The 15 Best Hiking Clothing BrandsPublished on 04/14/2023 · 17 min readThe right clothing for hiking can make a huge difference in staying comfortable, dry, and warm on the trails! Read on for the top hiking clothing brands!
Photo by Matt Heaton
Are you planning your next hiking adventure and looking for the best gear to take with you? There are a lot of brands out there that make hiking clothing, but with so many brands available, how do you know which ones are the best? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the best outdoor clothing brands, exploring their history, unique features, and standout products, so you can confidently gear up for your next outdoor adventure. From cutting-edge technology to sustainable materials, these brands have it all when it comes to high-quality, durable, and functional hiking clothing!
Arc'teryx is a premium outdoor brand that has become synonymous with quality and innovation. The company started in 1989 in Vancouver, Canada, and has since been known for its minimalist designs and extreme durability.
Arc'teryx targets a particular niche of outdoor enthusiasts who demand the highest level of performance from its gear. The company’s gear is designed to perform in the most extreme environments, from the high peaks of the Himalayas to the frigid landscapes of Antarctica. The minimalist design of Arc'teryx products also makes them ideal for layering, ensuring that customers can achieve the perfect balance of warmth and breathability in any environment.
The company implements GORE-TEX Pro fabric, which provides unmatched waterproof and breathable protection in many of its hiking-specific clothing pieces, such as jackets, pants, and day packs. Its gear has a higher price tag than many similar brands, but with how long it lasts, it’s worth the investment! For a more in-depth look at Arc’teryx jackets, check out this guide.
On the sustainability side of things, Arc'teryx has many products that use eco-friendly materials and production practices. For example, some GORE-TEX jackets are made from recycled GORE-TEX fabric, and many of its cotton clothing items, such as T-shirts, are made with organic cotton and grown without pesticides. Arc’teryx has partnered with environmental conservation organizations and developed its own "Sustainability Charter," which outlines its commitment to minimizing its environmental impact.
A branch off Patagonia, Black Diamond was founded in 1957 by a group of climbers in Yosemite Valley. They strongly focus on rock climbing and skiing; however, the company’s hiking clothing line is just as impressive, designed with high-performance fabrics and innovative technologies.
Black Diamond caters to outdoor enthusiasts who demand high quality and performance in its gear, with a focus on technical design and functionality. Its hiking clothing line includes a range of products such as jackets, pants, shorts, and base layers. Most of Black Diamond’s jackets feature GORE-TEX, and its pants and shorts are made with stretch-woven fabrics that provide durability, stretch, and weather resistance. Its pants also feature reinforced knees and seat areas for added protection and adjustable waistbands for a comfortable fit. Aside from hiking clothing, the company makes tons of other hiking gear, such as hiking poles and headlamps.
Sustainability is also an integral focus of Black Diamond’s business model, which is committed to reducing its environmental impact through initiatives such as using organic cotton and recycled materials in its products. Like Outdoor Research, it is an OIA Climate Action Corps member. When you hear “Black Diamond,” it may not be hiking clothing that comes to mind first. Still, its technical expertise makes it stand out from other hiking clothing brands, making it a great choice for anyone who wants high-performance gear that also takes care of the environment.
Columbia Sportswear is a well-known brand specializing in outdoor gear and apparel, including hiking clothing. Founded in 1938, Columbia offers hiking pants, shorts, shirts, jackets, and accessories. The company’s most popular hiking clothes use its patented Omni-Shade and Omni-Wick technologies, which provide UPF protection and moisture-wicking properties, respectively.
Columbia offers specialized gear for different hiking and outdoor activities, such as its OutDry Extreme line, specifically designed for wet and rainy conditions, and its line of heated jackets and gloves powered by rechargeable batteries, ideal for cold-weather hiking or camping. In addition to clothing, Columbia has a line of hiking boots and shoes that feature its proprietary Omni-Grip sole technology, which provides excellent traction on various surfaces. These specialized products demonstrate Columbia's commitment to creating gear that meets the specific needs of outdoor enthusiasts. This clothing brand is also well known for its lower prices, making it a reliable brand with well-made products that are particularly attractive to those just getting into hiking and not looking to spend a ton of money.
Regarding sustainability efforts, Columbia has committed to reducing its environmental impact and has launched initiatives such as the ReThreads program, which encourages customers to recycle their used clothing.
Cotopaxi is a well-known outdoor brand that has made a name for itself through its unique approach to adventure gear. The company was founded in 2014 by Davis Smith, a serial entrepreneur and outdoor enthusiast, and has since established itself as a hiking and outdoor market leader. Cotopaxi is known for its bright and colorful clothing and gear and its innovative use of sustainable materials.
One of Cotopaxi's best-known technologies is its Llama Fiber insulation, made from the wool of llamas that are sustainably raised in the Andes Mountains. This insulation is incorporated into many of their jackets, providing warmth and comfort in cold conditions. In addition to its innovative use of materials, Cotopaxi has prioritized sustainability in its business. Cotopaxi has partnered with various organizations to support environmental conservation efforts and has committed to using eco-friendly materials and practices in its production.
Cotopaxi targets outdoor enthusiasts who value sustainability and ethical production. Its gear is designed to perform in a variety of landscapes and conditions, from the high peaks of the Andes to the rugged trails of the Pacific Northwest. Cotopaxi’s bright colors and unique patterns also make the company popular with those looking for stylish outdoor gear that looks good without sacrificing performance!
Helly Hansen is a Norwegian brand that specializes in outdoor gear and clothing. Established in 1877, the brand has a long history of producing high-quality materials and durable products for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly those participating in skiing, sailing, and hiking activities. In addition, Helly Hansen is known for using innovative technologies in its products, such as its Helly Tech fabric, which is designed to provide waterproof and breathable protection in harsh weather conditions.
In terms of hiking clothing, Helly Hansen offers a wide range of products, including jackets, pants, base layers, and accessories. The company’s hiking clothing is designed to withstand the elements and keep hikers comfortable on the trail, whether they're dealing with rain, wind, or cold temperatures. Helly Hansen's hiking clothing is also designed to be versatile and functional, with features such as zip-off sleeves, adjustable hoods, and multiple pockets for storing gear. The brand also places emphasis on sustainability, using recycled materials in some of its products and implementing environmentally-friendly production processes.
A German brand founded in 1981, Jack Wolfskin specializes in outdoor clothing, footwear, and equipment for various outdoor activities, including hiking. The company name comes from the character Jack, who is intended to represent a friendly, outdoorsy type of person, and Wolfskin, which represents the tough and rugged qualities of outdoor gear.
Jack Wolfskin prides itself on using advanced technologies in its clothing, such as Texapore Ecosphere, a waterproof and breathable membrane made entirely from recycled materials; Microguard Ecosphere, an insulation made from recycled PET bottles; and Nanuk fleece made from recycled polyester.
The brand targets adventurers who enjoy outdoor activities and exploration, regardless of their experience level. Jack Wolfskin is particularly known for its 3-in-1 jackets, which allow the wearer to adjust the jacket to their needs with interchangeable layers, and their hiking shoes, designed for both comfort and durability on rugged terrain. In terms of sustainability, Jack Wolfskin has made commitments to use sustainable materials, reduce water and energy consumption, and eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in its production process.
Known for creating rugged and durable outdoor apparel that is both stylish and functional, Kuhl was first founded in 1983 and has been producing clothing for hikers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts for over 30 years.
One of Kuhl's key technologies is its proprietary fabric called Alfpaca, a blend of alpaca and synthetic fibers that provides warmth, durability, and moisture-wicking properties. The brand also uses a variety of other advanced fabrics and technologies, such as Coolmax, Kinetik, and DWR coatings, to create clothing that can withstand harsh weather conditions and intense physical activity.
Kuhl's target market is people who are passionate about outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, camping, and traveling but still want their outdoor wear to look stylish. The company offers a wide range of products, including jackets, pants, shorts, shirts, and accessories designed to meet these activities’ needs. Kuhl's products are versatile and can hold up in heavy outdoor use but don’t look out of place at the local brewery after a full day of hiking either.
In terms of sustainability, Kuhl has made efforts to reduce its environmental impact by using eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and bamboo. The company also has a partnership with the Conservation Alliance and donates a portion of its profits to support conservation efforts. Kuhl's commitment to sustainability and its dedication to creating high-quality outdoor apparel has made them a trusted and respected brand among outdoor enthusiasts.
Mammut is a Swiss brand founded in 1862 and has since become known for its high-quality products, including hiking clothing. One of its key technologies is the Mammut DryTechnology Pro, used in its waterproof and breathable jackets. Mammut also offers other specialized technologies, such as its Georganic 3D technology, which allows for better mobility and fit in its clothing.
Regarding the company’s hiking clothing, Mammut is particularly famous for its pants, with styles ranging from lightweight and breathable for warm weather to insulated and waterproof for colder temperatures. In addition, its hiking shirts and jackets offer high-performance features and durability for outdoor adventures.
Beyond hiking clothing, Mammut is also known for its climbing gear, such as ropes, harnesses, and climbing shoes. The company has also ventured into the world of skiing and snowboarding with its ski apparel and avalanche safety gear, including avalanche beacons.
Mammut targets outdoor enthusiasts, climbers, and skiers and focuses on sustainability. The company's dedicated sustainability program aims to reduce its carbon footprint and improve social and environmental responsibility in its production processes. Mammut is a brand that values innovation, sustainability, and quality, and its hiking clothing reflects those values.
Marmot was founded in 1974, and although the company offers a wide range of products, its most well-known for its hiking clothing. Marmot's hiking clothes are designed with innovative features like its patented "Angel-Wing Movement," which allows for a full range of motion while keeping the garment in place. In addition, Marmot recently released a new tech called WarmCube in its jackets, combining synthetic and down insulation in a baffle structure that allows for maximum warmth without the downfalls of lost heat retention when wet.
Marmot’s main niche is outdoor enthusiasts looking for durable and reliable gear for their adventures. The company has a variety of hiking-specific products, including its Precip line of rain jackets, which have become a staple for many hikers. Many of its products come with a lower price tag than similar products from other brands, making Marmot an accessible, wallet-friendly brand for hikers looking for high-quality gear without draining their bank accounts!
This brand has taken a lot of strides to become more environmentally friendly. Along with partnering with several organizations that support environmental causes, Marmot recently came out with EvoDry and Eco Featherless. These new technologies focus on being sustainable and free of harmful chemicals. EvoDry is a type of DWR free of the PFC coating normally found in DWR, which has proven to be toxic to the environment. Eco Featherless is an insulation type that mimics down but does not require sourcing from birds, as feathers can be difficult to source ethically.
Overall, Marmot makes quality hiking clothes without sacrificing performance and durability. It’s a great brand overall, especially for hikers looking for something budget-friendly!
Mountain Hardwear has been around since 1993. The company caters to hikers, climbers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who demand high-performance gear for challenging environments. Mountain Hardwear is particularly famous for its hardshell jackets, which offer unbeatable protection against harsh weather conditions. In addition to hiking clothing, Mountain Hardwear also makes sleeping bags, tents, and backpacks for outdoor adventures.
The company’s range of hiking clothing includes everything from base layers and mid-layers to hardshell jackets and pants, ensuring that adventurers are well-equipped for any type of weather or terrain. One of Mountain Hardwear's key technologies is its proprietary Dry.Q fabric, which is a waterproof, breathable membrane built into many of its garments. This technology allows superior protection from the elements while maintaining excellent moisture management, making it ideal for extended hikes in wet conditions.
Over the last few years, Mountain Hardwear's clothing production has shifted to focus on sustainability. The company has implemented several eco-friendly initiatives, such as using recycled materials in its products and reducing its carbon footprint in its manufacturing processes. Mountain Hardwear prides itself on producing high-quality gear for outdoor enthusiasts. Its focus on innovation and performance has made Mountain Hardwear a top choice for hikers and climbers alike.
Founded in 1981 by Ron Gregg, a mountaineer and physicist, Outdoor Research designs and manufactures high-quality outdoor clothing and equipment for hikers, climbers, skiers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. They use high-performance technology and fabrics such as GORE-TEX, Primaloft Insulation, Pertex, and Polartec fleece to create durable and functional gear that withstands even the most extreme weather conditions.
In terms of its target market, Outdoor Research caters to a diverse range of outdoor adventurers, from casual hikers to professional mountaineers. As a result, Outdoor Research has a wide range of products suitable for different types of terrain and activities, including jackets, pants, gloves, hats, and backpacks, to name a few!
In recent years, Outdoor Research has made efforts to prioritize sustainability and reduce its environmental impact. The company is part of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Climate Action Corps, which works to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable practices in the industry. 100% of Outdoor Research’s down products are certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which safeguards the welfare of geese and ducks that provide the feathers. Outdoor Research also uses recycled and organic materials in its products and has implemented several initiatives to minimize waste and conserve resources in its production process.
Prana was founded in 1992 in Carlsbad, California, and started by producing clothing for yoga and climbing enthusiasts. The company’s name is derived from the Sanskrit word for "breath," reflecting its commitment to sustainability and mindful living. Prana is known for using eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes, including organic cotton, recycled polyester, and bluesign-approved fabrics. Prana has also implemented sustainable practices in its supply chain, such as using renewable energy and reducing waste.
Prana's hiking clothing line includes various options, from pants and shorts to jackets and base layers. Its clothes are designed to be comfortable and functional, with features like stretchy fabrics, moisture-wicking technology, and UPF sun protection. Some of Prana’s popular hiking pieces include the Stretch Zion pant, a versatile and durable option for outdoor activities, and the Halle pant, made with a water-resistant and quick-drying fabric. Prana's hiking clothing also features stylish and versatile designs that can be worn on and off the trail, making them a great option for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Rab is a British brand that has been designing and producing high-quality outdoor clothing and equipment for over 40 years. The company specializes in technical gear for climbers and mountaineers and offers a range of hiking clothing. Rab is known for its innovative and high-performance materials, such as Pertex fabrics and Polartec insulation. The brand also incorporates sustainable materials into its products, such as recycled down in its sleeping bags and down jackets and eco-friendly DWR coatings on its water-repellant gear.
Rab's target audience is primarily focused on climbers and mountaineers, but its hiking clothing is also popular among outdoor enthusiasts. The brand’s clothing is designed to focus on function and durability, featuring technical features such as adjustable hoods, reinforced seams, and articulated designs for ease of movement. Some of Rab’s most popular hiking clothing items include waterproof jackets, insulated jackets, and base layers.
Regarding sustainability, Rab is committed to reducing its environmental impact. For example, the company has set goals to use 100% recycled fabrics and insulation in its products by 2025 and to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its supply chain. Rab also partners with organizations like the European Outdoor Conservation Association to support conservation and sustainability initiatives.
Founded in 1994 in Colorado, Smartwool has always focused on creating high-performance garments made from the finest materials. Though Smartwool is best known for its socks, the company also has several other items of hiking clothing, including base layers, hats, mid-layers, and even jackets!
One of its key technologies is Merino wool, known for its softness, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties. Merino wool is a natural and sustainable material with unique properties such as moisture-wicking, temperature regulation, and odor-resistance. In addition, Smartwool has developed its own proprietary blends of Merino wool and synthetic fibers to create high-performance fabrics for its clothing.
Smartwool has taken several steps towards sustainability in recent years. For example, it has implemented a "Farm to Feet" traceability program that tracks the wool back to the farms where it is produced, ensuring it is sourced responsibly and ethically. Smartwool also uses various eco-friendly materials in its products, such as recycled polyester and TENCEL™, a renewable and biodegradable material made from wood pulp.
Additionally, Smartwool has committed to reducing its carbon footprint and has set targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. The company has also partnered with organizations such as 1% for the Planet and The Conservation Alliance to support conservation efforts and environmental initiatives.
The North Face is an American outdoor brand founded in 1966 in San Francisco, California. The company has quite a diverse lineup of hiking products, from backpacks and tents to jackets and pants. Its products are designed to provide optimal performance in a variety of environments, including high-altitude mountaineering, trekking, and camping.
The North Face's hiking clothing line includes a variety of jackets, pants, shorts, and shirts, all made with advanced materials and technologies. One of The North Face's key technologies is its FlashDry technology. It is designed to wick moisture away from the skin and dry quickly, helping regulate body temperature and keep the wearer comfortable and dry during physical activity.
The company’s two most popular hiking products are the Venture 2 Jacket, which is made with waterproof and breathable materials, protecting from rain and wind while also allowing for airflow, and the Paramount Convertible Pants, which feature a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, making them an excellent choice for hiking in wet or humid environments.
In recent years, The North Face has made sustainability a focus of its business. The company has launched initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, including using recycled materials in its products and partnering with organizations to protect natural habitats. The company has also committed to using 100% renewable energy in its operations by 2025.
Investing in high-quality hiking clothing is crucial for a safe and comfortable outdoor experience! Each brand we've highlighted—from Cotopaxi’s commitment to sustainable production to Kuhl's innovative fabric technologies—brings unique strengths. With these top brands in mind, you'll be well-equipped to choose the perfect hiking clothing for your next adventure.
Of course, with so many options to consider, you may still have questions. That's why we encourage you to reach out to a Camping and Hiking Expert here on Curated for personalized advice and recommendations. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a beginner, a Curated Expert can help you find the perfect gear to suit your specific needs and preferences. So don't hesitate to seek their guidance and get ready to hit the trails confidently!