The North Face vs Arc’teryx: Which Brand is Better?

The North Face vs Arcteryx outdoor gear comparison

Which is king of the mountains: The North Face or Arc’teryx? For serious outdoor athletes, this isn’t just a debate, it could determine success or failure in difficult conditions.

Both companies make great gear, but below the surface lies a considerable difference. One prioritizes protecting climbers at all costs, while the other focuses more on lifestyle.

Join us in this comparison as we explore these brands’ materials, fabrics, weatherproofing, prices, and technical features to determine if one can truly claim to make the best gear.

Let’s begin!

Contents:

1. The North Face Outdoor Gear

History of the Brand

The North Face official website
The North Face’s official website

The North Face is a very popular American label in the outdoor gear industry, highly favored among enthusiasts who are loyal to its products. Since its establishment in 1966, the brand has maintained a steadfast focus on crafting specialized mountain clothing and gear, initially launching hiking backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, skiwear, and other outdoor apparel.

The 1990s marked a significant period for The North Face, as its clientele expanded beyond technical wear seekers to encompass celebrities who embraced the brand’s products. Notably, in 1993, a rapper featured the Steep Tech jacket in a music video, further elevating the brand’s visibility.

The brand’s name is derived from ‘the north face’ of a mountain in the northern hemisphere, renowned for its extreme cold and difficult climbing conditions.

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Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process

The North Face utilizes primarily Nylon and Polyester, like most outdoor gear brands, and integrates multiple technologies into its products, including the FUTURELIGHT membrane. FUTURELIGHT equips jackets with an ultra-thin nanomembrane that enables airflow while repelling water.

Its waterproofing capabilities have been proven to endure even the most extreme outdoor conditions.

Additionally, The North Face incorporates goose down, providing thermal insulation to ensure customers’ comfort and warmth during extended journeys. This insulation is lightweight, allowing users freedom of movement for various demanding activities.

Many of The North Face’s products use the renowned Gore-Tex technology, which adds waterproofing, windproofing, and breathability to the brand’s clothing. Gore-Tex effectively allows moisture to escape while preventing water ingress.

The company has also developed other technologies such as DryVent, WindWall, FlashDry, and the popular ThermoBall synthetic insulation that imitates natural down.

ThermoBall™ Eco | The North Face

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Read also:
The North Face vs Columbia (Outdoor Gear Comparison)
The North Face vs Berghaus: Which is Better?

Where is The North Face outdoor gear made?

The majority of The North Face outdoor equipment is manufactured in Asian nations like China, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, although the company also offers product lines produced in the United States.

Recommended Products

The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka

The North Face Mens McMurdo Parka
Image: thenorthface.com
Check it out at TheNorthFace.com

The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka offers outstanding warmth and protection from the elements. This jacket has a loose fit and is filled with 600-fill recycled down, making it an excellent option for cold conditions. The parka is resistant to wind, and water, and is breathable, owing to its seam-sealed DryVent™ 2L shell with a non-PFC DWR finish.

It has practical features such as concealed, secure-zip chest pockets, two dual-entry front patch pockets, and a secure-zip internal chest pocket. The parka also features an attached, three-piece hood with an internal drawcord for adjustability and a detachable faux-fur ruff, along with a stormflap covering the two-way, VISLON® front zip.

Adjustable hook-and-loop cuff tabs ensure a secure and comfortable fit, making the McMurdo a versatile choice for challenging weather.

Read also: The North Face Diablo vs Himalayan: Which Jacket is Better?

The North Face Borealis Backpack

The North Face Borealis Backpack
Image: thenorthface.com
Check it out at TheNorthFace.com

The North Face Borealis Backpack stands out as a popular pack crafted to deliver both protection and utility for everyday requirements. Its distinctive bungee cord arrangement and spacious main section ensure the safety of your belongings.

The backpack’s upright build, detachable waist belt, chest strap, and safeguarded laptop compartment make it suitable for diverse pursuits and settings. Equipped with the FlexVent™ suspension system, this backpack emphasizes comfort and stability, ensuring a comfortable fit even during prolonged use.

For organization, the Borealis Backpack features a dedicated laptop compartment, a sizable main section, and a front compartment with internal organization, secure-zip pockets, and a tablet sleeve. Crafted from a combination of recycled nylon and recycled polyester, this backpack offers functionality and aligns with sustainable practices.

Read also: How To Wash a North Face Backpack: Step by Step

Prices

The pricing of The North Face’s items exceeds that of numerous other outdoor gear labels. Nonetheless, the brand typically falls within the mid-to-high price bracket. For instance, their jackets are priced between approximately $70 and $800, while their backpacks range from $50 to about $300.

Are The North Face products worth the price?

If you are an avid mountain hiker, skier, or outdoor enthusiast, The North Face gear justifies its cost. Their equipment is engineered to deliver the expected comfort, functionality, and performance.

When it comes to casual wear, the answer depends. Nevertheless, you can find a few reasonably priced items from this brand, affirming the overall value of The North Face even in this case.

Learn more: Why Is The North Face So Expensive and Popular? Are Its Jackets Worth It?

2. Arc’teryx Outdoor Gear

History of the Brand

Arcteryx official website
Arc’teryx official website

Established in 1989 by Dave Lane, Arc’teryx is a renowned Canadian brand specializing in outdoor apparel and gear. Originally known as Rock Solid, the company focused on crafting climbing equipment.

In 1991, Lane joined forces with Blair Murdoch and Tim Duholke, leading to the adoption of the name “Arc’teryx.” The brand’s moniker is inspired by the Archaeopteryx, reflecting its commitment to evolution and ingenuity.

Notable creations include the pioneering Bora backpack and Vapor harness. Securing the rights to employ Gore-Tex materials enabled the expansion into outdoor clothing, with Arc’teryx continuing to integrate Gore-Tex fabrics into its top-performing products.

While its initial emphasis was on climbing gear, the brand now serves hikers, climbers, and snowsport enthusiasts, offering premium snowsport clothing.

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Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process

Arc’teryx is well-known for its utilization of premium, sustainable, and responsibly sourced materials. These materials are accredited by Bluesign® and undergo thorough evaluation via the Life Cycle Assessment protocols to ascertain the impact of the product life stages.

The company uses a mix of synthetic and natural materials, depending on the design of the product, to guarantee the best quality of all gear. The natural down insulation in the brand’s jackets adheres to the Responsible Down Standard, ensuring the ethical treatment of waterfowl.

Coreloft is mainly used for synthetic insulation options, while Gore-Tex is the main option for membranes and fabric technologies in the brand’s outdoor apparel.

In the case of backpacks, Arc’teryx incorporates its proprietary AC2 technology. The company places a strong emphasis on ethical manufacturing and material sourcing, which has significantly contributed to its enduring appeal.

Arc'teryx Presents - Who We Are: A Design Company

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Read also:
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Where is Arc’teryx outdoor gear made?

Arc’teryx manufactures in various places around the world, including Canada. The Canadian facility, called ARC’One, is based in Vancouver, BC, and produces 10% of the brand’s equipment.

The majority of Arc’teryx gear (90%) is made in Asia, in Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, etc., but also in Romania and El Salvador. (source)

Recommended Products

Arc’teryx Atom Women’s Hoody

Arcteryx Womens Atom Hoody
Image: arcteryx.com
Check it out at Arcteryx.com

The Women’s Atom Hoody offered by Arc’teryx is a lightweight and versatile jacket equipped with synthetic insulation, suitable for use as a mid-layer or standalone depending on the conditions.

It is a component of the Atom Series, highlighting Coreloft Compact insulation, and is available in a range of colors and sizes. It’s engineered for high performance and represents a superb option for outdoor enthusiasts in need of resilient and adaptable gear for pursuits like hiking, mountaineering, or backpacking.

Arc’teryx Bora 65 Backpack for Men

Arcteryx Bora 65 Mens Backpack
Image: arcteryx.com
Check it out at Arcteryx.com

The Arc’teryx Bora 65 Men’s Backpack is an ideal choice for outdoor adventurers looking to embark on a long journey. Its comfortable carry facilitates exploration and pushing boundaries, with the RotoGlide™ hip belt ensuring body-aligned movement and enhanced stability.

The GridLock™ harness allows for precise adjustments, while the high-tenacity Cordura® pack cloth construction guarantees durability for backcountry usage.

Equipped with a waterproof Weather Vault on the lid and an easily accessible main compartment with multiple external pockets, this backpack offers a reliable and robust solution for extended backcountry expeditions.

Prices

Arc’teryx is commonly considered a premium brand among outdoor enthusiasts. Its jackets are priced from $150 to $1000 and its backpacks range from $50 to $350.

Are Arc’teryx products worth the price?

Arc’teryx items come at premium price tags, but they offer exceptional performance and durability, making them a worthy investment for serious mountain and snow enthusiasts.

Although the cost may deter some buyers, the superior quality and longevity of the gear are worth it in our opinion and as many enthusiasts report.

Learn more: Why is Arc’teryx so Expensive and Popular? Is It Worth It?

3. Which is Better? The North Face or Arc’teryx?

Arc’teryx and The North Face are both great outdoor brands! Here are our considerations to help you decide:

Durability: Arc’teryx is usually a bit more durable, using thicker, higher-quality materials. Their jackets are designed to last years of heavy use. The North Face is still very durable though.

Protection: Arc’teryx jackets and shells offer superior weather protection for harsh conditions like rain, snow, and wind. The North Face is great for most weather but Arc’teryx is better in our opinion for truly extreme environments.

Features: Arc’teryx focuses more on technical features that serious outdoor enthusiasts need, like more pockets, pit zips for ventilation, helmet-compatible hoods, etc. The North Face leans more toward lifestyle use, but they also have high-performance technical pieces.

Technologies: Both use cutting-edge technologies, for example, Gore-Tex membranes, The North Face Futurelight membranes, Arc’teryx Coreloft synthetic insulation, etc.

Prices: Arc’teryx is generally more expensive due to using higher-end fabrics and more technical design. The North Face may be more versatile thanks to its lower prices.

Style: The North Face has more stylish, on-trend designs that can be worn in and out of the outdoors. Arc’teryx focuses more purely on performance than aesthetics.

Sustainability: Both have advanced programs in place to reduce waste and use recycled and ethical materials.

In the end, for extreme outdoor use, Arc’teryx is our recommendation. The North Face offers excellent quality and value at a lower price, perfect for most outdoor and lifestyle wear.

And you? What do you think about these brands? Let us know in the comments below.

Read next: 9 High-End, Expensive Hiking Brands for Clothing and Footwear

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