We are sure that you are just as much of an outdoor enthusiast as we are.
And because we are like you, we know how hard it is to make a choice between different brands of jackets and outdoor gear.
It’s challenging to pick the perfect product, but as your experience grows, the process becomes easier and quicker. At least, this is what has happened to us.
It’s for this reason that we make these comparisons between brands, to help you choose the best gear for your personal situation.
And in the same time, by doing so, we all learn about new brands, products, and technologies.
Today we will compare two popular outdoor brands, The North Face, which we have featured many times here, and Kathmandu, which makes its first appearance on our site.
Let’s try to find out which would be the better choice between the two!
A Short History of the Brand
Kathmandu was founded in 1987, in Christchurch, New Zealand. Their products include women’s and men’s footwear and clothing, for hiking, camping, mountaineering, and other outdoor activities.
They also offer outdoor gear like packs, tents, lighting solutions, etc.
Over the past 30 years, they grew to have more than 150 stores across Australia and New Zealand. There are many reasons for their increasing popularity, the main ones being their integrity and innovation.
For example, Kathmandu uses Downtek hydrophobic down in their sleeping bags and puffer jackets. This makes these products good choices for wet and humid environments, as it means they are harder to saturate with water.
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Their love of the environment and nature doesn’t just end by producing travelers’ equipment.
In 2019, they became a Certified B Corp, which makes them part of an initiative to positively impact their employees, the environment, communities, and economies.
They are also implementing sustainability plans to reduce their environmental impact.
Materials and Manufacture
The main materials used by Kathmandu are cotton, wool, polyester, and down. Most of these materials are sourced through recycling, especially polyester. Kathmandu has been recycling plastics for over 20 years.
They choose not to sacrifice the environment for quality and practicality. This is most apparent in the use of down in the manufacturing process.
Down is a natural product that comes from animals, more specifically ducks and geese. Therefore, many would think that it should not be used by a “green” brand.
However, down is an incredibly useful material when it comes to outdoor clothing and gear. It provides warmth, it’s lightweight and durable. It is said that down is the best insulator there is.
All of these characteristics are crucial to being safe while working in nature or while practicing outdoor sports and activities.
Let’s take a look at two products by Kathmandu, to have a better idea of what they offer.
Kathmandu Winterburn Men’s Longline Down Coat
The Winterburn coat is an excellent choice for cold winters. It’s filled with 550-fill-power duck down, so it is lightweight and warm.
It features a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish, making it suitable for light rain and humidity. The waist is adjustable with an elastic belt for a good fit and cold protection.
The hood is adjustable too, and the jacket has four big pockets at the front and one chest pocket on the inside.
Kathmandu Dash 20L Lightweight Backpack
The Dash 20L is light and spacious with a capacity of 20 liters. It features different pockets for valuables and water. It has enough space for a 3-liter hydration bladder.
The backpack has a removable back panel that can be used as a seat. It has chest and waist straps for comfortable carrying as well.
It is not waterproof but you can use a backpack rain cover to protect it from the rain.
Because of the wide variety of their products, Kathmandu has a wide range of prices. For jackets, the prices vary from $50 to $350, depending on the material and type of jacket. The average price is around $150.
The same goes for their backpacks, footwear, and sleeping bags.
Are Kathmandu’s Jackets and Outdoor Gear Worth the Price?
Kathmandu puts a lot of effort into its designs to be comfortable, practical, and stylish. They also use quality materials that make their products last.
So, we believe that their prices are reasonable and match the quality of the products.
2. The North Face
A Short History of the Brand
The North Face is an American outdoor brand that was established in 1966, by Douglas Tompkins. It is based in Alameda, California.
Image: The North Face Cragmont Mid DryVent Waterproof Men’s Hiking Boot
When they first started, they focused mainly on gear for climbing. In the following years, they soon started to include different clothes for traveling and outdoor activities, sports, and hobbies, such as hiking, backpacking, camping, skiing, etc.
Today, their product line doesn’t only include equipment for adventurers but also clothing for everyday use and fashion items.
Materials and Manufacture
Like Kathmandu, The North Face also aims at being responsible during its manufacturing processes and protecting the environment.
Most of their Polyester comes from recycling, and their Cotton and Down through sustainable means.
They make sure not to cause any harm to animals or the environment.
As we have mentioned before in different articles, throughout the years The North Face has developed some impressive fabric technologies and synthetic insulating materials, such as:
- DryVent, a breathable and waterproof membrane;
- WindWall, to protect from wind chill;
- FlashDry, to quickly wick moisture away from the body;
- ThermoBall, a synthetic insulation that is comparable to natural down.
They also use well-established technologies like Gore-Tex, which is very popular in the outdoor equipment industry.
Now we will take a look at two products by The North Face, similar to those by Kathmandu that we saw before.
The North Face Men’s Thermoball Hoodie
Check it out at TheNorthFace.com
This hoodie jacket uses ThermoBall insulation to keep you warm.
ThermoBall, which we mentioned above, is the brand’s attempt to create a down-like insulation that stores a great amount of heat and doesn’t lose its insulation when it gets wet. It’s done in collaboration with PrimaLoft.
This makes the jacket both warm and water-resistant, perfect for a backpacking or hiking trip in spring / autumn. It’s also lightweight and wind-resistant and with internal and external pockets.
The shell and lining are Nylon or Polyester, depending on the version (it is available in different versions, depending on where/when you buy it).
The North Face Banchee 50 Backpack
Check it out at TheNorthFace.com
Banchee is a 50-liter backpack that has over 8 pockets, making it both spacious and organized. It is a good choice for multi-day trips.
With the Dyno Lite System™, you can easily adjust the back panel, which is breathable and dries quickly thanks to the FlashDry™ technology.
With their wide variety of products, prices differ. Their average for jackets ranges from 150$ to $250.
As for equipment, it is a bit trickier because of all the different gear. The average can range anywhere from about $150 to $300.
Are The North Face’s Products Worth the Price?
Considering their quality, attention to detail, and different technologies, we would say yes, they are. Their products are durable and their jackets perform impressively.
If you want to learn more: Are “The North Face” Jackets Worth The Price? Why Are They So Expensive?
Image: The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight Women’s Hiking Boot
3. Which Brand is Better?
They are both outstanding brands. The choice would really depend on what you need and what works better for you.
The North Face‘s fabric technologies and synthetic insulations make the brand’s products versatile for different types of weather and particular demands of outdoor activities.
In their products line, there really is everything you need, from footwear to jackets to backpacks.
On the other hand, Kathmandu has a fair range of prices, if you are looking for options that are slightly more affordable and offer just the same performance in most cases.
So, which one is best?
If we were forced to choose between two products of similar performance by these two brands, we would choose the one by Kathmandu.
Why? Just for the design. We personally like Kathmandu’s designs very much. And also because you don’t see their products very often on the streets, at least here in Europe.
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That’s all for today’s comparison! What about you? Which brand would you choose? Let us know in the comments below.
Read next: The North Face vs Helly Hansen: A Comparison