Tag Archives: Columbia Omni-Heat

Review: Columbia Omni-Heat Base Layers

It was around 10° during our candlelight hike a few weekends ago. Coupled with the snow, it made for a chilly night. When I originally planned our date, we had yet to receive any snow beyond a dusting. Temperatures were near 40°/50°. I figured it would just be a colder than usual hike for us. When the snow hit and temperatures dropped, I decided to keep our plans as they were. It made for a perfect opportunity to test out my new base layers from Columbia: the midweight long sleeve stripe top and midweight stripe tight.

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Both pieces make use of Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology. The inside of each garment is covered in silver, reflective dots, making it look very space-age but keeping you very warm. Both also incorporate Omni-Wick in high-perspiration zones, keeping you dry in all the right spots. There are antimicrobial properties to the fabric, so you continue to feel and smell fresh while being active. While the pieces are very form fitting, the fabric is very stretchy and comfortable.

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I wore the tights under my regular jeans. They actually made me feel slimmer – not at all bulky. It was like wearing Spanx, but without the discomfort. I don’t know that I looked skinnier, but mind over matter. Maybe I should start wearing them under jeans all the time  😉

Because the colorful stipe pattern is so cute, I decided to treat the top like a regular long sleeve shirt. I would never wear it alone unless I magically turned into a super model (remember – very form fitting), but it worked layered under a short sleeve top. I thought it was casual-date-night cute with the sleeves showing and just a hint of the collar peeking out through my v-neck.

Performance-wise, I am in love! I am always cold – always. I already had a good experience with the Omni-Heat in my Heat Elite jacket, so I had high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed. Wearing the tights under jeans, the long sleeve baselayer under another shirt (short sleeve), topped off with my Heat Elite jacket, I was perfectly comfortable in the 10° weather. Only my hands were cold – my gloves weren’t equipped for long-term cold exposure. So I stuck my gloved hands in my jacket pockets – problem solved. I have never been so toasty in the winter cold while simultaneously feeling sleek and slim. Perfection!

If you are looking to invest in good base layers for your winter activities, I would highly recommend the the midweight baselayers from Columbia. I’m even more excited to get out in the snow regularly with my new snowshoes…if we ever see snow again.

Floating on Snow

Last weekend, I finally tried out the snowshoes!

I didn’t trapse around too much. We just headed out to our land. Jason attempted to burn some brush (fail), so I took the opportunity to try my new gear.

My snowshoes weren’t the only new gear I was using. I donned my new snow pants, Omni-Heat gloves, Vasque Breeze hiking boots, and Columbia Triple Trail Shell that I’m testing out for CampingGearTV.com. I’m like glow-in-the-dark in that thing! No losing me in the woods.

So what were some of my thoughts after my inaugural snowshoe outing?

  • I was a little surprised at first that I sunk into the snow. I thought something was wrong, but it wasn’t. Snowshoes just distribute your weight over a larger area so your foot doesn’t sink as much into the snow. This is called flotation.
  • I quickly experienced both how much easier it is to walk in the snow with snowshoes and what a good workout snowshoeing will be. It was so nice not to have my foot sink into a hole with every step.
  • Your foot sinks more in the powdery snow, less in the more compact, iced-over snow.
  • My shoes came with poles, but we forgot to put the powder baskets on the ends before leaving the house. Just FYI – There is no point in using the poles without the powder baskets. They just sink in the snow.
  • It is going to be really fun hitting a real trail in my snowshoes. It was a little uneventful walking around our small clearing, but it was an excellent way to get used to the shoes.

Bring on the Heat!

It’s November in Wisconsin, and everyone is on edge anticipating the coming winter. I love the moderate temps of fall and spring, but the cold is starting to creep up. Great.

The fabulous folks at Columbia asked me to participate in their Omni-Heat Field Test program. Omni-Heat is Columbia’s new thermal technology, and I have it in their Heat Elite Jacket. As one of those people who is always cold and as a Wisconsinite, I hole-heartedly accepted!

The Heat Elite incorporates both the thermal reflective and thermal insulation technology. A few facts about both:

  • Omni-Heat Thermal Insulation: Helps maintain warmth, prevent heat loss with the highest heat retention per gram in the industry. (It’s also eco-friendly)
  • Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective: Keeps you 20% warmer by reflecting back the heat your body generates, yet helps regulate body temperature by allowing excess heat and moisture to escape.

I’ve been wearing the jacket for a little over a week, and it definitely keeps me warmer than other fleece jackets that I have. Actually, it has been keeping me warmer than my nice wool coat from LL Bean.

Temps haven’t gotten so cold outside as to really put the Omni-Heat to the test, but I can say that the jacket heats up really fast when I’m wearing it inside. Today, I had it on in a cold rain, and it kept me very comfortable. Once it is cold enough to need gloves and a scarf, I’m guessing that this jacket will keep me nice and toasty. And for someone who’s always cold, that’s a welcome thought 🙂 .

Oh, I almost forgot to mention my very favorite part of the jacket: Monkey Thumbs!

I am currently obsessed with monkey thumbs!

Once we hit some hardcore cold, I’ll be sure to write an update on how the jacket performs.

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