Fjallraven vs Arcteryx represents a classic showdown in the outdoor apparel industry, where both brands have consistently set benchmarks with their innovative and reliable gear. Each brand brings a rich history to the table and has made substantial contributions to the realms of hiking, camping, and general outdoor equipment.
In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into several categories, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of Fjallraven and Arcteryx to assist you, the consumer, in making an informed decision. Let’s explore the depths of these two outdoor giants together!
Introduction to the Brands
Founded in 1960, Fjallraven is one of Sweden’s most famous apparel brands and a company that has become an industry leader. Founder Åke Nordin started the brand after he found himself unsatisfied with the gear available to him as a scout.
Since its humble beginnings in Northern Sweden, the company has gained international recognition, producing an impressive selection of outdoor gear and clothing. Fjallraven’s devotion to timeless, practical, and durable designs has earned the brand a global reputation for quality.
Arcteryx occupies the other side of the ring. Founded a little over three decades ago in the rugged mountains of British Columbia, Canada, Arcteryx enjoys a high reputation and is famous for its premium-quality technical outdoor gear and clothing. By naming itself Arcteryx, the brand pays tribute to the dinosaur that demonstrated the first signs of flight, the Archaeopteryx Lithographica, signifying its commitment to constant innovation and evolution. The company’s dedicated approach to performance, craftsmanship, and design has earned it a loyal following in the outdoor community.
In the rest of the article, I’ll delve into a detailed comparison of these outdoor gear industry titans. I’ll examine them in several departments – design & style, materials & manufacture, product range, and customer service & warranty. I will mainly focus on their jackets, a product category in which both brands have achieved massive success.
So, how do Fjallraven and Arcteryx stack up against one another? Is the Canadian technical brilliance and innovation of Arcteryx more appealing, or does the Swedish practicality and tradition of Fjallraven reign supreme? Let’s find out.
Designs & Styles
Fjallraven: Tradition Meets Practicality
Practicality and tradition are crucial components of Fjallraven’s charm. The brand’s design philosophy draws inspiration from its Swedish heritage, embracing functionality, simplicity, and a classic aesthetic that will always stay in style. Each piece of clothing designed by Fjallraven is inspired by its love of the outdoors and a desire to share it with others.
The company’s jackets are often decorated with the recognisable Arctic Fox logo, highlighting the brand’s support for wildlife and nature conservation. The designs typically follow a utilitarian style, featuring reinforced areas, adjustable hoods, and large pockets, offering maximum comfort while weathering outdoor challenges.
Another vital aspect of Fjallraven’s designs is colour. Many of the brand’s jackets are available in earth tones, emphasising its nature-inspired design philosophy. However, the company is unafraid to explore more vibrant colour palettes, allowing wearers to express individuality. Generally speaking, Fjallraven’s design emphasises tradition and robustness, meeting the needs of casual city dwellers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Arcteryx: Technical Excellence Meets Modern Design
Arcteryx uses an entirely different approach to design. The brand’s creations are heavily driven by its commitment to innovation and performance, featuring a minimalistic and modern aesthetic that sets it apart from other companies. Arcteryx’s philosophy is embodied in its motto – “Designs made to last.” Every piece of clothing Arcteryx creates reflects this mantra.
The brand’s jackets are highly regarded for their superb ergonomics and fit, providing excellent mobility, a crucial feature in outdoor activities. Arcteryx’s designs are influenced by the belief that clothing’s outdoor success is determined by its fit and movement.
The company combines a streamlined design with its trademark visual components, like the iconic Arcteryx logo, precision craftsmanship, and clean lines. Colour also plays an essential role in the brand’s identity. Like its rival, Arcteryx produces garments in both vibrant and neutral colours, albeit with a distinctively contemporary touch.
In essence, Arcteryx’s design combines technical excellence and contemporary aesthetics. It’s a perfect brand for anyone looking for sleek, modern designs that don’t sacrifice performance.
Materials & Manufacture
Fjallraven: Durable But Eco-Friendly Materials
Fjallraven’s devotion to durability and sustainability shines through in its choice of manufacturing processes and materials. One of the company’s guiding principles is creating gear that can last a long time with minimal environmental impact.
The brand is best known for its G-1000 fabric, a highly durable material blending cotton and polyester. This material is renowned for its robustness & water and wind resistance. Moreover, it can be waxed for extra protection from poor weather and a longer lifespan. The G-1000 is employed across the entire Fjallraven jacket range, fostering the company’s standing for dependable, sturdy apparel.
Fjallraven uses both synthetic and down insulation. Down used by Fjallraven is 100% traceable and sourced from birds that have been treated humanely. Fjallraven also offers jackets insulated with Supreme Microloft, durable and warm synthetic insulation and a superb alternative to down insulation.
Additionally, the company practices eco-friendly manufacturing. Fjallraven uses organic and recycled materials whenever feasible and aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2025. Its dedication to sustainability, durability, and quality has positioned it as a brand that outdoor enthusiasts can trust and depend on.
Arcteryx: Innovation in Material Use
In contrast, Arcteryx has gained recognition through groundbreaking manufacturing processes and innovative use of materials. The company is fully committed to pushing technological advancements to deliver products of the highest quality.
One of the best examples of this commitment to innovation is the brand’s use of Gore-Tex in many garments. Gore-Tex is a breathable but waterproof membrane renowned for its remarkable ability to keep out water while letting vapour pass through. This is precisely why Arcteryx apparel never overheats while providing excellent weather protection.
Regarding insulation, the company uses both synthetic and down materials, just like its competitor. However, the brand’s synthetic insulation, branded as Coreloft, is a particular standout. This uniquely crafted polyester insulation is breathable and lightweight but can also retain its warmth-keeping properties in wet conditions. As a result, it can be used in various outdoor conditions.
Arcteryx’s production process is just as innovative as its use of materials. The company employs a proprietary laminating process to create lighter, more durable jackets than many of its rivals. The brand is also famous for its 3-dimensional patterning, which is ergonomic and significantly increases comfort and mobility.
In summary, Arcteryx has set itself apart in outdoor gear with its commitment to technological advancements and refusal to compromise quality. Its cutting-edge manufacturing techniques and materials have made it immensely popular among outdoor enthusiasts seeking high-performance apparel.
Fjallraven: Versatile and Wide
Fjallraven’s product selection is varied and vast, giving customers a wide array of outdoor gear. From lightweight trekking jackets for spring and summer to heavy-duty parkas designed for icy conditions, Fjallraven has something for everyone.
The brand’s best-known product is the Greenland Jacket, a robust and versatile garment ideal for outdoor adventures and urban life (short review below). The Expedition Down Jacket is another performance-oriented piece designed for harsh winters. It features a durable G-1000 shell and a generous fill of ethically sourced down.
In addition to these, the company offers shell jackets, anoraks, and trekking jackets, each tailored to a specific outdoor activity. For example, the Keb Jacket is a fantastic option for hiking, delivering freedom of movement and above-average durability. At the same time, the brand’s Abisko Eco-Shell is a perfect choice for rainy outdoor adventures, offering water resistance without sacrificing breathability.
Arcteryx: A Performance-Driven Brand
On the other hand, Arcteryx’s apparel selection is highly specialised and designed to deliver high performance. The brand has created different product lines tailored to specific outdoor conditions or activities.
One of the company’s most famous lines is the Alpha series, explicitly created for alpinism and climbing. The jackets from the Alpha series are renowned for their excellent weather protection and mobility. For example, the Alpha AR jacket relies on Gore-Tex Pro for superior weather resistance and durability – it’s an ideal piece of apparel for challenging alpine conditions.
For snowboarding or backcountry skiing enthusiasts, the Shashka Jacket or the Rush Jacket from the Whiteline collection provide outstanding protection against moisture and cold. They come with snow-specific features such as helmet-compatible hoods and powder skirts.
Urban explorers are also taken care of with the Camosun Parka or the Therme Parka from the brand’s City series, providing unmatched warmth and weather protection in trendy, city-friendly styles.
In essence, both Fjallraven and Arcteryx provide a wide selection of products, with the former leaning towards flexibility of use and the latter focusing on specialisation and performance. Which is the best depends on your specific needs and what outdoor activities you enjoy the most.
Customer Service & Warranty
Fjallraven: Commitment to Customer Satisfaction and Comprehensive Support
Fjallraven’s warranty and customer service approach reflects its overall dedication to the satisfaction of its consumers. The brand provides comprehensive support to its clients, assisting them with everything from choosing the adequate garment to caring for it appropriately to extend its lifespan.
The company’s warranty policy covers faults in workmanship and material for two years following the date of purchase. If a particular piece of apparel fails due to a manufacturing fault, the brand will fix it for free or replace it at its discretion. However, this warranty doesn’t cover deterioration caused by the natural breakdown of materials and colours over extended use and time. The same goes for everyday wear and tear, negligence, improper care, and accidents.
Fjallraven’s customer service is recognised as excellent. They are known for being helpful and responsive, often going out of their way to ensure customer satisfaction. Whether you have a warranty claim, need assistance with an order, or have a question about a product, the brand’s customer service is there to assist and resolve issues.
In the realm of outdoor apparel, the debate of Fjallraven vs Patagonia also often surfaces among enthusiasts, as both brands are renowned for their quality and customer service. While Fjällräven emphasizes its comprehensive support and a robust two-year warranty, Patagonia is also well-regarded for its own customer-friendly policies and environmental initiatives.
Arcteryx: Solid Warranty and a Stellar Customer Support
Arcteryx’s warranty policy and customer service are equally impressive. The brand offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty for each product, guaranteeing to cover any faults in workmanship or material for the product’s practical lifetime. This warranty commitment is a testimony to the company’s trust in the durability and quality of its apparel.
Like Fjallraven’s, Arcteryx’s warranty does not cover damage caused by accidents, neglect, misuse, or deterioration of materials over time. However, it covers production faults, and the brand pledges to replace or repair defective garments at its discretion.
Regarding customer service, Arcteryx also excels. It offers multiple communication channels – like phone and email support – making it convenient for customers to contact the brand. Arcteryx’s customer service team is renowned for being responsive, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about ensuring customer satisfaction.
In addition, Fjallraven and Arcteryx also provide repairs, recognising that repairs are more environmentally friendly than replacements. These repair services are integral to their sustainability efforts.
In conclusion, both labels firmly commit to their customers, providing solid warranty policies and excellent customer service. You might prefer one over the other depending on your specific experiences or preferences. Still, it’s safe to say that Fjallraven and Arcteryx do their best to ensure their customers are well-supported and satisfied.
- Material: Cotton, polyester, G-1000 ECo fabric
- Sizes available: 6 (XS – XXL)
- Colours available: 5
Offering timeless style and excellent durability, the Fjallraven Greenland Jacket excels in almost every department you can think of. The model is made from G-1000 Eco fabric – a blend of organic cotton and recycled polyester – which gives the jacket an impressive resilience to stand up against different weather conditions.
Being a non-insulated and lightweight piece of apparel, the Greenland Jacket is versatile: you can wear it alone during warmer months or layer it in cooler weather. It’s perfect for those seeking a more adaptive garment for changing seasons.
Fjallraven Greenland Jacket sports a regular fit, a refreshing alternative to the slim fit. It offers plenty of room for layering while maintaining a sleek silhouette.
The presence of several practical features enhances the jacket’s functionality. These include the adjustable hem and cuffs (which allow for customisation of comfort and fit), two top-loaded pockets at the lower front, and two chest pockets.
Unfortunately, the jacket’s lack of insulation makes it unsuitable for colder climates. In addition, those who prefer a more fitted silhouette might find the regular fit a bit loose.
Nevertheless, the Greenland Jacket is a sustainably made, versatile, and durable garment that offers excellent flexibility for changing weather conditions. Despite its looser fit and lack of insulation, its eco-friendly construction and practical features make it a worthwhile investment.
- Multiple pockets provide ample storage space
- Customisable fit – adjustable hem and cuffs
- Layerable and lightweight
- Durable construction
- Relatively affordable
- In colder climates, usage is limited due to the lack of insulation
- The regular fit might be loose for some
Beta AR Jacket
- Material: N40p-X 3L & N80p-X 3L Gore-Tex Pro
- Sizes available: 6 (XS – XXL)
- Colours available: 5
The Beta AR Jacket, one of the best Arcteryx jackets, is a testament to Arcteryx’s dedication to designing performance-driven outdoor apparel. Made from robust N40p-X 3L and N80p-X 3L Gore-Tex Pro fabrics, the model offers top-of-the-line protection from the elements without sacrificing breathability. It’s a perfect jacket for outdoor activities of all kinds.
Although a drawback, the jacket’s lack of insulation can also be seen as an advantage – it makes it very versatile and allows for easy layering in colder conditions. The Beta AR can be used for climbing, hiking, or wearing year-round in the city or the backcountry.
One of the model’s best features is the ergonomic 3D patterning (e3D), enhancing its mobility and comfort. Its hip-length cut and regular fit guarantee it suits a wide range of body types, offering ample room for layering without making you feel too restricted.
The helmet-compatible DropHood is a particularly praiseworthy feature, adding extra versatility and protection. Other convenient features include an internal chest pocket and WaterTight external zippers, increasing Beta AR’s overall functionality.
Despite these impressive features, the model lacks insulation and isn’t warm enough for icy climates. Also, Arcteryx is expensive – there are better options for those on a budget.
Still, with its functional features, versatile design, and durable construction, the Beta AR Jacket is a reliable piece of apparel for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a garment able to handle various weather conditions. Its high price indicates the quality and attention to detail, making it an excellent investment (if you’ve got the money, that is).
- Lots of functional and practical features
- Premium-quality, long-lasting material
- Enhanced mobility and comfort
- The perfect layering piece
- Sustainable construction
- Not the best choice for freezing temperatures
- High price
The Final Verdict
After analysing these two brands in several crucial categories – design and style, materials and manufacture, product range, and customer service and warranty – Fjallraven and Arcteryx emerged as capable, strong competitors in outdoor apparel.
Fjallraven shines with its utilitarian, traditional designs, sustainable materials, and broad product selection appropriate for various outdoor activities. On the other hand, its rival captivates with its minimalist, modern design, cutting-edge materials, specialised product selection, and a generous warranty.
If you prefer a brand with a wide variety of outdoor gear, traditional designs, and a strong focus on sustainability, look no further than Fjallraven. However, Arcteryx is a more suitable choice if you value specialised gear for specific outdoor pursuits, modern design aesthetics, and technical excellence.
While both labels offer stylish, durable, and high-quality outdoor apparel, Arcteryx takes a slight edge over Fjallraven, emphasising specialised gear and technical performance. Still, both brands can be considered top-of-the-line providers of premium outdoor garments – whichever you choose, you won’t regret your decision.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. 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.