Rab vs. North Face – Which Is Better?

Rab and North Face are both leading brands in the outdoor clothing market. While both companies were founded on different continents, they have the same mission. However, while it might seem like these two companies are interchangeable, they are actually quite different.

Rab is the better option if you’re interested in mountaineering. They’re more expensive but make gear that mountain climbers swear by. If you’re looking for clothing that is still high-quality but less professional overall, then The North Face is a good brand to go with.

By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have all the information you need to decide which option is better for you. We’ll tell you who these companies are, what their missions are, what they make, and what sets these two brands apart from each other and the rest of the brands in their industry. 

Who Are Rab?

Rab was founded in the 1980s by one of Britain’s leading mountaineers to fill a gap in the climbing gear market. They are now one of the most popular brands for outdoor clothing and gear.

Rab is a British-based outdoor clothing and equipment company that has become a leading name in the industry due to its high-quality down and fabric products. They are famous for their insulated sleeping bags, but they make a range of products, including clothing suitable for everyday use as well.

Customers worldwide were drawn to the company’s inherent passion for the products it produced, not just mountain-climbing gear but all outdoor equipment and apparel. Since they cater not just to climbing aficionados but also to those who enjoy occasional outdoor activities, their customer base has grown rapidly.

In fact, Rab now has a following of loyal athletes who are proud ambassadors for the company and use their gear on their outdoor explorations. 

Though Rab is also known for being an expensive company, particularly regarding their clothing, there are good reasons for the increased price that makes the products worth it to many clients.

The company prides itself on three things:

  • Ethical production
  • Sustainability
  • Quality materials

In addition, Rab makes small batches of all their products and only sources ethical materials of the highest quality, which adds to the company’s dedication to sustainability and quality production. 

The company is constantly looking for ways to innovate their products and began using recycled materials to ensure comfort, warmth, and added sustainability in their product production.

What Do Rab Make?

Rab makes clothing and equipment for men and women. Listing everything Rab makes would need its own dedicated list. Their apparel spans everything from t-shirts to shoes in both men’s and women’s sizes, and they sell a wide array of camping gear and backpacks. 

Rab does not make children’s clothing, so if this is something you are looking for, then you will most likely prefer to shop at The North Face.

We’ll just be showing you a few examples of their best-selling items so you can get an idea of their products. You will likely find the equipment you need at Rab if you are an avid outdoorsman.

  • Women’s Microlight Alpine Down Jacket. The Alpine Down Jacket has become a favorite among all of Rab’s followers, from the casual outdoors person to serious climbers. It’s lightweight and easy to move in, which means you won’t feel confined no matter what sort of adventures you get up to. It is also windproof and insulated.
  • Men’s Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Waterproof Jacket. The Kinetic Alpine Jacket is a lightweight and thin jacket designed for camping and hiking in all weather conditions. It rates highly in breathability and durability while still windproof, waterproof, and easy to pack. While it may have been designed for outdoor activities, this jacket is also inconspicuous enough to be worn on an everyday basis as well, which makes it an incredibly versatile piece.
  • Outpost 700 Down Sleeping Bag (-5C). This sleeping bag is one of the company’s more basic models. However, that’s also what makes it a best-seller. While there might be cheaper sleeping bags on the market, none have the over 30 years of sleeping bag expertise that Rab does. 
  • Lowe Alpine Edge 26L Daypack. The Daypack is large enough to hold everything you’ll need for a day out in nature or the mountains, but it’s also a perfect work or school pack with its built-in laptop pocket and padded straps. It is designed to allow you to easily move around without feeling like your gear is weighing you down. It’s lightweight and can stretch to fit everything you need.

Who Are North Face?

North Face is a San Francisco-based outdoor gear and apparel company started in 1968 by Douglas and Susie Tompkins, two passionate mountain climbers. The company originally began as a climbing gear company but has since expanded its production to clothing.

North face has become a staple in the outdoor apparel market and has always been sure to keep ahead of trends and innovations. In fact, they were one of the first companies to embrace the backpacking trend in the 1970s and 1980s by creating large packs that could fit all a traveler’s needs for that sort of exploration.

Since the company was founded by people with a passion for being outdoors, durability and quality have always been top priorities. 

To keep their loyal customers happy, they even offer a minimum 1-year warranty on all of their products should they be damaged while you explore. This warranty is essential for those who love to get outdoors quite often, since you need equipment that will last. 

In recent years, the company has also started making an effort to be more sustainable and has pledged to move towards sustainable fabric sources by the end of 2020. 

All of this supports the company’s ideals that the world is meant to be explored, and they want to supply everything someone might need to do that. 

What Do North Face Do?

The North Face offers a large variety of apparel for men, women, and children, both coats and everyday clothing, as well as tents, fitness clothing, and camping gear. They cater for everyone in the family so you can do your shopping for everyone in one trip.

Here are a few of their best-selling items to give you an idea of what products have made The North Face so popular.

  • Women’s Box NSE Pullover Hoodie. This pullover hoodie is an example of The North Face’s designs that aren’t strictly for outdoor use. It is warm and breathable, making it perfect for transitional times of the year, yet it’s also fashionable enough to wear daily. The hoodie comes in a variety of colors and proudly shows the brand’s logo on the front. 
  • Men’s Canyonlands ½ Zip. This ½ zip pullover jacket is an example of what draws people to The North Face and the company’s commitment to becoming more sustainable. This jacket is made of mostly recycled material, with a completely recycled lining designed to keep the wearer warm. It’s lightweight and easy to move around in, so it can be worn on any occasion.
  • Youth Alpenglow IV Boots. The Alpenglow IV boots are high-quality, lined winter boots that are a favorite because they allow children to play or run around in the snow without getting cold. They’re made out of durable, waterproof material that is sure to last until kids grow out of them, and they come in a variety of colors, from bright tones to neutrals. 
  • Wawona 4P Tent. The Wawona 4 person Tent comes highly recommended by campers, primarily due to its compact size. The lightweight tent fits in a small duffel bag that is easy to carry and can even be attached to your backpack for easy transportation. Whe tent is large enough to fit four people for the night comfortably and doesn’t sacrifice warmth that’s suitable for most camping trips. 

What Is the Difference Between Rab & The North Face?

Rab and The North Face are two very similar companies, both in how they began and what they offer the market. The type of customer they attract are also similar in many ways, and The North Face is rapidly catching up with Rab in terms of climate responsibility and sustainability.

However, there are still some key differences between the two that keeps them from being interchangeable to most people in the market for outdoor clothing and gear. 

The main difference between Rab and the North Face is price. Neither company is considered “cheap,” nor are they thought of as “luxury” brands. However, Rab is notably more expensive, in general, than The North Face, with the latter often being considered “mid-range” as far as prices. 

Additionally, the companies were founded and currently operate out of two different parts of the world. Rab is a British company, with many of its products still being made in the UK today.

On the other hand, The North Face is a California-based brand. This may seem like a slight difference. However, it does affect each company’s market. 

The North Face is much more commonly found in North America, while Rab may be more readily available in the UK, with the two companies sharing the rest of the market worldwide. Cost is another factor that marks the difference between these two companies. 

As we mentioned earlier, Rab puts a lot of effort into making their clothing sustainable, from using ethically sourced material to producing small batches of their products, all of which will affect the final price of their products. 

The North Face still makes high-quality pieces. However, their current production practices allow them a little more room for lower prices. For one, they have not yet switched to sourcing only ethical and sustainable materials, though that is a goal the company is aiming for in the near future. 

Another difference between these two companies is what they have available to purchase. While both brands offer a wide array of items, Rab only sells clothing in adult sizes. The North Face, instead, also has a full childrens’ line that spans from toddler through adolescent sizes. 

That means that The North Face might be considered more of a one-stop-shop sort of brand where an entire family can get what they need for a camping trip, while Rab is better for more serious athletic purchases. 

Finally, the sort of equipment that makes each brand stand out differs from one another. 

While both sell packs, tents, and camping gear, each brand has its own specialty. 

Rab specializes in sleeping bags that are suitable for even high altitude and low-temperature camping. 

On the other hand, The North Face has continued to be a leader in the backpack market, with their packs being a top choice not just for camping but also for everyday usage.

Which Is Better?

By now, it shouldn’t be difficult to decide which brand might be best for you. Though you likely won’t go wrong no matter which brand you choose, if you’re looking for something specific, then one brand might win out over the other. 

Rab is better if you’re a serious mountain climber or hiker and you want gear that could be considered professional-grade. Rab is also the better option if shopping sustainably and supporting sustainable companies is important to you. 

This is because they’ve made more of an effort to be an ethical and sustainable brand than The North Face has, although The North Face is rapidly catching up to them. 

This brand will cost more, but Rab’s products are of excellent quality, so if you use your gear often, the cost per use will decrease quickly, and the overall cost of having to replace poor equipment will decrease.

However, if you’re on a bit more of a budget or you don’t get outdoors too much, The North Face might be the company you want to look at. They still offer high-quality items with a guarantee that can vary from a year to a lifetime, depending on the product, so if you have any issues, the company is there to help. 

The North Face is also the better brand if you’re looking for clothing for kids or want your whole family to have gear from the same company. You can easily shop for everyone in your family in one trip with this store. 

The North Face also has the advantage of being more recognizable as a brand. They do frequent collaborations with celebrities and are seen in more photos. If being “trendy” is important to you, then that might make this a better brand for you. 

Instead, if you prefer brands that are less well-known so people don’t think you’re just following what’s currently in style, Rab is the better choice. 

The North Face might also be more readily available, depending on your location. Since it’s a less expensive brand and it is more accessible to many people, you might see some of their items in more locations than Rab.

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