Dressing for the outdoors in the summer and winter is easy. Pare down to the essentials for the former, and pack everything you’ve got for the latter. Fall is a bit trickier. Properly dressing or packing for the season means anticipating three or even four seasons in one day. The key is layering: A well-fitted, moisture-wicking base layer; a comfortable, insulating mid-layer; and a warm, weather-resistant outer. These premium outdoor clothing brands are our hands-down our favorites to get you prepared.
We’ve long been fans of Arc’teryx for its extreme outerwear and premium technical apparel. The Vancouver brand is a staple of rugged rain shells designed to tackle everything from daily urban commutes to Appalachian Trail thru-hikes to the summit of K2. Few items in its catalog are inexpensive, but we believe you get what you pay for. “Buy once, cry once.” Right?
Filson was rocking the “lumbersexual” look long before it was popularized a few years back. But the brand’s image isn’t just for show. The Seattle company has manufactured some of the world’s most legit, hardest-working outerwear for more than 120 years. So, it knows a thing or two about thriving in the backcountry and looking good in the process.
Finnish maker Haglofs offers a deep catalog of outerwear, including everything from thermal underwear to extreme down jackets. We like their mid-layer fleece selection available in a wide array of colors, styles, and fabric weights for every season. Plus, they’re affordable to boot.
Though its catalog has expanded over the years to include every manner of apparel, Helly Hansen’s roots are in hardcore outerwear. The Norwegian brand’s history dates back more than 140 years. Company founder Captain Helly Juell Hansen and wife, Margrethe, built a brand around keeping sailors dry and comfortable at sea with waterproof jackets, trousers, and tarps handmade from linen soaked in linseed oil.
Like every brand on this list, Houdini makes legendary outwear designed to last a lifetime. What truly sets it apart, however, is a rock-solid commitment to sustainability. The company debuted its first product made from recycled fabrics and fibers in 2007, long before it was “cool.” This year, it reached 100% sustainability with 100% of the fabrics across its entire line of recycled, recyclable, renewable, biodegradable, or Bluesign-certified clothing.
Moncler is synonymous with ultra-luxurious, head-to-toe down coats built for near-Arctic conditions. But its less-extreme fall wear — including basic items like crewneck sweaters and hardier cold-weather wear like puffy down vests — is equally on point. The latest catalog includes plenty of versatile options that balance style, form, and function.
Since 1993, Mountain Hardwear has proven to be a reliable one-stop brand for all manner of outdoor apparel and technical gear. At its core, it caters to extreme athletes, but the same technology and design-savvy used in its flagship products bleed over into every product in its catalog.
Few brands are as ubiquitous among hikers, campers, kayakers, mountaineers, and the like as Patagonia. For almost 50 years, the company’s mantra has been to outfit outdoor lovers with gear that’s designed to last a lifetime. We also love its consistent dedication to recycle and reuse programs and green initiatives that give back to the planet.
We applaud Prana for its commitment to sustainability and positive societal change. Even more importantly, the company also makes versatile, comfortable apparel from basics to travel-friendly styles to activewear — all with a softer, “be one with nature” image.
Like Mountain Hardwear, Sierra Designs is a one-stop outfitter for almost everything modern outdoorsmen need to get into the backcountry. Its latest round of versatile, all-new gear for 2020 includes everything from down booties to hurricane pants to hybrid all-season jackets.
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