1. Moncler, 2. Patagonia, 3. REI Co-op, 4. Arc’teryx, 5. Marmot, 6. Eddie Bauer, 7. Cotopaxi, 8. Helly Hansen, 9. prAna, 10. Norrøna, 11. ROA, 12. Gramicci. Although pricey, outdoor apparel is a wise investment. The three things that come to mind when we think of the best outdoor apparel manufacturers are comfort, durability, and style. To get started, here are some of the best outdoor clothing brands that you might consider.
- REI Co-op
- Eddie Bauer
- Helly Hansen
Italy’s Moncler, whose beginnings can be traced to the 1950s ski scene, is arguably the model for a high-end outdoor brand. In its current form, the brand crosses both worlds. The technical clothing line Moncler Genius incorporates the talents of renowned designers like Craig Green and Kei Ninomiya. Alpine ski equipment is infused by Moncler Grenoble with the finesse of the runway. The brand’s wearable, fashionable daily wear items, like the Maya, a $1250 puffer made popular by a certain Aubrey Graham, lie in the middle of the two extremes.
Make no mistake, Moncler is first and foremost a luxury brand. But unlike many of its contemporaries, it is also grounded in function. Both physically and conceptually, a Moncler jacket and a Saint Laurent motorcycle are made of distinct materials. Plus, the prep schooler’s ski jacket may have more in common with that than most people would realize, especially when you consider the sticker price and status signaling of an ACRONYM shell.
Founded: René Ramillon and André Vincent
Headquarters: Milan, Italy
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A well-known outdoor company with a long history of mountain adventure is Patagonia. The brand, which was established in 1973 by outstanding rock climber Yvon Chouinard, has established itself as a mainstay in the outdoor sector with a wide range of outdoor apparel, including hard shells, baselayers, accessories, and much more. With a wide variety of technical and casual items, including the renowned Down Sweater (casual), and synthetic standouts like the Micro Puff and DAS Light Hoody, they specialize in insulation in particular and do so exceptionally well (technical).
Patagonia devotes a significant amount of its time and resources to environmental and sustainability initiatives. For example, it uses recycled materials and responsibly sourced cotton in its products, provides repair services (at some locations and by mail), and sells pre-owned gear through its Worn Wear program. The undisputed leader in technical mountain equipment is Arc’teryx, which is seen here, but Patagonia gear routinely works well for both day-to-day activities and backcountry excursions. For the cachet and the Patagonia label, you should expect to pay a little bit extra, but the transparency and stewardship initiatives do help to offset the price.
Founded: Yvon Chouinard
Headquarters: Ventura, California
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Outdoor enthusiasts around the nation hold a high regard for REI Co-op, and with good reason. REI stands out as a community-focused brand with a strong commitment to the outdoors thanks to its 168 locations across the U.S., excellent sales throughout the year, and a variety of member benefits (such as a yearly dividend, access to garage sales, and discounts on gear rentals and shop services). In addition, REI participates in a variety of community and environmental projects, conservation efforts, and sustainability initiatives within its own line of outdoor clothing and equipment.
In 2014, REI made the decision to start producing its own clothes, and it rapidly put together a diverse line-up that includes everything from hard shells to down jackets, winter parkas, and more. The company now makes use of high-quality components from manufacturers like PrimaLoft, Pertex, and Gore, and its well-known products, including the Stormhenge Down Hybrid Jacket and the XeroDry rain shell, incorporate premium materials at affordable rates. Recently, they also branched out into the ski industry with the release of their Powderbound and First Chair Gore-Tex collections. Overall, impressed by the overall value of the REI clothing, which is surprisingly reasonable for the level of performance you get.
Founded: Lloyd and Mary Anderson
Headquarters: Kent, Washington, ,US
Photo by Mike Kalasnik on Flickr ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/10542402@N06/43012789511)
Arc’teryx, a British Columbia-based company, is a world leader in technical mountain apparel and one of the most renowned names in outerwear. Arc’teryx products, which range from baselayers to daypacks, hiking and approach shoes, insulation, climbing and skiing equipment, and more, ooze quality and superior craftsmanship. Their line of hardshell jackets, which includes venerable models like the Beta AR and Alpha SV, is their strongest suit. The Beta AR and Alpha SV cost $600 and $800, respectively, for the brand name, but Arc’teryx gear is consistently well crafted, attractive, and holds up incredibly well to frequent use and abuse.
In addition to their exorbitant prices, Arc’teryx products are frequently very technical and form-fitting. The classic Atom LT synthetic is an exception, as it successfully mixes performance and urban cool. But, even at $260 for the hooded version of the Atom ($239 for the non-hooded jacket and $175 for the vest), it is still quite expensive. In the end, casual outdoor enthusiasts can save a ton of money by shopping at stores like Marmot, Columbia, or REI Co-op, but among ardent explorers and backcountry enthusiasts, Arc’teryx continues to hold the top spot.
Founded: Rock Solid
Headquarters: North Vancouver, British Columbia
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One of the businesses that provide the ideal balance of high caliber and affordable rates is Marmot. Compared to the other names on our list, they are cheaper. You may purchase an all-purpose jacket for $100 that will last you for years (or even decades).Marmot will open the list of best outdoor clothing brands. Marmot is a clothing and athletic goods firm that was first established in 1974 under the name “Marmot Mountain Works.” Tom Boyce, a local of Grand Junction, Colorado, and David Huntley and Eric Reynolds, two students at the University of California, Santa Cruz, formed the business with the aim of producing their climbing gear.
One of the businesses that provides the ideal balance of high caliber and affordable rates is Marmot. Compared to the other names on our list, they are cheaper. You may purchase an all-purpose jacket for $100 that will last you for years (or even decades).
Marmot not only creates excellent outdoor clothing but also specializes in outdoor equipment such as winter jackets, merino wool, technical clothing, rain gear, and backpacks. This is one of the few companies whose website sells all types of travel accessories, including different-sized hiking tents.
Have you ever gone camping in a tent that wasn’t very good? You won’t regret it if you spend a little money on one of Marmot’s high-quality tents the next time you’re forced to camp in a deluge.
Founded: Tom Boyce, David Huntley, Eric Reynolds
Headquarters: Rohnert Park, California
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Eddie Bauer is a well-known brand in the Pacific Northwest. The business was initially established in 1920 as a tennis shop in the back of a neighborhood hunting and fishing outfitter, but it quickly developed into a devoted outdoor brand (founder Eddie Bauer patented the first quilted down jacket in 1936). Since then, the business has provided equipment for numerous historic expeditions all around the world, including the first ascents of K2 and Mt. Everest in the 1950s and 1960s. Currently, they provide a wide range of products, including insulated jackets, rainwear, winter parkas, and accessories in addition to hiking boots.
Eddie Bauer, like The North Face, offers unique items on the technical end of the spectrum and has a sizable casual following, but they aren’t extremely well known among regular outdoor enthusiasts. However, their down products have particularly surprised us. One example is the MicroTherm line, which uses quality 800-fill down and has performance elements like elastic side panels and inside stash pockets for essentials like gloves or goggles. Overall, Eddie Bauer seems to be working hard to broaden their reach. Can’t wait to follow their development.
Founded: Eddie Bauer
Headquarters: Bellevue, Washington, ,US
Cotopaxi, a business with a social conscience, is named after the well-known volcano in Ecuador. Growing up in South America, Davis Smith seen firsthand the pain brought on by unequal access to opportunities. Since then, he has committed himself to addressing the inequality he saw as a child by utilizing business as a force for good.
This company aims to improve the health, education, and standard of living of Latin American communities. They established the Cotopaxi Foundation, which provides funding for long-term initiatives to reduce poverty. You can buy their apparel with the assurance that you are supporting worthwhile causes because 1% of their annual income goes to these various charities.
Although Cotopaxi’s outerwear is on the more affordable end of the price spectrum, the brand hasn’t compromised on quality. The fleece and parkas in their vibrant range are incredibly cozy. And recyclable and organic materials are used in the production of their hoodies and t-shirts.
The brand’s items frequently feature llama wool and goose down; these people are good. With Cotopaxi, you can feel warm while simultaneously contributing to environmental preservation.
Founded: Davis Smith
Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
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Helly Hansen, a sea captain, founded the company in 1877 to protect himself from the harsh Norwegian weather. The original company’s brand is still unquestionably the best in waterproofing technology and technological materials. Long a favorite, its Lifa fabric combines exceptional comfort with moisture-wicking properties for active use and is present in several of their top baselayers. Their Helly Tech waterproofing membrane performs similarly to Gore-Tex in terms of overall performance for challenging mountain operations. Their Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 hardshell, which costs about $350 less than Arc’teryx’s identically constructed Alpha SV described above, features the top-tier “Professional” version of the membrane paired with a durable, 70-denier face cloth for steadfast protection in rough and turbulent conditions.
Helly Hansen is beloved by lefties, guides, and other serious mountaineers who want top-notch performance. It has become the de facto brand for ski pros and patrollers around the world. Faithful to its heritage, the company has still kept a good assortment of performance-ready sailing clothing and equipment. The prominent branding on most of their garments produces a rather divisive aesthetic and makes their outerwear less wearable every day than much of the competitors. It is a major drawback (their casual offerings are also fairly limited).
Founded: Helly Hansen
Headquarters: Oslo, Norway
erikkellison on Flickr ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/erikkellison/5060746926)
The founders of prAna set out to design fashionable, sustainably produced yoga and climbing apparel in 1992, and the company has mostly stayed true to those principles. Now, prAna is a market pioneer in environmentally conscious business operations, using organic cotton, recycled wool, RDS-certified down, and textiles that have received the bluesign certification in their clothes. Also, they’re extending an invitation to other companies to join their Responsible Packaging Movement in an effort to work together to minimize packaging waste throughout the whole sector. One editor discovered prAna years ago because they sold a 31-inch-waist pant, which is somewhat uncommon in the market. We also appreciate that prAna frequently sells each piece in a large variety of colors and sizes.
The Stretch Zion II pant (and women’s Halle II) from prAna stands out in their current portfolio and is one of our go-to hiking pants because of its superb comfort and performance combo. Being a fantastic climbing pant, it also works well for travel and around-town use thanks to the stylish hues. PrAna offers tremendous all-around appeal, but those looking for technical, mountain-ready shells and insulation should look elsewhere (especially in outdoorsy cities like Boulder, Bend, and Seattle). Although outdoor industry juggernaut Columbia Sportswear purchased prAna in 2014, the company’s commitment to quality and the environment has not changed.
Founded: Beaver Theodosakis
In terms of pure quality or performance, few companies can compete with Arc’teryx, but Norrøna, based in Norway, gets pretty darn close. Their hardshell line-up, which includes the Trollveggen flagship model and the Lofoten ski-specific model, is especially beautifully done. With its alpine-ready Gore-Tex Pro construction, robust 70-denier face fabric, helmet-compatible hood, bigger pit zips, and even a backup main zipper to handle thicker mid layers underneath, the Trollveggen fiercely rivals Arc’teryx’s high-end Alpha SV. The Lofoten is a comparable tale, offering superior covering, protection, and mobility as well as the same innovative venting strategies and high-quality materials with meticulous attention to detail.
The Trollveggen and Lofoten cost $789 and $799, respectively, because Norrøna, like Arc’teryx, concentrates much of their efforts on the most technical end of the spectrum. Even while both collections offer a number of less expensive variants with inferior membranes, shell materials, and other stylistic variations, the Gore-Tex Pro-equipped models have consistently stood the test of time under the most challenging situations. However, compared to many of the brands mentioned above (including Arc’teryx), availability is somewhat restricted in the United States, while a few reliable online stores, including Backcountry and Evo, carry a sizable range. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to keep Norrøna on your radar if your outdoor aspirations include significant alpine and backcountry objectives.
Founded: Jørgen Jørgensen
Headquarters: Lysaker, Norway
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Because to its basic shapes, conventional Italian production techniques, and cutting-edge materials and patterns, the Italian outdoor shoe company ROA has quickly gained recognition among the more fashion-conscious public.
It was once established as a shoe company, but has recently expanded to produce outdoor-ready apparel with the same harmony of form and function as its shoes. This involves removing with a touch of stylistic elegance all of the traditional goods you would anticipate from an outdoor label (shell jackets, fleeces, nylon pants, etc.). As evidence of how it has developed into an outdoor brand that balances form and function, its tough, kudu skin-covered footwear has been the subject of fashion collaborations with brands like Brain Dead and Stüssy.
ROA is still a relative newcomer despite having worked on a number of high-profile projects; it first caught the attention of Highsnobiety in FW 2018. Big things are anticipated from the Italian company in the near future with gorpcore being one of the top trends in fashion and hiking-inspired footwear remaining popular.
Founded: team of Slam Jam and technical shoe designer Maurizio Quaglia
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Graham created his own shorts because he couldn’t locate any that were made expressly for climbing. The shorts will permanently alter the outdoor clothing market and include innovations like a grooved crotch and an integrated belt. Graham donated the shorts to friends and started his own clothing business after discovering that they were made of undyed fabric, which offered a blank canvas to allow the creativity and individuality of the climbing and surfing communities.
In honor of Graham’s Stonemasters nick-name, Gramicci was created. As the party made the first-ever all-Italian expedition to Yosemite’s renowned Half-Dome, Graham adopted this nickname. They made names that sounded Italian because none of the other members were, thus Graham became Gramicci.
One of the newest generations and the best outdoor clothing brands is Gramicci. Although initially focused on rock climbing, its adaptable devices are made to improve mobility while also providing comfort and beauty.
Its cargo pants, for example, include a distinct color pattern, a built-in webbing belt, adjustable drawstrings, and a ton of storage space. Other outdoor clothing, such as its feather-light down cap, is wind- and water-resistant and offers a unique perspective on outerwear. Gramicci’s collection expertly blends streetwear and functionality, whether you’re an ardent traveler or simply appreciate high-quality goods that stand up to the elements.
Founded: Stonemaster Mike Graham
Headquarters: Agoura Hills, California, US