaped hood can be pulled tightly around the face, using an adjustable bracing wire, creating a sheltering pocket of air to keep the face warm.
But don’t ask us how functional the Expedition Parka is…ask the scientists at McMurdo station. They’ve been living in their Expedition Parkas for more than 20 years!

Posted by Camillo Caspersen - 10/06/2011 06:58 AM

Hey im in a dilemma here .. the only (test) i could find was this and i dont know if i wanna buy the THE NORTH FACE – M vostok parka , the FJÄLLRÄVEN – Yupik parka, Canada Goose MEN’S SNOW MANTRA, or Canada Goose MEN’S EXPEDITION PARKA … i live in denmark but im from spain and im always frozen her .. so if anybody could tell me wich one is the best to buy i would be glad.. I would prefer to avoid buying a Canada goose when everyone has it but if it is the warmest I will select it. i know im not in the right forum here cause in denmark its only -10 degrees but anyway i think you can help me decide after reading this i know its to much to buy the snow mantra parka.. thank you

Posted by Samsonite - 12/05/2011 09:23 PM

The CG Snow Mantra is just amazing!
Tough, warm, it takes what ever mother nature can bring on
Thinking of parka jackets its got to be just the warmest toughest
thing i ever had! In Norway the degrees go way below!
Dog sleding og snowmoblie action i hours is just a laugh in this!
I was really suprised after always sticking to medium layer down with a topshell jacket! Not anymore! Only thing bad I can say about it is that it seems to be a mass hysteria for latte chasing youth for Canada Goose jackets. Strange really for the Mantra is one heavy working industrial artic monster if a jacket!
I use it only for the -25c to -40 days.. Never at the Mall

Posted by Mari - 01/19/2012 08:55 PM

I live in Yakutia, today outside temperature is -43^C, last week it was about -55-60^C very very cold!
And I can’t decide what to buy: Snow Mantra or Thrillium Parka for women? I’d like to buy Thrillium, because it’s more beautiful than Snow Mantra, but Snow Mantra is much warmer. I’ll be very thankful if you help me to decide :)

Posted by Brian Mayfield - 12/14/2012 06:09 AM

I live in New York where the coldest weather we have to deal with is 5 degrees farranheit and we haven’t had a winter that cold in quite some time but I purchased this coat last winter…. I wore short sleeved shirts to work all winter long because this coat was so warm!! This is the best Winter coat ever invented only mistake I made was buying it in Red because I am always putting it in the cleaners so I will be selling it to buy a black one…Before this I owned a Marmot …Marmot has nothing on this coat.

Posted by john - 12/14/2012 08:28 AM

I’ve bought many parkas and I managed to buy the Peace Keeper Snow Mantra which is made for goverment type people which is the same with just a few minor differances, I bought the next size up so I could layer up just in case, I don’t find it heavy its easy to move around in and if you truely need an extreme weather parka then the Snow Mantra IS THE BEST, my tnf mcmurdo parka is quite good but the hood is a joke, The Snow Mantra IS the perfect extreme weather Parka BAR NONE the quality is amazing. the shock and Awe I got when I opened the box when it turned up told me that I had done the right thing, I would have been happy to pay twice that much compared to what I have wasted on the other 4 or 5 parkas that that I still own,

The Snow Mantra is not a fashion Item but if you want the best then buy it and you never worry about the cold or or put up with second best again, It still makes me smile everytime I look at it, and it is still made in the country of its birth, by the people who care enough about the Company and their jobs but most of all their Products and Reputation,
Its a small price to pay for peace of mind and Perfection,

many thanks Canada Goose, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, john

Posted by shaz - 02/10/2013 12:22 PM

I would just buy it for the fact that it is made in CANADA and it is suprior than anything on the market. I haate all this made in china, indonesia, bangladesh crap that North Face, marmot, mountain hw garbage is made of…

Posted by M. Shahzad - 09/24/2013 09:04 PM

I live up north in Quebec Canada where temperature drops more than -47,
last year i bought GS Expedition parka i was cold in it, especially from my shoulders and arms…… this year which is 2013 i want to buy GS Snow Mantra which is 1195 $ …… i am not sure if its going to be warm enough or not ….

Posted by ChrisP - 11/19/2013 05:28 AM

This jacket is a life saver for stationary activities. I live in a tropical climate and bought the Snow Mantra with the Rocky Mountain bibbs in 2009 to photograph polar bear families in the denning area of Hudson Bay, Canada. I’ve used this jacket ever year since and all of my photo buddies wear this jacket as well. We stand outdoors for most of the day in minus 40 – 60F temps with wind chill. How one layers underneath is important as well for staying warm; i.e., I like wearing Icebreaker wool crews (breaths well and no static cling) plus the CG camp jacket when needed. Yes, the Snow Mantra’s price is now obscenely high. But one thing for sure, CG’s prices only go up – at least 10% a year – so it’s pay now or pay later. P.S. for the gals: I highly recommend buying the Men’s model over the Ladies. That’s because the cargo pockets are a lot larger (have a gusset) and the looser fit makes it easier to kneel with pockets loaded. Also, adding zipper wax and zipper pulls makes it a lot easier to start and close the zipper. I have more extreme cold weather tips on my blog at http://chrisprestegardtraveltipcentral.blogspot.com/ under the Baby, It’s Cold Outside section (about 2/3’s down the page).

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