I’m a picky shopper when it comes to travel jackets – they have to look stylish, fit me well, keep me warm and dry, and have functional pockets. The weather in Europe can be cold, wet, windy, and snowy depending on how many places you are visiting. These are the top brands for adventurous travelers to consider.
Pros: Patagonia jackets are super trendy and designed for a more stylish look. I like that they are warm, functional, good quality, and come with a good warranty. The jackets are also made with recyclable and sustainable materials in a supposedly responsible manufacturing process. Patagonia takes every opportunity to tout itself as a socially conscious brand.
Cons: The jackets are expensive. Patagonia’s brand perception is a bit yuppie and elitist. You see a lot of corporate types walking around with Patagonia vests over their dress shirts.
Pros: North Face deserves credit for popularizing the use of outdoor jackets as trendy casual wear. There was a time when it seemed like everyone owned a Denali jacket – students, business people, serious hikers, travelers, etc. Their jackets are warm, functional, good quality, so you can’t blame them.
Cons: North Face jackets are high end and expensive, though not as trendy as Patagonia at the moment. The North Face brand perception is more outdoorsy and less elitist though.
Pros: Marmot makes a good quality product. Their jackets are warm, functional, and generally long lasting. They are a good option for the serious athlete.
Cons: Marmot jackets can be even more expensive than Patagonia and North Face. They are a real investment, so you are more likely to find them on truly outdoorsy people rather than casual shoppers following the latest trends.
Pros: REI makes good quality jackets that are functional and versatile. The REI brand perception is for real outdoors adventurers who need gear for serious camping and sports.
Cons: REI is fairly pricey, though generally less expensive than North Face and Patagonia. They also have a more limited jacket selection because REI stores carry all the other major brands as well.
Pros: Arc’teryx is a Canadian brand known for making high quality, functional jackets for law enforcement and military wear, but backpackers and climbers love their well-designed line of outdoors jackets.
Cons: This is the most expensive brand on this list and probably overkill for the casual traveler. If you are planning on scaling the Alps, on the other hand, this is a great option.
Pros: Mountain Hardwear makes good quality jackets that are functional and medium-priced. They are more affordable than Patagonia and North Face while carrying a lot of the same styles.
Cons: The brand tends to be more expensive than Columbia but offers little additional brand cache or style. The jacket designs are functional for outdoors wear but don’t look especially fashionable or fitted if that’s what you’re going for.
Pros: Columbia jackets are the most affordably priced and easy to find. If you want a generic winter jacket that doesn’t cost too much, this brand is available at a lot of stores and a good starting point.
Cons: The quality is not as high as the more expensive brands, and there is clearly less focus on style and fit. This is at risk of becoming the brand of middle-aged dads who wear clothes that are two sizes too large. Find a style that fits you well, and you’ll be okay.
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