When it comes to acclaimed manufacturers of trekking jackets, none are as famous or celebrated as Arc’teryx and Patagonia. These two brands have been decorated with a number of superlatives by casual hikers and professional mountaineers alike. This is because they both make excellent outdoor gear – their technical outerwear and accessories are unmatched on the market.
However, both Patagonia and Arc’teryx tend to be quite polarizing. Folks who praise Arc’teryx often disprove Patagonia’s jackets, while the ones who swear by Patagonia consider outerwear made by Arc’teryx to be unworthy of anyone’s money. In truth, both of these brands are actually quite similar in terms of the reputation they hold and the products they manufacture.
For that matter, we’ve decided to analyze these esteemed brands and see how they compare. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the technologies used by Arc’teryx vs Patagonia and also check out some of their most popular products. Read on!
Table of Contents
- 1 Arc’teryx
- 2 Patagonia
- 3 Patagonia vs Arc’teryx – The Verdict
Most people don’t know that Arc’teryx is actually a Canadian brand. Founded in the early 1990s in Vancouver, British Columbia, the company takes its name from the Archaeopteryx, a prehistoric animal also known as the “original bird”. If you’re wondering what could an outdoor sports brand have in common with evolution, the answer is quite simple – it’s the adaptation to the environment.
When it comes to companies that are constantly innovating and putting out groundbreaking pieces of outdoor gear, Arc’teryx is undoubtedly at the very pinnacle of the pantheon of such brands. Some of the company’s earliest and most popular products include the Vapor harness and the Bora backpack, both of which were made through the use of thermal lamination technology.
In the beginning, Arc’teryx was manufacturing only climbing gear. However, once it obtained the Gore-Tex license, the company finally started the process of establishing itself as one of the planet’s best outdoor clothing brands. Needless to say, Arc’teryx still holds that reputation to this day.
Materials & Technologies
Just like most of its competition, this brand uses only premium-quality fabrics and materials. As expected, these aren’t only durable and long-lasting, but also provide the best possible performance. Most of the materials they use are “Bluesign Certified”, which means that they do not contain chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment.
In fact, Arc’teryx is among those companies that pay special attention to the quality of their manufacturing. They’ve made huge efforts to ensure that their products are manufactured as ethically as possible. This doesn’t only cover the potential environmental impact, but also the working conditions and the treatment of employees.
Outerwear manufacturers that place a great focus on the sustainable means of production play an essential role in making sure that the jackets we buy don’t come at a high natural cost. Fortunately, Arc’teryx is among such companies. For example, this brand makes sure that the animals who provide some of the raw materials are treated as humanly as possible.
Similarly to Patagonia, Salomon, and the North Face, Arc’teryx uses mostly nylon and polyester for their outdoor garments. To make their products water-resistant, they use the already-mentioned Gore-Tex. In addition, the company is quite famous for its AC2 technology, which is typically found in their backpacks.
Jackets and accessories made by this company come at varying prices – some are more expensive than others. Truth to be told, Arc’teryx certainly isn’t among the most budget-friendly brands that you can find. A lot of their designs come at prices of around $200 and more.
However, all of their garments are absolutely worth the price – their design, performance, and extra features are really hard to match.
Arc’teryx Thorium AR Jacket
From the popular Gamma MX to the versatile Atom LT model, Arc’teryx has dozens of high-end jackets on offer. That’s precisely why it was so hard to choose and analyze just three of them. The first model we’ll be taking a look at is Thorium AR, a model that works well for both technical and everyday use.
For insulation, this jacket uses 750-fill power goose down. As you probably already know, this type of insulation is more than capable of providing sufficient warmth and comfort in cold and wet conditions. The model uses a bit of synthetic insulation as well (mostly at the hood), taking the best from both worlds.
This jacket works best when it’s used as an outer layer, as its 30-denier face fabric sports a DWR coating. In terms of pockets, Thorium AR features a chest pocket with a stuff sack and two hand pockets. The model provides a very comfortable fit – its silky-smooth interior feels great on the skin.
All in all, this model is undoubtedly among the company’s best jackets and is suitable for all types of outdoor activities – from trekking to rock climbing.
Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid Jacket
As the name suggests, this model sports a hybrid construction. By combining two Gore-Tex fabrics of different thicknesses, Beta SL Hybrid stands as a waterproof, breathable shell that successfully protects its user from water, wind, and foul weather in general.
The very first thing we noticed about this jacket is how light it is. Having a weight of only 12. 7 oz (ounces), this is a genuinely lightweight model that most ultralight backpackers are bound to like.
As we said, the model achieves top-notch performance by combining two different Gore-Tex fabrics. These are the 3-layer standard Gore-Tex fabric and the 2-layer Paclite fabric. Together, these boost the model’s durability and overall waterproofing. Unfortunately, the zippers of Beta SL Hybrid aren’t as waterproof as we thought they should be, even though they’re called “WaterTight” zippers.
In terms of pockets, the model has only two of them, although this makes sense once we consider its ultralight construction. Overall, the jacket provides a good fit in both the men’s and women’s variants and is one of the better Arc’teryx jackets in terms of weight and weather resistance.
Arc’teryx Tenquille Hoody
While not the best choice for winter hikes, the Tenquille Hoody is a great choice for general use. Weather-resistant and lightweight (10. 4 oz), it’s one of the best products of this type on the market.
Besides the fact that it’s an incredibly lightweight softshell jacket, the Tenquille Hoody also provides excellent protection against wind and water. Its outer shell uses Kauss, which is a durable, water-resistant fabric that works just as advertised. The jacket is also very breathable – the fabric we mentioned above allows for easy transmission of perspiration.
As the name suggests, this garment comes with a hood. While well-made and very convenient, the jacket’s hood has a large fit and tends to move around quite a lot. There are also two hand pockets, elastic-fitted cuffs, as well as the adjustment. Overall, the Tenquille Hoody is not heavy on extra features but still manages to offer top performance for a wide array of applications.
We think that it’s pretty safe to say that Tenquille’s simplicity is actually one of its best features. It sports a clean design, it’s lightweight and waterproof, and it’s very good at protecting its user against the elements. What more could one want?
As you probably already know, Patagonia is one of those brands that are frequently featured in our comparisons. And there’s a good reason for that – their products are held in high regard by millions of outdoor enthusiasts all over the world and are often recommended all over the internet.
Patagonia came into existence all the way back in 1973 when the Californian company called Chouinard Equipment split into two separate brands. One of these became Patagonia that we know and like today. Over the years, the brand succeeded at building a loyal following by designing some of the market’s best pieces of outerwear apparel.
Unlike Arc’teryx, Patagonia has been a clothing brand all the way from the beginning. However, the company has managed to expand its product range over the last 50 years. Furthermore, Patagonia is well-known for its efforts at minimizing environmental impact – more on that later.
Materials & Technologies
Comparing Patagonia vs Arc’teryx in terms of sustainability shows us that each brand has pretty much the same goals in this regard – one is not better than the other.
Just like its main rivals, Patagonia sources fabrics and raw materials primarily through recycling. And when it can’t obtain the necessary materials through recycling, Patagonia makes sure that they’re sourced sustainably and ethically while meeting all the important standards. Another thing worth mentioning here is that the brand stays away from non-biodegradable chemicals that are dangerous to the environment.
Similar to Arc’teryx, Salomon, and The North Face, Patagonia is a brand that primarily uses nylon and polyester in the manufacture of its garments. They also use a number of well-known fabric technologies, one of which is the all-present Gore-Tex. However, Patagonia has also developed a number of their own proprietary technologies, such as the Deluge Coating (an incredibly durable waterproof coating) and H₂No (a water-repellent but breathable membrane that goes over the insulation).
As always, we also have to mention Patagonia’s rigorous and extensive testing process called the “24 Killer Wash”. This test sees new fabrics going through various simulated weather conditions and ensures that those who get through it in one piece are really protective and resistant to foul weather. In addition, Patagonia’s customer service is widely regarded as one of the best on the market.
All in all, the products designed and sold by Patagonia provide a great fit and are typically light, good-looking, made out of quality materials, very durable, and provide the much-needed protection from cold and wind.
When compared to its arch-rival, Patagonia is a relatively more affordable brand. However, a Patagonia-made jacket will still come at a higher price than the one made by most other brands on the market.
Still, most of their garments are definitely worth the price. As we said, most of them provide an excellent fit and sport a quality down or synthetic insulation that effortlessly keeps the winter at bay and provides the much-needed warmth and comfort. In fact, even their cheapest jackets provide better performance than the best garments made by less-known brands. Read our review of Comparing Synthetic Down Jackets.
Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody
The very first Patagonia jacket we’ll be taking a look at is the Nano-Air Hoody. In our opinion, this model is among the market’s best active mid-layers and a genuinely worthwhile investment.
Using the synthetic FullRange insulation, the Nano-Air Hoody provides the much-needed warmth you’ll need for your outdoor adventures. However, keep in mind that this is a relatively thin jacket and that it won’t protect you from cold in freezing temperatures. It works best with folks who generate body heat by staying active, as it’s very breathable.
This jacket is also quite light (its weight stands at 14.4 oz) and sports a shell with a waterproof DWR coating which, however, won’t keep you dry in really wet conditions. Its hood does a great job of sealing off the face opening and its chest pocket allows the user to stuff the entire jacket into it.
So, should you get this light and protective mid-layer? If we put the minor annoyances aside, we’ll see that the Nano-Air Hoody is let down by just one major absence in its feature set – it’s very thin. Still, it’s a good option for days when you don’t stop moving.
Patagonia Fitz Roy Hooded Jacket
Behind this peculiar name hides a really well-made jacket and one of Patagonia’s better offerings. Although it comes at a high price, it’s one of the best garments of this type of money can get – here’s why.
First of all, this jacket provides a very large fit – layering it over literally anything is incredibly easy. For insulation, Fitz Roy Hooded uses 800-fill power goose down. As expected, this insulation does a great job of keeping the wearer warm and comfortable. Its outer shell is pretty good at protecting the user from cold wind and also features a waterproof coating.
Besides providing top-notch warmth and comfort, this model is also quite compressible, even though it’s among Patagonia’s bulkier garments. Furthermore, it is equipped with five pockets and its cinchable hood does a great job at keeping the cold at bay.
All in all, the Fitz Roy Hooded Jacket is a purchase you won’t regret making – that much is certain.
Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket
No overview of popular Patagonia products is complete without the Torrentshell Jacket. Last updated in 2020, this is arguably Patagonia’s most popular outerwear garment – it is really well-made and provides a huge value for the money.
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. Torrentshell isn’t that great when it comes to freedom of movement, nor it is the lightest or the most breathable option out there. However, it is the jacket to go for if you need a genuinely versatile hiking garment that will keep you dry during your rainy backpacking trips.
Using the already-mentioned H₂No membrane, the Torrentshell is an exceptionally weather-resistant garment. Its high-quality 50D face fabric, on the other hand, is very thick and durable. In terms of pockets, the Torrentshell has only two of them but they’re both generously sized.
All in all, this popular jacket offers a superb value for the price it comes at. Combining typical Patagonia build quality with a clean, sleek design and excellent waterproofing, it has everything you need for your outdoor adventures.
Patagonia vs Arc’teryx – The Verdict
So, which brand is better? Truth be told, Arc’teryx and Patagonia are very similar in terms of performance, as well as in the quality of materials they use.
Both companies make a multitude of really great jackets and utilize technologies that put them above the competition. However, we think that it’s pretty safe to say that Arc’teryx is a better choice if you’re looking for top-notch technical outdoor clothing, while Patagonia provides garments that are almost as great but can be obtained for a lot less money.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.