Whilst I won’t spend money for the sake of it, over the years, I’ve learnt that buying top quality gear pays dividends in the long run. Whether it’s better protection, durability, comfort, breathability or support, the best manufacturers offer much more than cheap brands ever could.
Whether you’re kitting up for hiking, biking, mountaineering, skiing, or any other outdoor activity, this list has got you covered. Below we’ll be covering the best outerwear brands for almost any activity.
What’s Included In This List?
Below, we’ll be focusing on the top outdoor clothing brands that produce a wide range of adventure gear. This includes the likes of jackets, breathable clothing, hiking boots, skiing gear and more.
We’ll leave out product specific brands like Osprey (a backpack manufacturer) and Merrell (a global hiking boot manufacturer), and cover those specifically in another post.
The list today includes:
- Jack Wolfskin
- Mountain Equipment
- Outdoor Research
- The North Face
The Best Outerwear Brands
If you’ve got plenty of leeway in your budget, Arc’teryx is a manufacturer worth looking into. The company was founded in 1989, and over 30 years later, they’re still producing some of the best outerwear available.
Being founded by local climbers, the gear here tends to be tailored towards climbing, hiking and mountaineering.
But quality certainly doesn’t come cheap. Even a lightweight jacket such as the Arc’teryx Gamma MX, isn’t going to leave you with much change from $500 (size and color dependent).
Berghaus is one of the best outerwear brands available worldwide, started back in 1972 in the UK. They don’t focus on any specific product (unlike Camelbak for instance, who produce hydration equipment). You’ll be able to grab everything from hiking socks to breathable t-shirts.
Berghaus certainly don’t produce cheap gear, but they produce some of the best outdoor clothing, and at reasonable price too; you’ll have change in your pocket in comparison to buying the Arc’teryx outerwear mentioned above.
Like many of the best outerwear brands, Columbia’s growth over the years has been thanks to their high quality and excellent value for money adventure jackets. Since they started back in 1938, they’ve expanded, and are now much more than a jacket brand.
Nowadays, you’ll be able to grab a full bag of gear from their store. That’s going to include everything from climbing, ski apparel and even hiking footwear.
In comparison to some of the other best outdoor clothing brands on this list, you’ll find Columbia a little understated. You won’t find the bold colors and designs that you could find elsewhere (if that’s your thing).
One thing Columbia certainly has going for it, is price. For a top quality adventure gear brand, their kit is ridiculously cheap.
For instance, you’ll be able to pick up a jacket like the Columbia Alpine for around under $200. Something comparable from Berghaus would be pushing $200-250, and from Arc’teryx with a Gore-Tex lining, closer to $400 and beyond!
4. Jack Wolfskin
Jump into any outdoor clothing store, and you’ll see tons of Jack Wolfskin products on offer. Typically, they’re tailored towards hikers and those trying out soft mountaineering. If you’re doing anything more than this, you might want to look elsewhere.
They’ve been going since 1981, and are still going strong, offering some of the best outerwear that money can buy. Better still, they offer excellent value for money. For instance, their Caynon zip off hiking pants weigh in at around $100, and are suitable for all kinds of hikes, regardless of the weather!
Like many of the other companies on our best outerwear brands list, Mammut offer a wide range of outdoor clothing, including footwear. And it’s certainly footwear I think of when somebody mentions the Mammut name.
I recently replaced my Merrell GTX hiking boots. I had no budget in mind, as I was more focused on getting a top quality of boots that wouldn’t just stand the test of time but were incredibly comfortable too.
Eventually, it was Mammut I went for. You can check out the boots that I bought here (the Mammut Ayako GTX), and I’d highly recommend them, and the brand in general.
Montane have been producing some of the best outdoor clothing for over 25 years. Get your hands on some – you only need to feel their gear to figure out how good it is.
I’ve recently been buying some new kit, alongside the Bergaus and Mammut gear mentioned above. I’ve bought a technical and breathable t shirt from Montane, and I also wanted some breathable hiking pants. I did try the Jack Wolfskin pants but preferred the look and feel of what was on offer from Montane.
I’m happy with both my technical t shirt, and my hiking pants. I went for the Montane Terra pants, which you can see here.
7. Mountain Equipment
Mountain equipment are certainly deserving of being on our list of the best outerwear brands. Their adventure clothing is second to none, although, you should expect to pay for it. Some of their down jackets can go to $500 and beyond!
One of the favorite pieces of gear I’ve ever owned, is my Mountain Equipment Dispersion jacket. It was breathable, waterproof and lightweight. It was great as an overcoat, worked well on hikes with a base layer and more.
Note to self – the pockets are made of material that will melt in a washing machine; it needs go on a cool wash. Needless to say, I wrecked my favorite piece of outdoor gear!
8. Outdoor Research
Outdoor Research are similar in quality to Mountain Equipment. What that also means, is they’re very similar in price. You get what you pay for, so don’t expect to get any of your outdoor clothing from Outdoor Research cheap.
What outdoor research are well known for, alongside great adventure jackets, are extreme base layers and winter protection. A typical example of this would be their Ninjaclava, ultimate protection from the cold!
RAB is one of my all time favorite brands. In terms of the other best outerwear brands on this list, they sit in the mid-range in terms of price. In my opinion, they certainly sit towards the top end in terms of quality.
Currently, I own a technical t-shirt, the RAB Kinetic Plus jacket, and the RAB Microlight jacket. And, one thing I can say, is I’m more than happy with them.
If you’re looking for anything from hiking pants, to adventure jackets, RAB has got you covered, and I’d highly recommend the brand.
10. The North Face
The North Face is a brand that doesn’t need any introduction. They sell everything from tents, bivvies and hiking boots, through to ski trousers and outdoor jackets. You can literally kit yourself from head to toe with The North Face range.
In terms of quality and price, expect this to be in the mid-range in comparison to some of the other best outdoor clothing brands on this list. Most comparable in price and quality, is going to be Berghaus, which are typically considered to be The North Face’s main competitor.
One product I currently have on my watch list, is The North Face Jim Beanie, which retails at a little under $30.
So that’s it, our guide to the 10 best outerwear brands available in the USA.
Got outdoor clothing from a brand not mentioned on this list, and have an opinion on it? Drop us a message via our contact form or email us via our contact page; we’d love to hear from you!