Feb 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm #1286421
Ive seen people hate on Patagonia mainly in the form of name calling. I am curious what is the real problem people have with this company? My 10oz Patagonia pants are the best pants ive been able to find. My 10.1oz rain gear works well and can take extreme bushwhacking. My silkweight shirts have lasted me in 3-4 week trips without wash or change.
I am young in both age and backpacking experience so maybe this company has changed over the years in a negative manner I am unaware of. Are they the lightest weight option out there? No, but their products combine lightweight with extreme durability and amazing customer service.
Please enlighten me
ChaseFeb 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm #1847088
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Price has always been the main bone of contention, though their competitors can get pretty highly priced too (just got a Montane eVent shell = ouch)Feb 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm #1847089
I own two Patagonia products and like both very much: Houdini windshirt and Nomader travel pants. I like them for the high quality and functionality. Who cares about the brand (or what people think of it)?
But to help answer your question, Patagonia is one of those brands that crossed into fashion — and acquired a reputation as the clothing that urban folks wear just to feel and look 'outdoor'.
Shallow for them, perhaps, but shallow for those who judge them as well. Which brings it all back to: who cares?Feb 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm #1847098
Yeah, they sell a lot of quality products. I think the hate comes from the high prices and perception as a yuppie brand. However, their stuff is often on sale, so you rarely have to pay the retail price unless you are in a hurry to buy. I own a bunch of their stuff and pretty much all of it was at least 20% off.Feb 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm #1847116
Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
The company history is at:
Great Pacific Iron Works was founded by Yvon Chouinard, a well known climber.
It later split up into Patagonia (clothing) and Black Diamond (gear and more).
Some have surmised that the seperate clothing business was necessary to protect and preserve a secure investment from lawsuits involving climbing accidents. I don't know.
I do know that Yvon Chouinard actually sent me handwritten letters in response to inquiries. A true gentleman.
I also know that my Specter anorak is my BFF trekking rain cover. $100 on sale when listed at $149 MSRP. Still going strong with no reduction in the DWR treatment.
Sticks and stones …Mar 1, 2012 at 8:04 am #1847200
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I'm always surprised when I think about it and realize how many Patagonia items I own and really like. I have quite a few and, overall, I guess it's one of my favorite labels. Some of that simply has to do with the fact that it fits me pretty well, which is really key for clothing, imo. But I think the reason I don't consider Patagonia to be a favorite or my "go to" label is because I think they're way overpriced. I don't think I've ever considered buying anything full-priced and, even on sale, it has to be significantly discounted to tempt me. I think the most recent item that I bought was the merino 3 hoody. It was 50% off but, even so, I thought about the $60+ price tag a while before hitting the 'buy' button. I like it a lot but, for me, it wouldn't be worth $130.
No complaints about their customer service but, to be honest, I've never experienced it to be "amazing" either. For their prices, I wouldn't expect any less than other high-end companies which have all been, in my experience, quite good.Mar 1, 2012 at 8:22 am #1847211
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
Patagonia's been adopted by yuppies, but they still produce great stuff, so it's not quite fair to hold the yuppy image against them.
If you have Netflix, check out 180* South (180 Degrees South). Great adventure movie, very inspiring. And pretty cool to see Yvon at about 70 years old still climbing mountains that most latte-sipping yuppies wouldn't dare approach without their Hummer.
"Conquistadors of The Useless" – Yvon ChouinardMar 1, 2012 at 8:25 am #1847213
Hamish McHamishBPL Member
I love Patagonia gear. They go to the trouble on their technical pieces (and not just clothing) to engineer some very functional features. Their travel tote is a deliciously functional design. If they want to make money selling an image to wanna-bes, fine; it's a (mostly) free country.
I like to rib them, though, for their holier-than-thou environmental & social justice crusades. I get tired of their preaching, especially when they spam my email at election time telling me to "vote the environment". I wish they would just make good gear, sell it at whatever price the market will bear, and then shut their pie holes.Mar 1, 2012 at 8:44 am #1847226
I usually file most of it under "haters gonnna hate."
They make good gear, they do their corporate thing better than many (most?) larger companies, and their customer service (the couple times I had to deal with it) was fantastic.
Yes, it's expensive, but I never pay more than 50-60% of their retail price (check their Web Specials on their website, or the numerous sales on 6pm.com and elsewhere). At that price point, it's great gear at a great price.Mar 1, 2012 at 9:03 am #1847237
Be very thoughtful when purchasing Patagonia stuff – you will have it for a very long time. I still use an early Patagonia fleece which is more than thirty years old, and it is not unique. Lots of stuff going on twenty years. With that kind of life, the initial price is much less of an issue.
Their items are tough, versatile, and very effective.
From their beginning as a cottage industry, they have grown, and have branched out into clothing that is not hard core outdoors, made with an eye toward fashion. Who hasn't? The thing is that customers are always looking for versatility. If I can buy an item that works well in the woods and also crosses the line into suitable for business casual, that is a very powerful appeal.Mar 1, 2012 at 9:06 am #1847239
K CBPL Member
@kalebcLocale: South West
I grew up in Ojai, which is about 8 miles from the Great Pacific Iron Works (first Patagonia store- in Ventura CA). My good friend’s mom worked as a designer for them in the 80’s and I often went into the sewing room shop at GPIW, I also got to try out many prototypes. Back in the 80’s a Patagonia jacket was $150, but it was one of the first companies to offer a lifetime warrantee. I once stopped by GPIW with a 20 year old jacket in that had a rip and a zipper problem and they fixed it. I heard somewhere that the company was sold a while back and quality went down when they started making the products overseas, though some are still made here in the USA. I will never hate on Patagonia, the expensive price coincides with the lifetime warrantee and quality products. Check your Patagonia gear tag out; if it says made in the USA, you are lucky.Mar 1, 2012 at 9:11 am #1847242
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
A friend has a Patagonia jacket that's still going strong but faded since the mid 80's. Just remember to clean the melted cheese off that thing once in awhile (jeez).Mar 1, 2012 at 9:48 am #1847261
Dustin ShortBPL Member
That's the crux. Old patagonia was excellent, just like The North Face. But when they branched into the mainstream market they diluted their brand name and quality as a whole suffered. They still make some decent gear, but I find their cuts are now tailored for the average american (ie boxy, ie fat). Being a slim/athletic build every patagonia item I've tried on feels like a burlap sack.
For the prices they charge, I can buy an Arc'Teryx garment that fits me darn near perfectly. Essentially they "sold out" just like GoLite and TNF and a million other companies that are worth millions of dollars. All that means is you have to be more diligent in finding the gems within their vast product lines. They just don't cater to the outdoors crowd any more. Remember, Patagonia wasn't just an outdoor clothing company, they were a CLIMBING company, which much of their climbing clothing relies on brand recognition more than performance and innovation.
Price is definitely contentious. Even on sale their items often only come in as a small savings over another quality brands MSRP. 50% off a million dollars means you're still paying a half million ;)
For that reason I don't know any patagucci. I often consider picking up a R1 hoody since so many rant and rave about them, but for my own use it would probably just end up as city wear, and a target hoody will do the same thing ;)Mar 1, 2012 at 9:51 am #1847268
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
They sell some excellent clothing for backpacking and a lot of urban wear. The Houdini and R1 are workhorses and among the most popular here on BPL. The fit is slim and they last. Also, 5" Baggies are probably the best hiking shorts around, IMO.Mar 1, 2012 at 10:15 am #1847277
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
>> I find their cuts are now tailored for the average american (ie boxy, ie fat). Being a slim/athletic build every patagonia item I've tried on feels like a burlap sack.
LOL… well this average (evidendly "fat") American is happy that she doesn't have to be a 25 yo athletic goddess to find "decent" hiking wear… ;pMar 1, 2012 at 10:25 am #1847287
eric chanBPL Member
R1 hoody copy … 62$ … made in canada
Patagucci R1 genuine hoody … 159$ … made in columbia
now granted there are a few different features … and you MAY be able to get either on sale … but the price difference is extreme
both companies have exceptional warranty … both companies give 1% back to the planet … MEC supports local outdoor initiatives …
for functional purposes, they work the same way …
now if you wanted to go with an "unethical" (anything other than a persons favorite) company … you can easily pick up the equivalent for even cheaper …
nothing wrong with certain patagucci gear … the rock guide softshell pants are more reasonably priced … but generally you pay extra $$$$ for it …. and im not quite sure what you get
and im typing this while wearing cap 1 long johns before heading to climb … which i got on clearance …Mar 1, 2012 at 10:29 am #1847291
I think it's the REI phenomenon. REI doesn't really sell outdoor gear anymore, they sell a lifestyle. Go to an REI and at least 2/3 of the floorspace now is devoted to clothes. They hardly stock any tents anymore. I think the perception of Patagonia is the same. They're selling a lifestyle.
They do make great gear. It's just overpriced.Mar 1, 2012 at 10:52 am #1847309
Dustin ShortBPL Member
Sorry Sumi! Although women's cut aren't really my expertise in outdoor clothing ;) I would go so far as to say that women's cuts probably don't suffer as much as the men's cuts do to population weight creep, so you can size up/down as appropriate. With men's cuts even a small often balloons out around my waist from most mainstream manufacturers.
Eric, I agree the price you pay for that little logo (it's not even that interesting of a logo, looks just Lowe Alpine's or WM's) usually isn't worth it.
Ben, excellent summation. It is the "lifestyle" sell. I guess in our society where the idea of community and identity are breaking down, people are now "buying" identities from corporations rather than actual products. Of course I write this from my Apple laptop getting internet through an android phone, being harsh on patagonia while second hand/clearance arc'teryx lines my gear closet…I think my corporate identity has multiple personality disorder…Mar 1, 2012 at 10:56 am #1847316
@redpointLocale: British Columbia
I've been a long-time Patagonia fan for two reasons: the have great quality/design and they have an amazing "ironclad guarantee". I've often returned things that weren't up-to-snuff and they have never given me a hassle – ever. That said, I don't find their quality to be as good as it used to be. I have base layers [made in the USA] from the 1990s that are still going strong, but current generation base layers seem to last a couple of seasons max. I've recently started to favour Arc'teryx over Patagonia as I find their quality flawless and designs are definitely more refined, but their prices are insane so it needs to be found on sale.
At the end of the day, if you want quality, you have to pay for it. The one thing that bugs me about all these premium brands is that they've moved the majority of their production overseas yet their prices have remained the same. In some cases, their quality has diminished.
In terms of outdoor apparel, it's hard to beat Arc'teryx or Patagonia.
Many of these companies are now more about fashion than passion, but the true "dirtbags" that are pushing new climbing routes or exploring the world on a bike – ostensibly, the very people who this kind of clothing is designed for – aren't usually the ones who can afford $700 for a new Gore-Tex Arc'teryx shell. It's the business man snowploughing down Whistler who wants to look trendy – he's the one that can afford it. The truly passionate are not often the ones that can afford this gear, hence why these companies need to hit other markets to maintain momentum. In Vancouver, Arc'teryx has 3-4 big sales/year where they drop their prices on overstock etc. you can often wait 3-5 hrs just to get in … that's how you know their product is overpriced.Mar 1, 2012 at 11:10 am #1847326
Do you work for MEC? Just curious because whenever someone mentions a piece of gear, you seem to always compare it to something MEC makes. Not a bad thing, again, just curious.Mar 1, 2012 at 11:24 am #1847338
@traumaheadLocale: Cen Cal
That's eric just being eric. (;Mar 1, 2012 at 11:40 am #1847343
File under "haters gonnna hate."Mar 1, 2012 at 11:44 am #1847349
"File under "haters gonnna hate."
May as well add The North Face to the file too — for similar reason. And I think Mountain Hardwear and Arcteryx are both getting precariously close to being "hated" as well. Sigh…Mar 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm #1847408
eric chanBPL Member
I dont work for mec
I sometimes wish i did for the discounts
IMO any decent brand has pretty good functional "quality" … You dont need to pay very much for something that lasts long enough for yr uses … What sets companies apart IMO is how they take care of you after … With mec/eb/rei you just bring it in and theyll swap it out … And at lower price points than many other "name brands" … At a certain point if you use things enough they become consummables
Remember that the less money you spend on gear, the more money you have to go out an have fun …Mar 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm #1847415
Thread drift apologies upfront…
I kind of see MEC as similar to REI — upper middle range quality at middle range price level — in other words, good value with great product guarantee to boot. But both mostly target 'mainstream' hikers and campers. Sure, even a UL hiker can find things to buy over there — but for truly UL options, one should focus more on the boutique gear makers that specialize in UL gear.
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