Every year, outdoor clothing brands compete to deliver improved performance and new styles.
Also, inspired by Patagonia, most outdoor clothing brands have begun using innovative and sustainable textiles.
The landscape is changing fast, not only materials-wise but also in regard to which countries are at the top of outdoor brands ranking.
For example, in 2019 the best outdoor clothing brands were from Germany and Australia.
Then again, in 2020 we’ve seen further significant positive changes such as increased clothing ranges with children and women lines.
Now, in 2021, leading outdoor apparel brands are following the same trend of augmenting their outdoor clothing lines as you’ll see below.
Without further ado, these are the biggest and the best outdoor clothing brands of 2021:
$ | under $100
$$ | $100–$200
$$$ | $200–$300
$$$$ | $300 or more
Best for Hiking & Climbing
Founded in 1862, Mammut is a swiss outdoor clothing brand is famous for both, high-performance techwear and climbing ropes.
From skiing jackets to climbing gear, Mammut’s outdoor collection of clothing is a perfect mixture of style and function.
The brand’s unique technology, called Phase Weave, can combine multiple pieces of fabric into one material.
First, the material looks damn cool, and second; it hides high-abrasion areas without the need for exposed stitches.
In the past, Mammut’s outdoor apparel was designed around snow sports.
Nowadays, the brand is taking steps toward ‘urban performance’, as is the case of their ‘Delta X’ product line.
Our favorite piece from the Delta X line is the futuristic high-tech Teufelsberg HS.
It is a 10-ounce packable shell, cut from a single piece of waterproof polyamide.
Best for Outdoor Running & Skiing
Like Patagonia (wait for it!), Houdini is an eco-conscious outdoor clothing brand that makes extreme sports apparel.
Given its focus on sustainability, the quality Scandinavian company uses some of the most innovative fabrics and textiles.
For example, the brand’s Surpass 2.5L hardshell tech performs better than any tech-core materials.
Also, the brand lets users rent its highest-performance gear.
Additionally, as most of Houdini’s garments are made from recycled materials, the brand makes waves with its planet-friendly mission and performance cred alike.
Best for Everyday Outdoors
Launched in Newcastle in 1972, Berghaus is a British outdoor clothing brand that has a German name recognized in the techno music world.
Ever since Berghaus has been producing specialist outdoor gear with loud colors and superb gossamer detailing for a long time.
Since then, the label has grown to become a well-known technical apparel maker, thanks to its affordable, high-quality outerwear.
Best for Trail Running
Launched 25 years ago, Montane is a British outdoor clothing brand creating for serious mountain professionals working in hostile conditions.
Made for people who demand the most stringent credentials from their clothing, Montane understands the importance of functional garments of excellent design.
Fabric technology is critical to producing the best products, and Montane works with the world’s leading fabric suppliers to engineer new cutting-edge materials.
With a wide range of outdoor clothing for women, the brand pushes the boundaries of technical gear, ready for the most challenging weather conditions.
Best for Traveling & Backpacking
Launched in New Zealand in 1987, Kathmandu has been producing excellent quality outdoor clothing for all kinds of outdoor activities for over 30 years.
The outdoor label is most known for its wide selection of pants, merino gear, and insulated jackets for women.
Also, as it is hailing from a country with a dramatic landscape that demands to be explored, the brand is very conscious of its environmental impact.
Best for Skiing & Hiking
Founded in 1947 in the French Alps, Salomon is a sportswear company that’s nowadays residing in Annecy, famous for its market-leading footwear.
Launched as a metalworking company for mountain gear, almost 70 years later, the runners in the family decided to get into apparel by creating “the ultimate fashion sneaker.”
The outdoor clothing brand is known around the world for its Alpine ski gear as Salomon’s shoes are not just functional but very stylish.
In particular, the brand’s collab with Boris Bidjan Saberi for the Spring/Summer 2017 show.
Saberi’s ‘Post-Humanism’ collection put a spotlight on Salomon’s twisty, morphing, bio-organic designs.
The outdoor label also makes some of the best hiking shoes available in the market.
Salomon is also one of the outdoor equipment leaders in Europe, with products such as top-of-the-range ski and snowboard gear and backpacks.
Salomon outdoor clothing offering covers a wide range of outdoor sports, including trail running, hiking, and climbing, in over 45 countries across five continents.
Best for Fishing & Camping
Barbour outdoor clothing brand is q stalwart of the British countryside.
The label has been making outstanding quality outdoor apparel since 1894 and ever since has become the very definition of luxury outdoor wear fit for Royalty.
Since 1974, Barbour holds 3 Imperial warrants to supply waterproof and protective clothing to the British Royal family.
The waxed cotton green Barbour jacket is recognized as the brand’s flagship item; beautiful, iconic, award-winning.
The brand makes merino sweaters, shirts, moleskin, and corduroy outdoor clothing, all to scrupulous standards of quality.
Best for Mountain Climbing
Marmot is an American outdoor clothing company based in Rohnert Park, California, and part of Newell Brands.
Launched in 1974 by two university students, in their students’ slang, Marmots were friends climbing mountains.
In this case, ‘Marmot’ has taken the moniker from a larger, social, human-like squirrel.
The idea was catchy, and an eccentric club was formed.
The label struck gold when the producers of a Clint Eastwood film requested 108 “very puffy” jackets, to which they dutifully obliged, despite barely having gotten off the ground as a company at the time.
Known for its large selection of pants and puffer coats, Marmot is a much-loved and respected outdoor brand with a commitment to the highest quality gear and apparel.
Best for Outdoor Equipment
Launched in 1950, Black Diamond outdoor clothing brand is one of the hardest to beat when it comes to climbing and skiing.
However, the brand was weren’t officially established until 1989 and ever since branched out worldwide.
From water-repellent climbing jackets to socks, Black Diamond offers a wide range of outdoor clothing, accessories, and equipment.
The outdoor brand’s collections are designed for both women and men mountaineers, professional climbers, skiers, and other mountain-based and winter athletes.
Best for Hiking & Trail Running
Outdoor Research covers just about everything outdoor-apparel related.
Based out of Seattle, the brand offers alpine pursuits, paddling, rock and ice climbing, backcountry skiing and snowboarding, backpacking… the list goes on.
Outdoor Research was founded in 1981 by Ron Gregg, a nuclear physicist.
During an expedition up North America’s highest peak, Gregg’s climbing partner suffered frostbitten feet in extreme conditions and had to be airlifted to safety.
The whole experience inspired Gregg to leave his science career behind and seek the best ways to prevent such problems from happening again.
Best for Hiking & Camping
KÜHL is an American outdoor clothing brand with a deep focus on mountain wear.
KÜHL’s story as an independent brand began in the snow-covered peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, US.
According to the founders, the brand was designed for:
“relentless weather and challenging conditions, for courageous, humble, hungry, and kind people“.
The brand’s superb selection of hiking clothes (under $100) places them as one of the most affordable brands out there right now.
I find KÜHL as one of the most stylish outerwear companies on the market at the moment.
Best for Ourdoor Backpacks
Fjällräven was founded in 1960 in Örnsköldsvik, a small town in Sweden.
The Swedish outdoor clothing brand is committed to making nature more accessible.
Hailing from a place where mountains and forests meet the sea, the outdoor accessories equipment company focuses on simplicity and practicality with the utmost respect for the environment.
Fjallraven is most famous for its stylish backpacks.
However, the outdoor brand also offers jackets, coats, trousers, and shirts with an authentic Swedish vibe and style.
Best for X
Founded by climbers in 1989, this Vancouver-based outdoor clothing brand has 30 years in tech apparel.
Arc’teryx clothes are light and blizzard-ready, built for outdoor extremes and the most severe weather conditions.
And, while they say quality does not guarantee style, Arc’teryx is famous for its techwear collection, devoted to design and the latest tech.
The best example is the brand’s Alpha SV Jacket.
It has evolved from a baggy and oversized style to a slim and modern silhouette.
Expensive but stylish, Arc’teryx also owns Veilance, a technical menswear collection.
However, the brand is expanding its outdoor clothing and tech wear collections.
Right now, with a distinctive dead bird logo, this label is fighting to become the sleekest outdoor gear-maker on the market.
Best for Backpacking & Camping
Named after the famous volcano in Ecuador, Cotopaxi is an outdoor clothing brand with a social conscience.
The brand has founded the Cotopaxi Foundation, designed to support poverty alleviation projects by donating 1 percent of its annual revenue.
Cotopaxi outdoor clothing is not only one of the best sustainable clothing brands but also on the lower end of the price scale.
However, the company does not compromise on quality.
The brand’s parkas and fleeces are comfortable and made from recycled and organic materials.
Best for Everyday Outdoor
Jack Wolfskin is an outdoor clothing brand often described as ‘The North Face’ of Europe.
The German brand is known for its attention to quality and emphasis on the environment.
Right now, all products are made from recycled plastic.
Moreover, the outdoor clothing brand was honored by the ‘Fair Wear Foundation’ for its efforts to build and maintain an ethical supply chain.
After several personal tests with the brand, I can say that its products are worthy of any urban exploration.
Best for Trail Running & Hiking
Craghoppers is a British outdoor clothing brand, founded in 1965 in Batley, West Yorkshire.
Worldwide renown for its walking gear Kiwi range, Craghoppers makes stylish and functional outdoor apparel that can be used around the town as well.
Also, from the use of recycled fleece to the use of natural fabrics such as merino wool, the British brand is committed to sustainable fashion.
Its founders, Brian Gaskin and Roy Holmes were approached by the mountaineering expedition team of Chris Bonington to design their weather wear for the successful 1975 Everest Expedition.
Designed by Gaskin himself, the Everest collection was a great success.
In 2008 Craghoppers partnered up with TV’s survival expert Bear Grylls to produce a range of clothes for extreme weather conditions.
In October 2014 Craghoppers became an exclusive National Geographic’s licensed apparel partner for North America.
Best for Skiing & Hiking
Hailing from Portland, US, a city famous for its rainfall, Columbia has a reputation for affordable but high-quality outerwear.
Columbia was founded in 1938, and it can be summed up in two words: “tested tough“.
In recent years the brand has started to advance into the fashion space.
The latest collab with KITH and Opening Ceremony wanted to revive classic outdoor apparel through a lens of contemporary silhouettes.
The outdoor brand’s must-have product is Mountain™ Jackets.
Best for Luxury Resorts
With roots tracing back to the ’50s ski scene, Moncler brings the craftmanship of top designers such as Craig Green and Kei Ninomiya to technical outdoor apparel.
Above all, Moncler is a luxury brand, so don’t expect cheap products at all.
In fact, the Italian label is listed as one of the top fashion brands in 2021.
Yet, Moncler is one of the few brands able to infuse the runway glamour into alpine ski equipment, as seen in its Genius and Grenoble lines.
Best for Hardcore Outdoor
The Norwegian outdoor clothing brand, Helly Hansen, is one of the OGs of the landscape.
Back when ‘performance fabrics’ meant textiles soaked in fat, Helly Hansen invented waterproof garments, designed for sailors working in the cold North Sea.
For the last 140 years, Helly Hansen has been producing outdoor apparel built for frozen oceans, mountain tops, yacht runs, and street-style scenes all over the world.
The brand has mixed its craftsmanship and heritage with some of today’s bleeding-edge brands such as GmbH and WTAPS.
THE NORTH FACE
Best for Mountaineering
You can say that ‘The North Face‘ is also the face of techwear and outdoor apparel.
Yes, there were outdoor clothing brands before 1968, when Eddie Bauer introduced the down jacket.
However, it was The North Face’s constant innovations and focused on functionality, that made the brand a standard.
Like Columbia, The North Face is a leading outdoor clothing brand from the US.
Named after the north face of Yosemite’s Half Dome, the California-based outdoor giant is an industry shaper.
The brand dictates the latest styles, materials, and technologies through which the industry creates techwear.
Best for Sustainable Outdoor
With a fly-fishing heritage, Patagonia is an American outdoor clothing brand that has a cult-like following.
Named after one of the world’s most pristine environments, Patagonia cares about Earth.
Patagonia is, to quote the top of their website, in business to save our home planet.
For that, everything the company does revolves around this concept, from repairing products for free to donating their tax cuts.
Personally, I feel that Patagonia should be in the top fashion brands ranking, for sure.
It seems that Patagonia’s business strategy has inspired other outdoor clothing brands as well, in particular the American brands.
In comparison to 2019, the top outdoor clothing brands are now dominated by US and UK brands.
The US leads with 7 and UK follows in second place with 4.
As a takeaway, we see a growing interest in small outdoor brands that create with sustainable materials.
We also see the emergence of ‘techwear styles’ inspired by outdoor clothing brands.
With hopes you have enjoyed my article covering the best outdoor clothing brands in 2020, it is your turn now to share your favorite brands with us.
Now it’s your turn…
Which one of these outdoor clothing brands do you own?
Are there any other great outdoor clothing brands we’ve missed and you think I should add to this article? Let me know.
Should all outdoor clothing brands follow in Patagonia’s footsteps and introduce return and repair programs?
Please leave your comments below so other outdoor clothing lovers can benefit from your expertise.