[NOTE: This page is going to be a permanent work-in-progress ... Comparison or WeatherWool to all other brands of outdoor-oriented outerwear is a gigantic task, and the marketplace is continually changing, too! We would love to get input from people who know any and all other brands of outerwear, and we invite all other makers of outerwear to work with us and compete with us in head-to-head comparison and testing.]
Please compare and contrast WeatherWool with other brands of Outerwear. There are a LOT of other outdoors-oriented clothing brands, and we are happy to go up against any of them. But it is important to keep in mind that different brands and even different items within each brand are designed for different uses, so truly direct comparisons may not really make sense, or not really be useful. Some brands:
- Are focused on specific applications, like skiing or biking, whereas WeatherWool is All-Purpose Outerwear
- Are very large and/or old with many different products
- Do not offer outerwear. But if they offer woolens, we'll show them here. We recommend only woolen base layers under WeatherWool, and this page gives us a good place to make specific reco's. And when we do begin to offer our own base layers, then we'll add the comparisons here. (WOW, I am so eager to make base layers, but we just don't have the resources to do it yet!! -- Ralph)
And so ... how do you compare different items of outerwear? I think a comparison has to be based on testing ... so basically a comparison means putting the subject garments thru the same series of tests, and then evaluating the test results. Please click here to see my ideas/outline for testing.
One important point -- sorry if it is obvious -- but a garment can't be better than the material from which it is made. And most garment manufacturers do not manufacture their own materials, whether synthetic or natural. And unless you make the stuff from which your garments are made, you are competing on style, superficial design features, marketing and price. The central idea to keep in mind about WeatherWool is that we make our own Fabric, starting with raw wool sourced from ranchers we personally select, because that is the only way to meet our performance specs ... there is just no way we would ever use fabrics that are, literally, 'run of the mill'.
Some of the comparison work will be done by me personally (yes ... WeatherWool is my family's company so keep that in mind!) but we really hope other people will provide information -- partly just because we need the help but also to increase the credibility of the comparisons.
I originally had here a list of all the outdoor-clothing companies that I could find. But Debby -- the Real Boss around here -- felt strongly we should list only those companies for which we have comparison material.
Please note that most of the following names are trademarks and registered trademarks of the respective companies. Click the brand name to go to their website:
- Cotton/Denim (in general): Well, there are hundreds if not thousands of companies offering denim, so I'm mentioning it here. Denim is a tough weave of cotton, so it is comfortable, and I wear it a lot myself ... but the saying "cotton kills" is good advice. Except for specialty products like Ventile, cotton is trouble unless the weather stays good because cotton loved to absorb water, and does so instantly.
- Empire Wool and Canvas is very well known for their wool, and they license their wool to Lester River (see below) for their iconic Boreal Shirt (Anorak). The first thing I'd like to say here, really, is that we owe a debt to these companies for helping to preserve and revive interest in and respect for woolen outerwear. Lots of the people who wear WeatherWool have also owned Empire. From Empire's website: "We buy our 100% wool blankets and 85/15 wool blend fabric direct from the mill." ... OK, different approach from us and we are ready for head-to-head comp anytime!
- Filson is over 100 years old and has made many different types of garments and even many different types of products over the years. Filson offers luggage now, for example. However, Filson is most known for their outerwear, and their Double Mackinaw is probably their flagship product. Please click here for a comparison of our All-Around Jacket to the Filson Double Mackinaw.
- Gore-Tex ... probably the grand-daddy of synthetic outerwear for folks dealing with weather. We have started the WeatherWool/Gore-Tex page, but it's a long way from complete. Holy cow, we love to be compared to Gore-Tex. I do think, tho, that Gore-Tex has done a lot to get people thinking about clothes specifically for handling weather, and that is a big deal in my book! I don't think Gore-Tex actually sells clothing ... they sell fabric to clothing makers, many of which are linked from the Gore-Tex website.
- King of the Mountain: We were the largest "stocking distributors" of King of the Mountain when we founded WeatherWool in 2009. At the time, I considered King of the Mountain to be the best woolen outerwear. But I had a bunch of ideas to improve the products, and they had no interest. WeatherWool has implemented all of those ideas, and more.
- Sleeping Indian is an American maker of woolens. And the owner of the company, Bennie Deal, is a great guy and a friend of ours.
There is a great deal to include here, so it will take a long time to fill this out. And this is an area where we can use input from lots of people … people who have knowledge of the many other brands, and hopefully, WeatherWool too. Two of our Advisors have a lot more experience with other brands than I do ... Jim from Connecticut (love that closet picture) and Mike Dean ... and either of them will be happy to give you some detailed comparisons. But also, we would like to hear about comparisons from other people because this seems like a good way to get ideas, and we do everything we can to be the best All-Purpose Outerwear there is. And toward that end, we have decided to develop a way to test and compare outerwear.
IMPORTANTLY ... we don't want to get into a lawsuit shooting-match with some corporate lawyer. If you represent some other company, by all means just give us your input. We strive to be absolutely accurate at all times. And again ... many of the the names shown above are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.
Also ... The above list of outerwear makers, as it grows, might serve as suggestions for people looking for other possibilities. So if you are doing some research, we'd appreciate to hear about your findings. We love to be compared to anything else, and we love hearing how other people do things, and how differences are perceived. Thanks for your help!
23 August 2018