In the world of outdoor gear, figuring out what brand to trust with your equipment isn’t easy, especially when you have two great companies—The North Face and Eddie Bauer—to choose from.
The good news is that we’re here to help.
Whether you’re looking to invest in a new puffy jacket or a slick new set of rain pants, we’re here to help you decide if Eddie Bauer or The North Face is right for you.
In this Eddie Bauer vs North Face match-up, we’ve pitted these outdoor industry giants head-to-head. We’ll give you the low-down on the similarities and differences so you can determine which brand is best for your unique needs.
Let’s get started.
Eddie Bauer vs The North Face: The Basics
Both Eddie Bauer and The North Face have been major players in the outdoor clothing industry for decades. But, each brand has a unique history that’s worth considering as you shop. Here’s what you need to know:
First founded all the way back in 1920 by outdoorsman Eddie Bauer, the Eddie Bauer brand got its start as a small store in downtown Seattle.
By 1925, Ed Bauer started revolutionizing the sporting goods industry with his regular use of goose down plumes. After experiencing severe hypothermia on a fishing trip in the 1930s, Ed Bauer submitted a patent for his revolutionary new down jacket: the Skyliner. The rest, as they say, is history.
In the post-war years, his business boomed, especially after he landed a contract to outfit the first team to overwinter at the South Pole in 1957 and the famous 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition.
Nowadays, Eddie Bauer is both a technical outdoor gear and casual outdoor clothing company that’s known around the world. Their gear is popular for being both well-made and highly affordable, which sets it apart from the pack in the outdoor industry.
The North Face
One of the most famous outdoor brands on the planet, The North Face was founded by mountaineer and conservationist Doug Tompkins in 1966. In fact, Doug was a world-famous climber that spent much of his early years climbing with Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia fame.
The North Face started out as a retail store in San Francisco that sold high-end outdoor gear, but it quickly made a name for itself on the global stage.
By the 1980s, The North Face was a manufacturer of choice for a number of major mountaineering expeditions. They expanded their clothing line-up to also include sleeping bags, tents, and backpacks, which made them popular among outdoorsy folks around the world.
These days, The North Face is a popular brand, both in terms of its technical gear and its line of lifestyle apparel. The brand continues to be a major sponsor for professional climbers, skiers, trail runners, and mountaineers, so it’s a top choice for any outdoor adventure.
Eddie Bauer & The North Face Comparison
Now that you know a lot about the history of both Eddie Bauer and The North Face, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between each of these two companies
Materials & Manufacturing
Every outdoor gear manufacturer has its own selection of materials and technologies that it uses in its gear. Here’s what you need to know about the textiles and fabrics that Eddie Bauer and The North Face use and how they compare:
If you’re looking for a waterproof jacket, it’s imperative that you select a model with a quality waterproof breathable membrane. Doing so will help ensure that you can stay dry in foul conditions, regardless of where your adventures take you.
For their waterproof jackets, like the Eddie Bauer Rainfoil Packable Jacket, Eddie Bauer uses their proprietary WeatherEdge technology. Like most other options on the market, WeatherEdge is a multi-layered waterproof-breathable membrane that’s designed to keep you cool and dry while hiking.
The difference between WeatherEdge and other popular fabrics is that WeatherEdge is produced in-house by Eddie Bauer. So, while it’s perhaps not as breathable as Gore-Tex, it is much more affordable.
You can learn more about the technology by checking out this video from Eddie Bauer:
When it comes to The North Face, however, there are a number of different waterproof fabrics you might encounter. The company often uses Gore-Tex in its top-of-the-line gear, because it’s a brand name that hikers know and trust.
For the majority of its line-up, though, the company uses its proprietary FUTURELIGHT or DryVent fabrics. These fabrics, like what you find in The North Face Resolve Jacket, are affordable and functional, even if they’re not as breathable as Gore-Tex. But, for the majority of hikers and campers, they’re a solid choice.
Should you be in the market for an insulated jacket, you’ll want to consider what types of insulation a company uses in its gear.
As far as Eddie Bauer is concerned, the company uses either fleece or ThermaFil synthetic insulation in many of their insulated jackets. This insulation is great for most casual day hikes and for use around town, but it’s a bit bulky for use in more remote locales.
Nevertheless, the company also makes a number of jackets, like the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm 2.0 Down Coat, which uses goose down. Most of Eddie Bauer’s down clothing also uses StormRepel Super DWR treatments for added water-resistance.
Alternatively, The North Face uses goose down in most of its high-end insulated winter jackets. You can also find jackets that use the company’s proprietary synthetic ThermoBall technology, like The North Face ThermoBall Jacket. This technology is widely praised as being some of the best synthetic insulation on the market thanks to its exceptional packability.
Winner: The North Face. Overall, The North Face uses a wider breadth of different materials in their gear, including some name-brand fabrics, like Gore-Tex, which are a mark of high-quality products.
Range Of Products
At the end of the day, there’s no point in buying from a gear manufacturer if they don’t have the clothing you need. If a company produces only fly fishing gear and you’re looking for clothing for rock climbing, you’re never going to find the right products for your needs.
Therefore, when deciding whether Eddie Bauer or The North Face is right for you, it’s important to consider the range of offerings in their product lines.
When it comes to the total variety of gear found in its clothing line-up, Eddie Bauer is generally more focused on casualwear than it is on more technical clothing. While they do have some highly technical pieces of outerwear, like down jackets, that have hit the market in recent years, most of their gear is designed for use around town and for the occasional mountain foray.
Alternatively, The North Face’s line-up is a bit more diversified. Although The North Face also produces backpacks, sleeping bags, and tents, we won’t consider those here, since that’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison with Eddie Bauer.
Despite this, The North Face generally has a more extensive selection of clothing designs to choose from. On a given day, you can get anything from a nice pair of leggings for your afternoon yoga session to an ultralight down jacket or highly technical shell for your mountaineering adventures.
Winner: The North Face. When it comes to the total breadth of their offerings, The North Face’s amazing line-up of clothing is hard to beat.
With companies like Eddie Bauer and The North Face, both of which have hundreds of products for sale at a given time, it’s difficult to make blanket statements about affordability.
Indeed, both companies have some very pricey technical gear and some affordable casualwear in their product lines.
Nevertheless, overall, you’ll likely find that Eddie Bauer’s clothing is more affordable. But, this affordability has a lot to do with the fact that Eddie Bauer’s clothing is targeted toward less-technical pursuits, like hiking and camping. Meanwhile, a lot of The North Face’s clothing is crafts for remote mountain adventures.
As a result, some of The North Face’s clothing can be quite pricey. This is especially true when you look at down jackets and shell layers (e.g., rain jackets). However, you can find some relatively reasonably priced The North Face clothing if you’re looking for more casual attire.
Winner: Eddie Bauer. Even though both companies have both pricey and cost-effective gear, Eddie Bauer’s line-up is more affordable overall.
If you buy a piece of gear, you want to know that your manufacturer has your back should it break or fail during your adventures.
As far as warranties go, Eddie Bauer used to offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee on their gear, but recently, that policy changed. Nowadays, as of early 2021, Eddie Bauer will accept returns on any of their gear within one year of purchase, so long as you have a receipt.
With The North Face, however, the warranty policy is a bit less straight-forward. As of early 2021, the company states that their products are covered by a lifetime warranty (lifetime of the product, that is, not your lifetime). But, the company reserves the right to reject returns or warranty claims at any time.
Winner: Eddie Bauer. While neither company’s warranty policies are particularly great, Eddie Bauer’s is the most straightforward and clear-cut.
Ethics & Sustainability
As outdoor enthusiasts, many of us are concerned about the environmental and social impacts of the gear that we buy. So, understanding the industry ethics and sustainability initiatives behind the manufactures that we shop from is of the utmost importance.
When it comes to the environment, both The North Face and Eddie Bauer have shown commitments to sustainability in recent years.
While no company is perfect, both Eddie Bauer and The North Face only use down that’s Responsible Down Standard-certified. This means that their down is never live-plucked and the birds that supply the down are never force-fed.
Furthermore, both companies work with a number of organizations, such as American Forests and The Conservation Alliance to help fund environmental initiatives.
Both companies have also made moves in recent years to support diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion initiatives, though it remains to be seen how this work will help make the outdoor space more inclusive for all.
Winner: It’s a tie. Both The North Face and Eddie Bauer, while not perfect, have made good strides toward being more sustainable and ethical gear manufacturers.
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Comparing major gear manufacturers like Eddie Bauer and The North Face isn’t easy. Each company offers something unique for outdoor enthusiasts, so neither of them is best in every situation.
That being said, Eddie Bauer is a solid choice if:
- You prioritize affordability in your gear
- Your adventures are usually short and in less remote terrain
- You like the peace of mind of a clear-cut warranty policy
Alternatively, you might want to consider The North Face if:
- You’re okay with spending a bit more on your gear
- You generally head out on remote adventures in foul weather
- You prefer gear that’s made with high-end fabrics
Ultimately, both Eddie Bauer and The North Face are solid outdoor clothing companies that are worth considering as you shop for gear. We hope this article helped you understand the pros and cons of each company and we look forward to seeing you on the trail!
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Are These Jackets Worth the Price?
Outdoor jackets can be quite expensive, so it’s understandable if you’re concerned that they’re overpriced. Nevertheless, whether or not a jacket is worth the price can only be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Most pricey jackets are made with high-end materials, like down, Gore-tex, and the like, which is why they have such a high sticker price compared to something you might wear in town. Furthermore, a lot more research and development go into making a hiking jacket than a casual jacket, which also results in a higher price point.
What Is The Best Outdoor Clothing Brand?
With hundreds of different outdoor clothing brands out there, it’s impossible to say that any of them are the best in all situations. However, some of the most popular brands include The North Face, Patagonia, Eddie Bauer, Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, and Black Diamond.