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11 Best Outdoor Gear Brands (For Hiking Clothes)

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

The 11 best outdoor gear brands list includes a group of socially responsible companies. In addition to useful products, many of these companies made contributions during our health crisis.

The help they offer reflects their values. Their values show in the quality products they make. These companies also want to be sure we have an enjoyable hiking experience.

Best Hiking Gear Brands

Gear BrandBest For
Arc’teryxRain Coat; Quality
Black DiamondJackets
ColumbiaPants; Jackets; Shirts; Hats; Boots
KÜHLPants; Jackets; Shirts; Hats
MarmotPuffer Coat
Mountain Hardwear (owned by Columbia)Pants; Outerwear; Affordable; Stylish
Outdoor ResearchPants; Jackets; Shirts; Hats
PatagoniaPants; Down Jackets & Vests; Quality
prAna (owned by Columbia)Pants; Outerwear; Quality
SmartwoolOuterwear; Base Layers; Socks
The North FacePants; Jackets; Shirts; Hats; Boots

Arc’teryx – The Company

The Arc’teryx name and logo refer to Archaeopteryx. This was one of the first birds. The bird was a link between dinosaurs and modern birds. The logo is based on the “Berlin specimen”, a fossil of the bird, and the most complete skeleton so far.

This choice relates to the company’s vision. The company wants to make evolutionary and innovative products.

Arc’teryx credits the company’s location with much of their product quality. Located in British Vancouver, the company has access to diverse hiking environments.

Most product designs come from a need. Arc’teryx products have a reputation for quality and meeting needs. The company pays a lot of attention to details and use only the highest quality materials.

Products

Arc’teryx is one of the best hiking clothes brands. Products include:

  • Clothing
  • Packs
  • Footwear
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Caps

Values

Arc’teryx commits to:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Materials Responsibility
  • Fair Social Practices
  • Fair Labor Practices

Black Diamond – The Company

Black Diamond began with a backyard anvil and a hammer. The company grew into a global company with offices around the world. Black Diamond stands for the spirit, values, and goals of the sports we live.

Each employee loves and plays in the outdoors!

Products

Black Diamond’s hiking clothes products include:

  • Shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Rain Jackets
  • Wind Jackets

Values

Black Diamond has a firm commitment to increase diversity and improve outdoors access for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. To help this happen, the company has partnerships with:

Internally the company has a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to help promote workplace equality.

Columbia – The Company

best outdoor gear brands

Founded in 1938, Columbia Sportswear Company is a global hiking and outdoor clothing leader in:

  • Designing
  • Sourcing
  • Marketing
  • Distributing

Columbia has four hiking gear brands that include:

  • Columbia
  • Mountain Hardwear
  • SOREL
  • prAna

The brands go with each other to address the different needs of hiking customers. The company’s products have a good reputation for innovation, quality, and performance.

The Columbia Sportswear Company takes pride in connecting hiking and outdoor lovers with their passions. If you want a very good hiking brand, choose Columbia.

Products

Columbia’s outdoor clothing options include:

  • Jackets
  • Parkas
  • Vests
  • Windbreakers
  • Rainwear
  • Shirts
  • T-Shirts
  • Undershirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • Hoodies
  • Base layers
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Underwear

Values

The company values include:

  • Enjoy an active life.
  • Compete
  • Improvement
  • Culture of:
    • Honesty
    • Respect
    • Trust
  • Doing the right thing for
    • Customers
    • Workers
    • The company
    • Communities

KÜHL – The Company

KÜHL’s story began in the snow-covered peaks of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. KÜHL does not have shareholders or VC investors. The company’s success depends on customers and customer satisfaction with their products.

As a private company, KÜHL has more freedom to choose and remain true to their ethics. The company has a goal to:

  • Source responsibly.
  • Provide a higher quality of living for all involved.
  • Make the best product.
  • Limit the amount of environmental impact.

Products

When you think look at the best hiking brands, you need to consider KÜHL. KÜHL’s hiking clothes include:

  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Long and short sleeve shirts
  • Rain jackets
  • Down jackets
  • Wind jackets
  • Winter jackets
  • Long pants
  • Short pants
  • Underwear
  • Hats

Values

Every year KÜHL donates to groups that share the company’s core values to:

  • Defend human rights.
  • Preserve wilderness.

The company also commits to:

Marmot – The Company

best outdoor gear brands

In April 1971, University of California Santa Cruz students Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley were in an Alaskan icefield. They were working on a school glacier project.

On a glacier, the men had an idea for a Marmot Club. Marmot refers to a group of very social, large ground squirrels. The squirrels live in mountain areas.

20th Century Fox was filming a Clint Eastwood movie. The movie needed 108 very puffy jackets. “No problem”, said Marmot, “we were working on that when you called.” Marmot was not working on that though.

They started work right away! Within one week, the company designed the Golden Mantle (very puffy jacket). Marmot was now in the movies. It also had its biggest order in the company’s history.

Today, Marmot is the oldest Gore-Tex customer in the world’s outdoor market.

Products

Marmot has men’s, women’s, and kid’s outdoor clothes that includes:

  • Jackets
  • Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Rainwear
  • A women’s plus-size line of outdoor clothing (no men’s though and no information available about why)

Values

The Marmot company bases its values on three things:

  • People
    • Social Sustainability
    • Fair Trade
  • Product
  • Planet
    • Bluesign partner

Mountain Hardwear – The Company

Mountain Hardwear was founded in 1993. A small group of outdoor rebels saw the industry changing. The group saw product quality trade-offs.

These product quality trade-offs were made to serve less demanding outdoor lovers. Mountain Hardwear was founded to improve outdoor gear quality. The company wanted to meet the needs of experienced outdoor lovers.

best outdoor gear brands

Products

Mountain Hardwear’s clothing includes:

  • Jackets
  • Vests
  • Shells
  • Hoodies
  • Sweatshirts
  • T-Shirts
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Baselayers
  • Rainwear

Values

Mountain Hardwear makes performance clothes and gear that helps outdoor lovers to be their best.

The company values moral, sustainable manufacturing practices. The practices support the company’s values.

The company values treating people morally and fairly.

The practices include:

  • No forced labor
  • Fight child labor
  • Avoid harassment and abuse
  • Nondiscrimination
  • Fair wages and benefits
  • Fair work hours
  • Provide for worker health and safety.
  • Protect the environment.
  • Practice ethical conduct.

Mountain Hardwear works with organizations that work for treating people ethically and fairly. Organizations include:

Outdoor Research – The Company

In 1980, Ron Gregg, a dedicated mountaineer, found himself on Alaska’s highest mountain. He was in an unsafe situation.

best outdoor gear brands

His climbing partner suffered severe frostbite. Poorly designed boot covers (gaiters) caused the frostbite.

Snow pushed between the gaiter and the boot. The snow made an already nasty situation worse. His friend was airlifted to safety.

Ron began searching for a way to stop this from happening again. Ron’s idea was a better, insulated gaiter. As a result of Ron’s gaiter, Outdoor Research was born.

In 2003 a terrible tragedy happened. While skiing in a remote part of Canada, Ron, and a friend were caught and killed in a landslide. 

After several months, Ron’s heirs decided to sell Outdoor Research. Dan Nordstrom, a dedicated outdoorsman bought the company. Instead of being bought by a large company, Outdoor Research kept their tradition of being owned by a true outdoor lover.

Products

Outdoor Research offers outdoor gear that includes:

  • Jackets:
    • Hard and soft shells
    • Hoodies
    • Vests
    • Rain jackets
  • Tank tops
  • Shirts
  • Baselayers
  • Hiking pants
  • Shorts
  • Sun hats
  • Rain hats
  • Caps
  • Bug protection hats
  • Gaiters
  • Gloves

Also …

Outdoor Research converted its Seattle plant to make Personal Protective Equipment for medical workers.

The company invested in high-speed equipment and trained its workers to make:

  • Surgical Masks – up to 140,00 a day
  • N95 Masks – up to 50,000 a day
  • Fabric Face Masks – thousands a day

Values

Outdoor Research’s main value: Respect.

The company shows respect by:

  • Listening
  • Valuing workers
  • Helping hikers and outdoors lovers have fun
  • Protecting the planet we live on
  • Making better gear
  • Improving each day
  • Making beauty in function
  • Enjoying each day

For one of the best hiking gear brands, think compare Outdoor Research.

Patagonia – The Company

best outdoor gear brands

Patagonia says, “We’re in business to save our home planet.” As a company, Patagonia does what it says.

Under the leadership of former CEO Rose Macario Patagonia became more profitable, employee-friendly, and environmentally conscious.

Products

Patagonia began as a small company that made climbing tools. Now, Patagonia also has products that include:

  • Jackets
  • Vests
  • Fleece clothing
  • Sweatshirts & hoodies
  • Sweaters
  • Shirts
  • T-Shirts
  • Pants & Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Swimwear
  • Base layers
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Hats

Values

Patagonia also says, “Our Reason for Being At Patagonia: We aim to use the resources we have – our business, our investments, our voice, and our imaginations – to save life on Earth from extinction.”

This reason for being makes Patagonia one of the best outdoor gear brands for hiking clothes.

Patagonia wants to be known for these values:

  • Build the best product.
  • Repair products damaged by wear and tear … free!
  • Cause no unnecessary harm.
  • Use business to protect nature.
  • Not bound by convention

Patagonia offers employees:

  • On-site child care
  • Paid maternity and paternity leave
  • Company-paid health care and sick time
  • Free yoga
  • Access to nearby hiking trails
  • Free Bail for employee and spouse if jailed peacefully protesting for the environment
  • Activism opportunities include:
    • Fight climate change.
    • Protect public lands.
    • Keep our water pure.
    • Clean air
    • Fair trade

prAna – The Company

The word prana comes from Sanskrit. It means breath. Also, it is considered the life-giving force.

The prAna team works hard to incorporate innovative and sustainable fabrics and practices. This work improves product performance and lessens the impact on the planet.

In 1992, prAna started in a garage in Carlsbad. The first company products were yoga and climbing gear. The first pieces were sewn by the company founders.

They labeled them with tags made from homemade recycled paper. The first orders were packed in fruit boxes from local grocery stores.

Products

prAna makes products that include:

  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Joggers
  • Skorts
  • Hoodies
  • Caps

Values

During the year prAna partners with local and international charities to help make a difference. prAna helps others with a range of activities. Employees might clean up beaches in Southern California. They might send help to areas affected by natural disasters.

During the holiday season, prAna donates part of the proceeds from a select collection of items to Outdoor Outreach. This organization helps change lives. They help by engaging underserved youth in the outdoors.

prAna’ Code of Conduct addresses:

  • Forced labor
  • Child labor
  • Workers rights
  • Work hours
  • Harassment or abuse
  • Nondiscrimination
  • Freedom of association
  • Compensation
  • Ethical Conduct
  • Documentation and inspection
  • Environment:
    • Laws
    • Standards
    • Systems and procedures

Smartwool – The Company

Smartwool employs outdoor adventurers who want to share the joy of the outdoors with everyone. The company shares their joy by making clothing with Merino wool.

The company says they “exist to enable your every adventure, whether it’s taking your dog for a walk on a chilly morning or summiting an unclimbed peak in the Himalayas.”

Smartwool products include:

Products

  • Socks
  • Shirts/Tops
  • Sweaters
  • Hoodies
  • Skirts
  • Bottoms
  • Base Layers

Values

Their values include:

  • Openness with company processes and direction
  • Advocating for the outdoors
  • Action by achieving company goals
  • Inclusiveness in the outdoors
  • Fun-loving, enjoying the outdoors

Smartwool partners with many organizations. The partnerships promote:

  • Loving
  • Inclusion
  • Outdoors conservation

Some of the partners include:

The North Face – The Company

best outdoor gear brands

The North Face name comes from the coldest, most ruthless side of a mountain.

Even though The North Face helped explorers reach the tops of mountains, The North Face story starts on a beach. The beach is only 150 feet above sea level.

In 1966, two outdoor lovers chose to follow their passion. The two started a small mountain climber’s retail store.

In the beginning, the company wanted to serve all those who desired to explore. The company also wanted to help save our natural wildlands.

The North Face believes that exploring makes a lasting bond with the outdoors. The bond inspires people to protect our shared land.

The bond also encourages nature lovers to pass their beliefs from generation to generation. This belief also makes them another of the best outdoor gear brands.

Products

The North Face now has hiking and outdoor clothing that includes:

  • Jackets & vests
  • Rainwear
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Jackets
  • Hoodies
  • Sweatshirts
  • T-shirts
  • Pants
  • Shorts

Values

The North Face’s values stress:

  • Using recycled materials
  • Using responsible cotton
  • Making long-lasting products
  • Responsible chemical use
  • Partnering with Bluesign Technologies
    • Bluesign – safe cloth and fabrics for workers, buyers, and the earth
  • Environmental compliance
  • Source local, organic food when possible
  • Conserve water by:
    • landscaping with native plants
    • using efficient irrigation  
  • Following the Leave No Trace rules
  • Protecting the Arctic by support for:
  • Co-founding The Conservation Alliance along with:
    • Patagonia
    • REI
    • Kelty
      • The alliance helps protect lands and waterways for wildlife and people to enjoy.
  • Climate Change Advocacy with Ceres
  • Asking our elected U.S. leaders to support:
    • Low-carbon policies
    • Invest in a green economy

These values help make The North Face one of the best outdoor gear brands for hiking clothes.

Best Hiking Gear Brands

Gear BrandBest For
Arc’teryxRain Coat; Quality
Black DiamondJackets
ColumbiaPants; Jackets; Shirts; Hats; Boots
KÜHLPants; Jackets; Shirts; Hats
MarmotPuffer Coat
Mountain Hardwear (owned by Columbia)Pants; Outerwear; Affordable; Stylish
Outdoor ResearchPants; Jackets; Shirts; Hats
PatagoniaPants; Down Jackets & Vests; Quality
prAna (owned by Columbia)Pants; Outerwear; Quality
SmartwoolOuterwear; Base Layers; Socks
The North FacePants; Jackets; Shirts; Hats; Boots

Summary

Companies that make the best outdoor gear brands have a commitment to hiking and the outdoors. These companies do more than make useful products. They also work to help us have a better hike and an unspoiled outdoors.

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