Join us as we roam deep into the Southern Hemisphere in search of the very best South American outdoor clothing companies. From cloudy Andean peaks to dew-laden rainforests that swallow the Amazon River, South America is a world of many wonders. It is truly a continent of extremes!
There are glaciers in Patagonia, temples built by jungle-dwelling civilisations and vertiginous waterfalls that turn to mist before they reach the rocks below.
One thing this world invites is a spirt of adventure. There are countless trails to explore from the northwestern Gulf of Darién to the southern islands of Tierra del Fuego.
In this blog, we’re looking at South American outdoor clothing companies. We’re not just talking about the ones that are named after regions in this part of the world, but ones that originated here and are still rooted in the world’s fourth largest continent.
What To Expect: South American Outdoor Clothing
During our research we found a variety of lifestyle companies and technical specialists, offering a collection of the region’s top outdoor apparel brands. We found plenty of innovative and unique brands in the process too.
Of course, the outdoor clothing market is extensive, from high-end backcountry outfitters to more budget-focused purveyors of reliable outdoor apparel.
For each brand, we’ve shared a little of their history and ethics. We wanted you to get a feel for exactly what they’re offering and why it’s worth the cost.
To save some suspense, you wont find Patagonia on our list, although the brand is named after a part of South America, we’ve favoured companies that are headquartered there.
What you will find is plenty more brands that share Patagonia’s care for the Earth. So, let’s dig our heels into the trail and seek out the best South American outdoor clothing companies:
Salinas started out in 1982 and was founded by Jacqueline de Biase, who designed bikinis for women who wanted to look good, without the discomfort.
Some say that for an outfit to look good it has to be uncomfortable. Sure, that might’ve been the line fed in the 1500s to corset-wearing women in the French court, but fashion has come on since then.
Now, company founders like Jacqueline cater for women who want to look good at the beach and still be able to relax at the same time. Her designs use quality materials and possess characterful styling.
In fact, the brand forgoes the latest trends in the belief that comfort, character and quality is enough to create new ones. Therefore Salinas portrays the fun-loving lifestyle that Brazil is famous for, winning over the likes of Madonna and Naomi Campbell in the process.
Founded in Peru, PAKA is known for its natural, all-purpose clothing. This is one of our all-time favourite South American outdoor clothing companies.
PAKA’s mission is to introduce outdoor enthusiasts to the innovative qualities of alpaca fibre, as well as other material that put less strain on the planet. Wearers of their products can connect to nature by making more conscious decisions in terms of what they wear.
Of course, the brand also supports the communities that create and inspire their products. Every piece includes a handwoven Inca ID, which was created on a handloom in Peru’s Sacred Valley.
The one thing you’ll always notice and remember about PAKA clothing is how soft it is. This is because it is made from fibres that belonged to free-roaming alpacas – locals in the Andes Mountains.
The company employs Quechua women in Peru, who handknit and sign every sweater, ensuring you know exactly where your purchase has come from.
It’s incredible to think that the idea for this brand was sparked by a backpacking trip in 2015. It was then that the founders learned the traditional Inca method of making clothing with alpaca fibres.
Soon afterwards, a successful Kickstarter launch exceeded the team’s goal by 1700% and PAKA emerged into the promise of a bright future.
5. Caju Brasil
If you’re looking for stylish, edgy and unique activewear then Caju Brasil has you covered. What we love most about this brand is their use of bold prints, as well as the way they experiment with the latest technologies to enhance their fabrics.
This functional activewear brand is comparable to Salinas in so far as it creates trends instead of following them. They are widely regarded as one of Brazil’s most advanced fitness brands – hip, stylish and already at the top of their game.
Born in 2005, Caju Brasil is one of the region’s fastest growing fitness brands and has certainly won Brazil over with high quality products that offer comfort and also cater for the heights of peak physical performance.
Now, we’ve found our way to Argentina and it’s here we’ll discover their foremost maker of technical gear. Remarkably, Montagne outfits explorers of this region in alternative products to those made by Patagonia.
The brand has dozens of stores throughout the country and specialises in more than mountain wear. While their technical gear is certainly well-loved, you might also be impressed by the style and design of their collections.
Many appreciate the underdog story of this brand, which started out in a small Argentine factory, churning out camping equipment. Montagne might not be a household outside of South America, but their jackets and camping accessories have enjoyed a recent spike in popularity.
After 4 decades on the market, Montagne continues to bring cutting-edge designs to those adventurous spirits, who also know a thing or two about the value of endurance.
3. FARM Rio
Next up, it’s time to bring a little more colour into your life with this vivacious brand known as FARM Rio. There’s a reason this lifestyle brand is fast becoming Brazil’s best-loved supplier of designer dresses, skirts and tops.
FARM Rio states that nature is their main source of inspiration. Their prints reflect the natural elements and the tropical allure of Brazil’s fauna and flora.
Okay, so you might be more likely to wear their designs for a stroll on a beach than a hike in the Andes. Still, we wanted to include a South American clothing company that takes the outdoors at a more leisurely pace.
Also, admittedly, our eyes were drawn to the floral patterns, macaws and toucans they use in their designs. We love the artistic flair and use of culture techniques that’s displayed in their collections.
The brand’s co-founders, Kátia Barros and Marcello Bastos, founded the company in 1997. Since then their unique styles and use of colour has flooded the lively streets of Rio de Janeiro, inspired by the carioca spirit of local fashion markets.
2. South American Outdoor Clothing Companies: Arms of Andes
Everything about this brand evokes Peru – of course, it helps that the garments they produce are all made locally as well. Every detail, from fibre to finished piece, keeps Arms of Andes firmly grounded in their home soil.
Single origin manufacturing means greater traceability and a reduced carbon footprint caused by their supply chain. In short, you know where their ethical clothing comes from and everything is traced back to their own studio in Peru.
One of the brand’s co-founders keeps a close eye on production at all times, ensuring that the brand retains its principles and pays tribute to its Peruvian roots in the Andes Mountains.
Lovers of tradition will appreciate how this brand bridged the gap between its heritage and the modern world. Today, they still specialise in sustainable outdoor clothing, made from the Inca’s most functional fibre, which is alpaca wool.
1. South American Outdoor Clothing Companies: Ayacucho
Finally, we’ve found our way to the technical collection of equipment and outdoor clothing provided by Ayacucho®. We’ve descended here in no particular order, but this South American brand is truly one of our favourites.
What we love most is the simplicity of their hand-knitted hats, which are made with love by knitters in Ayacucho – the region of Peru that serves as the brand’s namesake.
This company sources everything they make responsibly and uses modern-day technologies to refine their exceptional outerwear, backpacks and sleeping pads.
Ayacucho® outdoor clothing also combines comfort and style, relying on ethical materials that withstand the test of time. Meanwhile, every Ayacucho® product sold helps to finance a private organisation called Solid, which is working to alleviate poverty in Peru through entrepreneurship.
More Outdoor Clothing Companies
Learn more about the best clothing from other countries around the world.