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Patagonia vs. The North Face: Which Brand Should an Outdoor Enthusiast Swear By?

When looking for the best of the best in terms of outdoor clothing, an outdoor enthusiast has many options to choose from. Whether looking for something fit to keep you comfortable in weather conditions, regardless of heat or cold, or simply sportswear pieces for everyday wear, many brands and retailers have what it takes. But few can compare to outdoor clothing giants like Patagonia and The North Face.

What Is Better, Patagonia or The North Face?

Each of the two is known for its range of options that amazes with style and design as much as quality, plus commitment to the environment, so choosing one or the other is a tough call. 

The Brands’ Historical Background and Business Approach

Operating since 1973, founded by Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia started out small with a background in climbing gear production dating back to the 1950s. Focusing on creating high-quality Patagonia clothes and related products, and supporting good causes are two of the essential aspects that helped propel the brand into success worldwide. Throughout their years of existence, the people running the brand have taken part in many activist initiatives and sustainable practices, getting at the forefront of the outdoor gear industry.

The North Face started out in 1966 as a mountaineering company focused on rock climbing and camping equipment, founded by Douglas Tompkins and Susie Tompkins Buell. Over the years, they’ve managed to get into the streetwear and designer industry too, making collaborations with renowned names like Supreme and Gucci. To this day, their product range is known for being highly versatile, offering not only functional and stylish clothes but outdoor gear in general too, from camping to skiwear. 

The Brands’ Product Lines

Patagonia

source: blog.papertrail.io

Dedicated to protecting the environment, and spreading the message with each of the products that ends up in the Patagonia clothes line, the Patagonia brand is all about utilising safe, sustainable and ethical practices from start to finish. Besides producing quality items that can serve you for years to come, ranging from t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies, to jackets, flannel shirts, pullovers, vests, shorts, and accessories (e.g. hats, caps, socks, backpacks), their focus is on choosing the ideal materials.

These aren’t only good for standing up to the wear and tear, and the weather elements, but also the environment. For that reason, more than half of the fabrics they use are Bluesign-certified. If you don’t choose some of their recycled designs, you can pick from the collection of organic cotton fabric pieces that are made according to the Global Organic Textile Standard. 

One of their especially outstanding designs is the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) down that’s used to fill the high-tech Patagonia jackets created for utmost protection from the weather. One of their great initiatives that support the well-being of the planet is the Worn Wear programme which gives you the chance to trade your gear and exchange it for credit, as well as the chance to buy pre-loved attire at a more convenient price. 

Although the clothing is designed for a lot of durability and resistance, and you can expect to use your Patagonia t-shirts and other items for years on end, when the time comes to retire them you can rely on the brand’s Care & Repair service. Basically, they can breathe new life into your beloved items, allowing you to also lower your carbon footprint and shopping, thus saving the planet from fast fashion. 

Characteristic features of their designs include handwarmer pockets, elastic cuffs, repair patches, and carabiner clip-in loops, among others. In terms of style, the Patagonia clothing range is fit for outdoor use as much as everyday wear, and they’re aesthetic as much as they’re functional. Price-wise, it’s possible to find affordable pieces, however, when compared with other outdoor clothing brands, they’re more high-end. 

And, it’s all to do with the quality of the fabrics they’re made of. Warranty-wise, the brand goes above and beyond with customer convenience with the Ironclad Guarantee. In case you don’t like some product, or you’re not satisfied with the performance, you can have it repaired, replaced, or even refunded. 

The North Face

source: thenorthface.co.uk

If you want to find products that cater to your every need when it comes to outdoor activities, including backpacking, trail running, skiing, or mountaineering, besides quality clothing, then it’s The North Face you should look into. This is a brand that’s famous for its dedication to innovation and technology implemented in the creation of its top-notch products. The clothing range spans from casual tops and tank tops, t-shirts, hoodies and sweaters, pullovers and jackets, to pants, shorts, leggings, and accessories. 

Dedicated to sustainability, the brand also has some incredible programs like the Explore Fund which is providing yearly grants to nonprofit organisations dedicated to outdoor activities and environment protection. They make sure they use as much recycled materials as possible, which could be noticed in their ThermoBall collection. In terms of features, their products offer you waterproof properties, detachable accessories (e.g. hoods), sidewall construction and lightweight fabrics. 

When it comes to style, this brand differs a bit from its counterpart in its simple, modern, and minimalist design. The colours are bold, and the logo is showcased strategically, sometimes even large across the clothing items which is great if you want to proudly show your choice in brand. Price-wise it doesn’t differ that much from the Patagonia range, with some clothes (like the puffers) being slightly more expensive, starting at $300, as opposed to the $280 of the alternative.