Patagonia has become famous around the world for producing some of the best jackets and outerwear on the market, as well as for their ecological work and the attention they bring to environmentalism and sustainability. Founded in 1973, Patagonia was initially part of the Chouinard company. Founded by the iconic climber, Yvon Chouinard, the company initially made climbing equipment before forking into two branches.
Patagonia became the clothing brand. The name “Patagonia” refers to a region of southern Chile where few humans live – with tall, snowy mountains for climbing and skiing, rough waters for surfing and sailing, and a rich, temperate natural world full of animals for hiking and exploring. Patagonia was a word that held a lot of wonder for the climbers and environmentalists who founded the company, so they chose it as their name.
Today, Patagonia is a respected and beloved brand with a lot of cache – so much that some fans call it “Patagucci”. Patagonia jackets bring together the best of modern technology, allowing wearers to stay warmer and dryer longer, with lightweight and easy-drying materials, at the same time as they incorporate recycled materials and choose sustainable manufacturing processes. However, they’re not the only brand leading when it comes to outerwear and environmentalism.
Patagonia has always competed with other high-end outdoor brands, like the North Face and L.L. Bean. Today, newer brands like Arc’teryx and Cotopaxi are emerging as worthy challengers. If you are looking for a jacket and thinking about Patagonia, there are plenty of other options you should consider before making your choice.
At worst, you might save some money. At best, you might discover your new favorite brand.
Best Jackets Similar to Patagonia
1. Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody
This synthetic jacket is one of the best all-around jackets on the market. It is very warm and well-insulated, lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. It is a perfect outer layer or mid-layer.
Recently updated with more durable face fabric, improved cuffs, and longer hems, a great design keeps getting better. The Atom LT Hoody is one of the Canadian brand Arc’teryx bestsellers – probably because it is so versatile. In Canada at least, you could practically wear this year-round.
The design is simple and minimalist, much like Patagonia’s designs. The Atom LT Hoody could be compared to the Nano Air, or the Nano Puff from Patagonia. These jackets are a little softer and more breathable than the Atom LT, but less durable for everyday wear and tear.
If you are active outdoors, the LT Hoody is probably a better fit. The Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody is priced at $259.
2. The North Face Thermoball Eco
The Thermoball Eco is a popular jacket from the North Face, one of Patagonia’s biggest competitors in environmental outerwear. It is not the kind of jacket you would buy for winter athletics, being a bit boxy and bulky with middling breathability, but it is very warm for its weight thanks to PrimaLoft thermal fibers contained in the baffles. This jacket is more for everyday wear.
It makes a great mid-layer on cold days and could serve as an outer layer in the spring or fall, depending on where you live. One cool thing about the Thermoball Eco is that it is created from 100% recycled materials. Patagonia has always been an environmentally minded company, and its competitors are, too.
The North Face is moving toward the future when it comes to sustainability. The Thermoball Eco could be compared to Patagonia’s Nano Puff, in terms of warmth, weight, and use. The Nano Puff isn’t quite as warm as the Thermoball Eco (although it is close) and has a drop tail hem that gives it a slight edge when it comes to warmth when sitting down.
The Nano Puff is made from 55% recycled material, while the Thermoball Eco is 100% recycled. The North Face Thermoball Eco is priced at $199
3. Cotopaxi Teca Cálido Hooded Jacket
The Teca Calido is not the warmest, toughest, or most durable jacket on the market, but it has a lot going for it, with an awesome retro style, and good overall performance for an affordable price. Cotopaxi is based in Salt Lake City. In recent years, they have followed in Patagonia’s footsteps by building an ecologically and socially conscious brand that prioritizes the environment and indigenous people.
Their Teca Calido jacket is perfect for spring, fall, or a mild winter. It could also be used as a mid-layer. It is not as breathable as some Patagonia designs, but it has some features that Patagonia doesn’t.
The first is an aesthetic that can’t be beaten. The Teca Calido boasts a retro, color-blocked design that evokes the ski scene of the 1980s while providing a tasteful update. It includes a recycled shell and lining and is reversible.
It also includes dump pockets, which are a welcome callback to the early days of puffer jackets. The Cotopaxi Teca Calido makes a great everyday jacket, and it is more affordable than a lot of Patagonia jackets. It can’t compete with the Nano Puff when it comes to warmth for weight, and it is not as breathable as the Nano Air, but the Teca Calido doesn’t have to stand out in any particular category because it is a great all-around jacket.
Cotopaxi Teca Cálido Hooded Jacket is priced at $150
4. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow Hoody
The Ghost Shadow Hoody is the kind of everyday jacket that you want to have on when you get caught in a spontaneous rainstorm. This warm and durable jacket is also waterproof and stays warm even when saturated. If you live in a cool and rainy climate, it’s hard to find a better everyday jacket.
The style is similar to some Patagonia jackets like the Nano Puff, but some key differences set the Ghost Shadow Hoody apart. It is made almost entirely from recycled materials. The baffles are narrow and point downwards toward the zipper.
Each baffle is filled with 70% recycled polyester and 30% regular polyester. This feels very similar to a down jacket but performs much better when wet. There are a few complaints – the fit is a little boxy around the middle, so it might feel a bit baggy on those with slight frames, and the crinkling fabric can be louder than you might like, but for the price, it is an excellent value and makes a durable and reliable everyday jacket – especially if there is a chance you will be caught out in the elements.
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow Hoody is priced at $229
5. Norrøna Falketind Thermo60
This warmer synthetic jacket is made from recycled materials and it is suitable for wear year-round. 3 layers of unquilted insulation provide comfort and loft while still allowing it to compress so that it can be easily packed. This insulation technique gives the jacket excellent moisture-wicking ability while also insulating the wearer even when it is wet.
Mid-mounted pockets provide easy access to the gear you’re carrying. The Falketind Thermo60 hood also includes an inner pocket and articulated arms. You could easily compare the Norrona Falketind Thermo60 to the Patagonia Down Sweater Hooded Jacket, which provides warmth and comfort at similar temperatures.
Both have a similar puffy jacket style, as well as excellent wind resistance and weatherproofing. The Thermo60 is a little bit warmer, with some extra features like an easily adjustable hem for one-handed hood adjustments that make life a little easier. Either jacket would make a great year-round coat in a temperate climate.
Patagonia still excels when it comes to weatherproofing and wind resistance, but the Thermo60 is warmer and has a style all its own. The Norrøna Falketind Thermo60 is priced at $249
6. Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex
Patagonia makes a lot of all-around jackets that work great for everyday wear in all conditions, but at heart, they are a hiker’s company. Their best products push the limits when it comes to comfort, warmth, and convenience in the outdoors. The Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex is a hiker’s jacket, through and through.
It is not designed for the kind of everyday use that many of these other jackets will be put into. Instead, it offers maximal warmth and protection with minimal weight. It is a hooded ultralight synthetic insulated jacket that weighs a little more than 8 oz.
Stylistically, you might look past the Torrid Apex, which looks less like an ad from a magazine and more like an emergency blanket. Well, that might be pushing it a little bit. The design of the Torrid Apex is minimalist and functional.
It is meant for long-distance hikers, not a fashion runway. When it comes to performance, the Torrid Apex doesn’t disappoint. It will keep you warm and dry in some of the worst conditions.
It is comfortable and durable, and it won’t weigh you down or take up space. If you are looking for lots of pockets, think again – those require heavy zippers, and Enlightened Equipment expects you to have a backpack to bring your things with you anyway. It lacks a waist cord that you can adjust, but it can’t be beaten when it comes to warmth vs. weight.
The Torrid Apex could probably be most easily compared to the Patagonia Micro Puff. The Micro Puff is warmer, but also weighs more, and includes more hems and construction than the EE Torrid Apex. In the strictest sense, the Torrid Apex is the better jacket for long-distance hiking in the elements, but the Micro Puff will last longer, packs smaller, and keeps you warmer.
The Enlightened Equipment Torrid is priced at $185
7. L.L. Bean Packaway Jacket
The Packaway Jacket from L.L. Bean is a major challenger to one of Patagonia’s bestselling jackets, the Micro Puff. L.L. Bean is a reputable outdoor and outerwear brand that has been setting styles for decades. They make great quality garments, even if they don’t have the particular cache that Patagonia does.
With the Packaway Jacket, they are following in Patagonia’s footsteps and incorporating many of the same technologies that they use to keep people warm, and they’re doing it cheaper. The differences between the L.L. Bean Packaway Jacket and the Patagonia Micro Puff are almost insignificant. They are both synthetically insulated jackets meant to be easily packed away.
They both use 60-g PrimaLoft Gold insulation – the only difference being that the Packaway jacket uses patented cross-core technology. The difference when it comes to warmth and comfort? Insignificant.
They are both made from recycled materials with lots of pockets and easy-to-use drawstrings. Stylistically, they look almost identical, with the pattern of the baffles being slightly different on the Packaway Jacket. If you’re not emotionally tied to buying a Patagonia jacket, you can get almost the same value from L.L. Bean’s Packaway Jacket for significantly less money.
The Patagonia jacket might last longer, but given L.L. Bean’s stellar reputation for construction, it’s also possible that they’re tied here too. The L.L. Bean Packaway Jacket is priced at $169
8. Marmot Tullus Hoody
A down jacket that can keep you warm in the elements, the Marmot Tullus Hoody is heavier and bulkier than many Patagonia jackets, but it does a great job of keeping you warm – despite the fact, that its fill strength is less than many of its competitors, including Patagonia. Marmot makes up for the lack of fill power in the Tullus Hoody by packing more insulation overall, which manages to preserve a lot of heat. Marmot is an outdoor clothing and supply brand that started in 1971 and has been creating jackets, tents, and bags ever since.
They are particularly famous for their tents, and for having been one of the first brands to incorporate gore-tex into their products. Like Patagonia, Marmot has been tireless in incorporating ecological advances into its design and marketing. The Tullus Hoody could be compared to the Patagonia Down Sweater Hooded Jacket, which is also filled with down and does some similar things.
They are both heavier, bulkier jackets that are intended for warmth and not necessarily packability. In this case, the Tullus Hoody doesn’t stand up to the Patagonia alternative. The Tullus Hoody is comfortable and warm with above-average weather resistance, but it is difficult to compress and store (with no built-in pocket for self-storage, the wearer can attempt to roll the coat into the hood).
The fit is a little baggy for most people, with some extra room around the torso. Also, the Tullus Hoody lacks many of the features that make the Patagonia Down Sweater Hooded Jacket great, like adjustable drawstrings and not a lot of storage or pockets. What the Tullus Hoody does have going for it, is that it is significantly cheaper than the Patagonia Down Sweater Hooded Jacket.
It is priced at $200.