Best Outdoor Clothing Brands of 2023


Article Categories: Gear
Article Tags: Clothing | Hiking Gear

The global outdoor clothing market is a billion-dollar industry that keeps growing. It’s projected to reach $47.3 billion by 2027, according to BusinessWire.

With such a vast industry, how do you ensure you’re purchasing quality technical apparel to adventure outside safely and comfortably? Below, we will break down the best outdoor clothing brands based on brand values, fit, function, activity, and sustainability.


Best Overall Outdoor Brand: Patagonia


Patagonia to outdoor apparel is like Apple to electronics. It’s been a staple in the outdoor industry since its inception in 1973 by rock climber Yvon Chouinard.

The originally California-based company, now a global brand, is known for its insulated jackets (synthetic and down), Baggie Shorts, fleece vests and sweaters, and casual outdoor attire. You can rock Patagonia on the river, in the backcountry, or at the crag. If you wear your gear hard, Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee is for you.

Plus, the brand continues to make gains toward sustainability through programs like Patagonia Action Works and Worn Wear. Worn Wear allows you to buy used and trade in your old gear to mitigate the effects of fast fashion. Patagonia is a versatile go-to outdoor clothing brand for most conditions and activities. Supporting Patagonia looks good and feels good!


Pros of Patagonia:

  • Used gear program
  • Warranty services
  • 1% for the Planet


Cons of Patagonia

  • Expensive for the product Patagonia offers


Buy On Patagonia | Amazon | REI


Best Outdoor Brand for Skiers: Norrona

Norrona Logo“In 1929, Jørgen Jørgensen, a Norwegian outdoor enthusiast, began his search for durable outdoor equipment to perform in Norway´s harsh and rugged land,” according to Norrona. “Today, four generations later, Norrøna is still a family-owned and run company.”

Who better to trust on matters of the snow than a Norwegian? Norrona is responsible for Europe’s first Gore-tex jacket in 1977. And it hasn’t looked back. Norrona creates products ideal for frigid temperatures when skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, hunting, arctic surfing, and exploring the coldest parts of the world. Norrona’s Lofoten and Lyngen collections are a testament to the fact that you can be warm, comfortable, and protected regardless of the weather conditions.

Similar to Patagonia, Norrona also donates 1% for Nature. One percent of their sales go to organizations and initiatives dedicated to the planet.

Although Norrona has a higher price tag than other brands, it’s worth the investment.


Pros of Norrona: 

  • High-quality products
  • Technical
  • Uses Gore-Tex


Cons of Norrona: 

  • Expensive
  • Niche winter wear
  • Runs large


Buy On Norrona | Backcountry


Best Outdoor Brand for Runners: Janji

Janji LogoJanji is not just a brand it’s an all-encompassing Malaysian word: Promise. It’s a promise to run, be adventurous, stay positive, and contribute to clean water initiatives.

Janji, the new Boston-based company, aims to highlight its running gear and the need for clean water. Two percent of every Janji purchase and 100% of Janji Collective membership fees go towards clean water programs. They have global partners in Kenya, Indonesia, Chile, Texas, Peru, and other countries.

And you thought this brand couldn’t get even cooler. Janji also connects with artists in different countries to create designs for their products. Each season you will see different prints on staple running pieces, like the AFO Middle Short. Janji’s products are lightweight and form-fitting. Plus, there are pockets (pockets!) for short-ish runs, so you can keep your running vest at home.


Pros of Janji: 

  • Lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking running gear
  • Unique business plan that supports the environment and local communities


Cons of Janji: 

  • Runs small
  • Limited options


Buy On Janji | REI



Best Outdoor Brand for Hikers: Arc’teryx

ARC'TERYX_logoBased in North Vancouver, Canada, and the surrounding Coast Mountains, Arc’teryx has cemented itself as an industry standard for high-quality outdoor apparel and gear for alpine and rock climbing, hiking and trekking, skiing and snowboarding, and trail running. The company is known for its flattering fit, minimal style, and Gore-Tex products.

They are one of the best brands for hikers because of its resume and history of creating waterproof shells, lightweight packs, supportive hiking boots, and durable hiking pants. One of their bomber pieces is the Beta AR Jacket that you can use all year round.

“This jacket is hundred percent waterproof and windproof,” according to a review on Arc’teryx’s website. “I was out for a couple of hours in heavy windy-rainy weather and it kept me completely dry. I love the Tecno color and the fit. I’m 1.70 and 52Kg and size small fits me perfectly with room for a mid-layer. I love it.”

While conditions in the mountains change, Arc’teryx remains a reliable outdoor clothing retailer.


Pros Arc’teryx: 

  • Reliable outdoor brand
  • High-quality technical gear for a large range of outdoor activities
  • Stylish


Cons Arc’teryx: 

  • Expensive
  • Trim fit


Buy On Arc’teryx | Amazon | REI


Best Outdoor Brand for Climbers: NW Alpine

NW Alpine LogoNW Alpine is a relatively newer company making waves on Oregon’s Pacific Coast.

“NW Alpine is founded on the simple premise that we can craft high-quality alpine apparel here in the USA where we live and play, and by doing so, elevate not only our local economy but our community too,” according to NW Alpine.

This company has a small inventory of select technical gear, but it’s made well, locally, and with the climber in mind. NW Alpine’s gear is light, functional, simple, and high quality. Some of the best technical gear for climbers to come out of this small company are the UPF 40+ Sun Hoody, Black Spider Hoody, and Volo Pants (hopefully they come back in stock soon).


Pros NW Alpine:

  • Created by climbers with the climber in mind
  • Hand-sewn in the USA


Cons NW Alpine: 

  • Small inventory
  • Hard to find in stores


Buy On NW Alpine


Best Outdoor Brand for Women: SheFly Apparel

SheFly LogoSheFly Apparel is for all the ladies getting after it in the outdoors that have to pee really badly. This up-and-coming brand out of Vermont makes only one product, the SheFly Go There Pant.

What’s so special about a pant? So many things! The SheFly Go There Pant has a patented SheFly zipper that starts below the initial fly and extends around the back of the pant. This allows you to answer nature’s call comfortably while romping outside in all conditions.

But the SheFly Go There Pant isn’t done yet. These versatile hiking pants also have five (yes, five) pockets, 4-way stretch fabric, a mid-high waist, adjustable waist ties, and straight-leg adjustable hems to perfect your fit. Plus the company offers sizes from 00 to 22. We love women supporting women and SheFly Apparel!


Pros SheFly Apparel:

  • Women-led
  • Inclusive sizing
  • Ingenious technology


Cons SheFly Apparel:

  • Few available options
  • Hard to find in stores


Buy On SheFly Apparel | Buy on Moosejaw


Best Sustainable Outdoor Brand: Houdini

Houdini-logoIn three words, Houdini is fashionable, functional, and sustainable. The Swedish company, Houdini, has made 100% of their fabrics environmentally friendly. Each Houdini product can be recycled, recyclable, renewable, biodegradable, or Bluesign certified. How do they accomplish this? Natural materials like Tencel Lyocell, clothing composts, a circular system for long-lasting products, a helpful warranty program, and several other initiatives cement Houdini as the best sustainable outdoor brand.

Additionally, the brand is functional and fashionable for all seasons. You can wear the Enfold Jacket as a mid-layer to ski, then show up to apres looking stylish and trendy. Most of their gear is versatile, flattering, and comfortable – no need to buy more clothes. Invest in one Houdini product, and you outfit yourself for multiple activities.

Houdini (not the magician) said it best, “Nature and technology are not enemies.”


Pros of Houdini: 

  • Fashionable and functional
  • Leading outdoor company in sustainable initiatives from clothing composts to 100% sustainable clothing


Cons of Houdini:

  • Expensive


Buy On Houdini | REI


Best Wool-Based Outdoor Brand: Ortovox


The German company, Ortovox, describes themselves as “wool experts.” Since 1988, this premium outdoor clothing brand has pioneered the use of sheep’s wool in layers of clothing for alpine sports, while protecting the sheep and nature that surrounds them, according to the Ortovox Wool Promise.

In addition to wool, Ortovox also focuses on mountaineering, alpinism, safety, function, and friendship. Their products, like the award-winning 3L Deep Shell Bib Pants or the Westalpen Softshell Jacket, display just how focused Ortovox is on you, the outdoors, and maintaining their company ethos. In addition to outdoor clothing, Ortovox also specializes in avalanche safety gear, like beacons, shovels, probes, and avy bags.

Compared to other brands in the outdoor clothing market, Ortovox goes above and beyond to help you feel comfortable, functional, and protected. It doesn’t hurt that the wool keeps your stench out too.


Pros of Ortovox:

  • Emphasizes safety in the backcountry
  • High-quality wool products
  • Clothing look and color blocking are unique and stylish


Cons of Ortovox:

  • Expensive
  • Slim fit


Buy On Ortovox | Amazon | REI


Best Mountain Chic Outdoor Brand: Toad&Co.

toad & co logoWhat is mountain chic? “Take the weathered, hardcore garments mountain women and men might wear on an arduous hike or working for the Forest Service then class it up a bit (dark cuffed Levi’s, t-shirt, and a flannel jacket), and voilà, you’re now in the realm of mountain casual clothing,” according to Jelt. We agree too.

Nobody does mountain chic better than Toad&Co. Toad&Co evolved in the heart of the San Juans in tucked away Telluride and has spread to other small adventure towns across the country. Each piece of clothing created by the brand pairs wonderfully with the dirt and grit of a long afternoon romping outside. Throw the Follow Through Hooded Dress over your running tights and book it to a show or grab the Scouter Cord Long Sleeve Shirt to put on after a long ride and hit the brewery. Toad&Co does a lot well, but especially their stock of corduroy pieces

Like Houdini, the brand also utilizes Tencel Lyocell in a few products, including the versatile and comfortable Chaka Wide Leg Pant.


Pros of Toad&Co.:

  • Women-led
  • Partner with local nonprofits
  • Affordable


Cons of Toad&Co.: 

  • Lower quality than other brands listed


Buy On Toad&Co. | Buy On Backcountry


Best Athleisure Outdoor Brand: Vuori

Vuori logoThanks to Covid, athleisure brands have skyrocketed in the outdoor industry. We’re not mad about it. Have you ever put on a pair of Vuori’s Sunday Performance Joggers?

Vuori evolved from the active lifestyle of Encinitas, California. Joe Kudla, the founder, wanted a versatile apparel line for men that could be worn to yoga, work out, and run errands. Since its inception in 2015, Vuori has evolved into a premium athleisure brand for both women and men.

Staples from Vuori’s DreamKnit collection, like the Halo Essential Hoodie and the Ponto Short, are literally what dreams are made of. This Vuori line is incredibly soft, comfortable, and flattering. You can rock it anywhere, anytime. Vuori is what you want to put on for a cold walk to yoga class, a long morning of surfing, or a frigid day exploring the high alpine.


Pros of Vuori:

  • Softest material we’ve ever felt
  • Attractive color palette


Cons of Vuori:

  • Expensive
  • Runs small


Buy On Vuori | REI


Best Brand with Options for Everyone: Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research logoOutdoor Research is the swiss-army knife of outdoor brands. The Seattle-based company evolved from the functional, insulated X-Gaiter created by Ron Gregg, a nuclear physicist and outdoor adventurer.

How did Outdoor Research start with gaiters and become one of the most inclusive outdoor clothing brands for affordability, sizing, and gear? The brand created products like the Helium Rain Jacket and Ferrosi pants. Outdoor Research even dabbles in mountain chic attire with flannels, fashionable work pants, and its Trail Mix series.

Outdoor Research also only manufactures in the United States.


Pros of Outdoor Research:

  • Quality for value
  • Inclusive-sizing
  • Large catalog of clothing
  • Warranty program

Cons of Outdoor Research: 

  • Quality doesn’t match other outdoor brands listed


Buy On Outdoor Research | Amazon | REI


Best Affordable Outdoor Brand: Columbia Sportswear

Columbia LogoOutdoor Research was in the business of gaiters, while Columbia Sportswear began as a hat company through the immigrant Boyle family. The present-day Columbia Sportswear in Portland, Oregon, evolved from Gert Boyle and her “Tough Mother” standards.

Columbia Sportswear is not the leading standard in quality or highly technical gear, but they are one of the most affordable options for outdoor pursuits. The company grew from hats to outdoor apparel, shoes, and accessories for hiking, fishing, winter sports, hunting, camping, and trail running.

If you’re on a budget, just beginning to explore the outdoors, or shopping for children, Columbia Sportswear is your best bang for your buck outdoor clothing brand.


Pros of Columbia:

  • Affordable products
  • Wide-selection
  • “Big and tall” sizing

Cons of Columbia: 

  • Quality


Buy On Columbia Sportswear | Amazon | REI


Best Brand for Outdoor Workwear: Carhartt

carhartt logoSince its inception in 1889, Carhartt has evolved beyond workwear and outdoor apparel. The brand is now a fashion statement and trend. But at its core, the workwear company exists “to serve and protect hardworking people.”

Pieces like the Active Jac Jacket and Duck Bib are tried and true Carhartt. The brand aims to create gear that can withstand a daily beating in harsh conditions and elements. Aside from the durability that comes from engineering like, triple-stitched seams, Carhartt clothing is simple and manufactured to fit what you need. You can purchase one product in several different styles depending on the insulation, layers, and fit you need.


Pros of Carhartt:

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Inclusive-sizing

Cons of Carhartt:

  • Bulky
  • Hard to find in stores


Buy On Carhartt | Amazon | Dick’s Sporting Goods


Other Top Outdoor Brands



Did you know Kühl, the Salt Lake City company, is one of the only remaining privately owned and independent companies in the outdoor space? The outdoor brand, like Columbia Sportswear, began as a hat company that transitioned into outdoor clothing based on a love of skiing.

The company is now a leading player in outdoor pants. Kühl offers options for hiking, working, climbing, and traveling. Check out the men’s Radikl or women’s Freeflex Roll-Up Pant. The outdoor clothing brand also produces jackets, bags, packs, and art.

What’s cooler than wearing Kühl?


Pros of Kühl: 

  • Durability
  • Inclusive-sizing
  • Value

Cons of Kühl:

  • Style


Buy On Kühl | Backcountry | REI


Mountain Hardwear

Established in 1993 out of Richmond, California, Mountain Hardwear was created for the 8,000-meter climbers, weekend day-hikers, and anyone else in-between.

Mountain Hardwear creates clothes and gear for expeditions, rock climbing, alpine pursuits, and winter sports. In addition to technical clothing, the outdoor brand produces tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags.

One of its bestsellers is the Ghost Whisper 2 Hoody. It’s an 800-fill down jacket with a hood, recycled face and trim fabric, and Responsible Down Standard insulation.


Pros of Mountain Hardwear: 

  • Responsibly Sourced Down
  • Quality is improving
  • Gore-Tex shells

Cons of Mountain Hardwear: 

  • Durability
  • Adjustability in products


Buy On Mountain Hardwear | Amazon | REI



“Our story began in 1981 in the attic of a small, terraced house in Sheffield where Rab Carrington made the first sleeping bag to bear his name,” according to Rab’s website.

From sleeping bags, Rab has evolved into a leading outdoor clothing brand. The company makes premium apparel for mountaineering, climbing, trekking, running, skiing, and specialist expeditions. Rab’s Khroma ski series features products that are extremely lightweight with Matrix stretch and Proflex waterproof technology with fluorocarbon-free DWR. The line offers bibs, hardshell pants, insulated jackets, and more.

Although they offer high-quality, technical gear, Rab also provides mid-range products that are just as reliable outside.


Pros of Rab:

  • Sustainability initiatives
  • Down Jackets
  • Lightweight products

Cons of Rab:

  • Hard to find in the United States


Buy On Rab | Backcountry | REI



It all started with an ice axe in 1938. From there, the Seattle-based company, REI, evolved into one of the largest outdoor wear and gear distributors in the United States with over 20 million lifetime members. Raise your hand if you’ve received the REI membership spiel!

As REI grew, it created its own outdoor brand built on community, sustainability, and the outdoors. In 2014, the co-op introduced a wide selection of clothing geared towards camping, hiking, climbing, cycling, water sports, running, fitness activities, winter sports, traveling, and kid’s outdoor apparel. REI adopted technologies like PrimaLoft, Gore-Tex, and Pertex with affordable price tags.

REI does it all.


Pros of REI:

  • Affordable
  • Used Gear Program
  • Membership Program
  • Warrant Program

Cons of REI: 

  • Quality lacks compared to other technical brands
  • Monopolizes the distributor market


Buy On REI



Backcountry is another company that seemingly does it all. Not only can you purchase just about every major outdoor brand on their site, Backcountry is creating some of their own pretty awesome clothing and gear. From hiking and camping gear, to skiing gear, biking gear, climbing gear, all the way to clothing for both men and women.


Pros of Backcountry:

  • Can get just about anything you need from top brands and their own brands
  • They have quality fast shipping
  • Quality discounts at certain times of the year
  • Solid customer service

Cons of Backcountry: 

  • They often charge for returns – so purchasing clothing can be tough


Buy On Backcountry


The North Face

Last but not least, The North Face (TNF) has been a major player in the outdoor space since 1966 in California. It’s landed some of the most influential players in mountaineering and climbing, like Alex Honnold, Hilaree Nelson, Jimmy Chin, and Conrad Anker.

TNF built itself on daring mountain exploration and adventure. What’s crucial in summiting the highest peaks and embarking on first ascents? The proper and safe apparel. This is how The North Face evolved into a leading clothing brand in the outdoor market.

The brand is known for its premium Summit Series for challenging pursuits outside. The Summit Series is also decked out in The North Face’s newer waterproofing technology, FutureLight. FutureLight is breathable, light, waterproof, and a formidable opponent to Gore-Tex, the industry standard.

Like Carharrt, The North Face is also creating a name for itself in streetwear and high fashion. Like its athletes, The North Face can seemingly do it all.


Pros of The North Face: 

  • Lifetime warranty
  • High-quality technical gear for demanding mountain pursuits

Cons of The North Face: 

  • Lack of options for everyday pursuits and outdoor activities


Buy On The North Face | Amazon | REI

Madeleine Balestrier
Madeleine Balestrier

Madeleine is a freelance writer and social media manager in the outdoor, gear, and travel space. She loves being buried in the snow, running single-track, and eating gummies next to high alpine lakes. When she’s not writing or traveling, you can find Madeleine in Telluride, Colorado romping around in the San Juans.