Fjällräven vs Columbia Outdoor Gear (A Comparison)

Fjallraven vs Columbia Outdoor Gear Comparison

Fjällräven and Columbia are two outdoor brands known for jackets, backpacks, and other essential gear.

Fjällräven is a Swedish company famous for its durable Kånken backpacks, Greenland, and Expedition jackets, while the American, Columbia, offers a wide range of products at affordable prices.

Today, we’ll compare the main characteristics of these two brands, including their products, materials, styles, pricing, and more.

Learning these differences will help you decide which brand’s gear is best for your next adventure, whether you’re an expert hiker tackling long trails or just enjoying casual wear in your city.

Contents:

1. Fjällräven Outdoor Gear

History of the Brand

Fjallraven official website
Fjällräven official website

Fjällräven, a company from Sweden, takes its name from the Arctic Fox, which is also elegantly depicted in its logo.

The brand was founded in 1960 by Åke Nordin, an enthusiast hiker who aimed to create a backpack capable of carrying heavier loads without causing strain on the spine. Nordin successfully realized his vision and began selling it locally.

Recognizing the demand for lightweight and supportive backpacks, he established Fjällräven to address the market gap.

In the 1970s, the company introduced the Kånken backpack to alleviate back issues among Swedish schoolchildren, stemming from the absence of suitable backpacks for carrying books. Today, the Kånken backpack is a popular product, serving not only schoolchildren but also as a fashionable daily accessory.

Over time, Fjällräven has introduced numerous other products for outdoor pursuits, including insulated jackets, waxed jackets, trekking backpacks, hiking pants, sleeping bags, and camping tents, offering a comprehensive selection for outdoor adventures.

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Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process

Fjällräven has built a reputation for crafting durable outerwear and packs renowned for their longevity. This durability has contributed significantly to the brand’s popularity within the outdoor community.

The manufacturing process is characterized by meticulous attention to detail, noticeable from the moment you handle their products.

The selection of materials is a careful and deliberate process, featuring the use of G-1000, a breathable and robust fabric that can be waxed to enhance its adaptability to diverse weather conditions.

In addition, the company ethically sources natural down from geese and ducks, employing it in their winter coats and insulated jackets due to its exceptional insulating properties in severe climates.

Fjällräven incorporates synthetic materials like Polyester and Nylon, with a conscious effort to integrate a substantial amount of recycled Polyester, aligning with its sustainable practices.

This commitment to sustainability is also evident in the use of recycled polyester for the creation of technical fabrics such as Eco-Shell, a lightweight and weather-resistant material.

Johan Jonsson | Above the tree line x Bergtagen | Fjällräven

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Read also:
Is Fjällräven Ethical and Sustainable?
Fjällräven or Arc’teryx: Which is Better?

Where is Fjällräven outdoor gear made?

Fjällräven manufactures most of its products in different Asian countries such as China, South Korea, and Vietnam. (more information here)

Recommended Products

Fjällräven Expedition Men’s Down Jacket

Fjallraven Expedition Mens Down Jacket
Image: fjallraven.com
Check it out at Fjallraven.com

The Expedition coat, a renowned garment from the 1970s, is made from a combination of Nylon and Polyester and features ethically sourced down filling. True to its name, it is an exceptionally insulated coat, ideal for demanding expeditions.

The expensive price of the coat mirrors its great craftsmanship, and we anticipate nothing less for this type of product. We believe this jacket is definitely worth its price!

Read also: Fjällräven vs Jack Wolfskin: Which Brand is Better?

Fjällräven Classic Kånken Backpack

Fjallraven Classic Kanken Backpack
Image: fjallraven.com
Check it out at Fjallraven.com

Crafted from the robust and resilient Vinylon F material (100% vinylal), the Kånken backpack boasts remarkable durability.

Its hydrophobic properties and careful craftsmanship further increase its appeal. Besides being suitable for school use, this bag is also ideal for everyday use, for books, tablets, and laptops.

Read also: Fjällräven vs Helly Hansen (Side-by-Side Comparison)

Prices

Fjällräven is a mid-to-high-end name offering a range of items, including backpacks priced from $60 to $400 and jackets ranging from approximately $150 to $1000. Among their products, the insulated winter parkas stand out as the most costly.

Are Fjällräven products worth the price?

In our opinion, yes, they’re worth investing in! We like their minimalist designs, and the sturdiness of their gear is greatly appreciated by outdoor enthusiasts globally. The insulation is very good and the construction is superb.

Learn more: Why is Fjällräven so Expensive? Are Its Products Worth It?

2. Columbia Outdoor Gear

History of the Brand

Columbia official website.jpg
Columbia official website

Columbia represents another outdoor gear label that provides a comprehensive range of clothing and gear suitable for various outdoor activities such as skiing, fishing, and hiking.

Established in 1937 by Gert Boyle’s family after fleeing Germany and settling in Portland, USA, the brand has evolved from the Columbia Hat Company in 1938 to the Columbia Sportswear Company in 1960, reflecting its shift to offering outdoor apparel.

Currently, the company is under the leadership of Tim Boyle, Gert’s son, ensuring its continued success and innovation in the industry.

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Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process

Columbia Sportswear employs its own technologies to maximize the functionality of its outdoor gear. For instance, the Omni-Tech technology enhances the waterproofness and breathability of Columbia’s jackets.

In addition, the Omni-Heat Reflective technology, featured in some of their apparel, facilitates efficient heat retention and simultaneous release of excess moisture and heat.

The utilization of recycled Polyester and RDS-certified down insulation, as well as efforts to minimize the use of harmful DWR coatings, are also notable.

The brand’s products adhere to Gert Boyle’s perfectionist philosophy, ensuring the creation of high-standard, top-quality apparel. Columbia 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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Read also:
Patagonia vs Columbia: Which Brand Offers the Best Outdoor Gear?
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Where is Columbia outdoor gear made?

Columbia continues to make outdoor gear in the USA and Europe, but the majority of its products, including its owned brands such as Sorel, prAna, and Mountain Hardwear, are mainly produced 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 Columbia Whirlibird IV Interchange jacket is a versatile outerwear option suitable for mountain sports such as skiing and snowboarding. It boasts a waterproof-breathable shell and a thermal-reflective insulated liner that can be worn separately or together for optimal warmth.

Additionally, it includes practical features like ski pass, chest, security, goggles, and hand pockets, underarm vents, powder skirt, adjustable hood, cuffs, and hem to ensure comfort and readiness for mountain activities.

Made with Omni-Tech™ waterproof/breathable material and critically seam-sealed, this jacket effectively repels water. It also utilizes Omni-Heat™ thermal reflective technology to retain body heat, while the Thermarator™ insulated liner offers extra warmth without bulk. This coat seamlessly combines fashion, comfort, and functionality.

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 backpack offers comfort and versatility for a wide range of uses. With a 26-liter capacity, it includes dual storage compartments, a front pocket organizer, dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves, adjustable sternum and shoulder straps, and twin water bottle pockets.

It features Twin Slot webbing for adaptability, a padded laptop sleeve suitable for 15-inch laptops, separate tablet storage, two water bottle pockets, front pocket organization, reflective zipper pulls, and a padded bottom panel and a top haul handle.

Prices

Compared to Fjällräven, Columbia Sportswear items are more affordable. Typically, Columbia’s jackets are priced in the range of $50 to $300, their backpacks are priced below $100, and the hiking footwear begins at around $100.

Are Columbia products worth the price?

For not-too-difficult outdoor activities, we believe the brand’s items are worth the price. For instance, their jackets and parkas offer essential protection.

If you are an expert or at a higher level, you might need to look for a more specialized, technical brand. But, even in that scenario, you can find a suitable piece of gear from Columbia’s extensive product collection.

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

3. Which is Better? Fjällräven or Columbia?

Here are some things to keep in mind to make your choice easier:

Fjällräven is a higher-end brand that focuses on backpacks, jackets, hiking pants, sleeping bags, tents, and accessories. Their outdoor gear is very durable and high quality with great attention to detail. However, Fjällräven comes at a higher price, with its best jackets reaching $1000.

Columbia is also an outdoor brand but offers a more comprehensive and affordable range of clothing and gear for many activities. They also have a rich collection of footwear. While still providing quality, their prices are more accessible, with jackets from $50-$300.

Both brands focus on quality, functionality, and sustainability in their design. Both use quality technical fabrics and insulation. For example, Columbia uses Omni-Tech and Omni-Heat, Fjällräven uses G-1000 and Eco-Shell.

But Fjällräven focuses more on craftsmanship, longevity, and premium materials, while Columbia aims to balance quality, performance, and affordability.

In the end, if budget is not a major constraint and durability is your priority, Fjällräven is your choice, in our opinion. For more casual and budget-friendly outdoor gear, Columbia offers very good quality at lower prices for most activities.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Read next:
11 European Brands for Outdoor Enthusiasts: Our Top Picks
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