5 Best Outdoor Clothing Brands for Men: Trek Through Any Terrain with Confidence

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by  Savarone Ammann | Last Updated: 

Shifty weather, bumpy terrain, poison ivy—ouch. The outdoors is…daunting. The wrong gear will make rain feel wetter, sweat feel sweatier, and sun rays feel hotter. But the right gear will protect you from the elements and let you bounce nimbly across any surface.

We’ve compiled a list of the best outdoor clothing brands for all your future adventures.

Most Versatile
  • Extensive selection of outdoor clothing for every type of activity
  • Offers trademarked technical fabric blends built for various weather conditions and uses
  • Each garment is constructed with strong materials and stitching
Best for Urban Exploration
  • Minimal styles that pair with anything in your wardrobe
  • Durable outdoor gear with modern, stylish looks
  • Performance materials that are waterproof and movable
Best for Mountain Climbing
  • Expert outerwear made for extreme adventurers
  • Offers taped reinforced seams and hidden pockets
  • Completely waterproof and windproof fabric and zippers that keep the elements out
Best for Hiking
  • Supreme comfort for trails of any difficulty
  • Form-fitting clothing that moves with you
  • Ample storage for personal items, snacks, and small tools
Best for Camping
  • Lightweight, durable, and breathable technical fabric clothes that dry easily
  • Innovative and stylish designs
  • Huge selection of clothes that are perfect for camping in the woods, beach, or desert

Feeling like a stiff, cooped up screen zombie staring into the computer for hours on end?

The great outdoors is the antidote to digital overload.

Being outside will expand your perspective of the world and recharge you in mystical ways. A walk down the block. A day hike. A 3-day camp out. A trek up a treacherous mountain summit.

It doesn’t matter what it is. Get moving and soak up some sunlight.

I cobbled together the best outdoor clothing brands for whatever you wind up getting yourself into. While Kühl is the most versatile option, there’s gear on this list for every outdoorsman.

5 Best Outdoor Clothing Brands for Men

Most Versatile: Kühl 

Man standing on trail in Kuhl

Kühl has been manufacturing outdoor apparel for almost 40 years, and it shows. Their garments are lightweight and breathable, but strong and durable as anything on the market today. 

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Kühl was truly “born in the mountains” as their motto suggests. The brand first began designing technical ski hats in the 1980s. They’ve since become the second largest independently owned outdoor lifestyle brand in America.

What I Like

  • Kühl’s many trademarked fabric blends like INVIZIWUL™ help you stay dry, cool, or warm depending on the function and garment.

  • Over multiple decades, they’ve curated a vast selection of premium apparel for every adventure and outdoor activity.

  • Their Virtuoso Polo is the ideal combination of sweat wicking, lightweight comfort and durability.. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Prices vary and can be expensive for certain items like shirts and shorts.

  • Some of the patterns feel bland and conventional.

What Other Reviewers Say

On Kühl’s website, The Free Radikl pants and shorts tallied up an impressive array of five star reviews. The Response short sleeve is also a fan favorite with a surplus of five star reviews. The Virtuoso Polo fared well with consumers too and was my favorite item from the bunch.

In all the professional reviews I could find on Kühl, seasoned hikers and outdoorsmen all agree that Kühl’s clothes hold up well for rigorous outdoor activities.

The Verdict

Venturing into the outdoors requires a bit of planning and the proper gear for each activity. Kühl makes picking out clothing easy. This brand is the best suited option whether you’re just getting into day hikes or you’re a longtime adrenaline junkie accustomed to harsh conditions and technical landscapes.

Kühl’s Free Radikl hiking shorts and pants will hold up for years without adding extra weight to your trek. From heavier outerwear to thinner, breathable pieces, Kühl employs thoughtful materials that will work on your behalf to keep you cool in the heat and toasty in the cold.

Most Versatile
Kühl | The Art of Performance Clothing

Their emphasis on fit, functionality, and utility makes Kühl a trusty brand for guys who are hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, or working a blue-collar job and looking for performance materials on the clock while they’re on their feet.

Shop Kühl Read Our Review
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Best for Urban Exploration: Western Rise

model wearing quilted jacket against brick building

Western Rise was founded by Will Watters, who started his career in his grandpa’s yarn mill, went on to become Head of Product Development for a technical fabric manufacturer, and worked in research and development testing out thousands of different fabrics. 

After spending his life becoming an expert in the field, he and his wife launched Western Rise, a modern technical clothing brand producing garments that look sharp on the streets but perform and move with the body.

What I Like

  • Chic, minimal styles are elegant and timeless like the Diversion Pant.

  • The way classic pants and tops have been reimagined with modern materials.

  • The garments are slim fitting to accentuate your physique but stretch miraculously as you move.

What I Don’t Like

  • Western Rise airs on the expensive side for urban and street apparel.

  • There are limited color selections.

What Other Reviewers Say

Online shoppers were quite pleased with the fit and feeling of Western Rise’s pieces. The various models of pants in particular had received hundreds of five-star reviews.

On Amazon, shoppers shared a similar sentiment, and reviews came in mostly in the four and five-star range. 

One guy who’s been wearing the Evolution pants for a year, noted how well they continue to perform and have become his favorite travel pants. Most reviews were very positive with a few guys feeling the quality wasn’t worth the price in certain garments.

The Verdict

Sometimes you aren’t setting off down a dusty trail but taking a long jaunt around urban streets. Even so, you’re outdoors and you’re covering distance, and you’ll want clothes that won’t restrict your movements or make you hot and sweaty.

Western Rise is equal parts style and functionality. You might be exuding a simple and polished look, but you’ll be ready to catch a football or chase down a taxi all the same.

Best for Urban Exploration
Western Rise

The team behind Western Rise are experts with technical fabrics, and they’ve reimagined wardrobe staples with the modern world in mind. Though they have somewhat limited sizing, you can take these light, packable, and fashionable clothes anywhere.

Shop Western Rise Read Our Review
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Best for Mountain Climbing: Cortazu

Cortazu hard shell mountain jacket with mid layer zip in jacket in ibiza blue

If you get caught in lousy weather on a day hike, you get a little wet, head back to the car, and crank the heater. Problem solved.

When you’re clinging to the side of a mountain, thousands of feet up and miles away from shelter, you’re forced to rely on the gear you brought when lousy weather strikes. So bring something capable of handling even the most nightmares of storms.

That’s Cortazu. A newbie on the block founded in 2016, Cortazu won the 2019 ISPO Gold Award which is the highest achievement in the largest outdoor apparel awards event.

What I Like

  • Trademarked fabrics like Dermazax™ are engineered to handle cold and wet conditions.

  • Thick waterproof zippers will hold up and seal you in against the elements.

  • For performance gear, The Cortazu catalogue is surprisingly stylish.

What I Don’t Like

  • Not as many options as other longer standing brands.

What Other Reviewers Say

On their site, Cortazu’s customers have posted over 600 five-star reviews on various pieces of gear. From professional reviewers to everyday guys, most agree these garments are the real deal and built to deliver on all of Cortazu’s claims.

Plenty of guys voiced their praise for Cortazu’s Mountain Hard Shell jacket which fared well both for guys on top of snow-capped peaks and on simpler, everyday terrain. 

There’s plenty of third party site reviews for Cortzu’s line of jackets, which means this brand has stirred up quite a bit of excitement in the outdoor community. These jackets are expensive and built to last for a lifetime of adventures. Be sure to read a handful of reviews to make sure the item you want is worth it and was made for your intended use with it.

The Verdict

Gnarly conditions call for worthy gear that won’t falter from stitch to seam. Cortazu has produced a line of versatile jackets and pants that answer nature’s call. 

Zipping up a jacket that’s 100% guaranteed to be wind and waterproof eases your mind when shelter and warmth are miles and hours away.

Cortazu’s Mountain Hard Shell jacket, Mountain Mid-layer Zip-in, and other jackets are constructed with materials that can handle weather both mild and extreme.

Best for Hiking: Kathmandu

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A post shared by Ruby & Rosa (@rubyandrosa)

Kathmandu started in New Zealand over 30 years ago. Today they are a quiet staple of the global outdoor community producing quality garments through a lens of sustainability. 

Kathmandu is a certified B corporation, making a genuine effort to use sustainable and recycled materials. In the process, they just so happen to be producing some of the best hiking gear in the game.

What I Like

  • Timeless, form-fitting gear that fits well and stretches with movement.

  • Kathmandu serves up affordable prices on all their performance apparel from tops to bottoms to accessories.

  • A simple, straightforward catalogue of useful garments built for function and aesthetic like the Trailhead Men’s Hiking Shorts.

What I Don’t Like

  • Limited color selections.

  • Lack of pockets on certain pieces.

What Other Reviewers Say

Kathmandu confidently puts the reviews for each garment front and center on their product page. Probably because the reviews are generally very positive, usually ranking in the 4 to 5-star range. 

While many items lack a surplus of reviews, the ones that are posted are good ones. Kathmandu also fared well with Amazon shoppers who posted similar reviews to the ones on Kathmandu’s site.

The Verdict

Hiking apparel isn’t complicated. But it needs to be movable, provide some storage, and get you across the trail comfortably. Kathmandu checks those boxes. Their catalogue is composed of a well executed short list of all your hiking essentials that are also produced sustainably with the environment in mind.

You’re going outside to enjoy natural beauty, so you might as well pick up some gear that serves your needs and helps take care of the great outdoors.

Best for Camping: Vuori

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A post shared by Vuori (@vuoriclothing)

Vuori’s line of casual performance gear was inspired by sun-kissed California and a breezy lifestyle hugging the coast. Vuori favors ethical manufacturing and sustainable practices while consistently releasing simple garments that are comfortable as all get out.

Take any of Vuori’s warmer pieces—like their pants, hoodies, or jackets—on your next campout and you’ll be lounging at your campsite toasting a marshmallow in total comfort.

What I Like

  • Strong performance fabrics in a casual everyday aesthetic

  • Wide variety of options for long sleeves, henleys, windbreakers, hoodies, and pants

  • Conscious use of fabric blends to create durable, stretchy garments

What I Don’t Like

  • A bit on the pricier side.

What Other Reviewers Say

Vuori has experienced an explosive rise in the men’s athleisure clothing market. This brought a flood of hundreds of reviews to their site on tons of individual items. Most of them are 5-star reviews with a couple fluctuations. 

Generally, guys are happy with their Vuori gear and feel they hold up well “from workouts to weekends” as Vuori claims.

The Verdict

When camping, you just want gear that’s cozy and will move enough to handle light activity like chopping wood, poking at a campfire, and setting up gear like a tent. 

Vuori delivers performance materials in a casual, everyday aesthetic. Their hoodies, light jackets, joggers, and pants are all terrific pieces to take into the outdoors for your next big camping adventure.

Best for Camping
Vuori Activewear

Vuori’s lineup of performance-wear looks and feels good. Their sizes are on the small side, so if you’re in between, go larger. Their customer service is on-point so you can focus on getting clothes that take you from the gym to the lake to a Sunday stroll.

Shop Vuori Read Our Review
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What are the Best American Outdoor Clothing Brands?

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A post shared by KÜHL (@kuhl)

While the name Kühl sounds oddly European, the brand’s heritage is anything but. Chugging along for almost 40 years and founded in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, Kühl is one of— if not the—best American outdoor brands on the market. 

Kühl is massive, but they are still independently owned. This helps the brand stay true to its core of being “born in the mountains” and allows their team to engineer the fabrics and garments they believe best serve the modern outdoorsman. Kühl maintains a lengthy and versatile catalogue of curated gear that provides ample coverage for all your outdoor apparel needs.

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A post shared by KÜHL (@kuhl)

Western Rise is another bootstrapped American brand that sprouted up from nothing led by an expert fabric manufacturer. Their motto “own less, experience more” is both punchy but powerful and acts as testament to the durable, yet sleek and stylish apparel they keep putting out.

Western Rise is thoughtfully targeting urban guys who get outside and like to move around while maintaining a level of style and comfort. 

How to Build a Functional Hiking Outfit

Kuhl shorts on trail

Start with a pair of durable shorts or pants, depending on the conditions, and a breathable shirt. Our picks are one of Kühl’s hiking shorts and a Kathmandu’s Merino Crew Top.

You’re probably going to be getting your heart rate up and sweating. Pick out a pair of grippy running shoes or mid-ankle hiking boots if the terrain calls for it. Now toss on a hat to shade from the sun and you’re good to go. 

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Jacket

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A post shared by Western Rise (@western_rise)

Pick a single-colored, lightweight jacket that pairs well with any shirt underneath it. If you’re going to be walking or running and swinging your arms, you’ll also want to emphasize stretch and movability. Lastly, pick something breathable that won’t stiffen up and make you sweat excessively. Our pick is Western Rise’s AirLoft Quilted Jacket.

Western Rise AirLoft Quilted Jacket

With its hollow-core, 4-way stretch insulation, this super versatile jacket from Western Rise has gotten plenty of mileage in William's closet.

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2 Alternatives to Patagonia

Man hiking 1

In a lot of ways, the outdoor world has become segregated: the diehard Patagonia lovers versus everyone else. But that’s just bogus. Yes, Patagonia makes stellar gear and actively engages in practices to put the environment first. But they aren’t the only ones doing it.

As you’ve read in this article, there are brands both old and new producing top of the line garments and gear that go toe to toe with Patagonia, both in price and performance.

For true outdoor versatility, pick up a couple of Kühl’s garments. You’ll be able to wear them hiking, camping, fishing, or backpacking and layer them nicely. Their lengthy catalogue has just about everything you might need.  

For wardrobe staples with the performance of Patagonia but the stylishness of ordinary urban attire, head over to Western Rise and you won’t be disappointed.

Pack Up

Details on Kuhl shirt

Kühl is our pick for an outdoor clothing brand producing garments that cover any type of outdoor activity. Kühl’s conscious use of trademarked materials like INWIZIWUL™ and ENDURO™ means you’ll be cool in hot weather and toasty warm in cold weather. For outdoor clothing, fabrics and materials make all the difference.

If you’re keeping your trek purely urban, Western Rise has you covered. If you’re camping and want to keep it simple and cozy, head over to Vuori. If you might be experiencing tough weather, you’ll want to pick up some of Cortazu’s gear. If you’re going on a hike and want your basics covered, Kathmandu is your brand.

We’ve supplied you with five tried and true brands. Now snag your gear and slam your laptop shut, you’ve got crisp air and sunshine waiting on you.

FAQs

What are the best hiking brands?

For hiking clothes, we really love Kathmandu both for the simplicity and performance of their garments. Kühl also has versatile pieces you can take on almost any hike.

Who makes the best outdoor clothing?

There’s too many outdoor brands to count at this point. Try sticking to who’s adapted and evolved and been around the longest. We like Kühl for comfortable, lightweight, strong gear that’s built to last.

What is the best outdoor gear?

For outdoor clothing, check out Kühl, Kathmandu, and Cortazu.

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