Two names that often are associated with quality and performance are Woolrich and The North Face.
Each brand carries a rich history and a reputation for providing warmth, durability, and style to those braving the elements.
But which offers better jackets for winter and outdoor activities?
In this comparison, we’ll go through the heritage, products, technology, and prices of these industry icons to help you decide which of the two best suits your outdoor lifestyle and fashion preferences.
Let’s get started!
1. Woolrich Jackets
History of the Brand
Woolrich official website
One of the oldest outdoor clothing companies in the United States Woolrich’s history begins over 190 years ago. Established in 1830 in Woolrich, Pennsylvania, the company initially specialized in producing wool textiles and garments to provide warmth during cold winters.
In the 1850s, they launched the Buffalo Check shirt pattern, which became one of their most iconic designs. This innovative style gained widespread popularity and remains fashionable to this day.
Throughout its extensive history, the company has been led by the Rich family, dedicated to serving both their local community and the nation. Despite enduring challenges over almost two centuries, their dedication to superior craftsmanship and innovative designs enabled them to persist as a respected leader in the outdoor clothing industry.
Although the company was headquartered in the small town of Woolrich for numerous generations, changes in ownership in recent decades led to the relocation of the headquarters overseas, to Bologna, Italy.
Presently, the brand upholds its legacy of sturdiness and dependability with products primarily marketed in European regions. More than 190 years after its inception, its proven products continue to provide warmth in various climates.
Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process
Woolrich has built a strong reputation for utilizing top-quality materials and manufacturing techniques, leading to a higher price tag. The company acquires the finest wool, cotton, and down from reputable global suppliers.
The brand is particularly recognized for its woolen textiles and range of weights, including heavier options commonly utilized in winter outerwear.
Woolrich also distinguishes itself with its parka jackets, which are crafted from specially engineered Ramar Cloth, a robust combination of 60% cotton and 40% nylon. The jackets are lined with polyester and incorporate a Teflon-treated shell for enhanced durability.
The choice of insulation varies based on the specific product, featuring both synthetic and natural down insulation. The parkas have a natural fur hood lining, although there are also numerous options without fur.
Woolrich’s manufacturing process is thorough, resulting in refined and exquisitely crafted designs. Experienced artisans with their expertise ensure that each item undergoes multiple quality assessments before being considered market-ready.
In addition to its emphasis on quality, Woolrich is dedicated to sustainability, as evidenced by the company’s utilization of recycled wool in numerous products to minimize waste and environmental impact. You can read more about Woolrich’s sustainability programs on their website.
Where are Woolrich jackets and clothing made?
The majority of Woolrich’s production facilities have been moved abroad, with jackets and other apparel now manufactured in countries like China, Vietnam, Romania, etc.
However, the brand’s website currently features a “Made in the USA” flannels collection. Additionally, Woolrich offers collections of jackets and footwear crafted in Italy, catering to fans of Italian fashion.
Woolrich Women’s Arctic Parka in Ramar Cloth
Check it out at Woolrich.com
The Woolrich Women’s Arctic Parka in Ramar Cloth effortlessly combines the brand’s rich heritage with a feminine touch, drawing inspiration from the original Arctic Parka crafted for Alaskan pipeline workers. Tailored specifically for women, it ensures a sleek silhouette without compromising on warmth or functionality.
Constructed from the brand’s signature water-resistant Ramar Cloth with a special Teflon finish, it also offers wind protection. Filled with duck down, it provides substantial warmth suitable for temperatures ranging from -4°F (-20°C) to 14°F (-10°C).
The design includes a concealed zip and button fastening, a hood with detachable natural fur trim, a chin guard for comfort, and angled flap pockets for practical storage. Ribbed inner cuffs add to its ability to keep out the cold.
Woolrich Men’s Blizzard Parka in Ramar Cloth
Check it out at Woolrich.com
The Men’s Blizzard Parka in Ramar Cloth with Square Quilting is a carefully crafted garment that combines practicality and fashion for the winter season. Built from the renowned Ramar Cloth and treated with water- and wind-resistant Teflon coating, this parka ensures dryness and comfort in harsh weather.
Filled with 90/10 duck-down padding, it delivers exceptional insulation and warmth, suitable for temperatures ranging from -4°F (-20°C) to 14°F (-10°C). The parka features a protective hood, multiple pockets for convenient storage and hand-warming, and a concealed front closure with a reinforced storm placket for added defense against the elements.
The contemporary square quilting pattern gives a modern twist to the traditional parka design, showcasing Woolrich’s innovative approach.
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Woolrich is known for its wide range of designs, which has an impact on its pricing. This results in a brand that offers both accessible and high-end options while remaining luxury, with jackets starting at about $300 and some designs exceeding $1,800.
Are Woolrich jackets worth the price?
When considering Woolrich’s jackets, although they may be priced higher than numerous other clothing labels, the brand’s commitment to superior quality, fashion, high-grade materials, and ethical production makes them a good choice for those who prioritize these values.
2. The North Face Jackets
History of the Brand
The North Face’s official website
The North Face is one of the most famous American brands within the outdoor gear industry, known all over the world. It has gained a strong following among outdoor enthusiasts who remain loyal to its offerings.
Since its establishment in 1966, the brand has emphasized the production of high-performance mountain clothing and gear, including insulated jackets, hiking packs, tents, sleeping bags, skiwear, and other outdoor clothing.
The 1990s saw The North Face expand its appeal beyond the technical wear market, attracting a celebrity clientele. For example, a rapper featured the Steep Tech jacket by The North Face in a music video in 1993.
The brand’s name is derived from the coldest and most challenging side of a mountain in the northern hemisphere, known as “the north face”, which is the part of the mountain that faces north.
Materials, Fabrics, and Production Process
The North Face uses mostly Nylon and Polyester, like most outdoor gear brands, and integrates various technologies into its products, such as the FUTURELIGHT membrane. FUTURELIGHT is built with a thin nanomembrane, enabling air circulation while repelling water.
Extensively tested, it demonstrates exceptional waterproofing capabilities, even in difficult outdoor conditions.
Additionally, The North Face uses goose down for thermal insulation, ensuring customers experience the comfort and warmth needed for extended journeys. This lightweight insulation allows for freedom of movement in challenging activities.
Some of the brand’s products also feature the standard in the outdoor industry, the Gore-Tex fabric technology, providing waterproofing, windproofing, and breathability. Gore-Tex allows moisture to escape while preventing water from entering inside the garment.
Where are The North Face jackets made?
The majority of The North Face outdoor clothing and jackets are manufactured in Asian countries like China, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, with some collections also produced in the United States.
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka
Check it out at TheNorthFace.com
The Men’s McMurdo Parka has been crafted to deliver exceptional warmth and safeguard against the wind and other elements. This coat boasts a relaxed fit and is filled with 600-fill recycled waterfowl down, rendering it an excellent option for cold climates.
The parka is both windproof and waterproof, featuring a seam-sealed DryVent™ 2L shell with a non-PFC DWR finish, ensuring breathability. It comes with practical features, such as secure-zip chest pockets, two dual-entry front pockets, and an internal chest pocket.
The parka also comes with an attached hood with drawcord for adjustability and a detachable faux-fur ruff, along with a storm flap covering the front zip. It’s embellished with an embroidered logo on the left chest and back-right shoulder, adding to its style.
Adjustable hook-and-loop cuff tabs guarantee a secure and comfortable fit, making the McMurdo an adaptable and dependable choice for braving severe winter weather.
The North Face Women’s Nuptse Parka
Check it out at TheNorthFace.com
The Women’s Nuptse Parka by The North Face presents a modern interpretation of the iconic 1996 Nuptse Jacket, featuring a relaxed fit and extended length for enhanced protection. It incorporates 700-fill recycled down insulation for both warmth and environmental consciousness.
The jacket’s resilience is bolstered by a ripstop overlay on the hood and yoke, while the non-PFC DWR finish contributes to increased water repellency without the use of harmful chemicals.
Practical elements such as an attached hood with an adjustable drawcord, a storm flap over the front zip, and secure-zip hand pockets increase its functionality.
Also, adjustable cuffs ensure a secure fit, and The North Face’s embroidered logo adds a touch of brand heritage. This parka serves as a tribute to the past and a stride towards sustainable fashion.
The jackets from The North Face are priced higher compared to numerous other outdoor brands. But, in general, the brand falls within the mid-to-high price bracket. Their parkas and jackets range from roughly $70 for lighter styles to $800 for insulated winter options.
Are The North Face jackets worth the price?
If you are a serious mountain hiker, skier, or explorer, The North Face jackets are worth it. They’re crafted to deliver the comfort, utility, and performance you need.
For casual wear, it depends on your preferences and budget. But, at The North Face, you can always find something at a reasonable price for the quality you get.
3. Which is Better for Jackets? Woolrich or The North Face?
Both are great brands for winter jackets. But they have some differences. Here are our considerations to keep in mind for your final decision:
- Style: Woolrich tends to have a more classic, heritage style while The North Face offers more modern, technical styles. Woolrich jackets have a more rugged, outdoorsy look.
- Warmth: In general, Woolrich jackets are warmer than The North Face designs because they use thicker builds with wool and down insulation. Wool is excellent for retaining heat. The North Face focuses more on technical fabrics.
- Weather resistance: The North Face jackets often have more advanced weatherproofing technologies like sealed seams and waterproof and breathable fabrics. Some examples include the DryVent, Futurelight, and Gore-Tex fabrics. They focus more on demanding outdoor activities like skiing and mountaineering where rain and snow are frequent. Woolrich jackets provide good water resistance but not at the level of The North Face.
- Prices: Woolrich jackets are usually more expensive. This is not only because of their warmth and performance but also thanks to the positioning of the brand as a fashionable, luxury label.
- Types of activities: The North Face is better suited for active outdoor pursuits like hiking, climbing, and skiing where technical features matter more. Woolrich works well for casual wear or less demanding activities and extreme cold.
In the end, it depends on your preferences. Woolrich would be our recommendation for classic designs and great warmth. The North Face would be our brand for technical performance.