Columbia vs. The North Face (Which Is Better?)

Columbia vs. The North Face

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One of the essential things when you head out to the great outdoors, is gear and equipment. 

No trip, be it camping or hiking, is complete (and safe) without the right clothes, shoes, and tools. With the growing popularity of activities that require you to be outdoors, many brands are selling essential products for such trips. The real question is, which brand should you go with?

Here to make it easier, is our Columbia vs. The North Face review. We thought about adding brands like Arc’teryx and Patagonia but decided to stick to the two brands that people were confused about the most. 

Now, without further ado, let’s get into more detail!

Are Columbia And North Face High-end Outdoor Brands?

If you are the type of person who has just entered the world of outdoor gear, then both Columbia and North Face are the brands to turn to. Usually, people looking to be outdoorsy with the right equipment head to North Face and Columbia. 

The fact that neither of the two is a high-end brand helps as the products are not too expensive compared to the practitioners of the technical sport. Some of the basics, such as hiking t-shirts, boots, jackets, and backpacks, are available at affordable prices. 

We realized that Arc’teryx and Patagonia could be considered high-end, so the price is higher, and the quality and materials are unmatchable. Although there is a significant difference in quality and price, Columbia and North Face are ideal for basic outdoor activities. Of course, they look stylish in the city/town too.

Columbia vs. North Face, Which Is Better?

It was hard to conclude which brand is better. We all have our favorite brands. There’s the ones that you can’t live without, and then there are those trendy second tier choices for when absolutely nothing else will do–the North face or Columbia come to mind? Well in this case it doesn’t really matter because who could fault someone who prefers an expensive coat over something cheaper but just as good (or even better).

Most people who use gear from one brand inadvertently end up buying equipment from the other as well. It depends on their expertise and what’s “in” right now. However, in our mind, The North Face products have a better design than Columbia. But, Columbia tends to last longer. TNF trends to be more focused on fashion than performance, especially their lower cost line.

Hence, it all comes down to what your requirements are. For example, if you are looking for something suitable for rock climbing, none of these brands are for you. In such situations, Outdoor Research might be a more suited option. 

However, for more light outdoor activities, Columbia or North Face are ideal. If you are looking to get clothes that can be used in general and not just during adventure sports, we suggest going for North Face.

Columbia vs. The North Face

As you can tell by now, both brands are not high-end, can provide affordable and durable clothing, and are fashionable. But, there can only be one winner; one brand that becomes your one-stop shop for outdoor gear and equipment.

This is why we have decided to differentiate the brands based on certain factors that are mentioned below.

Technologies And Materials 

Both brands have used multiple technologies that make their products stand apart. Starting with North Face, one of its most popular jackets comes with Thermoball technology. This technology is a bit different from usual insulators as it has synthetic fiber that insulates more heat. Additionally, it is lightweight and insulates heat even if the jacket is wet. 

Another interesting technology that North Face uses is Gore-Tex, which offers protection from water and strong winds while being breathable and lightweight. Furthermore, it can protect you from rain and snow as well. 

Now, coming to Columbia that also has jackets that have high insulating and waterproofing properties. It has multiple technologies for adequate insulation – Omni-Heat Infinity, Omni-Heat 3D, Omni-Heat Reflective, and many more. All these heating technologies allow you to stay warm outdoors for a longer time.

Additionally, it has technology that will keep you dry (OutDry series), cold (Omni-Freeze series), and protected from the wind (Omni-Wind). All in all, Columbia has gear for all types of weather conditions. 


Judging by the different technologies both brands have, it is evident that there are endless products to choose from. When it comes to North Face, the jackets are far more fashionable than Columbia. 

There are endless colors to choose from, making each jacket versatile in terms of where you can wear it. Even when it comes to design and fitting, the jackets are a lot more casual than proper gear, and they have more shape. No matter what your body type is, North Face jackets will fit snugly.

On the other hand, jackets from Columbia are far more utility-based. Those jackets are aimed at making your outdoor experience more relaxing. Most of them have a simple design and very few color options, but the fit is brilliant and a little oversized for more comfort. 


As we mentioned before, neither of the two brands is high-end. This means that both have plenty of options to choose from that are affordable and worth every penny.

North Face and Columbia have options that are below $100 and go above $500. It all comes down to what your requirements are. The only thing to remember is that some jackets sporting unique technologies are a bit on the expensive end.

Which One Is Better?

In the end, what matters is what your requirements are. In terms of price, Columbia is a bit more affordable than North Face. However, Columbia does have a lot of tech in the products that make it more suitable for outdoor activities. In my opinion, they are both suited to people looking for hiking and camping gear. 

Final Verdict

With that, we finally conclude our Columbia vs. North Face discussion. We hope this has helped you in making a quicker decision. 

To reiterate, we would like to mention that both the brands are excellent in their own way. If you are looking for leisure plus sporty outerwear, then North Face is the brand to go for. The jackets fall better on the body, making them ideal for any occasion. For more selective sports gear that caters to outdoor activities, Columbia is the brand for you.

On that note, we shall now sign off. But don’t worry, we will be back with many more guides like this. 

Until next time!

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Matt Scofield
Matt Scofield

Hi! I’m Matt, an adventure freak who lives and breathes the great outdoors. Spending time under the open sky always appealed to me, even as a kid. Perhaps that’s why I liked camping with my dad so much. The days spent hiking and the nights around the campfire are times I’ll cherish forever.

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