Columbia vs Jack Wolfskin: Which is Better for Outdoor Gear?

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Columbia vs Jack Wolfskin Outdoor Gear comparison

When it comes to quality outdoor gear, two brands immediately come to mind: Columbia and Jack Wolfskin.

Columbia is an American brand that is more popular in the USA, while the German, Jack Wolfskin is more famous in Europe.

For decades, these companies have been outfitting hikers, campers, and adventurers with apparel and equipment to tackle any terrain or climate.

In today’s article, we’ll answer this simple question: which is better for your outdoor needs, Columbia or Jack Wolfskin?

We’ll take an in-depth look at both across several key criteria. From their histories and materials to their main products and prices, we’ll break down the characteristics of each.

In the end, you’ll have a clearer idea about which of the two you should choose.

Let’s begin!

Key Takeaways:

  • Columbia is a famous American outdoor gear brand founded in 1937 with a wide range of clothing and gear for various outdoor activities.
  • Columbia uses proprietary technologies (Omni-Tech, Omni-Heat Reflective, etc.) to enhance the functionality of its products. It uses some recycled materials. It uses natural and synthetic materials.
  • Columbia’s prices are generally affordable.
  • Columbia and its controlled companies produce mainly in Asia, with some products made in the USA and Europe.
  • Jack Wolfskin is a German brand founded in 1981 offering a wide range of products.
  • Jack Wolfskin uses its own technologies (Texapore, etc.) and those from other brands (PrimaLoft). It has a strong commitment to sustainability and uses recycled materials. It uses natural and synthetic materials.
  • Jack Wolfskin’s prices are usually affordable, but slightly more expensive than those of Columbia.
  • Decision: both brands offer similar pricing and range of products. The choice will come down to design, style, and brand history, with a slight nod to Columbia based on its longer history and larger brand recognition.


1. Columbia Outdoor Gear

History of the Brand

Columbia official website.jpg
Columbia official website

Columbia is a renowned outdoor gear brand that provides a wide range of clothing suitable for various outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, backpacking, skiing, fishing, etc.

Established in 1937 by the family of Gert Boyle, who settled in Portland, USA after fleeing Germany, the brand has undergone several ownership changes before being led by Tim Boyle, Gert’s son, today.

Initially known as the Columbia Hat Company in 1938, the company later rebranded to Columbia Sportswear Company in 1960 to better align with its expanded product line of outdoor apparel.

Don’t miss: 10 Brands like Columbia Sportswear: Our Top Alternatives

Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process

Columbia Sportswear incorporates proprietary technologies to enhance the functionality of its outdoor gear. For instance, the Omni-Tech technology provides waterproofness and breathability to Columbia’s jackets.

Additionally, the Omni-Heat Reflective technology facilitates efficient warmth retention and simultaneous release of excess moisture and heat in their apparel.

The company also utilizes recycled Polyester and RDS-certified down insulation, while striving to minimize the use of harmful DWR coatings.

Columbia Sportswear adheres to the perfectionist philosophy of Gert Boyle, ensuring the production of high-quality apparel. The brand is known for offering a diverse range of reliable outdoor gear at affordable prices, reflecting a commendable quality-to-price ratio.

Omni-Heat Innovation

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Read also: Patagonia vs Columbia: Which Brand Offers the Best Outdoor Gear?

Where is Columbia outdoor gear made?

Columbia continues to manufacture outdoor equipment in the United States and Europe, but the majority of its products, including its owned brands such as Sorel, prAna, and Mountain Hardwear, are produced in Asian countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, and India. (source)

Recommended Products

Columbia Men’s Whirlibird IV Interchange Jacket

Columbia Mens Whirlibird IV Interchange Jacket
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Columbia’s Whirlibird IV Interchange jacket is a highly versatile piece of outerwear suitable for a range of mountain activities such as skiing and snowboarding. It boasts a waterproof and breathable shell and an insulated liner with thermal-reflective properties, offering the flexibility to be worn separately or together for optimal warmth.

The jacket comes with a variety of mountain-specific features including multiple pockets, underarm vents, adjustable hood, powder skirt, cuffs, and hem, ensuring both comfort and readiness for mountain conditions.

Crafted from Omni-Tech™ waterproof/breathable material and featuring critically sealed seams, it effectively prevents water penetration.

Additionally, its Omni-Heat™ thermal reflective technology helps to retain body heat, while the Thermarator™ insulated liner provides extra warmth without bulk. This jacket perfectly combines fashion, comfort, and versatility.

Columbia Atlas Explorer 26L Backpack

Columbia Atlas Explorer 26L Backpack
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The Atlas Explorer backpack is a multi-functional and spacious bag suitable for different needs. With a 26-liter capacity, it includes two primary storage sections, a front pocket organizer, dedicated compartments for a laptop and a tablet, adjustable sternum and shoulder straps, and dual water bottle pockets.

Additionally, it is designed with Twin Slot webbing for adaptability, a cushioned sleeve for laptops up to 15 inches, a distinct tablet sleeve, and front pocket organization. The backpack also features reflective zipper pulls, two water bottle pockets, and a padded bottom panel and top haul handle.


In contrast to other similar outdoor brands, Columbia Sportswear items are priced more competitively. Columbia’s jackets are priced from $50 to $300, their backpacks are priced below $100, and their hiking shoes have a starting price of approximately $100.

Are Columbia products worth the price?

For outdoor activities, we believe the brand’s gear is worth it. Their outerwear, for example, offers the essential protection required. If you are an expert or at a higher skill level, you may want to consider a more technical brand. But, even then, you can find a suitable item from Columbia’s extensive product range.

Must read: 8 Best Sustainable Outdoor Clothing Brands: Our Top Picks

2. Jack Wolfskin Outdoor Gear

History of the Brand

Jack Wolfskin official website
Jack Wolfskin official website

Jack Wolfskin, a well-known German brand founded by Ulrich Dausien in 1981 in Frankfurt, has become one of the leading outdoor brands in Germany, with a wide range of products.

The company is now based in Idstein, Germany, and has gained popularity not only in Europe but also in other countries. Jack Wolfskin offers a diverse range of outdoor equipment, including clothing, footwear, sleeping bags, backpacks, and tents.

The brand has a strong commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, making it a commendable example of a responsible business. Its products are favored by those seeking quality casual wear and exceptional outdoor gear.

Don’t miss: 9 German Jackets and Outdoor Clothing Brands that You’ll Love

Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process

Jack Wolfskin, a brand known for its environmental consciousness, incorporates recycled polyester into its outdoor products whenever possible.

The company also utilizes a range of natural and synthetic materials for insulation, such as RDS-certified Natural Down, Microguard (synthetic), PrimaLoft (synthetic), and Fibercloud (synthetic), to ensure appropriate insulation options for clothing.

Additionally, Jack Wolfskin employs Texapore fabric technology in its coats and sportswear, providing windproof, breathable, waterproof, water-resistant, and snow-friendly properties.

Texapore is available in various options and protection levels to accommodate diverse activities.


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Read also: Jack Wolfskin vs The North Face Outdoor Gear: A Comparison

Where is Jack Wolfskin’s outdoor gear made?

Jack Wolfskin’s outdoor gear is manufactured across both Europe and Asia, with production facilities situated in various Asian countries such as China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and South Korea, as well as in Germany, Slovenia, Turkey, and Italy within Europe. The sourcing of their raw materials happens in Europe, the United States, and Asia. (source)

Recommended Products

Jack Wolfskin Troposphere Men’s Insulated Jacket

Jack Wolfskin Troposphere Mens Insulated Jacket
Check it out at

The Troposphere jacket by Jack Wolfskin is a versatile and functional insulated hardshell made of Texapore Pro fabric, providing excellent protection from the elements while allowing for breathability and mobility.

It uses PrimaLoft Black Rise insulation to keep you warm in cold conditions and is equipped with multiple pockets for convenient storage.

Additionally, the jacket is constructed with a focus on environmental sustainability through the use of recycled materials. It’s great for various outdoor activities in cold and wet weather.

Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 50+5 Women’s Trekking Pack

Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 50 5 Womens Trekking Pack
Check it out at

The Highland Trail 50+5 Backpack is specifically crafted for the female physique, providing an ergonomic fit and tailored features. Boasting a 50+5 liter capacity, it offers ample storage for extended outdoor excursions.

The pack incorporates a height-adjustable X-Transition back system, ensuring exceptional comfort, efficient ventilation, and optimized load transfer to facilitate the carriage of heavy loads. Its dual access to the main compartment enables flexible packing and gear retrieval from both the top and front zipper.

Additionally, the lid pocket is equipped with an extended zipper for quick access to items. The front features a generously sized elasticated mesh pocket, ideal for stowing a jacket. The waist belt includes a pocket for holding a water bottle, while the pack is also compatible with a hydration bladder.

Notably, the pack is constructed from recycled materials, embodying sustainability as a PFC-free and bluesign-certified trekking pack.


Jack Wolfskin offers a wide range of products at affordable prices, catering to budget-conscious outdoor enthusiasts. However, it’s important to note that while some items are budget-friendly, others can be expensive, especially the most technical ones.

Jack Wolfskin jackets range from $60 to $500, backpacks from $50 to $400, and shoes from $60 to $230.

Are Jack Wolfskin products worth the price?

We think that the value of their products justifies the price. Jack Wolfskin is a reliable choice for those seeking top-notch gear at a reasonable quality-to-price ratio, as they’re famous for using premium materials and innovative technology.

Must read: 9 High-End, Expensive Hiking Brands for Clothing and Footwear

3. Which is Better? Columbia or Jack Wolfskin?

Both Columbia and Jack Wolfskin offer similar pricing and a wide range of products, with options for every type of customer.

Both brands have developed their own fabric technologies and use natural and synthetic materials for insulation. They are both popular worldwide and have production facilities in Asia, Europe, and the USA.

When it comes to performance and prices, there is no clear winner between the two brands, and the choice will depend on the specific products and their features.

Jack Wolfskin is a bit more expensive though, depending on the design.

In the end, this time we have a draw and the decision between the two brands would likely come down to design, style, and brand history. We’d give a slight nod to Columbia based on its longer history and larger brand recognition. But, in general, the differences would be minor.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Read next: Columbia vs Helly Hansen: Which Brand is Better?

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