Brands that specialize in outdoor clothing are many, but exactly how many of them share enough similarities in the quality of their products to be compared to each other?
That is a question that has to lead us to explore and compare some of the best brands when it comes to technical and performance clothes that are made to keep you safe and protected in outdoor adventures.
So far, we have looked at many brands, including some of the biggest names in the market of outdoor sports clothing, and there are still many more to feature.
Something we do frequently is comparing brands that have been extensively featured in our reviews, selections and other comparisons, in order to see how two individual brands measure up to each other.
Today we will be doing the same by taking a look at Eddie Bauer versus The North Face.
1. Eddie Bauer
A short history of the brand
An American brand, founded in Seattle, Washington in 1920, Eddie Bauer has a rich history of originality and high-performance products.
As a matter of fact, the brand’s founder, who also gave the brand its name, Eddie Bauer, throughout the years patented a number of designs. Included in the patented product designs by the brand is also the quilted jacket.
The innovation and hard work didn’t go unnoticed as Eddie Bauer went on to become the first independent company that designed uniforms for the U.S. Army.
The brand’s history includes both good and bad times because it went through periods of bankruptcy alongside periods of great success.
After being purchased by Golden Gate Capital, they slowly began to re-establish their position in the outdoor clothing market and are now among the most beloved and renowned brands of its kind.
Materials and Manufacture
Fabrics and insulation are what we primarily focus on when discussing the materials that are used by brands to make their products.
What we often see with brands that make such quality products is the use of fabric technologies. We have discussed many fabric technologies in previous reviews and comparisons, including eVent, which is the technology used by Eddie Bauer.
Along with eVent, WeatherEdge® is another technology developed and used by Eddie Bauer, to cover the requirements of breathable and waterproof products.
Aside from creating performance clothing, Eddie Bauer have also designed winter jackets that rely on insulation to provide warmth and comfort during the colder months.
Down is the natural insulation that they use, and we have covered its qualities and downsides extensively in many of our comparisons and insulation reviews. While it is the best insulation there is, it comes with some considerable issues, such as susceptibility to moisture and effort in maintenance.
For this reason, they use StormDown, which is practically down covered with DWR coating, in order to help it withstand wet conditions better.
They source the down used in their products as per the RDS requirements, ensuring the full traceability of its source.
Enter synthetic insulation, which works great at insulating, while at the same time remedying the major issues of down. Eddie Bauer use the Thermafill® synthetic insulator in several of their products.
Before moving on to the next segment, we have to mention Thindown, an interesting fabric developed in Italy, which is the only one of its kind.
It is a down fabric, in fact, made to have better weather resistance than down clusters have on their own, while at the same time maintaining the loft and compressibility.
As we usually do in brand reviews, we will look at two popular designs from each brand.
Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown Hooded Jacket
By Eddie Bauer, our first pick is the Downlight StormDown Hooded Jacket, which comes in both men’s and women’s versions. It is a jacket made of 100% polyester lining, with a Ripstop polyester shell, 50% of which is made of recycled content, and with 800 fill StormDown insulation.
The StormRepel Super DWR coating is the brand’s durable and long lasting water repellent product, which helps keep the jacket dry for longer, while also minimizing down insulation’s contact with moisture and lowering its susceptibility to wet conditions.
This is a winter design that is meant to withstand low temperatures and cold winds, and it comes with a hooded collar, elasticized sleeve cuffs and three outer pockets with zipper closures.
Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Hybrid Jacket
The second pick is the IgniteLite Hybrid Jacket. A lightweight design, made to insulate and keep you dry, IgniteLite is insulated with 100 grams of PrimaLoft® Silver Active insulation.
We have covered the different types of PrimaLoft insulations in a previous piece, if you are interested to learn more about it.
This insulation is both lightweight and water-repellent, ensuring that you will remain comfortable and warm in unpredictable weather.
It comes with a medium collar, without a hood, and with three outer pockets, one of which is placed on the left sleeve.
Out of all the brands that we have reviewed and compared to each other, Eddie Bauer is one of the few that comes with affordable prices.
The products retail for $100 – $250 on average, while technical jackets are a bit pricier.
Are these jackets worth the price?
Price and performance considered, Eddie Bauer jackets provide a well-rounded experience and some of the designs are said to last for many years. With that in mind, these jackets can definitely be worth the price.
2. The North Face
A short history of the brand
Founded in 1966, The North Face is also an American brand that specializes in clothing and gear for those who enjoy the outdoors.
Originally catering to backpackers and climbers, The North Face went on to expand their product range and establish themselves as one of the leading brands in the outdoor clothing market.
As times change, those who spend a good part of the year out in the woods or up high in the mountains do not favor solely high-performance jackets and other clothing, but have also turned their focus to the style and look of what they wear.
As such, The North Face has started to design more modern and eye-catching products that can appeal to many different types of customers.
Materials and Manufacture
Relying primarily on Polyester, The North Face’s efforts of lessening their environmental impact have led them to source materials through recycling.
Along with the use of recycled content, DWR treatments that are PFC-free also play an important role in environmental protection by lessening the damage done by PFC.
When it comes to natural materials, such as cotton and wool, The North Face source them from responsible farmers and in a sustainable way, meeting the required standards that guarantee the traceability of such materials.
Fabric technologies are also frequently found in popular jackets and products by the brand, as they help with weather protection and breathability.
HyVent, currently known as DryVent, is the brand’s own fabric technology which performs impressively in a variety of conditions.
FlashDry is another fabric developed by the brand, which is made to be breathable and quick-drying, suitable for unpredictable weather and mild temperatures.
WindWall, made to withstand strong winds, is a fabric developed primarily for cyclists and bikers.
The North Face Aconcagua Jacket
Our first pick is the Aconcagua jacket, a nylon design insulated with 550 fill power goose down. It is a lightweight jacket, made for early winter temperatures and suitable for dry conditions.
It comes with a high and slightly padded collar, without a hood. There are three outer pockets on the design and its sleeve cuffs are elasticized.
The men’s and women’s versions differ in cut and quilting, which in the men’s design is horizontal quilting, whereas in the women’s is a mixed design.
The North Face Gotham Jacket II
The second jacket is Gotham II, a recurring design in some of our previous pieces. Made for cold winter days, it comes with a faux fur trim on the hood and a high collar that protects the neck.
It has a HyVent 2L shell, which gives it considerable weather resistance abilities, while at the same time helping it remain breathable.
The insulation is 550 fill power goose down and the jacket also comes with elasticized ribbed cuffs and a smooth outer shell. There are four pockets on this design and the women’s version comes with a quilted shell.
You might also like: The North Face Gotham III vs McMurdo III: Two Men’s Parkas Compared
Overall, The North Face products come with a good price range, including both affordable and expensive designs. The latter are mainly the down jackets and those made for performance using fabric technologies.
Are these jackets worth the price?
From what we have seen in previous reviews and comparisons, as well as from the online consensus, The North Face jackets perform impressively.
We have explored this topic further here.
3. Which Brand is Better?
Depending on whether you are looking for technical jackets that offer high performance or if you would like more casual, day-to-day styles, the answer of which one is better will vary.
Price-wise, Eddie Bauer is more affordable and it also comes with great lifetime warranty, no questions asked for all of its products.
Their winter parkas are also really good and quite warm, making the brand a good choice if you are in the market for a jacket to fend off the cold.
The North Face provides a better range of technical jackets and clothing, the prices of which vary depending on the design.
With all that being said, in our opinion Eddie Bauer is the better of the two for the average person. The quality-to-price ratio is great and there are many designs to choose from.