Helly Hansen vs The North Face: Which Brand is Better?

Helly Hansen vs The North Face: Which Brand is Better?Pin

You have probably heard of at least one of these two brands, if not both. These are two famous names in the industry of outdoor gear, clothing, and jackets in particular.

Many outdoor enthusiasts may be confused when choosing the brand which will provide them with everything they need before an adventure.

We can’t blame them, though. That is because Helly Hansen and The North Face have dominated the market lately.

Helly Hansen, a Norwegian brand that specializes in water and mountain gear, has more experience than The North Face if we were to count the years they have been in the market.

On the other hand, the American company, The North Face has a wider range of products.

Today, as usual, we will be talking about each brand separately and then we will compare them to see which one would be the better choice.


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1. Helly Hansen

A Short History of the Brand

Since the age of 14, sea captain Helly Juell Hansen has been frequenting the sea. It wasn’t until he was 35 and married to Maren Margarethe that he started making different articles of clothing.

Those included trousers, oilskin jackets, sou’westers, and tarpaulins.

Over the course of 5 years, Helly Hansen and his wife sold about 10,000 of their products.

sailor wearing yellow rain jacketPin

Helly Hansen brings top-quality clothing to face the harshest weather.

This brand originated in Norway and its point of strength is the use of Scandinavian designs. These designs provide protection from the difficult climate in Scandinavia and other parts of the world.

Don’t miss:
10 Outdoor Brands like Helly Hansen that We Love
Helly Hansen Dubliner vs The North Face McMurdo Men’s Parka Compared

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Materials and Manufacture

The most notable feature of Helly Hansen’s products is the water-repellent treatments.

These play a very important part in ensuring that the equipment and the clothes are ready to be exposed to harsh weather conditions.

One of the strengths of Helly Hansen’s clothes is the use of Helly Tech®.

In a few words, Helly Tech is a fabric technology exclusively created and used by Helly Hansen.

It’s both breathable and waterproof, both of which are features present in most of Helly Hansen’s jackets and other clothing items.

We have reviewed Helly Tech here and also compared it to Gore-Tex here.

Among the other main fabrics they use, we can mention Polyester and Fleece.

Must read:
Is Helly Hansen Good for Cold Weather? (What We Think)
7 of the Best Helly Hansen Ski Jackets Reviewed

Helly Tech® Explained

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Where are Helly Hansen products made?

Helly Hansen makes its jackets and other outdoor equipment mainly in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bangladesh while sourcing its materials and fabrics from factories in Asia and Europe. (source)

Popular Designs

Now let’s see two of Helly Hansen’s popular products to see more in detail what they offer.

Helly Hansen Men’s Seven J Breathable Rain Jacket

Helly Hansen Mens Seven J Breathable Rain JacketPin
Image: hellyhansen.com
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This classic jacket is among Helly Hansen’s best sellers. Simplicity is key. You can do anything with this jacket, biking, trekking, and other various outdoor activities.

It’s waterproof and breathable, made of 100% polyester. That’s not all, the hood and cuffs are adjustable. Thus, the long sleeves could be adjusted to accommodate the length of your arm and protect you from the weather.

Seven J Jacket Review from HH Ambassador JF Plouffe

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Helly Hansen Men’s Crew Midlayer Fleece Lined Rain Jacket

Helly Hansen Mens Crew Midlayer Fleece Lined Rain JacketPin
Image: hellyhansen.com
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Although designed for sailing and other water activities, this jacket could be used for multiple purposes.

It could act as a windbreaker for motorcycle enthusiasts. It has no hood that would be flailing about during your activities.

This jacket will fit almost anyone. It’s designed to be neither too tight nor too baggy. On top of a great fit, the jacket is made with DWR-treated fabric that is waterproof.

Luke Ramsey Reviews the Crew Jacket

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Helly Hansen’s products aren’t cheap, that’s for sure. That’s what you could expect from a high-quality brand.

Most of their jackets range from $90 up to $200. Not exactly budget-friendly. Of course, there are some exceptions, some models are cheaper. But, there are not many of them.

Are Helly Hansen’s products worth the price?

In our opinion, the quality of these products definitely justifies their price. The durability and functionality make this brand worth a try, so you can see for yourself.

2. The North Face

A Short History of the Brand

In geographic terms, “The North Face” refers to the northern side of a mountain in the Northern Hemisphere or the “unforgiving side of the mountain” which is the most difficult to climb.

Don’t miss:
10 Outdoor Brands like The North Face that You’ll Love
9 American Jacket Brands for Winter and Outdoor Activities

At The North Face clothing brand, they decided that they’d do their best to help mountain climbers, skiers, and other avid explorers. Ironically enough, the beginning of The North Face was on a beach.

the north face vectiv fastpack futurelight womens hiking bootPin
Image: The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight Women’s Hiking Boot

Similar to the start-up of Helly Hansen, The North Face started when husband Douglas Tompkins and his wife Suzie Tompkins launched a climbing equipment retail store.

This was back in 1966 in San Francisco. Two years later in 1968, the store was sold to Kenneth “Hap” Klopp.

Almost 40 years later, the store was acquired by VF Corporation. This meant that the business became a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Douglas Tompkins: Wild Legacy

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Materials and Manufacture

What we really like about The North Face is its focus on sustainability. They aim to recycle as many materials as they can.

Take cotton, for example, they don’t use cotton much in manufacturing equipment and jackets. However, when they do, they make sure to source it in a way that does minimal damage to the environment.

Everybody loves The North Face’s fleece jackets, and here is why: they are made of TKA fleece, which means “thermal kinetic advancement“.

This makes their jackets, pants, and zip-ups superiorly resistant to water, wind, and other factors.

Other fabric technologies developed by The North Face are HyVent (currently known as DryVent), FlashDry, WindWall, and FUTURELIGHT™.

And then there is their famous synthetic insulation called ThermoBall, which is comparable to natural down and is done in collaboration with PrimaLoft.

Read also:
8 of the Best The North Face Down Jackets Reviewed
9 Mountaineering Jacket and Clothing Brands: Our Favorites

FUTURELIGHT: Made to Defy | The North Face

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Where are The North Face products made?

The majority of The North Face’s outdoor clothing and gear are made in Asian countries. The company also has some collections made in the USA.

Popular Designs

Let’s see what we have picked from The North Face’s products.

The North Face Borealis Backpack

The North Face Borealis BackpackPin
Image: thenorthface.com
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This backpack is great for camping, exploring, short hikes, or for school. The pack is 22cm wide and 50cm high to ensure that there is enough space for all your belongings.

In addition, there is a multitude of colors and designs for everyone’s tastes.

The large main compartment contains a laptop sleeve that will fit regular 15-inch laptops. That makes it a great choice for high school and university students.

For more space, there is a bungee net attached to the front.

The North Face Men’s Aconcagua Jacket

The North Face Mens Aconcagua JacketPin
Image: thenorthface.com
Check it out at Amazon.com (#ad)

Let us start off by saying that we personally like this design. It’s great for facing cold weather, yet fashionable and could be considered a casual jacket.

The jacket is lightweight and will warm you up nicely when temperatures are low. It also comes in a few different colors to choose from.

Aconcagua is water-resistant, not fully waterproof, so it can be used in light rain and in situations where you will not be standing in the rain for a very long time.

Must read: The North Face Original vs Fake Jacket: How To Spot It?


The North Face has a mix of affordable and expensive products.

You can find many of their clothing and outdoor gear for $50 – $100, while their most expensive products are the down jackets and the technical jackets that use fabric technologies, which can reach more than $200 – $300 in many cases.

Are The North Face’s products worth the price?

To pay $50 or a little more for a top brand’s product is definitely a good deal. This is for products like shoes or hoodies.

Their jackets are usually more expensive, as we said above, and in our opinion are worth their price as they perform impressively.

Further reading: Are The North Face Jackets Worth The Price? Why Are They So Expensive?

woman wearing a parka in snowy weatherPin

3. Which Brand is Better?

The quality of their products and especially their fabric technologies are some of the most renowned characteristics of these two brands and are raved about by their customers and outdoor enthusiasts all over the world.

We have reviewed in detail two of these technologies, DryVent and Helly Tech, in previous articles. We linked to those articles above.

If we compare The North Face’s prices to those of Helly Hansen, then The North Face definitely wins. It may be because of the variety of products that they offer, but the average is still lower than that of the Norwegian brand.

So, which one is better?

We think that The North Face wins this round. It is more budget-friendly and versatile. So you will not use their products only when skiing, hiking, or climbing, but you can use them in your everyday life too.

However, in our opinion, Helly Hansen may prove to be better for water activities, even though it has a more limited product range.

And that’s all for this comparison. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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Read next:
Helly Hansen vs Fjällräven Outdoor Gear: A Comparison
The North Face vs RAB: Which Brand is Better?


  1. Helly Hansen products that are way more expensive than the article states. They range from $55 to $1,200. A decent winter coat is no less than $300 on their website

    • I have jackets from both companies. Make me choose one over the other?

      Hands down – The Helly Hansen.

  2. I have both but will rate Helly Hansen above others for the quality and durability.

  3. Since both are self proclaimed sports wear companies, to compare the two you have to see how they compare against each other in their respective sports. For that reason, although HH is much more expensive, it is hands down the better brand because of the durability and effectiveness of their products.

    • I am a huge North Face fan and HH. I came over to the HH stuff about 5 years ago. It’s much better IMO. Their base layer stuff is fantastic and the outer wear just looks better and more sharp as well as great protection. Their down vests are so super warm and comfy. I am lucky to have the oldest HH store in America right near me and they always have huge 50% off sales. Fantastic (Newport, RI)


      • Trying to find a coat for Trevor for Christmas and what a small world that I’d come across a comment by someone I know. The article says The North Face but the general consensus in the comments says Helly Hansen and that’s what I’m going to go with.

  4. It’s like anything else – quality v. quantity. When it comes to your well being, I throw out the cost aspect. It is about quality and craftsmanship of a product. With that said, HH wins. I have had both products.

  5. I have owned NF, Spyder, and Helly Hanson. I used to be an overnight snowmaker in VT and I an avid skier. Helly is the best hands down.

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