Patagonia vs Columbia: Which Brand is Better?

Patagonia vs Columbia: Which Brand is Better?Pin

When winter is slowly ending and avid outdoors’ lovers start looking for spring garments to take with them on hikes and adventures, it’s a great time to take a look at two renowned brands that are popular choices among those who spend a lot of time out in nature.

Patagonia and Columbia are two well-known American outdoor brands, which design quality technical garments and gear for having a safe and comfortable time out in the elements.

We have extensively featured Columbia in some of our past selections and reviews, and have also looked at Patagonia. Also, both of these brands have been up against The North Face here and here in past brand comparisons.

Today it’s time to see how these two brands measure up against each other and which of the two is better. Without further ado, let’s get started.


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1. Patagonia

A short history of the brand

Founded in California in 1973, Patagonia is one of the most raved-about brands in the outdoor sports community.

It was originally part of a company that made climbing gear, which then split and one of its new branches was Patagonia, a brand for outdoor clothing.

Read also: 10 Outdoor Brands Like Patagonia That You’ll Love

As we have mentioned in other comparisons, Patagonia has made serious efforts to reduce its environmental impact, making it a popular choice not solely for the quality of its products but also for its ethics.

Why Waste It? | Powder Bowl

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Materials and Manufacture

Being a brand that takes great interest in sustainability and preserving the environment, it should come as no surprise that Patagonia’s materials are mostly sourced through recycling.

These include the majority of the fabrics the brand uses in its garments. As for the rest of the materials that cannot be recycled, they are sourced through ethical and sustainable means, which ensure that there was minimal affecting of nature and that the animals were humanely treated.

While, like many other major brands, Patagonia makes use of the Gore-Tex technology for some of its high-performance products, it mostly relies on the H2No technology that was developed by the brand itself.

We have looked at this technology before and it is one of the closest Gore-Tex alternatives due to its high quality and performance.

patagonia logo on t-shirtPin

A majority of waterproof garments are helped by DWR products that help them repel water. Oftentimes these products come with PFCs which are very harmful to the environment.

It’s for that reason that Patagonia has opted to use the Deluge® DWR coating, which is a longer-lasting product and has a considerably lesser environmental impact.

Read next: Patagonia vs Arc’teryx: Which Brand is Better?

In regards to manufacturing, Patagonia’s jackets and other products are some of the most well-made quality-wise.

Due to the jackets that are made of the H2No technology going through a 24 Killer Wash testing process, which harshly tests the fabrics’ water resistance and durability against extreme simulations, the final products launched in the market are only those that make it through.

This ensures that despite how challenging the weather is, your garment will perform flawlessly.

H2No® Our Waterproof/Breathable Testing Standard

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Popular products

For the sake of keeping things fair, we will pick one popular jacket design from each brand which are comparable to each other.

For Patagonia, we have chosen the Nano Puff jacket for men (check it out at

This is a jacket made out of 100% Recycled Polyester and insulated with PrimaLoft Gold Eco Insulation, a synthetic insulation that is mostly sourced through recycling.

It is a hoodless design, with elasticized sleeve cuffs and an adjustable hem. This is a lightweight jacket, which packs into its own pocket and is suitable for a variety of outdoor activities.

Further reading: Patagonia Nano Puff vs The North Face Thermoball: A Comparison


Patagonia is a high-end brand, which is also reflected in the price tags of its products. The Nano Puff jacket above costs more than $200 and it’s a good representative of the average Patagonia jacket.

Are these jackets worth the price?

Yes. That is if you have the money to spare and are really looking for a jacket that will last for several seasons and that performs to expectations.

We have a piece on this topic that gives a more in-depth look at why Patagonia is an expensive brand.

2. Columbia

A short history of the brand

Founded in 1938, Columbia started as a hat company and has managed to remain a family-owned business, currently run by Tim Boyle, the nephew of Columbia’s founders.

Columbia is a popular brand because it provides a wide range of prices that make it accessible to everyone.

You don’t have to spend an entire paycheck on a Columbia product, although, understandably, some products do cost quite a bit.

Read also: Columbia vs Eddie Bauer: Which Brand is Better?

Columbia Sportswear official websitePin
Columbia Sportswear’s official website

Materials and Manufacture

Much like Patagonia, Columbia has also made great strides to reduce its environmental impact and nearly 80% of its Polyester is recycled and the down insulation is RDS certified.

Fabric technologies are also part of the brand’s developed products, which include the Omni-Tech fabric technology range that comes in many options. These include the Omni-Tech, Omni-Wick, Omni-Shade and Omni-Freeze.

The OutDry technology is also part of some of the brand’s products, which came as a result of Columbia’s collaboration with OutDry.

Aside from fabric technologies, the brand has also developed several special insulations that are used mainly in Columbia jackets. These are the TurboDown and Omni-Heat Reflective.

TurboDown is a combination of down and Omni-Heat technology, which results in a highly insulating product, while Omni-Heat Reflective is a technology that can reflect body heat due to silver dots that are placed on the fabric.

As for the use of DWR products, Columbia, too, has opted for less harmful DWR coatings, which are made out of short-chain PFCs.

Popular products

The jacket we chose as a counterpart to the Nano Puff jacket by Patagonia, is the Crested Butte II jacket (check it out at, which is made of 100% ripstop nylon for the shell and lined with 100% Polyester Omni-Heat Reflective Microtex Light.

This is a jacket insulated with 80g Omni-Heat Thermal Insulation, which is 100% Polyester and makes this jacket suitable for low to mild temperatures.

It comes with elasticized sleeve cuffs and a stand-up, hoodless collar. Crested Butte II is a lightweight jacket that packs small and is a great option for outdoor activities.

Columbia Men's Crested Butte II Omni-Heat JacketPin



As we mentioned previously, Columbia is an affordable brand overall as it provides different products that are quite reasonably priced. The jacket above costs around $100, which is nearly half of what the Patagonia jacket costs.

Are these jackets worth the price?

If we were to go by reviews and online feedback, it would depend on the product of choice. Some products perform better while others perform up to par with their price tag.

That is to say that if you are looking for an affordable product that performs like a high-performance technical jacket, you may want to adjust your expectations.

Overall Columbia’s products don’t disappoint.

3. Which One Is Better?

man and woman camping wearing down jacketsPin

We won’t beat around the bush much here. Overall, all things considered, Patagonia jackets are of higher quality in their build and performance.

But, the price tag might not suit everyone and Columbia is not at all a brand to be written off. Their products are usually durable and those that are made for warmth perform really well.

We have seen several of those products in some of our past selections and reviews and were impressed with them.

Therefore, to summarize, Patagonia has the upper hand when it comes to more technical wear, while Columbia provides good insulating options and much more affordable prices.


  1. I have had my Columbia jacket for 15 plus years. There is some wear at the cuffs of the sleeves and a few stains at the sleeves,but this jacket has paid for itself time and time again. No one believes that I have had this jacket for so long. I also have several fleece jackets with no problems. I will always buy Columbia.

    • Man that’s cool to hear I’ve had mine jacket I forgot what it’s called for 7 years and still strong looking good I wanted to invest in something more warmer but Columbia will always be my to go place for jackets.

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