11 Brands Like Patagonia to Outfit All Your Outdoor Needs in Style
When we think about companies we admire, Patagonia sits squarely at the top of that list. There are so many reasons to love the 48-year-old outdoor gear brand: It has been dedicated to using only sustainable and eco-friendly methods since its inception, it will repair or recycle any products no matter how old, it speaks out about and takes a stand on environmental legislation, it supports indigenous communities and this is all before we even get to the goods themselves. (Which, as you likely already know, are high-quality, wonderfully practical and surprisingly chic, too.) The brand sets a very high bar for comparison, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other brands like Patagonia for us to give just as much love. Here, 11 brands to know if you’re looking for more sustainably-minded outdoor gear to shop.
1. The North Face
Everyone from ‘90s hip-hop stars to professional mountaineers to walking commuters in NYC adore The North Face for its incredibly practical-yet-stylish clothing. Some pieces have become so iconic—the Nupste jacket, the yellow duffel, the Denali fleece—you don’t even need to see the logo to know immediately where they’re from. But beyond looking incredibly cool, The North Face’s products have been a trusted go-to for everything from National Geographic-sponsored Everest expeditions to Alex Honnold’s daring El Capitan climb captured in the documentary Free Solo, for more than 50 years. Prices are comparable to Patagonia, though some of the more technologically advanced pieces cost a bit more, and there are some styles that come in plus sizes (up to 3X), though we hope to see more in the coming years.
Much like REI, Backcountry sells a wide variety of brands (including most of the ones on this list), but it also has a few in-house lines—Stoic, Basin + Range and Backcountry—that are definitely worth checking out. Stoic is focused more on everyday pieces, like trendy shackets and cute jumpsuits, while the other two include more technical pieces, like rain jackets, base layers and winter parkas. Backcountry’s pieces tend to be more affordable than Patagonia, and the site has decently frequent sales for those looking to really score a deal. The site also sells everything from tents to ropes to headlamps to ski boots and loads of other gear so you can stock up on anything you might need for your outdoor adventures all in one place.
3. Columbia Sportswear
Columbia Sportwear was founded 83 years ago by a family fleeing Nazi Germany and swiftly evolved from simply making hats to making a whole range of sporting equipment and clothing. Golf, fishing and running are just some of the activities the brand designs for, in addition to hiking, camping and snow sports. The clothing tends to be more affordable than Patagonia, and sizes go up to a 2X for many items. In particular we love Columbia Sportswear’s winter and rain coats, which fit both our practical needs—keeping us warm and dry—and are cute enough and flattering for regular everyday wear.
4. Mountain Hardwear
Mountain Hardwear is actually owned by Columbia Sportswear and is more focused on just mountaineering, skiing, climbing and hiking gear. Just like Columbia, its pieces are generally more affordable than Patagonia, but definitely don’t skimp on quality. In fact, every piece comes with a limited lifetime guarantee, the “limit” referring to the practical lifetime of the equipment. The brand’s best-selling items for women are definitely its hiking pants, which fit well on a variety of body types and actually look flattering on, and midlayers you can wear both on and off the mountain. Our only gripe is that the brand has yet to introduce plus sizes.
This Canadian company is named after Archaeopteryx, one of the first known species of birds, and the logo depicts the most complete skeleton of the species ever found. It is a nod to the idea of evolution and development, and indeed Arc’teryx has been at the forefront of fabric development since the early ‘90s. It makes some of the best rain, ski and winter jackets on the market, though they don’t come cheap. That said, the brand puts a strong emphasis on building things that last, and even has a dedicated team of repair specialists who can fix wear issues no matter how long you’ve owned the piece. There is also a Used Gear section on the website that allows you to purchase refurbished products at a discount.
Marmot was originally launched in 1971 as an outdoor club as a way for founders Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley to meet other climbers. They then started sewing together their own parkas and sleeping bags and Marmot the clothing/gear brand was born. And while the brand is not as ubiquitous as The North Face or Patagonia, it has a devout following among hikers, backpackers and other mountain explorers. It produces high-quality men’s and women’s wear for rock climbing, skiing and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of, always with a mind toward sustainability and giving back. We also love that Marmot does make some styles in plus sizes, up to a 3X, though we hope the brand will continue to expand its plus offerings.
7. Outdoor Research
Founded by a nuclear physicist and mountaineer, Outdoor Research really lives up to its name and is known for its innovative and well-tested gear. The company puts a real emphasis on crafting quality pieces that will last, which is also why it has a lifetime guarantee on all its products. And while we could wax poetic about the technical achievements of the brand, one of our absolute favorite things about Outdoor Research is its commitment to inclusivity. Both the men’s and women’s lines goes up to a 3X (this may not be the case for older styles still selling on the site), and the brand recently released a sport hijab. And it’s been featuring the stories of Over 50 Outside—a hiking group for women over 50—on its Instagram account, alongside the stories of other athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.
8. Eddie Bauer
Eddie Bauer has been around for more than 100 years, so you can bet the designers know a thing or two about making quality hiking gear that lasts. In fact, the company was the first to patent a quilted goose-down insulated jacket back in 1940. In addition to clothing, most of which goes up to a size 3X, Eddie Bauer also makes tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and hiking boots, meaning you can pick up the bulk of your camping checklist all in one spot. There’s also a range of styles that work off the mountain too, including adorable plaid shackets, cozy knitwear and lots of leggings.
This 7-year-old brand first caught our attention with its original line of super-colorful, patchwork backpacks made from pieced-together deadstock, but has since ballooned into a hugely popular outdoor gear company that makes everything from rain jackets to puffers to joggers. Pretty much everything features the brand’s signature bright, color-blocked aesthetic (although there are a few less vibrant or monochrome options now too), and the vast majority of products are made from entirely repurposed, recycled or otherwise responsible materials. In fact, Cotopaxi has set a goal for itself to use only those sustainable materials for all products by 2025. It has also earned a B Corp certification for its eco-friendly practices. If you wish your outdoor gear had a bit more personality or was easier to spot from a distance, this is definitely the place to shop.
10. REI Co-op
We’d venture to say that REI is perhaps the best place to pick up outdoor gear and equipment, no matter what activity you have in mind. There you’ll find almost every other brand on this list, including lots not mentioned here (including Patagonia), so you can outfit yourself with the best of the best in one convenient place. REI also has its own in-house line that is not to be missed. REI Co-op is definitely more affordable than Patagonia, and also focuses on sustainable and eco-friendly materials, with detailed information on what exactly that means listed on each product page. Only a handful of items come in plus sizes, but we’re holding out hope that this outdoor gear favorite will start making them a regular part of its new collections.
This brand-new hiking club/clothing company was launched during the pandemic by two friends who were frustrated by the lack of practical hiking clothing that is also stylish. Allison Levy and Chelsea Rizzo share a similar mindset to Patagonia in their dedication to making every decision with purpose—the materials are eco-friendly and long lasting, their production methods are sustainable and they acknowledge and give back to environmental and indigenous groups. And they truly think about each and every detail of their products, which is why the only clothing item available at the moment (outside of a patterned bandana and cute coordinating scrunchie) is the Midlayer_01, with the promise of more phenomenal pieces come in spring 2022. That said, it’s a pretty damn good midlayer that blends function and fashion in a way that’s actually cool, and not just pink (it is, in fact, a trendy sage green). Oh, and did we mention it goes up to a size 3X?