When it comes to outdoor clothing, it is often expensive. Many people will throw around sayings such as, “you get what you pay for” and “buy cheap, buy twice,” but the truth is that it can be challenging to justify the cost of something like a $500 Gore-Tex waterproof jacket. Unfortunately, the outdoors has become a luxury playground for the wealthy. As a result, outdoor gear has become increasingly costly, especially when it comes to winter apparel.

Winter sports, most notably skiing, strive to be open to everybody. However, the hefty price tags attached to products from major brands make it seem like inclusivity is not a top priority. These can be so expensive that they could take a large portion of someone’s salary for a single item.

Can the price of outdoor gear be adequately explained? 

Typically, these items are expensive, and there are more cost-effective solutions to save money. To weigh in on this contentious subject, I have had the chance to experience gear from the top to the bottom and everything in between. So, let me take the plunge and discuss this further.

It is important to note that not all outdoor clothing and winter gear are worth their cost and some items are overpriced. Additionally, even if you get what you pay, you can still spend a lot to participate in outdoor activities; expensive gear is typically intended for professional athletes, not regular hikers.

Why do pricey labels such as Arc’Teryx and Patagonia carry such high price tags?

Mentioning pricey outdoor apparel usually brings specific labels to mind. On the same discussion board, some will extol the virtues of the great equipment, while others will criticize it for its costly snow pants that fail to hold up after merely one day. What perplexes many is how these businesses can back up their hefty price tags when comparable items can be bought from sites that make millionaires richer. Everyone knows what is being referred to here.


When it comes to justification, there are some shared views. Companies with the highest costs are usually at the front of outdoor research and initiatives. These can include environmental objectives, such as Arc’Teryx‘s ReBird program, Haglofs‘ efforts to minimize emissions and create clean energy, and Patagonia making the planet a shareholder. Additionally, staying ahead of technical research requires funding. Moreover, factors like dependability, longevity, and attempting to avoid the “fast fashion” phenomenon necessitate companies to impose a high price tag on their products since they are not deliberately making their items obsolete, such as the latest smartphone.

What advantages come with investing in pricey outdoor equipment?

Are there any outdoor and winter gear benefits that could persuade you to splurge on a pricey insulated jacket? From my personal experience, I’ve worn gear from the bargain bin to the “wince-inducing” costly selections. While I cannot speak for all, I have seen the significant differences.

  • Generally, more costly outdoor gear is more comfortable. Although one can find a fleece for either $20 or more than $100, the pricier option usually has seams that do not rub against the skin, a more athletic cut, better stretching, and fits better with other layers while one is hiking.
  • Additionally, cheaper equipment is less breathable. From coats to base layers, moisture management is essential to comfort in any outdoor season. With winter, it keeps one from freezing or becoming very cold. Though all outdoor clothing has limitations, more costly layers typically include materials such as Merino insulation or membranes like Gore-Tex. The fleece grid may be structured to promote breathability.
  • I can trust my expensive gear when I am in a rush. Some may disagree, but when I am waiting on a chairlift during a snowstorm, I’m confident I’ll be ready to ski at the top due to my clothing.
  • It will last if you take good care of your outdoor gear that you save up for – such as washing sleeping bags or waterproofing the tent. Obviously, there are exceptions, yet in general, I’ve found I can get a lot more use from pricey gear. If I calculated the cost-per-day ratio, I might be ahead.

Is it necessary to invest a lot of money in order to take advantage of the beauty of nature?


It may go against what I just said; however, expensive outdoor gear is not a requirement to enjoy the outdoors. When you first went skiing, it was likely a beautiful day, and you did not put on a costly jacket and snow pants to go down the bunny slope, did you? The same can be stated for walking on a trail in the summer or going camping. Usually, pricey gear is made for those in technical markets, such as professional skiers, hikers on the trail for a long time, and mountaineers. You don’t necessarily need the same jacket made for conquering K2 to enjoy a few hours at your local ski area.

You can certainly opt for less expensive gear if it works for you, but keep in mind that it may have certain restrictions. If you’re searching for more technical equipment without having to pay for it, some companies are reusing outdoor clothing donated by those who have too much of it and would rather see it gets utilized than gather dust.