The North Face vs. Columbia: Which Brand is Best for Jackets?

Picture this: you’re gearing up for your next adventure, whether it’s a thrilling mountain hike or a cozy camping trip. The one thing you can’t leave behind is the perfect jacket. It’s your trusty companion, shielding you from the elements while making a bold fashion statement. But here’s the dilemma – The North Face vs. Columbia: which jacket should you choose? 

Well, buckle up because today we’ll settle this age-old question. As someone who loves exploring the great outdoors while looking fabulous, I’ve often found myself torn between these two most popular brands. Both have carved out a prominent place in the fashion and outdoor industries, captivating adventurers and style enthusiasts alike.

In this fashion blog, we will dive deep into the world of jackets and dissect what sets these brands apart. We’ll explore their extensive collections, analyzing everything from style and fabric to functionality and price points.

Let’s settle this fashion face-off once and for all and discover your next favorite outdoor fashion companion!

The North Face: Quick Brand History

The North Face, a brand synonymous with outdoor exploration, has a rich history that dates back to the late 1960s. It all began in 1966 in San Francisco, California, when two hiking enthusiasts, Douglas Tompkins, and Kenneth “Hap” Klopp, founded The North Face brand.

Initially, The North Face started as a small mountaineering retail store, offering high-quality equipment and gear for outdoor enthusiasts. The store quickly gained a reputation for its commitment to innovation and durability.

In the 1970s, The North Face expanded its product line to include apparel, introducing jackets, parkas, and other outdoor clothing items. The brand’s focus on creating gear that could withstand extreme conditions gained attention and admiration from professional athletes and outdoor adventurers worldwide.

Over the recent years, The North Face continued to push boundaries and pioneer new technologies. They introduced groundbreaking advancements such as Gore-Tex fabric, revolutionizing waterproof jackets and breathable outdoor apparel.

Today, The North Face is a global leader in outdoor apparel and equipment. Their product range encompasses a wide array of great jackets, hiking boots, backpacks, and other outdoor essentials. The iconic logo of The North Face, a stylized representation of the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, has become a status symbol of adventure and exploration.

Columbia: Quick Brand History

Founded in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, Columbia Sportswear has grown from a small hat company to a global outdoor apparel and footwear brand. Under the leadership of Gert Boyle, the brand gained recognition for its durable and functional products.

As the brand continued to grow, Columbia expanded its product line to include a diverse range of jackets, pants, boots, and accessories for a wide range of outdoor activities. From skiing and hiking to fishing and camping, Columbia’s products became synonymous with durability, functionality, and style.

Throughout the years, Columbia became synonymous with innovative outdoor gear. The brand introduced game-changing technologies such as the patented “Interchange System,” which allowed users to zip together different layers for customized protection in various weather conditions. This groundbreaking system revolutionized the versatility and adaptability of outdoor clothing.

Columbia also made significant differences in fabric technology. They developed Omni-Shield, a water and stain-repellent treatment, and Omni-Wick, a moisture-wicking fabric that keeps the wearer dry and comfortable. These innovations solidified Columbia’s reputation for functional, high-performance apparel. Today, it continues to provide high-quality products for adventure enthusiasts worldwide.

The North Face vs. Columbia: Jacket Comparison

Now that we’ve learned the quick history of both these reputable brands, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty and look at their line of jackets more closely. We’ll compare both brands in terms of five factors: StyleFabricDurabilityFunctionality, and Price.


When it comes to style, both The North Face and Columbia offer a wide range of options to cater to different preferences. However, there are some subtle differences between the two brands.

The North Face jackets often have a more modern and urban aesthetic, with sleek simple designs and attention to detail. They are known for their signature logo and often incorporate trendy elements into their jackets. Products like The North Face Apex Bionic Jacket combine a sleek silhouette with vibrant color options, ensuring I make a statement on the trails. 

On the other hand, Columbia jackets tend to have a slightly more rugged and outdoorsy look, reflecting their heritage in outdoor gear. They focus on functionality while still offering stylish and classic options. Like the Columbia Watertight II Rain Jacket, their jackets have a timeless design and neutral color palette that seamlessly blends with any outdoor outfit.

Ultimately, the better choice between The North Face vs. Columbia when it comes to style will depend on personal taste and the desired look.


Both The North Face and Columbia are known for using performance fabrics in their jackets.

The North Face is particularly renowned for its proprietary materials, such as Gore-Tex and DryVent, which offer excellent waterproofing and breathability. These fabrics ensure you stay dry and comfortable even in challenging weather conditions. Take The North Face Resolve 2 Jacket as an example; it provides exceptional waterproofing and breathability. This ensures I stay dry and comfortable even in heavy downpours.

Columbia, on the other hand, utilizes its own technologies like Omni-Tech and Omni-Heat, providing effective insulation, moisture-wicking properties, and protection from the elements. 

These technologies can be seen in the Columbia Glennaker Lake Rain Jacket, offering reliable waterproofing while maintaining breathability. 

While both brands excel in fabric innovation, it’s worth noting that The North Face tends to prioritize technical performance, whereas Columbia focuses on functional versatility.


As someone who values gear that can withstand the test of time, durability is a vital consideration. And I think both brands do a great job in this area.

The North Face Venture 2 Jacket, for instance, boasts durable construction and reinforced seams, ensuring it withstands abrasions and rough terrain. Columbia also prioritizes durability, with products like the Columbia Steens Mountain Full Zip Fleece Jacket, which features a sturdy build that can endure outdoor challenges while providing warmth and comfort.


Functionality is also a key factor in choosing outdoor jackets, and both The North Face and Columbia deliver in this aspect.

The North Face jackets often come equipped with features like adjustable hoods, ventilation systems, and ample pockets for storage. These thoughtful design elements enhance my comfort and adaptability in various weather conditions.

Columbia jackets also offer practical features such as elastic cuffs, zippered pockets, and removable hoods, providing versatility and convenience. Both brands understand the importance of functional details enhancing my outdoor experience.


When it comes to pricing, there is a notable difference between The North Face vs. Columbia. The North Face jackets often fall into the higher price range due to their reputation for exceptional quality and advanced technologies. They are considered an investment for outdoor enthusiasts who prioritize performance and durability.

On the other hand, Columbia jackets generally offer a more affordable price range option without compromising on functionality. They provide good value for money, especially for those who engage in occasional outdoor activities or are looking for a reliable jacket on a tighter budget.

The North Face vs. Columbia: Popular Designs

Columbia: Popular Designs

1. Columbia Watertight II Jacket

The Watertight II Jacket is a popular choice for its waterproof capabilities. It features Columbia’s Omni-Tech technology, which provides effective rain protection while allowing breathability. The jacket has an adjustable hood, zippered pockets, and a packable design, making it suitable for outdoor activities in unpredictable weather.

2. Columbia Steens Mountain Fleece Jacket

The Steens Mountain Fleece Jacket is a cozy and versatile option for cold weather temperatures. It is made from Columbia’s soft and warm jacket MTR filament fleece, providing excellent insulation. The jacket has zippered hand pockets and a full-zip front, making it an ideal layering piece or standalone option for chilly conditions.

3. Columbia Powder Lite Jacket

The Powder Lite Jacket is known for its lightweight design and reliable insulation. It utilizes Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology, which reflects body heat back to keep you warm. The jacket also features water-resistant fabric, zippered pockets, and an adjustable hem, making it suitable for various outdoor activities.

4. Columbia Whirlibird Interchange Jacket

The Whirlibird Interchange Jacket is a high-performance and versatile option for extreme weather conditions. It features Columbia’s Interchange System, allowing you to wear the jacket in three ways: as a waterproof shell, insulated jacket liner, or combined jacket.

The outer shell is made with Omni-Tech™ fabric, providing waterproof and breathable protection. The inner layer is insulated with Omni-Heat™ technology, which reflects body heat back to keep you warm. It’s perfect for winter sports and activities, offering superior protection, versatility, and adaptability.

5. Columbia Benton Springs Fleece Jacket

The Benton Springs Fleece Jacket is a classic and cozy option for colder weather. It is made of soft and warm polyester fleece, providing excellent insulation. The jacket features a full front zipper, zippered hand pockets, and a stand-up collar for added comfort and protection. Its relaxed fit allows for easy layering over other clothing items. You can wear this as a standalone jacket in cool temperatures or as a mid-layer in colder conditions.

The North Face: Popular Designs

1. The North Face Apex Bionic Jacket

This jacket is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts for its exceptional wind resistance and water repellency. It features The North Face’s WindWall fabric, which provides reliable protection against harsh weather conditions. The Apex Bionic Jacket also offers a comfortable fit, adjustable cuffs, and multiple pockets for convenient storage.

2. The North Face Thermoball Eco Jacket

The Thermoball Eco Jacket is known for its lightweight yet warm insulation. It utilizes The North Face’s innovative Thermoball technology, which mimics the properties of down insulation but retains warmth even when wet. The jacket is highly packable and suitable for various activities, making it a versatile option for outdoor adventures.

3. The North Face Resolve Jacket

Designed for wet weather, the Resolve Jacket offers reliable waterproofing and breathability. It incorporates The North Face’s DryVent technology, which ensures protection from light rain while allowing moisture to escape. The Resolve Jacket also features an adjustable hood, zippered pockets, and a mesh lining for added comfort.

4. The North Face Denali Jacket

The North Face Denali Jacket is a classic and versatile choice. It is constructed with recycled Polartec® fleece, offering exceptional warmth and comfort. This jacket is abrasion-resistant and dries quickly, making it suitable for both outdoor adventures and everyday wear.

It features multiple zippered pockets for storage and an adjustable hem to seal in warmth. The Denali Jacket also has reinforced shoulders and elbows, increasing durability and making it a good idea for rugged activities.

5. The North Face Venture 2 Jacket

The North Face Venture 2 Jacket is a lightweight and packable option for outdoor enthusiasts. It is made with DryVent™ fabric, providing reliable waterproof, and breathable fabric protection. This jacket features an adjustable hood, Velcro® storm flap, and elastic cuffs to keep out moisture and drafts. Its pit zips allow for ventilation during high-intensity activities.

The Venture 2 Jacket can be packed into its own pocket, making it easy to carry in your backpack. It is the best option, combining weather protection and portability, making it suitable for hiking, camping, or urban adventures.

How to Style Your Jacket

This blog won’t be complete without some styling tips! Whether you’re dressing up or going for a casual vibe, these tips will help you make the most of your jacket.


Jackets are versatile pieces easily layered with other clothing items. Try wearing a denim or bomber jacket over a plain t-shirt or lightweight sweater for a casual look. For a more polished outfit, layer a tailored blazer over a button-down shirt. Experiment with different combinations to create a stylish layered look.

Check out more dress layering tips using your jacket here.

Contrast with Colors

Use your jacket to add a pop of color or create a contrast in your outfit. If you’re wearing neutral-colored clothing, try pairing it with a vibrant jacket to make a statement. Conversely, if your outfit is bold and colorful, opt for a more subdued jacket to balance the look.

Dress Up or Down

Jackets can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For a casual and relaxed style, pair your jacket with jeans or chinos and sneakers. To dress it up, opt for tailored trousers or a skirt, and complete the look with dress shoes or ankle boots. The same jacket can be styled differently to suit different dress codes.

Play with Textures

Mix and match different textures to add visual interest to your outfit. Pair a leather jacket with a chunky knit sweater or a suede jacket with a silky blouse. Experimenting with textures can elevate your overall look and create a more dynamic and stylish outfit.

Accessorize Thoughtfully

Consider accessorizing your jacket to enhance your style. Add a statement belt to cinch in a loose-fitting jacket and create a more defined silhouette. Scarves can also be a great choice accessory, especially during colder months, adding both style and warmth. Additionally, don’t forget about complementary accessories like hats, gloves, and bags that can complete your jacket ensemble.

Consider the Occasion

Take into account the occasion and the formality level when styling your jacket. A leather jacket can be perfect for a casual night out, while a tailored blazer can be appropriate for a business or formal event. Choose the appropriate style of jacket based on the occasion to ensure you’re dressed appropriately.

Remember, styling is a personal expression, and these tips are just guidelines. Feel free to experiment, mix and match, and find your own unique style that makes you feel confident and comfortable in your jacket.

The North Face vs. Columbia: The Final Verdict

When deciding between The North Face vs. Columbia, it’s crucial to consider your specific requirements, climate and intended use for the jacket. Are you looking for a jacket for extreme outdoor activities, urban exploration, or everyday wear? Each brand has its own strengths and areas of expertise that cater to different preferences and lifestyles.

The North Face products are known for its innovative technology, cutting-edge designs, and commitment to sustainability. Their jackets excel in providing superior protection against harsh weather conditions while offering a stylish and modern aesthetic.

Columbia products focus on creating practical and durable jackets that deliver on performance without sacrificing style. Their jackets are designed to withstand various weather conditions, offering excellent waterproofing, breathability, and synthetic insulation.

Ultimately, the best products for jackets is subjective and depends on individual needs, style preferences, and budget considerations. Both The North Face and Columbia have established themselves as reliable and reputable brands, continuously innovating and delivering high-quality jackets. Whether you prioritize technical features, fashion-forward designs, or a balance of both, you can find a jacket that meets your requirements from either brand.

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