Patagonia vs North Face: Which Outdoor Gear is Best?

When shopping for outdoor clothing,  two brands that you will likely see time and time again are Patagonia and North Face. These two brands are some of the biggest outdoor …

When shopping for outdoor clothing,  two brands that you will likely see time and time again are Patagonia and North Face.

These two brands are some of the biggest outdoor clothing brands on the planet and a huge number of outdoor lovers wear their logos with pride and loyalty.

When you come across two similar brands like these though, it can make choosing between their products quite challenging.

In this article, we look at Patagonia vs North Face to see where they are similar, but more importantly where they are different from each other.

Patagonia and North Face Reviewed


A key thing about Patagonia is that they have a well-deserved reputation for being environmentally friendly in their processes.

Patagonia is an American brand that is known for making high-quality outdoor gear and outdoor clothing.

It began by manufacturing climbing gear before gradually expanding its range into what it is today.

A key thing about Patagonia is that they have a well-deserved reputation for being environmentally friendly in their processes.

While other outdoor gear brands play their part in protecting our planet, Patagonia take things a step further by heavily relying on recycled materials and ensuring all materials used are sourced ethically and sustainably.

Patagonia Manufacturing Details

As already mentioned, Patagonia use a lot of recycled materials in their manufacturing processes.

Even though most of the materials are recycled materials, they are still of extremely high quality and certainly live up to the expectations you will have of the brand.

Patagonia make their clothing functional, practical, and extremely comfortable to wear. They have impressive levels of water resistance as most products are coated with a durable water repellent that keeps you dry and comfortable in all conditions.

All functional gear from Patagonia is thoroughly tested to make sure it can handle the rigors of outdoor life and it all comes in a good range of colors and sizes.

Types of Jackets

When it comes to directly comparing Patagonia and North Face, the easiest way to do so is to look at their outdoor jackets.

Probably two of the most similar jackets from the two brands are the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket and the North Face Thermoball Jacket.

The Nano Puff Jacket is one of Patagonia’s most popular jackets and uses PrimaLoft Gold Eco insulation which is extremely good at keeping you warm and dry while out in the wild.

It comes in different versions such as jacket, hoody, and vest – each with its own unique features that make them great choices if you’re looking for high-performance apparel.

It’s a lightweight insulated jacket with two external pockets as well as an internal chest pocket that it can fold itself into for easy storage and transport.

Obviously, Patagonia have lots more jackets too such as the Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket (which can be compared to the North Face Venture 2 Jacket).

Whether you buy the Nano Puff, the Torrentshell, or any other Patagonia Jacket, you can be sure you are getting some of the best outdoor gear available from an environmentally-friendly brand.

Other Gear

Patagonia are far more than an outdoor jacket brand. In addition to jackets, they offer outdoor gear such as t-shirts, pants, hats, shorts, and fleeces. They also have a good offering of bags, wetsuits, climbing gear, and much more.

Regardless of whether you are buying a Patagonia waterproof jacket, hiking gear, or any other outdoor apparel, it will last a long time and perform exactly as you need it to.

Patagonia Philosophy

Patagonia have some very clear values that they keep in mind when making their products.

They want to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to protect nature, and not be bound by convention.

These values do have an impact on the Patagonia manufacturing process which does make them a fairly pricey brand, but you will certainly get your money’s worth with their products lasting a long time and performing very well in pretty much any conditions.

The North Face

North Face became extremely popular with athletes and outdoor lovers alike.

Also an American brand, The North Face has been making outdoor kit for even longer than Patagonia.

With a similar starting point of making climbing and hiking gear, North Face eventually expanded into manufacturing outdoor gear that became extremely popular with athletes and outdoor lovers alike.

As their popularity grew, The North Face started to focus more on the style of their outdoor apparel and their jackets have now become a common sight with people wearing them as a day-to-day jacket, even if they have no desire to head out into the wild.

Although style has become important, the performance of North Face jackets and other clothing is still good and they will still keep you dry and comfortable on your adventures.

The North Face Manufacturing Details

Like Patagonia, The North Face uses recycled fabrics and materials as much as possible in their gear.

The environment and working ethically are also important to North Face so all materials used are sourced carefully and responsibly.

Although The North Face is an environmentally conscious brand, they do still use a durable water repellent on some of their products which isn’t as environmentally friendly as some of the other materials used. That being said, they are working on an alternative so this will likely be replaced with something new in the future.

The North Face have developed some of their own materials as well as making good use of pre-existing technology to make their products as good as possible.

Dryvent is a breathable, windproof, and waterproof fabric and WindWall is basically a built-in windbreaker that protects you from windy environments.

Thermoball is a well-known feature of The North Face and is a type of insulation that they use in some of their jackets.

The North Face outdoor gear is good quality and does the job you need it to very well.

Types of North Face Jackets

Earlier in this article, we spoke about how comparable the Patagonia Nano Puff was to the North Face Thermoball Jacket.

The Thermoball Jacket is made from ripstop nylon and uses synthetic insulation.

It has a lot of similarities with the Nano Puff such as the same amount of pockets, elastic cuffs, adjustable hem, and it can also fold away into its interior chest pocket for storage.

The North Face also make the Venture 2 Jacket which is a windproof, waterproof, and very breathable rain jacket.

When it comes to price, The North Face is a little more budget-friendly than Patagonia but there isn’t too much in it.

Other Gear

The North Face have a range of products in their catalog that goes far beyond jackets.

From clothing to backpacks to running shoes to tents and sleeping bags, North Face makes a lot of products all aimed at those outdoor folk who like to look as stylish as possible while out in the wild.

One thing about North Face gear is that you will very likely see it around town as well as in the wilderness as it is a very popular brand whether the wearers are outdoor enthusiasts or not.

North Face Philosophy

The North Face philosophy is based on creating the best products for athletes, explorers, and everyday adventurers.

They want to support the preservation of our planet and inspire people to get out there and explore.

Trying to work in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way does lead to some increases in manufacturing costs which does make North Face a fairly pricey brand (like Patagonia).

However, paying a bit more knowing that the planet has been looked after during the manufacturing process makes the price tags a bit more bearable.

Patagonia vs North Face: The Final Verdict

Both Patagonia and The North Face are very similar brands.

They both have a focus on making the best outdoor gear while looking after the planet as much as possible.

Ultimately, it will probably come down to your personal preference as to which brand you go with. That being said, The North Face switching some of their focus to the style side of their products has resulted in a small decline in performance.

North Face jackets still perform well in the wild, but as Patagonia have a big focus on performance, their products do tend to do a little better and protect you a bit more than their North Face counterparts.

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Rob Harvey is an experienced outdoor writer with a passion for using and writing about all the gear that makes camping, hiking and fishing fun. He's been a freelancer writer for more than five years and loves sharing his experiences with readers.
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