When we talk about outdoor gear, we immediately think of two popular brands: Mountain Hardwear and Patagonia.
The first is part of Columbia Sportswear and has its headquarters in California, precisely in Richmond. It is a famous brand for outdoor clothing and was founded in 1993.
Patagonia is also a famous sportswear company, but it was founded twenty years earlier, in 1973. Today it is headquartered in Ventura, California.
Very particular is their logo, which represents Mount Fitz Roy, which is located between Chile and Argentina, in Patagonia. The characteristics of the two brands, however, do not end there and are many more.
The question we want to answer is: “Which of these two brands would you choose?” We want to give an answer with this article.
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* Note: The availability of products on this page may change at any time. Please check the materials, features, colors, and sizes on the various shops (linked on this page) before buying, because sometimes our articles may contain errors. The product images you see here are for illustration purposes.
1. Mountain Hardwear
A Short History of the Brand
The Mountain Hardwear brand was created in 1993 in California. The idea came from a group of people who had been employees of the Sierra Designs brand. The first to increase the success of Mountain Hardwear was Ed Viesturs, the first American athlete who climbed fourteen mountains of about 8000 meters.
Thanks to his successes, he was able to sponsor the brand. Precisely for this reason, the company continues to connect with Alpine athletes and their climbs.
Then in 2003, an important step occurs for the brand, because it was bought by Columbia Sportswear in 2003.
It was not until 2008, however, that the first Mountain Hardwear store opened, which took place in Portland, Oregon. In the same year, another store opened in Seattle and the brand has grown more and more.
Materials and Manufacture
Mountain Hardwear is famous for using quality materials and innovative manufacturing techniques, which allow products to exceed expectations. In addition, the clothes guarantee excellent performance for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes.
Their mountaineering clothing is very resistant and protects against low temperatures, with excellent thermal insulation. The brand continuously renews the production, improving its designs to make the athletes’ performance even better.
The parkas, jackets, and other apparel use wool, but also flannel fabrics that allow you to warm up even at the coldest temperatures.
Fleece, a very soft material that is similar to sheep’s wool and that warms, but at the same time is soft on the skin, is also present in their jackets.
The materials are durable, resistant, maintain a constant body temperature, protect from the wind, and come with advanced technology.
The RECCO® technology, an advanced rescue system, is also part of some of the brand’s gear.
As for sustainability, this is an important factor and a guide for the company’s production processes and business practices.
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Where Is Mountain Hardwear’s Outdoor Gear Made?
Mountain Hardwear’s products (along with other Columbia-owned brands) are mainly made in Asia – in China, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam.
You can learn more on this page.
We have picked two of the popular/best-selling items from Mountain Hardwear’s collection.
Mountain Hardwear Men’s Super/DS™ Stretchdown Hooded Jacket
This product is highly resistant, made of durable and practical material, but at the same time also very warm. It comes with a waterproof shell and a good stretch.
The colors available are elegant, and the jacket allows you to move easily making it great for hiking, camping, and everyday wear.
Mountain Hardwear Men’s Acadia™ Jacket
A lightweight rain jacket that is great for your hiking and camping adventures. It is made of 100% recycled Nylon and comes with an adjustable hood, two hand pockets, and pit zips.
The products of Mountain Hardwear are resistant, long-lasting, practical, and very comfortable. Their prices range between 50 and 300 USD. Overall, this is a quite pricey brand, as many of their insulated jackets can reach $300 or more for example.
Are Mountain Hardwear’s Products Worth the Price?
We like this brand’s designs and also reading the online reviews, the general consensus is that their products are of high quality and the prices are justified.
A Short History of the Brand
The Patagonia brand has been featured in many of our articles and comparisons.
It was founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard and in that same year, the first store was opened in Santa Clara.
Over the years, Patagonia has expanded its range of products more and more and in addition to making clothing for the outdoors and mountaineering, it also designs them for many other types of sports and activities.
Materials and Manufacture
Patagonia is very careful during its manufacturing processes and material selection. They use recycled materials such as recycled Polyester, Wool, and Cotton, as well as Traceable Down.
Just like the previous brand, environmental protection is one of their main focuses. For example, their Worn Wear program aims at recycling used Patagonia items by giving credit to customers for new purchases when they trade in their used gear.
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Where Is Patagonia’s Outdoor Gear Made?
The majority of Patagonia’s outdoor gear is made in Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mexico, India, Bangladesh, and other countries, with a small part being produced in the USA.
Here is an interesting article by Patagonia on where they make their products and why.
By Patagonia, we have picked:
Patagonia Men’s Nano-Air® Jacket
The Nano-Air Jacket is made for people who want to be active in alpine conditions. It’s weather-resistant, breathable, and quite stretchy, made of 100% polyester with 87% of it being recycled.
Its FullRange® insulation, also made of 100% polyester (40% recycled), offers good warmth and breathability to give you freedom of movement during outdoor activities up in the mountains.
It comes with two handwarmer pockets and a chest pocket, all of them being zippered.
Patagonia Women’s Torrentshell 3L Jacket
Patagonia’s Torrentshell Jacket for women comes with a very simple and elegant design. Its name “3L” comes from the use of the 3-layer H2No® Performance Standard technology.
This fabric technology developed by the brand makes the jacket waterproof and breathable, comfortable for all-day use.
It comes with a Microfleece-lined neck, DWR (durable water repellent) treatment, and uses recycled nylon.
Patagonia offers a wide range of products covering many outdoor activities, and the prices reflect this extensive offering varying from $30 to more than $300.
In general, this is perceived as an expensive brand by customers.
Are Patagonia’s Products Worth the Price?
For what the brand offers – quality products accompanied by good customer support – we, and many of their customers, think their products are worth it.
If you want to learn more, we’ve talked about this here: Why Is Patagonia So Expensive? Are Their Jackets Worth The Price?
3. Which Brand is Better?
The brands we are comparing in this article are of high quality and offer products that satisfy athletes and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world.
Mountain Hardwear produces clothing and gear that is more dedicated to mountaineering, while Patagonia has a wide range of clothes, which also cater to other activities.
As for prices, both are quite pricey but as we said before and also from reading customers’ feedback, both are worth it.
When it comes to technologies, both use the latest technologies on the market today, like Gore-Tex in various layers and options, with Patagonia that also uses its own technology H2No.
However, as we mentioned, Mountain Hardwear is regarded and “felt” by customers as more specialized in mountain activities – alpinism, mountaineering, skiing, etc.
On the other hand, Patagonia is more of a well-rounded brand with everything in one place, for demanding activities and also for everyday use.
So this may be a deciding factor because otherwise, the quality of the two brands is excellent.
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