A Brief History of Patagonia
For over 50 years, Patagonia has been creating some of the best outdoor clothing and gear on the planet. Patagonia's founder, Yvon Chouinard, was a pioneering rock climber in California's Yosemite Valley during the 1950s and 60s. Frustrated by the poor quality of climbing gear at the time, Chouinard began making his own hardened steel pitons and selling them to other climbers. This spawned the company Chouinard Equipment which specialised in hard-wearing climbing gear.
In the early 1970s, Chouinard expanded into clothing with rugby shirts, corduroy shorts and other rugged outdoor garments. He eventually phased out the metalworks to focus solely on apparel under the new Patagonia brand.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Patagonia established itself as a leader in technical, high performance outdoor wear. In the decades since, they've expanded their product range while staying true to their core values of quality, sustainability and environmental activism.
Fighting Climate Change and Protecting Wild Spaces
Patagonia donates over 1% of sales to environmental causes. It's a founding member of One Percent for the Planet, an alliance of businesses pledging to help protect and restore the natural environment. Through their Patagonia Action Works program, customers can get directly involved in grassroots activism.
Patagonia also uses its business as a campaigning platform. It fought against dams proposed in Chile's Patagonia region that would have impacted pristine wilderness. The brand even sued the Trump administration for reducing national monuments like Bears Ears in Utah. Protecting public lands and fighting climate change are part of Patagonia's DNA.
Sustainability and Business Ethics
Patagonia works tirelessly to reduce its environmental footprint. It uses renewable energy in stores and facilities. It develops recycled and recyclable materials to make clothing and gear. Patagonia also offers repairs, recycling and resale to extend the life of products.
The brand audits its entire supply chain to ensure good working conditions and fair pay. Patagonia is a certified B Corp, meaning it meets rigorous ethical, social and transparency standards. These lofty goals stem directly from Yvon Chouinard's vision.
Quality and Performance
Patagonia is obsessive about making gear that lasts. Its clothing features bombproof construction and hardy fabrics built to survive years of outdoor abuse. Patagonia ironclad guarantees cover product defects for life – so you can send back damaged or worn-out items to be repaired or replaced.
Technical innovations also allow Patagonia apparel to excel in harsh conditions. Breathable waterproof fabrics, weather-resistant down insulation, and abrasion-resistant outer shells equip you for extreme environments. The brand's gear performs with excellence across alpine climbs, winter treks, wet-weather trails and beyond.
Must-Have Patagonia Clothing and Gear
Patagonia basically invented the fleece jacket with the Synchilla in 1985. Made from recycled soda bottles, this fuzzy polyester flannel was a revolution in warmth and softness. The Synchilla Snap-T pullover remains an iconic Patagonia bestseller for insulating midlayers. Other popular fleeces include the classic Retro-X, R1 half-zip for active pursuits and the micro-fleece Nano Puff. Fleece jackets are the cosy workhorse layer that no wardrobe is complete without.
When icy conditions strike, you need an insulated jacket to lock in heat. Patagonia's 800-fill-power down pieces like the Down Sweater deliver lightweight yet formidable warmth. The water-resistant Down With It Parka can endure snowstorms and freezing rain. Synthetic-insulation coats like the Nano Puff provide vegan warmth that still insulates if wet. For savage mountain and polar extremes, the Grade VII goose down parka stands alone. Patagonia insulation lets you venture into the cold without compromising comfort.
Braving rugged alpine terrain and sodden trails requires a hard-wearing waterproof shell. Patagonia's 3-layer H2No Performance Standard nylon is their ultimate waterproof breathable fabric. It's used across their hardshell range including iconic pieces like the Torrentshell and Snowshot jacket. For storm-proof mountain protection, the Triolet is their pinnacle extreme conditions hardshell. Ski touring and mountaineering in harsh frozen environments demands these abrasion-resistant and fully wind and waterproof Patagonia outer layers.
Backpacks and Luggage
From day packs to expedition duffels, Patagonia makes versatile luggage for your travels. The lightweight 25-32L Ascensionist pack is ideal for multi-day trekking and alpine assaults. Black Hole duffels carry your gear safely whether you're biking to work or flying to Nepal.
The Arbor backpack range marries surfboard-carrier design with skateboard durability – built tough for urban commutes. Patagonia luggage keeps your kit safe across all sorts of adventure.
Sportswear and Baselayers
Active sportswear is part of Patagonia's DNA stretching back to their rugby shirts in the 70s. Their Capilene line pioneered baselayers blending merino wool with moisture-wicking synthetics. Light but durable climbing pants use Canvas cotton treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish.
Trail running tops feature Polygiene odour control to stay fresh. Stretchy and quick-drying bathing suits are at home in the waves. Patagonia sportswear combines ruggedness with maximum comfort and performance.
Hiking boots, approach shoes and vulcanised wetsuit booties: Patagonia footwear is built for rugged adventures. Their lightweight Adze Flex hiking boots provide traction across technical trails. Galvanised rubber waterproof wading boots handle boulder hopping in rivers.
The minimalist Kicker clog meets surf to city street style. Their trail runners boast Vibram soles and recycled polyester mesh uppers. Patagonia footwear offers versatile, durable choices from trekking the Patagonia steppe to grabbing coffee downtown.
Patagonia Clothing and Gear for Different Activities
Hiking and Trekking
Hitting the trail demands good boots, versatile layers and durable packs. Lightweight Capilene baselayers wick sweat while insulating against the cold. Fleece jackets add warmth around camp. Storm-proof outer shells from the Torrentshell series provide protection from wind and rain.
The Nine Trails pack hauls gear comfortably over long distances. Hybrid alloys like Cordura EcoMadeTM fabric resist abrasion on unforgiving trails. Patagonia's hiking range balances utility, comfort and responsible sourcing.
As pioneers in climbing equipment, Patagonia understands the demands of the rock and alpine. Stretchy Baggies climbing shorts allow freedom of movement on pitches. Breathable Capilene layers remain dry during aerobic ascents. Insulated puffies like the Nano Air HOODY offer warmth at hanging belays.
Their rope packs securely haul your rack. Hardshell jackets shield you from spindrift and precipitation at higher altitudes. Patagonia climbing kit performs with excellence all the way up to the summit.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Charging deep powder calls for gear that can battle blizzards and arctic chills. Patagonia's insulated powslayer jackets featuring hydrophobic Thermogreen insulation retain heat even in wet snow. For maximum warmth, down pieces like the Fitz Roy parka are stuffed with 800-fill Traceable Down.
The Snowshot GTX hardshell keeps out howling winds and driving snow. Their stretchy and water-resistant Snowbiker pant withstands high speed wipe outs. Patagonia apparel and packs carry skiers and boarders from first lift to final run.
Rugged wetsuits, saltwater-proof apparel and versatile swimwear make Patagonia a top choice for surfers. Their R1 Lite Yulex wetsuits use natural rubber for unrivaled warmth and flexibility. Recycled polyester boardshorts are quick-drying and UPF 50+ rated. The Watermaster top provides long sleeve sun protection when paddling, sailing or kayaking.
Patagonia baggies shorts originally evolved as a crossover between surf trunks and climbing gear. Durable water repellent (DWR) treatments allow urban commuting in addition to beach and pool wear. Patagonia's watersports range balances aquatic performance with eco-conscious design.
Urban and Lifestyle
Legendary pieces like the Snap-T fleece and Fitz Roy bear logo make Patagonia a lifestyle icon beyond just outdoor apparel. Their expanded everyday offerings retain that adventurous spirit along with responsibility sourcing.
Organic cotton jeans in a relaxed fit are made using recycled denim and yarn. City Storm parka coats combine modern styling with recycled fabrics and ethically sourced down insulation. Responsible business practices even extend to their food range like pasture-raised buffalo jerky.
Patagonia delivers environmentally friendly everyday choices – from fleece pullovers loved by city hipsters to SPF summertime fedoras and insulated winter parkas.
Patagonia for Winter Adventures
Braving the coldest seasons demands quality gear that you can trust. Patagonia outfits you with technical excellence for winter thrills.
For core warmth, Patagonia's 800-fill down pieces like the Fitz Roy parka can't be beat. Water-resistant shells prevent moisture from impacting loft and insulation. Synthetic coats like the Nano Puff work when wet and offer vegan warmth. Insulated hoodies, vests, and jackets retain precious heat across frozen pursuits.
Stiff mountain winds and heavy snow demands hard shells like the Snowshot jacket. These 3-layer waterproof breathables feature rugged face fabrics to withstand abrasion from rock, ice and gear. Fully taped seams prevent snow and rain from sneaking in. Helmets-compatible hoods cinch down securely. Hardshells protect against the worst conditions.
Base Layers and Fleece
Wicking baselayers like Capilene form the crucial first layer to transport sweat and moisture away from skin. This allows efficient insulation from fleece mid layers. Zip neck tops make for easy temperature regulation. Quick-drying thermal underwear ensures you stay dry and comfortable all day.
Gloves and Accessories
Thick fleece and leather gloves from Patagonia provide dexterity and insulation. Touchscreen-compatible versions allow device use without exposing fingers. Neck gaiters and balaclavas sealed water and spindrift out. Headbands wick away sweat and keep ears toasty. Socks with cushioning pads reduce friction that leads to blisters. Patagonia accessories protect extremities from the harsh elements.
Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Gear
Charging deep powder requires kit that won't slow you down. Freeride packs haul avalanche safety tools and spare layers. Powslayer insulated jackets retain heat after frigid chairlift rides. Stretch snow pants allow unhindered movement over moguls, cliffs and tree runs. Patagonia equips you for high-speed exploits across mountains blanketed in deep snow.
Why Patagonia Gear is Worth the Cost
At the higher end of outdoors apparel pricing, investing in Patagonia requires an initial outlay. But their products earn their keep thanks to these factors:
**Durability** – Patagonia does not compromise on build quality and longevity. Their gear is made to last season after season of hard use. Fleeces, shells and down coats are built to endure years of outdoor abuse. Their Ironclad Guarantee ensures satisfaction.
**Technical Excellence** – Innovations like 3-layer H2No laminates and breathable waterproofing push performance in the harshest environments. Precision-fit designs enhance comfort during active use. Patagonia's dialed-in mountain-ready features justify the price tag.
**Ethical Sourcing** – Exceptional working conditions, sustainability initiatives, environmental grants – doing good costs more, but these ideals enrich the brand with real meaning. Your money supports protecting wild places and fighting climate change.
**Versatility** – Blending outdoor technology with everyday wearability increases usefulness. Their gear transitions seamlessly from trail to town. Dual-purpose apparel means you can do more while buying less.
**Repairability** – Patagonia makes gear for the long haul and ensures you can repair it for an even longer lifespan. Few brands offer repairs, recycling and resale to the extent Patagonia does. Their products deliver lasting value.
For shoppers who value gear that enables adventure with a conscience, Patagonia endures as a respected and desirable brand worth investing in. The quality craftsmanship, attention to detail and focus on ethics makes their clothing and equipment stand out from the crowd. For the discerning outdoor enthusiast, going with Patagonia means going with confidence.
Patagonia and Environmental Activism
As covered earlier, protecting the environment lies at the core of Patagonia's values. They live this commitment through business practices, grassroots activism and corporate initiatives like:
- Founding member of One Percent For The Planet, committing 1% of sales to green causes
- Co-founded organic cotton coalition to develop Responsible Sourcing standard
- Challenged oil drilling in ANWR through the Patagonia Action Works activism hub
- Helped institute traceable down certification via NSF to ensure humane practices
- Advocated for Bears Ears and other public lands threatened by rollbacks and extraction
- Uses sustainable materials like hemp, and recycled polyester, down and wool
- Pioneered Worn Wear program in 2017 to promote resale and recycling
- Operates as a certified B Corp meeting high benchmarks for social and environmental performance
- Powers facilities with 100% renewable energy and donates excess clean power
Patagonia stays true to their motto “We're in business to save our home planet.” Beyond making quality gear, they act tirelessly to protect and preserve the wild spaces we all love.
Patagonia’s Influence and Brand Legacy
Since its inception by climber and activist Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia has cemented itself as one of the most influential outdoor brands in the world. Their success stems from a laser focus on three tenets:
- Build the best product that does no unnecessary harm
- Conduct business in a responsible manner
- Use business to protect nature
Patagonia lives these values in ways big and small. They make gear that lasts a lifetime and will repair it for free. They move forward new sustainable materials and technologies like recycled down and wetsuits. They donate over 1% of sales to grassroots environmental organizations.
Staying true to their core mission has earned Patagonia a cult following that stretches far beyond outdoors enthusiasts. They've become icons of lifestyle clothing as well. Wearing Patagonia makes a statement – that you support ethics, quality, and protecting the planet we all share.
Discovering Patagonia Beyond the Clothing Label
Most know Patagonia for its trail-tested outdoor apparel. But this iconic name also adorns a mythic region at South America’s southern frontier. Patagonia captured imaginations for centuries. Ferdinand Magellan first recorded the name in 1520 AD and it spans over a million square kilometers across Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is an otherworldly expanse of steppe, glaciers, mountains and coastline.
Inspirations From Harsh Beauty
Yvon Chouinard chose to name his adventurous clothing brand after this remote landscape. Patagonia captures the rugged romanticism of one of the last wild places left on Earth. Tourists have compared it to the ends of the world, a lost prehistoric land, and Africa’s sweeping savannas transported to South America.
Where Ranching is Still Cowboy Country
Patagonia’s boundless grasslands and arid steppe are ideal cattle ranching country. Local gauchos still herd livestock on horseback like their forebears centuries ago. Self-sufficient frontier living persists through seasonal droughts, searing winds and harsh winters.
Peaks, Ice and Rugged Beauty
Patagonia’s mountains sculpt a dramatic landscape that attracts climbers and trekkers from around the globe. Knife-edged ridges line the sky while glacial tongues spill down mountain valleys. Craggy granite spires pierce the Patagonian ice fields with otherworldly allure. Mount Fitz Roy’s sharkfin peak is among the most iconic summit visions.
Untouched Parks and Wilderness
Deep fjords slice Patagonia’s western coast dotted with islands protected in parks like Alberto de Agostini. On the Atlantic side, Los Glaciares National Park shelters the immense Perito Moreno glacier. New national parks continue preserving this still-wild corner of the planet.
Adventurous Outdoor Mecca
Patagonia's staggering landscapes inevitably shaped its identity as an outdoor and adventure destination. Mountaineers come for rugged alpine climbing and skiing. Sea kayakers explore the fjords and glacial channels. Trekkers traverse the steppe on multi-day routes like the O Circuit in Torres del Paine. From backpacking to fly fishing to surfing the cold Atlantic waves, Patagonia embodies freedom and exploration at the edge of the earth.