Patagonia is one of the most popular outdoor clothing and gear brands – and for good reasons.
Patagonia gear combines great function, style and comfort with an ethical and environmental approach to manufacturing and recycling gear.
Read to find out how and why Patagonia remains our number one outdoor gear brand.
How Patagonia started as brand
Patagonia began itself as a rock climbing gear business with its founder producing strengthened steel pitons (spikes for rock climbing) sold under the Chouinard Equipment banner from 1967.
The company has had strong environmental credentials pretty much from day one. In 1972, they switched to aluminium chocks instead of the steel pitons, which were damaging rock faces as climbers hammered them into position.
Patagonia soon branched out from mountain climbing into outdoor clothing with innovative designs bringing functionality and comfort to the lives of outdoor people as the company’s focus got a lot broader.
It’s become a brand that is associated with innovation in the decades since – both in terms of being early adopters of new fabrics and materials, but also in combining business with environmental activism and ethics.
The company’s website pays tribute to its mountaineering heritage and details how it selected a range of other sports to branch out into that fit its ethos.
“Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for climbing—as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, mountain biking and trail running. These are silent sports. None require an engine; rarely do they deliver the cheers of a crowd. In each, reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection with nature.”
What is the mission of Patagonia?
Patagonia’s Mission statement, in its simplest form, is “We’re in business to save our home planet”. In practical terms, that’s about building products that last and can be repaired and recycled and cause no unnecessary harm in terms of environmental impact, carbon footprint, and animal welfare. You can read the rest of Patagonia’s mission statement on the company’s website.
Who is the CEO of Patagonia?
Jenna Johnson, another Patagonia veteran, was appointed head of Patagonia, Inc, the unit responsible for the direction of Patagonia’s gear and clothing business units such as apparel, packs, and other gear.
Who was the founder of Patagonia?
Patagonia was founded by Yvon Chouinard, an American rock climber, environmentalist, and businessman. He is a keen surfer, kayaker, and falconer and is particularly fond of tenkara fly-fishing.
Ryan Gellert has been CEO of Patagonia Works, the umbrella company for all its ventures, since 2020. Previously, Gellert had overseen Patagonia’s business across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa since 2014. Gellert, 48, is an avid climber and snowboarder who worked for 15 years at Black Diamond Equipment in a number of roles.
What mountain is the Patagonia logo?
The mountain depicted on the Patagonia logo, which is used across the Patagonia brand, is a peak in the Andes in Argentinian Patagonia called Cerro Fitz Roy, or Mount Fitz Roy.
Where can I buy Patagonia gear?
Patagonia’s main retail channel it is own website: patagonia.com.
You can order from their entire range on the site. Their main site is the US site, but of course the Patagonia has many fans and customers around the world. Patagonia has local sites backed by local distribution in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the UK and Europe, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.
Patagonia also has a network of 70 owned and operated Patagonia retail stores worldwide.
Patagonia also sells its goods via a range of large retail platforms such as Amazon, REI and others.
Can you buy Patagonia stock?
No, Patagonia is private company that is not publicly listed or traded.
Are Patagonia products made in the USA?
The majority of Patagonia products are made by contract manufacturers that are based outside of the US.
As the company says in addressing this question on its website:
“We cannot make a claim to be a “Made in America” company; we have always sourced at least half our products outside the U.S. But our percentage of American-made products has decreased over time, as has the U.S. textile industry and the number of domestic high-quality sewing shops. Much of the U.S. apparel manufacturing landscape simply no longer exists.”
All about Patagonia Gear
What Gear Does Patagonia Make
To provide a rough summary, Patagonia makes:
- Jackets and vests (see here for a comparison of Patagonia’s Nano Puff jacket and Down Sweater jacket)
- Shorts and T-Shirts (see here for our review of Patagonia’s Barely Baggies shorts and our comparison of the 5″ and 7″ models for men)
- Long sleeved shirts (see here for our summary of the best Patagonia long-sleeved shirt designs)
- Sweaters and Hoodies (here is our review of their sweatshirt range and their hoodie range)
- Pants and Jeans (see here for our thoughts on their men’s pants and women’s pants ranges and here for Patagonia sweatpants reviewed)
- Snow Jackets and Pants
- Waders and Wading Boots
What does Patagonia do to minimize environmental impact?
Patagonia has legitimate environmental credentials in several areas, such as:
- A focus on repair and recycling via its Worn Wear initiative
- Selecting materials that have lower environmental costs associated with production – ie don’t deplete water and other natural resources, incorporate recycled fibres and more
- Direct action on joining a range of environmental campaigns
- Sustainable sourcing in terms of renewable energy and resources and ensuring its supply chain is free from pollution and exploitation
Does Patagonia have an app?
No, Patagonia discontinued its app in 2016 having optimised is web site for mobile use.
Why is Patagonia clothing more expensive?
Patagonia may not be the cheapest outdoor retail brand, but we’d argue that the extra cost of a Patagonia garment is recouped via the longer life of that product.
Plus you get the benefit of better design and functionality over the life of the product.
What outdoor gear brands are comparable to Patagonia?
Patagonia’s key competitors in the outdoor industry are North Face, Marmot, Arcteryx, Black Diamond and a range of other popular outdoor brands. In our view, Patagonia stands head and shoulders above the other outdoor brands and most brands more broadly.
See also: Patagonia vs North Face: Outdoor brand showdown
What are some iconic Patagonia clothing products that outdoor enthusiasts love?
Among the recent line up of Patagonia clothes and Patagonia jackets, there are a few models that have really taken off including:
Patagonia Down Sweater
Warm, stylish and comfortable – the Patagonia Down Sweater is many people’s favourite garment in the Patagonia clothing range.
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
The Patagonia Nano Puff jacket is lightweight, warm and can handle cold weather and rainy conditions. It’s another fave for the keen outdoor enthusiast.
Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket
This is an ultralight version of the Nano Puff and offers the best warmth to weight ratio of any jacket that Patagonia has made. It uses PlumaFill synthetic insulation.
These are Patagonia’s iconic shorts. The Baggies are comfortable, colorful and practical shorts that look great. For men there come in five inch and seven inch inseam measurements, whereas for women the Baggies are three inches and the Barely Baggies 2.5 inches.
Is Patagonia a Good brand: Final Thoughts
Yes, for sure. It’s a personal view, but here are our three reasons why Patagonia is a top outdoor industry brand.
- Their outdoor adventure products work well and are great quality
- They have focused extensively on sustainable sourcing in their supply chain and using recycled materials without sacrificing form and function
- Their environmental credentials are genuine