PDA

View Full Version : The North Face vs. Patagonia


wholetone
09-29-2012, 11:17 PM
I have a lot of The North Face stuff and some Patagonia. What I'm finding out is that quality wise, the Patagonia is better top to bottom (including their shoes) vs. what The North Face puts out (TNF jackets are usually top notch, but their fleece leaves a lot to be desired)... other opinions? TNF's workout stuff is better, though, and the sizing is more generous. But Patagonia makes the better fleece IMHO.

kirkw
09-29-2012, 11:21 PM
I prefer the pat stuff as well. I fished a set of their waders a couple years ago, top shelf. North face was really good till all the urban folks wanted to look like they climb mountains. Now it's a status symbol.

wholetone
09-29-2012, 11:28 PM
I prefer the pat stuff as well. I fished a set of their waders a couple years ago, top shelf. North face was really good till all the urban folks wanted to look like they climb mountains. Now it's a status symbol.

I usually drive a couple of times a year over the mountain to visit the outlet store outside of Reno. You can sometimes get some awesome deals.

As I said, TNF jackets are good, though - I have a couple I wear here in the fall, and a 3-in-1 winter coat that's great for subzero temperatures, although it sits in my closet as I'm not up in the Sierras that much - in fact, last time I wore it was late 2009 in Iowa after my mother died.

Joe Robinson
09-29-2012, 11:44 PM
There are two very different forces driving TNF vs. Patagonia. The North Face is part of the same company that own Lee Jeans, publicly traded, I believe, so you know, pressure to move product and cut cost. That being said, their stuff is still solid, but not on the same level as Patagonia.

Patagonia is still essentially a single proprietorship. Yvon Chouinard is the driving force. I support Patagonia as a great business, great product and a California business that is local to me.

That being said, TNF makes tents and Sleeping Bags, and Patagonia is essentially a clothing/surfboard manufacturer

There are those how say that Arcteryx is the way to go, but my Patagonia stuff just works. I've been through a lot of really bad weather in Patagonia stuff. Better than my experience is my friend who runs snow removal and snow making at Mammoth Mountain. They change the company clothing lines a lot. His take is that the Patagonia gear was the best they every had.

I could care less about the image of that stuff, but the TNF logo does get all over the place on their garments. So I'm guess I'm a Patagoniac.

joemilitello
09-29-2012, 11:45 PM
We here in the northern rockies call patagonia, "Patagucci."

Their stuff is ridiculously expensive.

Buy two North Face jackets, pocket the difference between the cost of a Patagonia jacket and take it to the bank.

This from a guy who snowboards 50 days a year, kayaks another 20, and goes backcountry camping in grizzly country.

Joe Robinson
09-29-2012, 11:49 PM
We here in the northern rockies call patagonia, "Patagucci."

Their stuff is ridiculously expensive.

Buy two North Face jackets, pocket the difference between the cost of a Patagonia jacket and take it to the bank.

This from a guy who snowboards 50 days a year, kayaks another 20, and goes backcountry camping in grizzly country.

I get what you are saying. I should add that I don't buy my gear, whomsoever makes it, without it going on markdown. If you really want some sticker shock check the Arcteryx stuff out! To rich for my blood even when it's on sale.

hop
09-29-2012, 11:55 PM
Unfortunately for me, the Patagonia Ironclad Guarantee doesn't apply to surfboards. I did this today. :(

I was always more of a Patagucci fan than TNF.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/576432_10152135161890307_1274810767_n.jpg

wholetone
09-30-2012, 12:15 AM
We here in the even northerner rockies don't really see much North Face of quality anymore. They make a lot of junk (or at least their brand's on it) that is sold in the big chain sporting goods stores. I did buy a pair of their "summer sneakers" and they've been the best looking, most comfortable pair of outdoor shoes I've ever owned. they didn't hold up exceptionally well, but I've put some good miles of use well beyond what they were designed for.

Patagonia is a company I like, and I've always been tempted to go with that brand when looking for something specific, and of quality, but I'm afraid I'm not in the PataGucci tax bracket.

I agree that TNF is not as durable as it used to be. Especially the fleece... its good for about one season and that's it. I'd rather pay the price difference and get the Patagonia which lasts a lot longer.

PAF
09-30-2012, 01:03 AM
http://gentlemint.com/media/images/2012/03/02/b9795cc4.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg

Schroedinger
09-30-2012, 07:15 AM
I dont own either of their shoes. For technical outerwear, pretty much anything made with GoreTex is going to be made to the same standards; they have tight controls on their licensed manufacturers. For fleeces, soft shells and the like, I think they're all about the same. I buy what fits. Probably my most versatile item of clothing is a Marmot down vest.

shakeshakeshake
09-30-2012, 08:20 AM
I think its all pretty nice stuff and all the stuff Ive had from those companies has held up very well over the years, arcteryx stuff seems to be the trendiest and most expensive out of all the outdoorsy stuff-


I like marmot too, and theres a company called Bergans that makes really nice stuff but its out of norway and has really limited distribution in the US, never had any problems with columbia stuff either

lunchbox
09-30-2012, 08:40 AM
Mountain Hardware for me. I want to like Patagonia stuff, but there is something about it that I don't gel with. I think North Face still makes quality gear, but I hate wearing what everyone else is wearing. I own a bunch of MH stuff and love it. It is durable, comfortable, very high quality and even looks stylish for us "urban" wearers.

cratz2
09-30-2012, 08:41 AM
It's hard to say 'no' to money... When the trend factor sets in, profits go up and quality almost always goes down. This is the story of The North Face.

They were solid for a long time but when 80% of your demographic is soccer moms and business men that don't ever walk in mud, your quality is absolutely going to decline.

joemesser
09-30-2012, 12:44 PM
I absolutely love patagonia stuff, it rules. The quality is very high. It is expensive but I usually hit their website for the end of season sales and get everything 50% off or more. Works for me!

campfirehero
09-30-2012, 02:23 PM
http://gentlemint.com/media/images/2012/03/02/b9795cc4.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg

Haha, good one!

NHDave
09-30-2012, 02:31 PM
I like north face stuff, but the two things I owned (runner
type shirts), the neck zipper areas gave way, one was returned
for repair and that gave away too... won't buy again.

never had a problem with nike, under armour stuff...

Hwoltage
09-30-2012, 02:43 PM
I like REI's stuff. Years ago I bought a quick dry kayaking shirt at the outlet store. That shirt should be completely wrecked yet it still looks brand new. Not faded, the silkscreen is still intact and it hasn't popped a single stitch or thread. It seems odd to be raving about a shirt but they make great stuff. IN fact I was almost mugged by two tweekers for the damn thing at a boat launch and had to run em off with a Kryptonite bike lock, I mean it's a REALLY nice shirt. lol

Porrig
09-30-2012, 03:45 PM
My experience: In the 1980's through to the mid 1990's I did a lot of mountaineering in the European and Japanese alps, along with a lot of activities in the Scottish and N. Irish mountains. North Face products were the 'go to' then and I never had a problem, even in close to shit conditions. I've used them ever since as a reference brand and find it hard to beat for the price/features.

BLacktocomm
10-01-2012, 06:29 PM
I go with Stoic brand from Backcountry.com. They have a lifetime warranty like the Patagucci stuff does, but cost 1/4 as much. If you want to look awesome on the mountain go with Norrona, it is like boutique outdoor gear. I think Patagucci and North Face are both kind of losing it, where the big new thing are upstart brands and small market makers for dirtbaggers and ski bums alike.

78deluxe
10-02-2012, 08:55 AM
My experience: In the 1980's through to the mid 1990's I did a lot of mountaineering in the European and Japanese alps, along with a lot of activities in the Scottish and N. Irish mountains. North Face products were the 'go to' then and I never had a problem, even in close to shit conditions. I've used them ever since as a reference brand and find it hard to beat for the price/features.

TNF is a completely different company than it was in the 80-90s now. Quality is quite different too.

I'd have to look up dates, but I think it was around late 90s they sold the company and mass production started.

B Vance
10-02-2012, 10:01 AM
I have seen several people complaining about the prices of some manufacturers, namely Arc'Teryx, Noorona and Patagonia. The durability and performance of a piece of outdoor apparel is largely dependent upon the quality of the fabric, as well as the ergonomics of the design and the method of manufacturing (sealing tape, stitching, coatings etc.)

Most of these fabrics are expensive. For instance, GoreTex is extremely expensive - you can expect to spend about $20-$50 a yard depending on the level of GoreTex fabric you are purchasing. So, right off the bat, the actual raw material, which is crucial to the performance of the item is expensive and Patagonia uses the best, commercially available Gore fabric (Arc'Teryx often uses fabric that is commercially unavailable which is why it is a bit more expensive yet). Generally these pieces of clothing, especially shell jackets and coats take multiple yards of the fabric.

Another factor that impacts performance is the ergonomic design of the piece. In order to get a piece of clothing to fit the human body it requires fabric to be cut. Generally, the more cuts, the more ergonomic. This causes an issues with outerwear, because cuts reduce the integrity of the fabric due to seaming which allows the elements in and warmth out. To solve this problem, companies like Patagonia and Arc'Teryx use seal tape. Seal tape is expensive and difficult to apply. So, a more ergonomic coat requires more cuts, and therefore more seal tape and more time. Arc'Teryx, Noorona and Patagonia are often designed to maximize motion and elminiate interference, which requires an ergonomic cut.

Like most things, there are trade offs and they impact price. Economies of scale are at play here too. Companies with larger product lines are able to spread out their fixed costs over multiple products while smaller, more focused companies don't have that luxury.

I'm an owner of several pieces of Arc'Teryx gear and I can say that it has outperformed all other similar pieces of gear that I've had. I have also been extremely pleased with the Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear items that I have or that I've had. Is it worth the price, that's for you to decide I suppose.

B Vance
10-02-2012, 10:02 AM
TNF is a completely different company than it was in the 80-90s now. Quality is quite different too.

I'd have to look up dates, but I think it was around late 90s they sold the company and mass production started.

This is correct. Mountain Hardwear was started by some of the original founders of The North Face after The North Face started moving in a direction that they were uncomfortable with. Mountain Hardwear has since been purchased by Columbia ironically enough.

The Golden Boy
10-02-2012, 10:41 AM
Although it may not be considered in the same league as the other brands here- I've had good luck with Columbia stuff. Both the apparel and the customer service.

Granted, I don't do technical outdoorsy stuff- I just live in Wisconsin.


I got a really cool The North Face backpack. I really dig it.

JRC4558Dude
10-02-2012, 11:05 AM
http://gentlemint.com/media/images/2012/03/02/b9795cc4.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg

For pete's sake. I just bought a North Face jacket last week, and there's already some dudez on the internet making fun of me? :D

I don't climb mountains, or wrestle grizzly bears. I bought it to wear as a fall jacket, so I won't be cold when my four-year old daughter drags me to the park in October. Is that OK? Sheesh!

doublee
10-02-2012, 11:14 AM
FWIW my brother was The North Face designer back in the day....

cardamonfrost
10-02-2012, 11:26 AM
The environmental mandate from Patagonia is enough to make me buy it over NF. If that is not a concern, then I would seriously look at Sierra Designs too. My most used piece of outterwear is a SD jacket.

C

smiert spionam
10-02-2012, 11:36 AM
I've been wearing GoreTex and fleece practically since the first generation (teal REI parkas, anyone? Perhaps with some lovely fuschia pants to match?). TNF is indeed more a fashion brand now than it once was, but they still make plenty of good stuff, as do Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, and others. I'd agree that Patagucci is often a bit better, and Arc'Teryx is the best I've ever seen. My wife stumbled across a great closeout deal on an Arc'Teryx shell that is absolutely amazing. It's been stress-tested by her, and was really in a class above. Given that she is very slim and gets chilled easily, keeping her warm and dry is very high on my priority list when we're out in the muck. We don't do anything technical, but several miles deep on a hike around a glacier, dry is nice.

tele_phil
10-02-2012, 12:35 PM
I have a bunch of Patagonia clothing that has taken years of abuse. It's well made stuff and well worth the price - when you can find it on sale. TNF quality has gone down hill over the years.

Oakvillain
10-02-2012, 06:22 PM
Mountain equipment coop gets my $$. Great stuff at a fraction. NF and Patagonia way above my price point.

sharpshooter
10-02-2012, 06:35 PM
Sure not "technical", but Filson and Barbour completly blow away most anything else.
You'll never experience "warm", untill you wear a Filson.
You'll never experience "dry", untill you wear a Barbour.

Both made using real wool and cotton,,not plastic.

oxtone
10-02-2012, 06:59 PM
I've used the same The North Face winter jacket for many years, through MN winters (not last year, which was very mild). It's held up great all these years, and I call it "The Sauna", because it's so dang warm in below-zero temps! It's also very light - I have the 700 FPSI one. Love it.

Have never heard of Patagonia, either, but will check it out.

Lution
10-03-2012, 12:18 PM
Any experience/views on Marmot gear?

m@2
10-03-2012, 12:33 PM
i have a Marmot that is well made. all the mentioned brands are good and pricey. I tend to buy at the once a year REI sales, usually 40-50% off so that helps take the sticker shock away

Lution
10-03-2012, 12:51 PM
i have a Marmot that is well made. all the mentioned brands are good and pricey. I tend to buy at the once a year REI sales, usually 40-50% off so that helps take the sticker shock away

When does that sale usually occur?

NicDoak
10-03-2012, 01:04 PM
I prefer Patagonia over Northface for sure. But then I prefer Icebreaker wool and Arc'teryx over either of them. My closet is pretty much an outdoors store.

Take a look at a $1000 Arc'teryx jacket, or $500 raincoat and tell me Patagonia is pricy.

I also hike every week and peak bag, so i easily justify it all to myself!;)