If you are here reading this, then most likely it is that time of year. The days are shorter, the nights are colder, and the winds are harder.
Snow flurries grace your nose and tongue while the air turns your cheeks red. You wake up with a chill and as you reach in your closet to slip on your jacket, it just does not do it for you anymore.
Whether the jacket is too short, too thin, out of style, not your color, or just will not zip up anymore, you realize you have the face the music and buy a new one.
A good jacket does not come cheap and it is a long-term investment, so it is easy to understand why you want your choice to be a good one.
If you are going to drop some dough and must live with the decision for years to come, you want to make sure it is a decision that will keep you happy and with brands like North Face, Columbia, Marmot, Carhartt, and Patagonia all just swirling in your head, decisions have not become easier.
Luckily, you are in the right spot to help organize those thoughts and find out just what jacket might have your name on it.
While there are plenty of brands you can look at and shop from, for simplicity, these are the three that will be discussed here:
North Face is an American brand that started as a retail climbing equipment store in San Francisco. Embracing its American roots, the brand even sports the half dome rock formation from Yosemite National Park as its logo.
North Face, although a fashion symbol, did not gain its popularity from flashy colors and name brand clothes, but from reliability and authentically good products.
True outdoor enthusiasts trust the brand’s gear will do the job it is advertised to do, which has made the name of the brand.
North Face continues to pride itself on quality material and not overcharging its customers as it continues to deliver.
North Face is seen by many news reporters when visiting colder regions and is even sported by former President Barack Obama. If the quality is good enough for an American President, one can say it is good for most people.
Marmot is also an American originating brand, coming from the ideas of two college students who simply loved the outdoors.
The word “marmot” is a reference to a group of large, social ground squirrels native to mountainous areas.
The students deemed this name fitting of a club they decided to make originally for outdoor climbing purposes.
Within a couple of years, the two students decided it would be a good idea to make some equipment and apparel, starting with vests and sleeping bags.
The sleeping bag was rated at -45 degrees Fahrenheit, one of the best sleeping bags of its time.
Soon, moving on to other equipment and apparel, the same idea was kept that they should be making some of the best equipment for their time.
The brand starting supplying coats and other gear that would be recognized as some of, if not, the best.
Patagonia also started in, you guessed it, America. A young climber who idolized the outdoors sought to improve the current climbing equipment available to him and his friends.
Seeing the only means of improvement as doing it themselves, the climber took up the trade of blacksmithing and began making all his and his friends’ equipment in the forge by hand and hammer.
Making a living by selling equipment from the trunk of a car, the friends began to start a real business.
The business quickly moved from climbing gear to climbing apparel to combat the harsh environment that many clothes were not suited for.
The brand became more known for their clothes and eventually became a semi fashion outlet.
Men’s Jacket Comparison – Brand Reviews: North Face v Marmot v Patagonia
North Face – North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket
The North Face Thermoball is a jacket that is built to endure, but that does not mean it would not give competition on the runway. The jacket is of nylon, a polyester construct that provides Primaloft insulation.
The insulation provides a soft but warm lining inside the jacket while also acting as lightweight padding with a bottleneck pattern for additional insulation from circulation patterns. The jacket is great for cold weather and hardly feels like its being worn.
The padded design also gives it a slight flair, so it is not completely flat and matte. Available in all kinds of colors, it should be able to suit anyone’s style.
My personal favorite is black for the minimalist look and ease of matching, but if you enjoy colors, do not feel like you must restrict yourself at all. They have options. One of the coolest features about the jacket, in my opinion, is its packing bag feature.
The jacket comes with an internal pocket that doubles as a bag. Instead of folding the jacket for your next ski trip, you simply push the jacket into itself and stow it away in a tight spot, saving room for other goods.
Marmot – Marmot Guides Down Hooded Jacket
The Marmot Guides Down Hooded Jacket is designed for just about any weather that might be considered cold. Being lined with down in the pockets and hood, a very warm interior is provided and the jacket itself is insulated with 700 fill power down and protected with Down Defender that keeps the jacket’s insulation from losing its puff in wet environments.
The jacket also has a few special features that set it apart from others. Within the hand pockets, there is a zippered component for storing hand warmers, keeping them from filling up pocket space, but allowing the heat to circulate and warm cold fingers.
Behind the front zipper, the jacket also has a wind flap, keeping any gusts from pushing through, even faced head-on. The jacket has the classic winter puff look and even comes in a few different colors.
While some of the colors are bright, if you are afraid of getting the jacket dirty, it is also designed to be machine washable and not affect the down fill because of its handy Down Defender, allowing you to take full advantage of the coat in all weather.
Patagonia –Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater Jacket
The Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater Jacket is a minimalist fashion statement and cold gear wrapped in one. While the jacket lacks a hood similar to the North Face Thermoball, it has extreme insulation as long as the wind is not too bad, and nothing comes from overhead.
The jacket features 800 fill power goose down (and for environmentalists, the down is also traceable and ensured not to live-plucked or the geese force-fed) and a water-resistant finish topping it’s 100% recycle polyester ripstop fabric.
The Down Sweater Jacket offers its minimalist design with Patagonia’s small chest logo and no other flashy designs. For those seeking color, this jacket only has one option: black.
Black provides a range of clothes to match with, however, and the sleek design of the jacket looks great in the color anyway.
With only a 1.4 oz shell and a 1.5 oz lining, the jacket is also incredibly lightweight to provide such warmth that it does. This jacket may not be the best for extreme sports, but for a cold night out in New York, it will keep you warm and looking good the entire night.
Women’s Jacket Comparison – Brand Reviews: North Face v Marmot v Patagonia
North Face – North Face Gotham II Jacket for Women
North Face’s Gotham II is the best jacket on this list so far in terms of visual options and versatility. The jacket features a fur hood to add just the right amount of flair without overdoing it and still keeping functionality.
The fur is designed, however, more for looks and not extreme weather durability. Constant wear and tear on the fur will result in the loss of some or all of it eventually, but for everyday winter activities such as playing in the snow or just going out with friends, the fur should last.
The jacket also has a zipper closure wind flap for front-facing winds and gusts that might try to pierce the jacket. Made of polyester and nylon, the jacket is machine washable, but this will increase wear down on the feathers, making it suggested to clean with a cloth or in a gentle wash.
Along with the fur, this jacket also has the most style and color options that this list has seen so far.
Marmot – Marmot Women’s Sonya Jacket
The Marmot Women’s Sonya Jacket is the first jacket on this list that borderlines being a coat instead. The jacket is mid-thigh length with two color options and a sleek, plain look.
The jacket has an attached hood and elastic wrist cuffs that keep the arm insulated as the elastic forms to the wrist, pushing air out.
With a full front zip and two-way construction, one can keep warm but still maneuver and even sit down without worry of discomfort or a bunched up jacket. Made of 100% nylon and packed with 700 fill power down, it keeps insulation well and is very lightweight, weighing only 12.3 ounces in total.
Because the jacket is so lightweight, it is suggested as a good outer shell with layers underneath. The nylon, attached hood, and down fill combination to ensure you are warm and dry no matter what conditions you are facing outdoors.
Patagonia – Patagonia Nano Puff Women’s Hoodie
Patagonia’s Nano Puff hoodie is similar to the Marmot Women’s Sonya Jacket with a few small differences. The Nano Puff is closer to the length of Gotham II by just laying over the backside and covering the waist.
The jacket is made of 100% ripstop shell lining and finished with a durable water repellent. The inside insulation is claimed to be the “most thermally efficient synthetic insulation” while also boasting to be made of 55% recycled content, allowing it to retain 98% of heat even in wet conditions.
Like the Marmot Men’s jacket reviewed, this jacket features zippered handwarmer pockets but also has an internal, zippered chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack like the North Face Thermoball.
The Nano Puff is advertised in one color but features a nice quilted brick design and a horizontal narrow design (meant for you to look narrow) that has side panels to stabilize insulation and more durable fabric for abrasion resistance.
Stylish and functional, this option would be a good choice for most casual consumers.
Each brand has a good offer for the user and not one truly, completely outshines the rest. Each coat has a feature that the brand likes to put in their jackets and each one does differ slightly in style.
In terms of quality, they are all made of extremely similar materials, some advertising better insulation than others, while others boast more features or styles than some.
When choosing between multiple high-quality brands such as these, it really comes down to personal preference and use. Marmot seems to appeal more to harsher environments while the other two appeal to more casual cold and snow goers.
If choosing between the three, unless you are planning to scale the Alps, any of these will do you justice, so it is recommended to just choose whichever jacket has features to suit your day and a style to suit your soul.