There are dozens of popular jacket brands on today’s market. This, however, comes with a downside – it can be incredibly difficult to decide which of these brands makes jackets that suit your particular needs.
If you know a thing or two about hiking clothes, you’ve probably heard about Marmot and the North Face – together with the likes of Arc Teryx, Patagonia, or Columbia, these are the most renowned outdoor clothing brands.
Why have we decided to compare Marmot vs North Face? The answer to this question is very simple – these brands are quite comparable in terms of trekking clothes they manufacture, as well as how these perform in harsh backcountry conditions. This, in turn, leaves a lot of room for discussion as to whether Marmot or the North Face is a better brand.
Check out our comparison of these two companies and our reviews of their most popular offerings.
An American brand founded in 1974, Marmot is the result of a friendship of three trekking enthusiasts who wanted to make a puffy jacket that would actually keep them warm and comfortable during their outdoor adventures.
One of the company’s first designs was a puffy jacket called the Golden Mantle. Behind this peculiar name hides a jacket that quickly became Marmot’s best-selling model and a product that launched them into stardom. In fact, the Golden Mantle was featured in 1975’s The Eiger Sanction, starring Clint Eastwood.
One particularly interesting fact about Marmot is that it was among America’s very first brands to use Gore-Tex. As you can already guess, this was a huge boost that increased Marmot’s reputation and popularity.
While hiking clothes remain the company’s primary focus, they manufacture other kinds of outdoor gear as well. Marmot’s tents, for example, are held in high regard by many outdoor lovers everywhere around the world.
Materials & Technologies
Just like most manufacturers of outdoor clothing, Marmot also uses polyester and nylon as the main materials.
However, the company pays special attention to the sustainability of its means of sourcing and production. In other words, Marmot’s goal is to impact the environment as little as possible. One example of this is that they use inks that are PVC-free and Phthalate-free. This is just one of the measures taken by the brand to decrease the use of chemicals in their clothes and other products.
Just like the North Face, Patagonia, Salomon, and many other companies that make trekking gear, Marmot uses Gore-Tex in its products. However, they also have a couple of their own proprietary solutions that improve the performance, durability, and breathability of their products. These include NanoPro and MemBrain technologies.
Read more about Gore-Tex compared vs Omni-Tech technology.
When it comes to Marmot products that are meant to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, Eco Featherless and EvoDry clothes deserve a special mention. Their Eco Featherless jackets are particularly interesting – they remove the actual bird sourcing by mimicking the down insulation.
Marmot’s trekking apparel comes in various designs, but also at various prices. The company’s most affordable offerings start at around $100. Even the brand’s most expensive options, such as down jackets and parkas, are still quite reasonably-priced.
And are these offerings worth their price? In our opinion, yes, they are. These are well-made trekking clothes that don’t only perform well but also look exceptionally stylish. Check out our short overviews of their best-selling trekking clothes bellow:
Marmot Featherless Jacket
One of the most affordable jackets in its category, Marmot Featherless offers great value for the money. If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced, lightweight model that will protect your body from cold winds, Featherless is one of your best options.
This eye-catching winter jacket uses Thinsulate synthetic insulation. What makes this insulation so great is that it was made to mimic the traditional 700-fill power down when it comes to warmth and packability. The model’s outer shell, on the other hand, has been manufactured out of recycled rip-stop nylon and is much tougher than it looks.
While it’s ideal for a variety of cold-weather outdoor activities, Featherless is still on the cooler side when compared to models coming at a higher price, such as the premium-quality jackets offered by Patagonia. Using this jacket in extremely chilly weather will require you to combine it with an extra outer layer.
Still, Marmot Featherless is an impressive piece of outdoor apparel, especially once we consider its price. It performs exceptionally well when it comes to general outdoor activities in the spring when we have to deal with high winds and cold rain. In addition, Featherless provides good freedom of movement, and reaching up or down while wearing this jacket won’t expose your body to the cold.
Another notable point about Featherless is that it can be combined with other Marmot shells through the use of the “Zippin” functionality. Finally, the model has a drawcord hem, an internal stuff pocket, and two handwarmer pockets.
Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket
Popular due to its affordable price tag and above-average breathability, PreCip Eco is among the best Marmot jackets for those who need a do-it-all model for as little money as possible.
Resembling quite a few Patagonia jackets in design, PreCip Eco has been in production for over two decades. As we said in the intro, the very best thing about this men’s jacket is the fact that it’s equipped with a combination of ventilation features. Not only is the model’s fabric very breathable, but there are also quite a few mesh-lined pockets that provide additional ventilation.
PreCip Eco scores high in terms of comfort, too. Despite the fact that it doesn’t come at a high price, this jacket is exceptionally comfortable and mobile. Both the bottom hem and the elastic hood cord are easy to use, while the large zipper metal pulls allow zipping and unzipping with lightweight winter gloves.
Although breathable, PreCip Eco scores pretty high in terms of water resistance. After all, the model’s name suggests that it was made to protect its wearer from rainy weather. The company’s proprietary NanoPro waterproof coating works really well, especially when combined with the jacket’s fully taped seams and wrist cuffs with Velcro tabs.
While not as rugged as, say, Patagonia Torrentshell, PreCip Eco holds up pretty well during abrasive outdoor activities. As long as you don’t use it during heavy downpours, this quality rain jacket will protect you from foul weather during your outdoor adventures.
Marmot Tullus Hoody Jacket
While not flawless, this affordable down jacket looks very stylish and is more than capable of retaining a fair bit of warmth. In fact, Marmot Tullus Hoody is one of the most comfortable jackets in its price category.
First of all, Tullus Hoody uses 600 fill-power down for insulation. While this number certainly isn’t as impressive once compared to many TNF, Adidas, Columbia, Salomon, and Patagonia jackets, Tullus Hoody somehow manages to stay surprisingly warm. It’s an excellent technical outer layer, but also one you’ll have to combine with other layers of clothing in truly freezing weather.
Tullus Hoody uses the company’s proprietary waterproofing technology called Down Defender. In combination with the DWR coating on the outer fabric, this solution works fairly well and helps the jacket dry out faster. Keep in mind that small amounts of water will still get absorbed into the model’s outer fabric – this is, after all, a genuinely inexpensive jacket.
Another great thing about Tullus Hoody is that it’s very spacious and comfortable. While some users may find it too airy, it works nicely as an outer layer and doesn’t feel overly bulky. However, unlike high-quality models made by TNF or Patagonia, this jacket isn’t as feature-packed, especially when it comes to pockets and drawcords.
As one of the more affordable Marmot jackets, Tullus Hoddy is a great choice for folks who need an inexpensive but comfortable and warm jacket for hiking, camping, and dealing with the winter cold in general.
The North Face
Established almost a decade before Marmot, in 1966, the North Face (TNF) is among America’s most famous outdoor clothing brands. Time and time again, the company has proved to be more than capable of producing some of the best outdoor gear available on the market.
The North Face started out by making gear for backpackers and climbers, and then slowly moved onto clothing products specialized for the same people. For years, the brand has produced some of the market’s best-quality jackets, but also footwear, backpacks, sleeping bags, and other outdoor gear.
Named after the harshest side of the mountain, the North Face offers a wide range of stylish products, most of which are suitable for both technical and casual wear. This post could also be interesting, brands similar to The North Face.
Materials & Technologies
Just like its competitors, such as Patagonia, Marmot, or Arc’teryx, the North Face tries to make every product out of recycled materials. In addition, they typically opt for DWR treatments that are PFC-free and not as harmful to the environment.
Another thing that makes this brand so similar to its competitors is that the North Face also uses Gore-Tex in many of its products. However, they have also managed to develop their very own proprietary waterproofing technology – DryVent. This is, in fact, a solution with a high level of performance that is in all regards comparable to the well-known GTX.
Another of TNF’s proprietary technologies is FlashDry, a breathable and quick-drying fabric. WindWall deserves a mention, too. It’s a special type of fabric that protects against harsh winds and cold weather – a great solution for men and women frequently going on winter hikes.
When it comes to insulation, on the other hand, the North Face is well-known for clothing products sporting the famous ThermoBall insulation. This is a synthetic insulation that is very comparable to down. However, unlike down, ThermoBall doesn’t lose its insulating ability right after it gets wet.
An important thing to mention here is that ThermoBall is the result of TNF’s partnership with PrimaLoft, a brand of synthetic insulation material that’s famous for its ability to mimic down. We also recommend reading comparison ThermoBall vs Nano Puff.
In terms of prices, the North Face certainly isn’t among the most affordable brands on the market, particularly when it comes to their technical wear, made for nasty weather. However, that’s to be expected – a high-performance TNF jacket is made out of high-quality materials, and these are expensive.
Nevertheless, outdoor gear made by this company is undoubtedly worth the price – these jackets will help you stay warm in the harshest weather conditions. Check out our brief evaluations of these products below:
The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hooded
The first North Face jacket we’ll be taking a look at is Thermoball Eco Hooded, one of the company’s best and most renowned products. A lightly insulated model, this jacket works best as a layer thrown on top of other clothes.
As we already mentioned, TNF’s ThermoBall insulation mimics down. While it certainly isn’t as warm as merino wool jackets, Thermoball Eco Hooded is guaranteed to keep you protected during your outdoor adventures, especially when combined with one or two additional layers. The model is also impressively light – it’s only 4 ounces heavier than its direct competitor, Patagonia Nano Puff.
Those who like their jackets to be as weather-resistant as possible are bound to like The North Face Thermoball Eco Hooded. The model’s outer fabric sports a very effective water-resistant treatment. Its quilted sewn construction, on the other hand, does a good job at keeping the wind at bay.
As the name suggests, this jacket comes equipped with a hood. The hood is well insulated and very spacious – it can even accommodate a helmet. It can be secured by using the right and left hood cinches. In terms of pockets, ThermoBall Eco Hooded has two handwarmer pockets but no chest pocket. It does, however, pack away into the left handwarmer pocket – you won’t have to worry about the compressibility and packability of this jacket.
Available in 14 different designs, this durable and stylish jacket works great when combined with other layers and easily holds its own in the wilderness while retaining its stylish, urban look.
The North Face Dryzzle Futurelight Jacket
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The next high-quality North Face product we’ll be taking a look at is the Dryzzle Futurelight jacket. Behind this peculiar name hides a model that is going to keep you warm and dry in wet conditions, and more.
Besides the two handwarmer pockets, this jacket also features a chest pocket. Its outer fabric, on the other hand, is made out of recycled polyester and uses a 3-layer construction. Combined, these layers turn Dryzzle Futurelight into a genuinely durable product – it’s tough enough for regular hiking and backpacking use.
Besides the fact that it’s made out of premium-quality materials, Dryzzle Futurelight is also very comfortable and mobile. Its freedom of movement and overall mobility is excellent – it’s as simple as that. The model’s cut, hem, and overall stretchy construction all help this model excel for activities where you have to do a lot of moving.
Another great thing about this men’s jacket is that it’s very breathable, even when combined with a layer or two. This is mostly due to the presence of the FutureLight membrane, which is air-permeable. The model’s hood is just as good as the ones found on the priciest Patagonia or Columbia models. It just feels right on the head, but can also be easily combined with beanies or baseball caps.
All in all, the Dryzzle Futurelight is yet another fantastic North Face product – it is durable and breathable enough to provide years of comfortable use.
The North Face Nuptse Jacket
While it’s the cheapest of the three North Face jackets we’ve analyzed in this article, Nuptse protects against winter cold with its 700-fill down and is durable enough to withstand all types of weather conditions.
One of the most basic North Face jackets, Nuptse lacks a proper hood. However, when it’s fully zipped, the model collar provides effective and comfortable coverage around the user’s neck. There’s a pocket on each side of the jacket, allowing you to keep your hands warm and to carry some of your smaller hiking gear. In addition, the model can also be packed into one of these pockets, which turns it into a comfortable camping pillow.
The materials used in the manufacture of this jacket are double-layer taffeta and 50D nylon. Combined, they give the model a bit of ruggedness needed for everyday use. Another good thing about Nuptse is that it comes with two cinch cords, which allow the user to tighten the waist.
Although cheap, Nuptse is not a synthetic jacket – it uses 700-fill down that is guaranteed to keep you warm in the backcountry. However, make sure to combine it with other layers if you’re going to wear it in really cold weather. Those who like hooded jackets will have to look elsewhere – as we already said, this model has no hood. It is, however, available in a number of different designs, some of which are very stylish and retro-looking.
Time and time again, the North Face proves to be a brand like none other – if you’re looking for a cheap brand-made down jacket, you’ll have a hard time finding anything better than Nuptse.
Marmot vs North Face – The Verdict
So, here we are, at the end of our comparison, which leads us to the question – which of these two brands is the best? Both Marmot and North Face manufacture great outdoor gear. They’re especially good when it comes to men jackets, as you can see from our short reviews above.
Overall, we consider the North Face to be the brand whose jackets offer better performance in cold weather. They are also available in more designs. Marmot jackets, on the other hand, have higher weather-performance, lower weight, and don’t cost as much, which turns them into a good choice for folks looking to save some money. In short, the battle of North Face vs Marmot has no clear winner – it all depends upon your personal needs.
Hopefully, our comparison, as well as our short reviews, were of some help to you and will make it easier to determine which one of these two brands suits your needs the best.
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.