Welcome back to another comparison review, in which we will be doing things a little differently.
So far we have looked at jackets from different brands, as well as different types of jackets and how they compare to each other, by looking at their features and performance.
This week we will be starting a new segment, in which we will be comparing two brands to each other by taking into consideration their fabric quality, product designs and performance, the focus, of course, being jackets.
The first two brands chosen to start things off are Canada Goose and Woolrich, two North American brands that are not only popular in their respective countries, but also internationally.
Let’s first go through a brief introduction of each brand and the history of how they came to be world-renowned names in the outdoor clothing market.
1. Canada Goose
A short history of the brand
Frequently featured in our selections and reviews, Canada Goose is one of the first brands that come to mind when thinking of jackets that withstand harsh weather.
Founded in 1957 by Sam Tick, it originally made woolen vests, raincoats and other outdoor clothing under the name Metro Sportswear Ltd.
Afterwards, in the 1970s, Metro created down-filled jackets, which were sold to the Canadian Rangers, police departments and other establishments where they were required to go outdoors in the ruthless weather of Canadian winter.
When branching in Europe, the name Canada Goose was set to be the official brand name.
Now they are mostly known for their down parkas and jackets, especially due to the product placement in many movies and their sponsorships of different festivals and researchers.
Materials and Manufacture
Being one of the priciest brands currently on the market, Canada Goose is the definition of “you get what you pay for”. As we saw in previous article of ours, there are several reasons why this brand is so expensive and at the same time so popular.
It all comes down to the manufacturing process and most importantly, the materials used in their products. A process that involves 13 steps, where everything is not only intently worked on, but also meticulously checked, to say that this is a thorough brand would be correct.
If it does not meet their standard of quality, then the product is best discarded than launched in the market, which plays the main role in them maintaining their reputation for quality. This ensures that only the best makes it out.
Secondly, the materials used in their jackets should be looked at in three categories:
- and fur.
Let’s start with the fabric that they use in the lining and shell of jackets, which are either Nylon or Polyester, typically.
They have also developed their own fabric technologies: Feather-Light Us and Dura-Force, which are highly durable and weather-resistant fabrics.
Then, the insulation is, of course, goose down. The best out of the two down options, when it comes to warmth and loft, the goose down used by Canada Goose is responsibly sourced and traceable, from humanely-treated birds that are not live-plucked or force-fed.
And thirdly, the fur, which is sourced from Coyote populations of the southern regions of Canada and the northern part of the US, where they are abundant in numbers and are considered pests.
By far, the most popular Canada Goose product is their Expedition Parka, which comes in both men’s and women’s version.
This is one of their original designs and now it comes in both the original version, as well as the PBI design, which is more recent and was made to help out Polar Bears International (PBI), a non-profit organization that aims to preserve the habitat and populations of polar bears.
Now, in regards to when and where to wear most of Canada Goose jackets, the answer is very simple. They are made for freezing temperatures and very harsh weather and because they provide incredible insulation due to the goose down fill, they are extremely warm, yet light and comfortable to wear, as well as breathable.
However, they are not the most water-resistant jackets, so steer clear of rain and heavy snowfall because down is notorious for its lack of insulation when wet.
We did mention that this is an expensive brand, but everybody’s definition of expensive differs greatly.
So how expensive are we talking? Well, when you look at their cheapest jacket, which is the Faber Bomber and it is priced at around $400, you can easily guess how high the price goes for the rest of them, especially parkas.
Is this price worth it? We would like to refer you to our previous article exactly on this topic and take a look there. The quick answer is: quality-wise they are the best of the best and have a lifespan of decades, so make of that what you will.
A short history of the brand
Woolrich is an American brand, established in 1830, making it the oldest outdoor clothing manufacturer in the US.
In the beginning, it started out with woolen clothing and fabrics, and in the 1850s the Buffalo Check shirt was introduced to the market, later to become one of the most popular designs worldwide, even in today’s trends.
This brand has not only a rich history manufacture-wise, but also in the role that the Rich family played in their community and the US politics, so we are talking about not only knowing the market but also the people.
Despite hardships along the way, Woolrich is still one of the most reputable brands in the outdoor clothing market, all due to the quality of their products and the innovative designs.
Materials and Manufacture
A brand of many fabrics, Woolrich is mostly known for their woolen clothing and the rich color of their woolen fabrics, which is unlike anything else on the market.
They range from lightweight to heavy, the latter mostly used in winter coats.
What we will look at in particular is their Ramar cloth, a blend of 60% Cotton and 40% Nylon, which is used in their pricier parkas and jackets. This fabric is specially designed and it is able to withstand rain and stains, apart from being incredibly durable.
Usually lined with Polyester and with a shell that is Teflon™-treated for extra resistance, their jackets are long-lasting and very well-made.
Their manufacturing process is very detail-focused and it all shows in the elegance and finesse of their designs.
The insulation they use depends on the product. There is both synthetic and natural down used and the hood lining on the parkas is typically Coyote fur, just like Canada Goose.
They are very versatile in regards to jacket designs, because there are numerous options for different types of weather and temperatures, which in Canada Goose’s case is more limited to heavy winter and colder temperatures.
For the sake of being consistent, we will look at two parkas from Woolrich, because we looked at two heavy-winter jackets by Canada Goose previously.
We chose the Arctic and Patrol parkas, which come in options for both men and women.
These are different from each other, because Arctic is made of Ramar fabric and comes with duck down insulation, whereas Patrol is made of 100% Nylon and it is insulated with goose down.
The reason these two designs are popular is because of how well they insulate and the simple, clean and chic design.
Just like the Canada Goose jackets and parkas we chose, these too come with Coyote fur trim on the hoods. Being down-insulated and with numerous features that make them practical, these jackets are suitable for very harsh weather and also quite resistant against water, but not completely waterproof so watch out for that.
Because Woolrich is a versatile brand in their designs, this also affects their price range, making it a mixed brand. What we mean by that is that you will find both affordable jackets, which are under $100, as well as designs which go upwards of $500.
Does this affect quality? Not quite, but it does affect performance. A polyester-insulated parka, albeit more affordable and more weather-resistant, it does not insulate perfectly like down does.
Depending on where you live and what jacket you are looking for, this will then determine whether you should invest in a genuine down and fur parka or in a lighter, synthetic one.
3. Which One Is Better?
This is always a tricky question as the answer depends on what you are looking for, clearly.
With that being said, if you want a more refined, classic and stylish brand that is versatile in product designs and most importantly, price, then Woolrich has an advantage in that regard.
Canada Goose, however, passes with flying colors when it comes to performance, warmth and functionality, because of their practical and “sporty” jackets. So insulation-wise, Canada Goose is an absolute winner regardless of what brand it is put up against.
But, if you don’t live up north and the temperatures don’t drop quite so low as to require the insulation of a Canada Goose jacket, then Woolrich is definitely the better option.