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  #1  
Old 12-15-2008, 05:54 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
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Compare: The North Face vs Columbia Sportswear Vs Eddie Bauer outerwear

All three of thee vendors, and I am sure many more, sell warm coats, some with zip-out linings that acts as fashionable coats or vests as well.

My impression has been that Columbia, the lowest priced of the trio, seems to offer adequate insulation at a reasonable price and quality. This is based, of course, on trying on a few of them at the store.

Eddie Bauer offers similar stuff, with some upscale linings offered, such as down, which makes the stuff even warmer. They tend to look more upmarket, with a softer fleece linings and use of real down in the linings, etc. However, I tried on one of the coats and the zipper stuck, and there were other ergonomic issues that made it feel like it was as wel thought out as the Columia stuff.

Then we have The North Face. Either this stuff comes with free prostitues (something they should advertise better) or is the ultimate in quality, or they just somehow fool people into paying about 4 times what it's worth. I mean, seriously, they sell the Denali Fleece jacket (a fleece jacket!!!) for $165. If you want an actual coat, they start at around 3 C-notes and go up from there.

Dopers, do you have opinions on this stuff? Anyone wear The North Face and think the price is justified somehow? Does it have one of those warranties where if you gain 100lbs and it no longer fits so you use it as a snow blanket to get your car unstuck, they give you a new one and a free blow job?

Let's hear it!

Last edited by crazyjoe; 12-15-2008 at 05:54 PM..
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2008, 06:05 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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TNF hasn't been the ultimate in quality in decades. Don't get me wrong, they make some good gear, but they also make a lot of stuff designed for urban wear that wouldn't be very useful in the backcountry. They know that you make money by selling a lot of gear, not by making the best gear. They still make some good gear but they cut corners in lots of places.

Arcteryx, Mountain Hardware and others have taken up the mantel of top quality gear.

I have some TNF gear, but for top quality I look elsewhere. And the cost is significantly higher then TNF.

All three you mentioned make some good gear, and Columbia has some very good values. If you're going to be around town, they'll all work just fine. You don't need much in town to stay warm, fleece is fleece, wind/rain proof is the same all over. Now, they may not work as well when it's -20 at 13,000' of horizontal snow in Colorado, but most folks use this gear to walk to the 7-11 so who cares?

What are you going to use it for? Without knowing that it's impossible to evaluate the gear.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2008, 06:07 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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What? No love for REI?
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2008, 06:33 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Hell, in really cold weather I still wear a Snow Lion parka I bought over 30 years ago.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2008, 06:46 PM
Valgard Valgard is offline
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Never owned anything by EB.

I had some random stuff made by Columbia years ago and I just didn't think much of it, lousy quality, etc so I choose not to buy their stuff anymore.

Ditto on what Telemark said r.e. TNF. I live right by a North Face factory outlet and once in a while you find a great deal on some good gear (my old NF fleece jacket from over 10 years ago is still in fantastic shape, and I bought a new goretex shell there, it's very nice and very inexpensive) but in the stores a lot of their stuff is really overpriced. If you want to spend that kind of money you can go for serious stuff (I happen to like Marmot).

If you want nice stuff at a nice price and an iron-clad guarantee I'll second Johnny L.A. on REI and also throw LL Bean into the mix. I had a Bean goretex jacket that spent many a day in the rain, camping (regular and snow), playing in the snow, etc. Both Bean and REI have a 100% guarantee on their stuff - don't like it? Bring it back.

Cabela's does the same thing. Much of their clothing is aimed at the hunting & fishing crowd but they also have more general outdoor sports clothing, their stores are massive and their prices are attractive.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2008, 07:00 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
What? No love for REI?
REI has its own brand? I thought they just resold other stuff?

Anyhow, I will mostly be using this stuff for general outdoors stuff in urban areas. Hiking and hunting are not on my list of to-dos, but shovelling driveways is. Occasionally I will need to be outdoors for an extended period of time during the cold, and it helps to have warm stuff.

I'll check REI and Cabelas and see what they have to offer as well.

Color me unsurprised that there's other shit even more expensive than TNF. For highly specialized use, I guess it makes sense, but not for everyday stuff like most people do.

Wheer does TNF cut corners?
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2008, 07:05 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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This might pique your interest: http://www.dealhack.com/archives/200...0_off_all.html
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  #8  
Old 12-15-2008, 07:37 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
REI has its own brand? I thought they just resold other stuff?
Yes, REI has made their own gear for ages. They sell a full line of their own gear and also sell some selected brands. [/quote]

Quote:
Anyhow, I will mostly be using this stuff for general outdoors stuff in urban areas. Hiking and hunting are not on my list of to-dos, but shovelling driveways is. Occasionally I will need to be outdoors for an extended period of time during the cold, and it helps to have warm stuff.
Good gear by any of those companies will work in this case. Frankly, jackets are pretty basic and you're not putting them under particularly drastic situations. Look for a good fitting hood, pockets where you need them, and something that leaves enough room to wear other clothes underneath.

Quote:
Color me unsurprised that there's other shit even more expensive than TNF. For highly specialized use, I guess it makes sense, but not for everyday stuff like most people do.
Trust me, it makes a difference. Some of us do that stuff on a regular basis.

Quote:
Wheer does TNF cut corners?
Materials, design (to make manufacturing cheaper), workmanship. You won't notice it shoveling the driveway, but you will above treeline in a winter storm. Again, for shoveling the driveway anything will do. Even if you're out for a couple of hours, any of the jackets by these companies will work fine. Your gloves and hat are probably more important then the jacket.
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  #9  
Old 12-15-2008, 07:49 PM
Brown Eyed Girl Brown Eyed Girl is offline
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Yes, REI sells REI branded gear and (I'm biased, I work there) what Valgard said is about affordability and guarantee is absolutely right. For example, a few REI softshells are made with Schoeller fabrics, a Swiss textile company known for its innovation and quality. We're also using eVent for exceptionally breathable waterproof shells. They aren't just "generic no-name" jackets.

As for TNF, I won't put down a vendor because that wouldn't be right, but let's just say that they are VERY POPULAR with the urban fashionista set. They have The Look, as it were. Regardless, REI typically carries higher end gear, so you'll see alongside TNF, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot (my favorite) and Arc'Teryx. I would say Arc'Teryx has the best reputation for quality...and you WILL have to shell out big time for that quality. To many it's well worth the price.
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2008, 07:51 PM
cwthree cwthree is online now
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I've been very happy with my Eddie Bauer jackets (1 down, 1 waterproof shell + primaloft liner). The price to quality ratio on both items has bben excellent.

I looked at TNF's offerings when I was shopping for my shell and liner, and I wasn't impressed. They struck me as overpriced for the construction and quality. Most of their mid-range jackets and shells also seemed gratuitously over-engineered, i.e., tricked out with features that look impressive on the street but serve no real purpose in the field.
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  #11  
Old 12-15-2008, 07:58 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brown Eyed Girl View Post
Yes, REI sells REI branded gear and (I'm biased, I work there) what Valgard said is about affordability and guarantee is absolutely right. For example, a few REI softshells are made with Schoeller fabrics, a Swiss textile company known for its innovation and quality. We're also using eVent for exceptionally breathable waterproof shells. They aren't just "generic no-name" jackets.
I love my new REI Newcastle Travel Coat. (And the 20% discount coupon I got as I walked into the store was nice too.) If anybody asks, I can recommend it.
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  #12  
Old 12-15-2008, 08:11 PM
Brown Eyed Girl Brown Eyed Girl is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I love my new REI Newcastle Travel Coat. (And the 20% discount coupon I got as I walked into the store was nice too.) If anybody asks, I can recommend it.
That's a great coat! We don't carry it in our store, but I saw a customer wearing one and it's sharp-looking. The REI One is another one I like for men. Personally, I'm saving up for a Kulshan jacket. I recently bought a Marmot Gravity and wear it daily.
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  #13  
Old 12-15-2008, 08:26 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Originally Posted by Brown Eyed Girl View Post
That's a great coat!... Personally, I'm saving up for a Kulshan jacket.
Thanks. I like the 'Beech Tree' green.

The Kulshan is attractive. Incidentally, Koma Kulshan is about 50 miles from my house.
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2008, 09:27 PM
Brown Eyed Girl Brown Eyed Girl is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
The Kulshan is attractive. Incidentally, Koma Kulshan is about 50 miles from my house.
Neat...learn something new everyday. It took me weeks to remember the names of mens/womens versions of this jacket, considering I've never been to the Northwest. *sigh*

Quote:
Thanks. I like the 'Beech Tree' green.
Now this kinda cracks me up because just today I was remarking to a co-worker that I discovered my least favorite "creative" color today: Bungee Cord. I can't even remember what color it was, but really? A customer once corrected me on the color of a jacket I was showing him; it wasn't Cumin. "In the army we called that Olive Drab."
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2008, 08:50 AM
Snickers Snickers is offline
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Lands End might also be a good place to check - I've never bought from them, but my mother has, and she's appreciated their workmanship. It's also something that they tout in their catalog and on their website (similar to LL Bean). I believe they have a 100% guarantee as well, but I'm not certain whether it goes as far as LL Bean's or REI's.

Since they've been bought by Sears, I've heard their quality has taken a hit, but I can't speak to it either way. Their stuff is definitely workmanlike - there's nothing fancy - but it'll probably do fine for what you need it for.
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  #16  
Old 12-16-2008, 09:00 AM
Harriet the Spry Harriet the Spry is offline
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I agree about Lands End. I like all the jackets I've gotten from them. I haven't noticed a decline in quality since the Sears acquisition, but it may depend on what you buy, I suppose.

I don't think their return policy is anything like the extreme of LL Bean. IME they are about average w/r/t returns. I do find them an easy company to do business with online.
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  #17  
Old 12-16-2008, 01:48 PM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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Patagonia, North Face, Mountain Hardware and REI all make good stuff. REI has HUGE sales around March. I'm talking over 50% off on a wide variety of clothes.
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  #18  
Old 12-16-2008, 02:29 PM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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TNF has changed from serious mountain wear to serious fashion wear. I like some of TNF's stuff and I have several older pieces from a long time ago that have worn like iron, but I just laugh at some of the new stuff. There's no way that a simple hoodie is EVER worth $60.

Same deal with Patagonia, although their casual stuff tends to wear very, very well like another company that I used to swear by and now swear at: Abercrombie and Fitch. Back before they became a cologne miasma that also sells shredded jeans I got a ton of things from them that haven't as much as lost a fricking button in 15 years of regular use. I would kill for them to have to go back to their roots, but disenfecting the stores alone would cost into the billions.

Most of the new gear that I buy I go to Cabela's because they also have a lifetime warrenty on anything with their name on it, and mostly they'll take back anything else that fails under normal use with no questions asked.
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  #19  
Old 12-16-2008, 02:39 PM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brown Eyed Girl View Post
Y
As for TNF, I won't put down a vendor because that wouldn't be right, but let's just say that they are VERY POPULAR with the urban fashionista set. They have The Look, as it were.
This is really true, which made me not particularly interested in their stuff, but when I needed a jacket a couple month ago, they were on sale and I ended up with the most generic-looking jacket in the world. I now look like half the people walking around in Ann Arbor. But the jacket is actually pretty awesome. Despite being quite thin, it's very warm and keeps out the rain, snow, and wind. I have yet to pull out my heavy winter coat. So I'm pleased with my purchase.

If I were actually hiking around somewhere, maybe I'd have a different opinion, though.
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  #20  
Old 12-16-2008, 02:44 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Originally Posted by Brown Eyed Girl View Post
Yes, REI sells REI branded gear and (I'm biased, I work there) what Valgard said is about affordability and guarantee is absolutely right. For example, a few REI softshells are made with Schoeller fabrics, a Swiss textile company known for its innovation and quality. We're also using eVent for exceptionally breathable waterproof shells. They aren't just "generic no-name" jackets.

As for TNF, I won't put down a vendor because that wouldn't be right, but let's just say that they are VERY POPULAR with the urban fashionista set. They have The Look, as it were. Regardless, REI typically carries higher end gear, so you'll see alongside TNF, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot (my favorite) and Arc'Teryx. I would say Arc'Teryx has the best reputation for quality...and you WILL have to shell out big time for that quality. To many it's well worth the price.
I concur with this post. I'd want Marmot or Arc'Teryx if I was stranded on a snowy peak in Nepal. But I can afford neither.

MEC (in Canada) and REI both have dependable goods and are often backed by some serious quality guarantees. My girlfriend took a cycling jacket back to MEC that she'd been wearing for three years. She just wanted to find out if she could get the busted zipper replaced, and they just gave her a new jacket. Again, after three years of heavy-duty wear.

North Face has gotten... "meh." (IMHO). They seem to be designing and putting they're goods together for the fashion-wearing crown, which is okay I guess, but now I look at their goods as if it's designed for ski-bunnies that want to look good, rather than for adventurers who don't want to die in the cold.

Columbia I still find dependable and a good buy for the price point. I've had a pair of winter boots for years that are still going strong despite snowshoeing and winter caving in them.

Never had any Eddie Bauer stuff.
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  #21  
Old 12-16-2008, 02:50 PM
Atomic Mama Atomic Mama is offline
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Check out www.sierratradingpost.com .

Many brands to pick from, deep discounts, impeccable customer services, easy returns if you don't like the stuff when it shows up.
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  #22  
Old 12-16-2008, 03:22 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I got a jacket for my friend for Christmas this year. I was going to get her the pea-green (very fashionable colour this past year) Marmot one that was in the REI sale catalogue for $99. When I got to the store the Marmot was right next to a TNF jacket (similar shades of green, but the TNF also had white panels on the sides). The TNF jackets were on sale for $140, and they seemed much more substantial than the Marmot shell. So she's getting a TNF jacket this year.

[Hijack]
My REI credit card rawks! I use it for everything but gas -- airline miles for that -- and the dividend is usually pretty nice every year.
[/Hijack]

Last edited by Johnny L.A.; 12-16-2008 at 03:23 PM.. Reason: Clarification
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  #23  
Old 12-16-2008, 03:35 PM
Guy_Incognito Guy_Incognito is offline
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TNF has some decent very high-end items; a lot of the "Summit Series" stuff is built for more technical use, and the prices reflect that. The TNF Himalaya parka (around $600) is decent for high/cold, although for specialized insulated outerwear, Mountain Hardwear and Feathered Friends are better choices.

It's worth noting that TNF still makes really good expedition tents. Their VE-25 and Mountain 25 tents are good offerings; my Mountain 25 has withstood serious pounding on numerous climbs.
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  #24  
Old 12-16-2008, 03:42 PM
Contrary Contrary is offline
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I bought this parka last year from BackCountry. I stay entirely warm, and that's good in Boston.

I also have a Land's End jacket similar to this one and I love it, but it's not as long or nearly as warm as the parka.
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  #25  
Old 12-16-2008, 05:06 PM
Finagle Finagle is offline
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My biggest gripe with The North Face is that they apparently think everyone is built like a greyhound. Their shirts don't seem to fit anyone who has any sort of breadth to the shoulders.

Their Denali jacket is apparently so popular among the trendy college types that it's become uncool. However I don't hang out among the trendy college types and I scored a nice red one from REI for $60.00 last fall, so I'm happy.

For casual hiking and sailing, I do like my lighter weight Columbia Titanium fleece. It's held up well, looks as good as anything ever does on me, and wasn't particularly overpriced.

My main winter coat is currently an LL Bean model that is warm enough but which has an exasperating zipper that usually takes several tries to thread properly. This pretty much eliminates it as a serious high-altitude/bad weather jacket -- spend a couple of minutes fumbling with a balky zipper on the top of Mt. Washington and you'll end up emulating a character from a Jack London short story.

Eddie Bauer, as near as I can tell, hasn't sold serious sportswear in at least 15 years. They gradually moved away from their roots towards overpriced trendy/fashionable wear and gadgets. All the local ones closed, though, so I haven't seen their recent selection.

As for Lands End, you simply can't go wrong with one of their Squall Jackets. Wear it for ten years until it becomes too shabby to be respectable, demote that jacket to "lawn work" and buy a new one. My only complaint is that they no longer make them with contrasting fleece linings. I loved my blue jacket with the red color. (I like to have a bit of extra color visible in a fall jacket so that no one is tempted to mistake me for a deer when I'm out hiking.)

Last edited by Finagle; 12-16-2008 at 05:09 PM..
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  #26  
Old 09-24-2013, 01:05 PM
Sunhammer Sunhammer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
T You don't need much in town to stay warm, fleece is fleece, wind/rain proof is the same all over. ....

What are you going to use it for? Without knowing that it's impossible to evaluate the gear.
Sorry, but I have to disagree with that part of your statement.
First off, "trending" and fashion are never concerns when I buy something. I buy it because "I" like it not because someone else does (just so people know where I am coming from on this... now to your point.

I go over a possible coat purchase from every angle, and while the net result of "rain proof" may be the same, how you get there is very different. I hate materials that are rubbery (which a couple brands are sporting) and plasticky ones are right out.

Columbia seems to have three different materials: One plasticky, their general omni-tech stuff, and some sort of satiny stuff that I love the feel of but don't own any. I stick with their mainline stuff for rain barrier. I have been caught in some torrential downpours where everything below the hem has been soaked like I jumped in a river. Under the shell though is perfectly dry, even the cell phone pocket.

Oddly Columbia is really hit or miss on two key items, but most of the time they get it right. Pit zippers (when they remember to add them) are nice and long, and pockets for hands are usually nice and deep. On one shell model though, the pocket is just a mesh material rather than solid which sux. But usually they are good, with wide zippered openings, and low on the coat so you don't feel like your arms are in slings.

Anyway, I don't know a damn thing about North Face except the one parka I owned was pretty warm, and nice and large. I'd still own it but I wanted to try Columbia's Omni-heat thing. That turned out to be futile for a couple reasons.

1) What does 20% warmer mean? Totally subjective.
2) I get older so I get colder easier. How can I compare a NF coat I had years ago to a coat today?

I like the 3-1 Columbia Omni-Heat thing over-all due to the flexible layering. However, I really want something that at 10 or Zero dF I am toasty enough to flip off mother nature but don't want to spend $800 really.

Wish I could find better reviews than "I wont wear NF because Gangstas do!" or "I never buy things made in China" as these don't tell me a thing about the coat. So thanks to many of you for some good info.

Stay warm all.

Last edited by Sunhammer; 09-24-2013 at 01:08 PM..
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  #27  
Old 09-29-2013, 02:58 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
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Originally Posted by Cluricaun View Post
TNF has changed from serious mountain wear to serious fashion wear.
Heh, I was hiking around Patagonia and it could have been a damn North Face fashion shoot. I'm not going on any expeditions anytime soon, and I like North Face styling. I just bought a TNF shell and a Patagonia down sweater. Ha, looking on the REI website, the price just went up another $20 (I got mine with a 20% discount, so $60 off current price).

I've got a Eddie Bauer Goretex shell that has served me well for 10 years.

I buy Columbia fleece fairly often because it's way cheaper than TNF. I bought a pair of Columbia duck boots that broke apart after about 10 wearings, so fuck Columbia shoes.
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  #28  
Old 09-29-2013, 04:23 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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IMHO:

Eddie Bauer is decent gear but expensive as you're paying at least as much for the name as for the gear.

The North Face is the same, but made for really skinny people.

Columbia is decently priced, fits well and is decent gear. I have Columbia shirts, pants and fleece jackets that are over 20 years old and are still in good shape. A few items still look almost-new even tho they've been out on hundreds of miles of trails and rivers.

I particularly like Columbia's long sleeve button-up shirts.
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  #29  
Old 09-29-2013, 05:31 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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I got all excited to see Kyla posting, then I realized this was a five-year old zombie.

Oh, and the old Columbia Bugabootoo, which was a glorified duck boot, was my go-to boot for winter barn chores, and with extra-wide stirrups, I rode in them quite a bit. Good support, waterproof, and very warm. The NF equivalent tried to look "technical" and ended up ugly.

Last edited by Hello Again; 09-29-2013 at 05:36 PM..
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  #30  
Old 09-30-2013, 12:22 AM
Mallard Mallard is offline
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My wife INSISTED on buying me an overpriced, horribly over rated North Face parka for Christmas a couple years ago. She spent 3 hundred bucks on that piece of s*it. Couldn't convince her not to. It supposedly has this thin miracle kind of lining that's supposed to keep you warm in near -40 weather. Well, when it's even remotely kind of cold, so that I don't freeze to death, I'm wearing my 6 year old Columbia.

My experience is North Face is garbage, IMHO.

Last edited by Mallard; 09-30-2013 at 12:23 AM..
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  #31  
Old 09-30-2013, 10:25 AM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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For some reason TNF store clerks get annoyed when I wear my South Butt hoodie in their store.
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  #32  
Old 09-30-2013, 10:52 AM
Finagle Finagle is offline
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Originally Posted by Hello Again View Post
I got all excited to see Kyla posting, then I realized this was a five-year old zombie.
Yeah, I was already formulating my reply when I realized this was a zombie thread. Then I wondered if I had posted to it, found my post, and it turns out that my five year old post was exactly what I would have typed today. Spooky.


To be relevant to the OP, I note that the Columbia Titanium fleece that I commented on five years ago is hanging in my office as I type and, except for a bald patch due to getting too close to a campfire, still looks pretty good. I did try getting a backup version a couple of years ago and they had switched to "athletic" fits. Which apparently means someone in the low teens on the BMI index.
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  #33  
Old 09-30-2013, 12:55 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
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Originally Posted by Finagle View Post
Yeah, I was already formulating my reply when I realized this was a zombie thread. Then I wondered if I had posted to it, found my post, and it turns out that my five year old post was exactly what I would have typed today. Spooky.


To be relevant to the OP, I note that the Columbia Titanium fleece that I commented on five years ago is hanging in my office as I type and, except for a bald patch due to getting too close to a campfire, still looks pretty good. I did try getting a backup version a couple of years ago and they had switched to "athletic" fits. Which apparently means someone in the low teens on the BMI index.
Well, I ended up with some Columbia gear, something with a lining that looks like aluminum foill and is supposed to keep you warm. It is inferior to the ZeroXposur jacket that it replaced in terms of keeping warm. If I had it to do again, I would not have paid what I did, even thought I did get it at an outlet store.
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  #34  
Old 09-30-2013, 02:02 PM
JKilez JKilez is offline
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Since it is almost the season, I will throw in a plug for Patagonia. Their stuff may be fashion sideways (or it could just be me), but it keeps you warm. I also have (and had) stuff from the North Face, Eddie Bauer, and Columbia, and cannot really complain about any of it.
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  #35  
Old 09-30-2013, 02:15 PM
Living Well Is Best Revenge Living Well Is Best Revenge is offline
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I got a NorthFace black rain jacket as a gift and it's been the best jacket I've ever had.
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  #36  
Old 10-21-2013, 12:08 AM
Trinitynzxt Trinitynzxt is offline
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So I realize this thread is older but I'm in the market for a new jacket and its getting annoying to say the least. Let me start by saying I'm in Seattle, it gets cold here but also windy and in december / january it get cold with a lot of moisture in the air that just goes to ur bones and freezes you. I also go hiking a lot and this year will start to go snowshoeing and possibly start skiing again. I need something that can keep me warm when I'm out walking the dog and dry when I'm on the mountain. I'm ok with dropping the cash but I'm not looking to bee all GQ.

I went with Columbia originally and picked up the Lhotsie Mountain II Interchange jacket. However I've gone through 2 returns because the sizing is incredibly weird. I'm 6'4'' and about 195lbs. The columbia in large wasn't broad enough in the shoulders and the XL was like i could wear that thing 9mo pregnant (if i were a chick). So needless to say I cashed out and now have been scouring the interwebz all night trying to find new ideas of things to go look at.

TNF ~ I went to the seattle store and everything just looked like fashionable crap. In the sense that you aren't paying for quality more than you are paying for a TNF logo on your shoulder. I will say with the Columbia jacket I did like the Omni-Heat and it did seem to work well. They have a new jacket called the Men’s Millennium Flash Jacket that fits me quite well but seems thin and I'm not sure it would suffice snowshoeing. And god forbid if something were to happen on the mountain and I got lost/seperated from the group or injured and say had to spend a week in the wilderness I'd rather them not find a frozen corpse because I had on inferior gear.

Will look into REI and Marmot from what I've gathered so far... Any other suggestions of more current gear would be sick.

Last edited by Trinitynzxt; 10-21-2013 at 12:11 AM..
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  #37  
Old 10-21-2013, 12:24 AM
UncleRojelio UncleRojelio is offline
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Years ago, when this thread was born, REI had a 100% lifetime return policy. Sadly, they have since dropped it.

Last edited by UncleRojelio; 10-21-2013 at 12:25 AM..
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  #38  
Old 10-21-2013, 02:13 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Originally Posted by Cluricaun View Post
TNF has changed from serious mountain wear to serious fashion wear. I like some of TNF's stuff and I have several older pieces from a long time ago that have worn like iron, but I just laugh at some of the new stuff.
Quoted for truth.

I ski most evenings and all weekends and holidays in the winter (backcountry, telemark, alpine, cross-country, kite). I've been wearing the same NF jacket and bib pants thata they comped me in 1996, and I am in no rush to replace them, for their technical design is exceptionally good. Last year a fellow with whom I was skiing purchased NF ski pants, and blew them out on their first day of skiing, with the fault being both in the technical design and in the construction. Pathetic quality from what once used to be a high end company.

For me, the record for durability was MEC. A few weeks ago I tossed a rain jacket (the Goretex seam covers needed re-taping -- could have been repaired) that I had been wearing since the mid 1980s, and I am still wearing a pair of MEC river pants from back then. I don't know what their quality is like these days -- they are no longer making river pants, but the next time I need to purchase serious clothing, I'll see what they have before making a decision.

Aside from durability and technical features, if fit is an issue, you'll find Columbia fits stouter people than most good quality manufacturers. That young skinny person ice climbing? Arc'teryx. That middle aged weekend hiker with a tummy (yup, that'd be me)? Columbia. That being said, Columbia also has some terrific shorts well vented ultra light shirts that are truly quick-dry (their PFG line).

It's frustrating how some companies stop producing high end products once they start being able to sell cheap crap to the masses. I've run into that with Thule ski boxes. My neighbour has one that is fifteen or more years old and is bombproof. I bought one two seasons ago, and it didn't last a season. They replaced it, but the replacement didn't last the next season. After half a year of haggling, they replaced it for this season, and the trim on it lasted a little more than 24 hours.

Jack Weinberg said "We don't trust anyone over thirty." Well, I'd say don't trust any outdoor clothing manufacturer over thirty.

Last edited by Muffin; 10-21-2013 at 02:17 AM..
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  #39  
Old 10-21-2013, 02:25 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Come to think of it, this summer I purchased a Level Six spray top. After three days of use, I sent it back to the manufacturer for a delamination repair. So you can't even trust the outdoor clothing manufacturers that are under thirty. I guess the only solution is to ski and paddle naked.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:15 AM
Trinitynzxt Trinitynzxt is offline
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Originally Posted by Muffin View Post
Come to think of it, this summer I purchased a Level Six spray top. After three days of use, I sent it back to the manufacturer for a delamination repair. So you can't even trust the outdoor clothing manufacturers that are under thirty. I guess the only solution is to ski and paddle naked.
Thats sad. My dad who is now in his mid 80's (im 31 lol) used to take me and my brother to the norther woods in Wisconsin and in the UP (Michigan Upper Peninsula) for Snow Shoeing and every few years we had to get new gear because we were growing. I probably went from age 12 to 14 replaced stuff 14 to 17 replaced and then 17 to 19. Each time we out grew our clothes it seemed like the quality was getting worse by the same manufacturer. My dad who wasn't growing had gear from the early 70's that must have had thousands of miles of snowshoeing and was still going strong.

Now that I'm in my 30's and can't rely on my parents to buy clothes it comes down to what I said earlier. I don't mind shelling out $300, I do however mind shelling out $300 every season and more so I mind if the gear doesn't perform as needed. I've been going through TNF, Columbia, and Marmot and from what I can tell most of it if you're safety depended on it, (as in if you were out in the boonies and got stuck and had to rely on what you brought with you) you would be hosed. Now I'm not expecting a $300-$350 jacket to work miracles here, but I do expect it to last at least 5 years of abuse and to keep me warm.

Also on principle I refuse to wear TNF because now days like today I go to the grocery store for a few items and I literally counted 26 people all wearing TNF jackets and vests. Most of which didn't look like it would keep you warm. I for one am not a big fan of looking good while freezing my ass off.

Last edited by Trinitynzxt; 10-21-2013 at 07:17 AM..
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  #41  
Old 10-21-2013, 07:27 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Outerwear generally has two functions - to keep you warm and to keep you dry. Except for wearing around town I prefer to keep these two functions separate - I have layers for warmth and layers for protection. In general, for active pursuits, it's best to get layers for the specific purpose and mix and match as needed. Zip-in liners limit you to a few options.

As has been pointed out in this thread since it began 5 years ago, pretty much all manufacturers make garments for different markets. Yes, there's a lot of TNF clothing made for show but they also make plenty of hard-working outerwear that is used by the pros. You just have to know what you're buying and look in specialty stores that carry the right models.

Having said that, if you want real bombproof outerwear you should look at companies like Arc'teryx, Mammut, Marmot, Mountain Hardware; but be prepared to drop some big money. Same advice as 5 years ago, the names sometimes change but the story is the same.

And, BTW, the REI policy change is the right one. Too many people were abusing the unlimited returns policy for stuff that wore out after regular use or abuse.
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  #42  
Old 10-21-2013, 11:07 AM
asterion asterion is offline
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While a zombie, I'm glad this thread popped up. It seems like there's a cycle that manufacturers of all kinds go through: Expensive but very high quality to somewhat cheaper but still quality for the desired purpose to maybe a bit cheaper still but more a fashion statement (if still functional) to simply coasting on the reputation from the first two or three steps. The problem I always have is figuring out where exactly in that cycle any given manufacturer is.
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  #43  
Old 10-22-2013, 07:29 PM
mack mack is offline
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I bought a simple North Face unlined fleece maybe 20 years ago. A few days after I bought it I pulled one of the pocket zipper tabs off. Other than that, it's been great and I'm still wearing it. The pockets are big enough for a small tablet or book or various pieces of whatever that my girls hand me. It also has pit vents when I need to air out .

I've had a gore-tex shell from ll bean for almost as long, no complaints.

My REI parka has been...ok. The pocket liners tore, so that's kind of a pain, and my other complaint is that the inner pocket is so shallow as to be practically unusable. I'm not ready to replace it yet though.

One of my favorite coats from way back was a foul weather jacket by Nautica. It was very comfortable, versatile, and kept me dry during the nastiest weather. I couldn't find a replacement when it came time though. The material along the some of the stitching started tearing. A few years after I bought the jacket the brand became huge and I couldn't find anything suitable that didn't cost hundreds of dollars.
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  #44  
Old 10-22-2013, 08:15 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Originally Posted by mack View Post
I bought a simple North Face unlined fleece maybe 20 years ago. A few days after I bought it I pulled one of the pocket zipper tabs off. Other than that, it's been great and I'm still wearing it. The pockets are big enough for a small tablet or book or various pieces of whatever that my girls hand me. It also has pit vents when I need to air out .
Glad it went well for you. NF had a bit of a supplier problem in he early/mid 90s (counterfeit zippers) that resulted in their having to replace zippers (including the one on my fleece jacket that I am still using after all these years). The counterfeits worked well enough on their own, but they were a hair different from the legit zippers, such that zip-in fleece jackets would zip in to outer shells, but then the zipper would pop open during use.
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