Patagonia is an outdoor clothing company that was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973. Chouinard, a climbing enthusiast, started selling handmade climbing gear as early as 1957 and was one of the first to introduce Scottish rugby shirts to the North American continent.
Patagonia is somewhat differentiated in the market by its environmental values that preach sustainability and anti-consumerism. The company even collects a self-imposed Earth tax, where 1% of total revenue is donated to environmental non-profits around the world.
In this article, we’ll list a few of the more notable Patagonia competitors. While most of these companies do not share Patagonia’s strict environmental stance, they nevertheless sell apparel of comparable reliability, durability, and performance.
L.L. Bean is an American retailer that specializes in apparel and outdoor recreation equipment. The company was founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, a hunter and fisherman whose first product was a pair of lightweight, waterproof shoes for duck hunting.
Today, L.L. Bean sells outerwear, footwear, apparel, outdoor equipment, and travel accessories for men, women, and children. It operates 54 bricks-and-mortar stores in the United States with total annual sales of $1.6 billion.
Prana is certainly not the largest Patagonia competitor in the industry, but it is one of the only companies on this list to preach similar values of sustainability. The company was started in a Californian garage in 1992 by Pam and Beaver Theodosakis with a mission to make clothing with a higher purpose.
For Prana, this meant crafting sustainable fashion items for those with active lifestyles using materials such as hemp, recycled fibers, and organic cotton. In August 2020, Prana also announced the Responsible Packaging Movement (RPM) to reduce plastic waste in the industry and create awareness of the issue among its customers and competitors.
Marmot was founded in 1974 as Marmot Mountain Works by Tom Boyce, Eric Reynolds, and David Huntley. Like Chouinard, all three co-founders shared prior interest and expertise in manufacturing climbing equipment.
The company has since branched out and now offers a range of apparel including softshell jackets, hiking pants, vests, rainwear, underwear, and moisture-wicking t-shirts. Marmot also sells insulated sleeping bags, tents, and backpacks.
Columbia Sportwear is an American manufacturer and distributor of outdoor apparel and equipment. The company started as a family-owned hat distributor run by Paul and Marie Lamfrom. The husband and wife, who had only recently fled from Germany prior to World War II, named their concern after the Columbia River in Oregon.
Columbia Sportswear products are similar to Patagonia in terms of quality, range, price, and innovation. The company has made significant advances in warm, breathable fabrics and also offers a line of plus-size clothing.
Revenue for 2021 totaled $3.126 billion.
Helly Hansen is a clothing and sports equipment manufacturer that was originally founded in 1877 by Norwegian fisherman Helly Juell Hansen. With his wife Margarethe, he developed a line of oilskin jackets and trousers made from linen soaked in linseed oil.
In later years, the company developed insulation layers to wear under waterproof clothing for use in the outdoor and workwear markets. This idea of layering clothes to wick moisture from the skin while protecting it from the rain at the same time was a revolutionary idea in the 1970s – but one which most outdoor brands and the industry as a whole would later adopt.
Helly Hansen was acquired by Canadian retail chain Canadian Tire Corporation in 2018 for $895 million. CEO Stephen Wetmore said in an interview that Helly Hansen was “a brand that we truly believe has a lot of runways ahead of it internationally.”
- Patagonia is somewhat differentiated in the market by its environmental values that preach sustainability and anti-consumerism. Nevertheless, it is one of many players in the outdoor equipment and apparel market.
- L.L. Bean is an American retailer that specializes in apparel and outdoor recreation equipment with 54 stores in North America and $1.6 billion in revenue. Prana is a California-based competitor that is much smaller in size but which holds the same environmental values as Patagonia.
- Marmot and Columbia Sportswear are also competitors in the North American market, with the latter selling products of similar quality, range, and price. After being acquired by a Canadian company in 2018, Norwegian outdoor brand Helly Hansen may also become a more significant Patagonia competitor.