The brands that we have chosen for today’s comparison offer a wide range of products for many outdoor activities, be it for winter or summer.
They are Salomon and The North Face.
The first is a French brand (here are some other French outdoor brands) that makes it into our site for the first time, and the second, well, you probably know it as it’s a very popular brand from the U.S., world-renowned, and that has been featured in many of our reviews and comparisons.
While there are many outdoor brands that focus particularly on one or two types of products, like for example Canada Goose which is popular for its down parkas, such is not the case for today’s brands as they offer different products in their collections.
From jackets, to shoes, to backpacks and other accessories, these two brands have everything you need for your adventures out in nature.
So, let’s get started right away and see how they compare to each other.
A short history of the brand
Salomon Group is a French sports, outdoor equipment and apparel company that operates globally. The company was established by François Salomon and his wife in 1947 in Annecy, Rhône-Alpes.
It was originally a metal working shop that made saw blades and gradually moved on to utilize their equipment and expertise to make steel edges for skis. The company later expanded to making cable bindings.
Until 1979, bindings were the main focus of the company until they introduced the rear-entry SX90 ski boot. After a decade, they also introduced skis. During the 1980s, the company acquired Taylor Made Golf, an American company that specialized in golf equipment.
Salomon was sold to Finland’s Amer Sports in 2005, however its headquarters remain in its place of origin in Annecy, France.
Being a brand that was created by those who knew the alpine conditions, climate and especially alpine sports first-hand, Salomon’s vision of designing reliable and quality products has been the driving force behind their success.
The company’s products cater to numerous sports markets, including snowboarding, skiing, adventure racing, climbing, hiking, and trail running, in more than 40 countries.
Materials and Manufacture
Salomon utilizes various materials and technologies to ensure their products are of high quality. Being an outdoor and sportswear brand, they focus on providing products that can offer protection in harsh weather and extreme sports.
When it comes to fabric technologies, the company uses ClimaPro Active fabrics in pants and jackets, which offers enhanced breathability and a minimum water column rating of 10,000mm. The material provides comfort during outdoor activities in wet and unpredictable weather by keeping the body dry and perspiration low.
Salomon also use CoolMax fabrics that are created from ADVANSA polyester fibers. This material pulls the moisture from your skin towards the fabric’s outer layer to help you stay dry.
They also use the Gore-Tex Pro Shell technology that is created to offer durable waterproof protection and breathable comfort in extreme weather. We have discussed various Gore-Tex fabrics in some of our previous work, for example, here, here and here.
As of 2013, the brand is also part of Bluesign® System, which ensures the use of materials free of harmful chemicals to the human health and the environment.
The sustainability efforts were furthered in 2016 when Salomon became a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition in 2016.
Regarding manufacture, they are renowned for the high quality of their products’ design, especially their shoes, which are considered to be some of the best on the market.
The manufacturing process is handled by their qualified employees, 82% of which are also shareholders and to which they also provide a health-focused environment and good working conditions.
Two of the brand’s popular designs that we have selected are the Bonatti Pro waterproof jacket and the Escape jacket.
Salomon Men’s Bonatti Pro WP Jacket
Bonatti Pro is a waterproof jacket made of 100% Nylon, designed for the worst of weathers. It is a fully waterproof design, super lightweight and highly breathable.
This is a jacket that can be used in many different activities that require protection against the elements, while also being easy to carry, wear and pack.
The design is minimalistic, cut to a loose fit and with an attached hood, as well as a high collar that comes with chin guard to protect against the zipper.
For added safety there are reflective strips on the right sleeve and its drop-tail hem is elasticized for better coverage.
Salomon Men’s Escape Jacket
This jacket offers a technical and clean look. It is well-fitted with 40G insulation for advanced skin warm. It includes taffeta lining over the shoulders and upper chest that stops the wind.
It has clean lines and is made with dual fabrics for better protection. The drop-tail hem gives a more streamlined look, while at the same time covering the back better.
The jacket features two side zipper pockets, which help to keep your hands protected in harsh conditions, and can also be utilized as cargo pockets. There is another inner pocket, which is ideal for storing your smartphone.
Escape is perfectly comfortable for skiing purposes and also for everyday winter wear.
Salomon is a relatively affordable brand, compared to many brands that we have featured in other comparisons. While the prices vary from product to product, there are several options that start at less than $100, with the rest of the technical designs going upwards of $200.
Are these jackets worth the price?
The price is definitely worth it since you are getting high quality waterproof apparel for outdoor sports wear.
2. The North Face
A short history of the brand
The North Face is an outdoor product company based in the U.S. They specialize in footwear, shirts, coats, fleece, outerwear, as well as equipment like sleeping bags, tents, and backpacks.
The company was established by Douglas Tompkins and Susie Tompkins in 1966 in San Francisco. Two years later, it was acquired by Kenneth “Hap” Klopp.
The name was chosen to give homage to the northern hemisphere’s north facing mountain, which is known as the iciest, coldest and most formidable route for climbing.
The company started with selective merchandise that targeted backpackers and climbers. During the 1980s, the company introduced skiwear and later camping equipment.
You might also like: 8 Best The North Face Down Jackets Reviewed
Currently, The North Face offers numerous products from casual sportswear to athletic clothing. They are popular for their insulated jackets, which cater to endurance athletes, hikers, snowboarders, skiers, mountaineers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
The North Face also sponsors professional athletes who take part in snowboarding, skiing, climbing, and running.
Materials and Manufacture
The North Face caters to highly professional athletes, which means they utilize nothing but the best materials in their products to help in enhancing performance.
Some of their apparel utilizes the FuseForm™ technology that helps the wearer to move seamlessly and stay dry. It is a ground-breaking weaving method that blends together durable and thick threads with low density light fibers. This technique efficiently decreases the overall weight and establishes flawless transition from lighter to tougher zones.
The Gore-Tex Pro Shell is made and designed with high quality materials and the innovative waterproof ePTFE membrane to keep you dry and the jacket breathable, regardless of the activity you are partaking in and the weather conditions.
The company also utilizes TNF fabrics in some of their jackets, particularly the TNF Apex fabrics, which offer advanced wind blocking. These fabrics are also treated with durable water repellent coating, which enhances their ability to stay dry for longer.
Other Apex fabrics used in The North Face jackets are Apex Aerobic fabrics, which are known as one of the most breathable and lightest fabrics. They provide enhanced mobility and stretch, which makes the apparel ideal for high mobility aerobic activities, including cycling and running.
You might also like: The North Face Apex Bionic Jacket Review
The first jacket by The North Face that we have selected for this comparison is the Quest Men’s Outdoor jacket.
The North Face Quest Men’s Outdoor Jacket
This jacket is soft, breathable and waterproof. It is also seam sealed with DryVent 2L, which evaporates sweat, and repels rain, sleet and snow. The fabric helps you stay focused and dry all day long.
It includes a back and chin brushed knit guard lining, which offers comfort even when you are running or climbing a mountain. It comes with adjustable cord elements at the hem and hood, which result in a snug fit. This jacket also has two side zipper pockets.
The North Face Men’s Arrowood Triclimate Jacket
The second design we have picked is the Arrowood Triclimate jacket, a 3-in-1 jacket that is made for comfort, warmth and protection against the elements.
It is made of DryVent 2L for its shell, with taffeta lining to provide better protection and add to the durability of the jacket.
Its inner jacket is a lightweight fleece, whereas the outer jacket has a hooded collar and two side pockets with zipper closures.
The prices of The North Face vary depending on the products. It is considered as a high end brand but also offers an affordable range of products.
Are these jackets worth their price?
The jackets are lightweight and comfortable, created with high quality materials, which are suitable for outdoor wear. Their jackets are definitely worth the price, in our opinion. We have previously explored this topic further here.
3. Which Brand is Better?
Both brands offer high quality outdoor apparel and equipment. They both utilize innovative technologies to enhance the durability, performance and comfort of their products during extreme sports.
Salomon offers a three years warranty for ski jackets and pants, and a two years warranty for other products. The company also offers a 30-day money back guarantee. On the other hand, the North Face offers lifetime guarantee on most of their products.
The North Face prices are slightly higher than those of Salomon, but this is primarily because their products are designed for use by professional athletes, meaning that their products are some of the best when it comes to performance.
Salomon does not fall far behind in the performance of their jackets, however.
If you are also looking for shoes, in our opinion Salomon would be the better choice as they make some great designs for a variety of activities.
While both brands are actively trying to make more sustainable choices in their manufacturing process, The North Face’s use of recycled polyester as a primary material, and its great efforts at reducing the environmental impact of its production, can be more of a preference for those that are very conscious about these issues.
With all that being said, depending on how much you are willing to spend, the design you are looking for and which brand you favor, the choice of which one is better will depend.