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Patagonia down coats

Written By: Dianne Forbes Compton

Patagonia, a California-based company that started back in 1974, holds core values built around what the company refers to as “silent sports.” Silent sports are ones that do not require an engine, where there are often no waiting crowds to cheer the sportsmen on. In their list they include such sports as mountain climbing, skiing, hiking, fishing and surfing. They realize that no matter how little harm they wish to contribute to the world, that some components of making their products (like dyes) will cause harm, so they look for the best and easiest ways to cause the least harm. In the words of its founder, Yvon Chouinard, the last line of Patagonia’s mission statement is: “…use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” (1).  

Their website is full of wonderful stories of the adventures of their “ambassadors” who are sportsmen and women who have contributed to what makes Patagonia the company it is. In honor of upcoming Earth Day, they are a brand that many greatly admire. They demonstrate in their product lines, in the sports they encourage and with the work and marketing that they perform that the essence of the human spirit at work with the earth in creating eco-friendly clothing and products that display what Earth Day truly stands for. 

One product that really stands out in their brand is their down coats. In the autumn of 2014, they established their credo of 100 percent traceable down, which means that any item they create with down holds a standard that no animal has been force-fed or live-plucked, making this one of the highest standards in the down industry for animal welfare (2). 

Many down coats come from birds that are plucked up to four times a year while alive, a painful process that often kills them. When Patagonia realized that some of its down was coming from such places, it set out to change this and establish an environmentally friendly standard. Another thing they learned was that some of their down came from birds being force fed to produce foice gras (3). It has taken a few years, but they have made sure these practices are not being followed on any of their down.

Although this raises the price tag, when it comes to knowing that what one is wearing while skiing, hiking, skating, or other cold-weather sports, one will also know it is an environmentally-friendly product. 

Patagonia offers a wide range of down products, most especially in their coats. Priced from $99 and up, they also offer great sale prices during off-season. Another addition to their eco-friendly world are repair shops that will repair clothing rather than throwing it away (4). They have sizes and designs to fit men, women, kids and even babies. From a pullover ski jacket to longer trench coats, one can find a stylish addition to the wardrobe in just about any type or size needed. Not only do they offer jackets but also vests, “shirts,” down pants and stylish matches such as skirts, or pants, so that being eco-friendly is also stylish and fashionable. 

The North Face vs Patagonia down jackets

Written By: Christen Orth

A staple of clothing for winter weather activities is a down jacket. The North Face has been the standard for fashion and function for many years for people who love the outdoors. However, Patagonia has been producing outerwear that rivals that of The North Face, and that can make deciding between the two a challenge. Both of these companies produce high quality jackets, but what really sets these brands apart?

At first glance, the down-filled jackets from The North Face and Patagonia look as though they were both made by the same company. The North Face’s Quince jacket and Patagonia’s Ultralight Down jacket both offer an all-weather lightweight and durable layer essential for cold weather hiking or climbing. Both jackets have an 800-fill goose down that allows the jackets to be lightweight, slim fit, and offer optimal warmth. Because of their design, each of the jackets can either be a top layer or a base layer. The 100% Nylon shell also offers durability that sets it apart from other polyester jackets. The durable, water repellant finish prevents moisture from seeping through the jacket in light rain or snow. Both jackets can also be packed away for easy carrying during a hike or climb.

Since these jackets are so similar, it is important to look at the finer points of how they are made to make a decision about which one to purchase. The Patagonia jacket uses goose down that is never live plucked and the geese never force fed. The North Face does not make such a claim about their down-filled jackets. The Patagonia jacket is $299.00, while The North Face jacket is $249.00.

The jackets are an investment for hobbies involving the outdoors, not something to purchase for fashion. Because of this, taking a look at the warranties for both companies is a necessity. Patagonia offers an ironclad guarantee that if the item ordered does not come as expected, or perform to standards, they will repair, replace, or refund the jacket. When it comes to wear and tear, they will only offer to repair the jacket at a reasonable cost. The North Face on the other hand has a less desirable warranty on their products. They call it a lifetime warranty, but excludes covering items based on accidental damage, normal wear and tear, and the natural breakdown of materials over time. They will only cover the item if there is a manufacturer defect, and then will only replace or repair at The North Face’s discretion.

The North Face and Patagonia have both made jackets that would be a good option for cold weather activities. However, looking at the finer points of what each company offers is essential the decision making process. The jackets look similar, are made of the same materials, and offer the same functionality. The decision will come down to purchasing a jacket from an animal friendly company that offers a more comprehensive warranty, or paying a little bit less and get a little bit less out of the warranty.

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