Let’s face it: if you want to go climbing or even hiking you are going to need special clothing. The conditions on a mountain make the weather treacherous whether you’re having a barbecue in the middle of summer or hiking on a glacier in winter. At a moment’s notice the weather might change and when it does you are going to be very grateful for the specialized mountain climbing clothing that you spent your hard earned money on. Whether you’re a pro hiker, escalade specialist or just an interested amateur, here is our list of the top ten mountain climbing clothing brands.
Arc’teryx is a Canadian clothing brand that gets its name from the Archaeopteryx, the first known ‘bird’ or rather feathered dinosaur. Arc’teryx specialize in mountain gear ranging from merino base layers to rock climbing harnesses and chalk bags and are well known for their reputation of excellence.
9. Outdoor Research
Outdoor Research is perhaps one of few truly ‘global’ brands. They don’t target a particular market nor do they do solely cheap or solely expensive clothing. Their offering is quite varied and of very good quality. The quality of the brand is so good that they have recently started a military clothing line under contract from several militaries around the world.
Mammut is a Swiss brand with a recognized tradition of excellence in all things alpine. The Swiss are known for being excellent craftsmen in general but Mammut sets a new standard when it comes to mountain climbing clothing and gear. They are so certain on the quality of their brand that they have recently started a mountain climbing camp for enthusiasts of the sport.
Patagonia is a California based company that started out small, making hiking and especially climbing gear. Their products were very good so they gained notoriety and developed into a popular choice for mountain climbing clothing and accessories. They also have a very good corporate responsibility program and put out nature research and human impact reports every year.
prAna is a non-conformist brand, its name meaning ‘Life’ in Sanskrit. While well known for being an ‘outdoor yoga’ brand prAna makes excellent climbing gear and mountain climbing clothing as well. In fact the company has grown spectacularly since its inception in 1992 and now also produces running and training gear for the ‘enlightened soul’.
5. Mountain Hardwear
Any company that has ‘Mountain’ in its name is clearly stating its goal and Mountain Hardwear is no exception. This brand of rugged clothing takes a no-nonsense approach to design and development. While they do offer running gear and some more ‘urban’ backpacks, Mountain Hardwear is a brand well set on the intended purpose of their clothes.
Millet is a French brand with a tag line of ‘Mountain By Experience’ and, if you take a look at their catalogue you will know why. Millet makes everything you could ever need when climbing a mountain from specialized shoes (of both the hiking and rock-climbing varieties) to high-strength rope and rock face sleeping hammocks. If you’re passionate about climbing, Millet is one of the best brands you could ever buy.
Smartwool is a company dedicated to making every product it has out of merino wool. When people think of wool they imagine a scratchy, unpleasantly coarse thing, that is not the case with Smartwool or merino in general. Merino wool is pleasant to touch, breathable, doesn’t shrink and most importantly it is odor resistant and Smartwool has the added advantage of being impeccably crafted and an excellent base layer.
Petzl is a French brand with a tradition in rock climbing. It is one of the greatest manufacturers of technical rock climbing and caving gear, as well as industrial high altitude harnesses and equipment. Petzl is a true professional’s choice but the professionalism comes at a hefty price. Still, thousands of people each year choose safety over affordability and go with Petzl when it comes to gear. Their clothing line is just as good if not better than their climbing gear and is well worth the price tag.
1. The North Face
There are better brands for rock climbing equipment out there but in terms of clothing selection, quality and pricing The North Face is unbeatable. The North Face clothing is equally good on a summit, on a trail or in the middle of town. In terms of pure usability nothing can compete and their selection covers everything from underwear to tents and boots. The North Face is, if not the unquestionable ruler of the mountaintop, at least the most avid visitor.