Eddie Bauer vs Columbia: Which Brand is Better?

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Eddie Bauer vs Columbia outdoor gear comparison

Eddie Bauer and Columbia Sportswear are very popular in the world of outdoor gear, each with a rich history and a reputation for quality.

From Eddie Bauer’s pioneering spirit and the creation of America’s first down jacket to Columbia’s innovative technologies like Omni-Tech, these brands have set the standard for outdoor enthusiasts.

Here we’ll explore the century-long legacy of Eddie Bauer and the evolution of Columbia Sportswear from a small hat company to a global leader in outdoor gear.

We’ll take a closer look at some of their products, and how these companies balance innovation with sustainability.

As we compare their offerings and pricing, we’ll see how both brands have managed to provide adventurers with durable, high-performing gear at a fair cost.

In the end, you’ll have a better overall understanding of these brands so you can make an easier decision between them.

Let’s begin!


1. Eddie Bauer Outdoor Gear

History of the Brand

Eddie Bauer official website
Eddie Bauer’s official website

Eddie Bauer boasts a century-long legacy, originating in Seattle, Washington, USA in 1920. The company has gained popularity for its pioneering patented products, including the inaugural down jacket in America.

Renowned for its outdoor apparel, particularly footwear and outerwear, Eddie Bauer has earned numerous awards. Notably, it supplied equipment for significant mountaineering expeditions such as the first American ascent of Mount Everest in 1963, as well as subsequent feats like the Dhaulagiri in 1973 and the Makalu in 1980.

Emphasizing sustainability and renewable resources, the company presently operates 200+ stores across the United States, solidifying its status as a leading outdoor brand.

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Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process

Based primarily on Polyester and Nylon, their production also incorporates WeatherEdge®, a technology developed by Eddie Bauer to render the jackets and other items waterproof and breathable.

Thermafill® is another technology utilized for synthetic insulation, while StormDown is employed in select products. This involves down treated with DWR coating to enhance its resistance to moisture. Natural down is recognized as an excellent insulator, but it is vulnerable to damp conditions.

Next is Thindown, an innovative Italian fabric used by Eddie Bauer to insulate certain garments. It possesses the same loft and compressibility as natural down but is engineered to withstand adverse weather conditions.

Eddie Bauer is dedicated to sustainable design, crafting versatile, utility-focused, and enduring apparel and gear, promoting extensive use and passage through generations.

The brand prioritizes the use of low-impact materials, including recycled polyester and nylon, as well as sustainably sourced man-made cellulosic fibers, and integrates recycled packaging to minimize environmental impact.

Additionally, Eddie Bauer collaborates with organizations like American Forests to restore ecosystems and promote urban reforestation, while actively advocating for equity and inclusion within their community and industry. You can read more about Eddie Bauer’s sustainability efforts on their website.

100 Years Of Adventure | Eddie Bauer

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Eddie Bauer vs North Face (Side-by-Side Comparison)
Eddie Bauer vs Lands’ End Outdoor Gear: A Comparison

Where is Eddie Bauer’s outdoor gear made?

Eddie Bauer’s outdoor apparel and equipment are mainly produced in Asian nations, including Vietnam, China, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

Recommended Products

Eddie Bauer Men’s Superior Down Parka

Eddie Bauer Mens Superior Down Parka
Image: eddiebauer.com
Check it out at EddieBauer.com

The Eddie Bauer Men’s Superior Down Parka presents a durable solution for harsh winters. Its waterproof and breathable recycled nylon shell, featuring WeatherEdge® technology and StormRepel® Super DWR finish, effectively repels rain and snow.

With 650-fill-power premium down insulation, this parka guarantees warmth in subzero temperatures. Additionally, it includes inner rib-knit storm cuffs, secure zip pockets, an adjustable hood with removable faux fur, and an action back construction for enhanced mobility.

The relaxed fit allows for comfortable layering, making this parka a practical and cozy choice for winter weather.

Eddie Bauer Adventurer® Trail Backpack

Eddie Bauer Adventurer Trail Backpack
Image: eddiebauer.com
Check it out at EddieBauer.com

The Adventurer Trail Backpack is a versatile pack intended for various outdoor activities, ranging from short hikes to extended technical trails. Constructed with robust 70-denier shadow ripstop nylon, it is capable of enduring the demands of the trail while remaining lightweight.

With a 30L capacity, this backpack provides ample room for all essential gear. Comfort is prioritized, with the inclusion of the FreeCool® trampoline airflow back panel, offering both cushioning and ventilation to prevent overheating during high activity.

Hydration is easily managed through the pack’s hydration options, ensuring convenient access to water while on the move. For organization, the backpack incorporates a Power Mesh front pocket for storing rain gear or insulation, along with a secure top lid pocket for easily accessible items.

Additionally, practical features such as side compression straps and strategically positioned tool loops contribute to load balance, stability, and accessibility for essential gear like trekking poles or ice axes.


If you take a look at Eddie Bauer’s collections, it would be evident that the pricing falls within the moderate, accessible range.

The cost of their jackets typically begins at around $60 and can go up to $300, whereas numerous backpacks are available for less than $80. Although certain backpack styles are pricier, they seldom surpass $200. Therefore, it’s a reasonably priced brand, especially considering the quality it provides.

Are Eddie Bauer products worth the price?

For this question, we can consider the two suggested items mentioned previously. If you want something practical and adaptable, both of these options are indeed commendable due to their applicability in various scenarios, including outdoor pursuits and daily use. And they don’t cost too much!

So, for such multipurpose gear, we believe that Eddie Bauer offers reasonable pricing, making its products unquestionably worth the price you pay.

Read also: 10 Oldest Outdoor Clothing and Gear Brands

2. Columbia Outdoor Gear

History of the Brand

Columbia official website.jpg
Columbia official website

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

The brand has a rich history, founded by the family of Gert Boyle in 1938 after fleeing Germany and settling in Portland, USA. Initially known as the Columbia Hat Company, it transitioned to Columbia Sportswear Company in 1960 as it expanded its product line to include outdoor apparel.

Presently, the company is led by Tim Boyle, Gert’s son, ensuring the continuation of its legacy.

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Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process

Columbia Sportswear employs its proprietary technologies to maximize the functionality of its outdoor equipment. For instance, the Omni-Tech technology enhances the waterproof and breathable properties of Columbia’s jackets.

Additionally, the Omni-Heat Reflective technology, incorporated into some of their apparel, enables efficient heat retention and simultaneous release of excess moisture and heat.

Other noteworthy elements include the use of recycled Polyester and RDS-certified down insulation, as well as efforts to minimize the use of harmful DWR coatings.

Columbia Sportswear adheres to Gert Boyle’s perfectionist philosophy in crafting top-quality apparel with high standards. The brand offers a diverse range of reliable outdoor gear at affordable prices, presenting a commendable quality-to-price ratio.

Omni-Heat Innovation

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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 the brands under its ownership such as Sorel, prAna, and Mountain Hardwear, are predominantly manufactured in Asia, in Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, and India. (source)

Recommended Products

Columbia Men’s Whirlibird IV Interchange Jacket

Columbia Mens Whirlibird IV Interchange Jacket
Image: columbia.com
Check it out at Columbia.com

The Whirlibird IV Interchange jacket from Columbia is a highly adaptable outerwear option designed for mountain sports and activities such as skiing and snowboarding. This jacket boasts a waterproof-breathable shell and a thermal-reflective insulated liner that can be worn together or separately for optimal warmth.

It comes complete with a range of mountain-ready features including a ski pass, chest, goggles, security, and hand pockets, as well as underarm vents, an adjustable hood, powder skirt, cuffs, and hem for readiness on the slopes.

Constructed from Omni-Tech™ waterproof/breathable material with critical seam-sealing, this jacket effectively repels water. Additionally, it incorporates Omni-Heat™ thermal reflective technology to retain and reflect body heat, along with a Thermarator™ insulated liner for added warmth without bulk.

Read also: How To Wash a Columbia Jacket (Omni-Heat, Down, Fleece, Rain)

Columbia Atlas Explorer 26L Backpack

Columbia Atlas Explorer 26L Backpack
Image: columbia.com
Check it out at Columbia.com

The Atlas Explorer pack is a multi-functional piece of gear with a 26-liter capacity. It includes two primary storage sections, a front pocket organizer, dedicated laptop and tablet compartments, adjustable sternum and shoulder straps, and dual water bottle pockets.

The backpack is designed with versatile and customizable Twin Slot webbing, a padded laptop sleeve suitable for laptops up to 15 inches, a separate tablet sleeve, and front pocket organization.

It features two water bottle pockets, reflective zipper pulls, and a padded bottom panel.


When compared to many outdoor brands, Columbia Sportswear items are priced more competitively. Typically, Columbia’s coats are priced from $50 to $300, their backpacks are priced under $100, and their hiking footwear starts at around $100.

Are Columbia products worth the price?

For casual and general outdoor pursuits, we believe the brand’s items are worth it. Take their outerwear, for instance, it delivers the essential protection you require.

If you are an expert or at a higher skill level, you might want to consider a more specialized brand. However, even then, you can find a suitable item from the extensive range of products offered by Columbia.

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

3. Which is Better? Eddie Bauer or Columbia?

Both are reputable and very popular outdoor clothing brands, especially in the USA. Here are a few things to consider when choosing between them:

  • Eddie Bauer has been around longer, since 1920 compared to 1938 for Columbia. They were one of the original pioneers of outdoor clothing.
  • Columbia tends to focus more exclusively on active outdoor gear for hiking, fishing, skiing, etc. Eddie Bauer offers more casual and lifestyle clothing.
  • Quality-wise they are generally comparable. Both use technical fabrics and weatherproofing and stand up well to outdoor use. Some technologies include Columbia Omni-Tech, Columbia Omni-Heat, Eddie Bauer WeatherEdge, etc.
  • Design: Eddie Bauer clothing often has a more rugged, classic American style. Columbia tends to have a cleaner, sometimes bolder aesthetic.
  • As for prices, Eddie Bauer often runs a bit higher than Columbia on average. But sales and outlet prices can vary things.
  • Both have very good reputations for durability for the price you pay, customer service, and warranties against defects.

In the end, they are quite similar in terms of quality and function for outdoor use. Both are mid-range brands with affordable prices that get the job done for general outdoor activities and casual wear.

The differences come down to very minor stylistic and feature preferences and occasional price fluctuations. Both are solid choices for the price you pay.

Read next: 12 Best American Jackets and Outdoor Clothing Brands

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