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Are Columbia Jackets Good & Worth It? (Must Read)

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Columbia is one of the well-known affordable brands to go for.

But are there jackets that are really that good for you?

Let’s unveil it like we unveiled Columbia Jackets sizing.

Here’s How Good Are Columbia Jackets:

Columbia absolutely makes some good quality jackets at an affordable price for heavy rains to moderate winter due to the technologies like OutDry Extreme, Omni-Tech, and Omni-Heat.

But sadly, you can not just buy any jacket from them and expect that to be good because with good some poor jackets don’t satisfy the work demanded from them.

In a line, Columbia justifies the price tag so you’ll get what you pay, if the price is really cheap then be ready for compromises.

I insist you keep reading this article if you really a first-time buyer of Columbia jackets because here I am going to cover everything in depth to make you certain about in which conditions you should buy Columbia and in which you should not and look for another brand.

Read Also: Are Arc’teryx Jackets really that good?

Brief history of Columbia Jackets:

Columbia Jackets are made by the Columbia Sportswear Company which is founded in the year 1938 by Paul Lamfrom who is the father of Gert Boyle who is the past chairwoman of the company.

Paul and Marie Lamfrom fled Nazi Germany in 1937 and immediately bought the Portland hat distributorship which then becomes the Columbia Hat Company and Neal Boyle became the head of the company after marrying Gert.

Due to the frustrations over suppliers, the family was inspired to start the manufacturing of their own product which then result in a transformation from Columbia Hat Company to Columbia Sportswear Compay.

But, in 1970 Neal Boyle died following a heart attack which ends up being Gert, and som Tim Boyle took over the company.

They started to make various clothing items in outerwear, sportswear, and footwear as well as camping equipment, outwear accessories, and ski apparel.

But it is the jackets that result in rapid sales growth and popularity of Columbia due to breathable waterproof fabric, liners, and interchangeable shells.

Are Columbia Jackets Warm & Good For Winter

Yes, Columbia jackets are warm and due to their technology, it can make some really warm jackets under budget for winter above and around freezing temperatures.

Let’s Check out the tech used in its winter jacket and its work.

Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective Technology: In this tech, there are patterns of tiny metallic dots that help keep the body warm for a longer time by reflecting the body’s heat to itself.

Another version of this same tech is Omni-Heat 3D in which has small pods of vertically oriented fuzzy fibers placed on top of the reflective material to improve heat retention and make the overall wearing experience more comfortable.

Omni-Tech: It’s a multi-layered breathable weather protection system that is developed to keep the outside elements out while allowing airflow. It has three layers outer, middle, and interior.

The outer layer is made using DWR (Durable Water Repellent) Finish which is not waterproof but stain resistant and water repellent means in mild rain you’ll be okay.

The middle layer is the main feature of Omni-Tech which is a complex lattice membrane structure to block the outside precipitation from coming in while allowing the body heat to escape.

The final layer of Omni-Tech is a microporous liner that facilitates breathability and a way for moisture to escape.

If you want both Omni-Tech and Omni-Heat in one jacket, then Columbia Tipton Peak Insulated Jacket and Grand Trek Down Jacket is a great option.

Read Also: Are Arc’teryx Jackets Warm?

Omni-Tech and Omni-Heat are the techs you should look for if you want to go camping and hiking in cold weather.

Other technologies that Columbia uses in Jackets which you should be aware of are:

  • Heat Seal: It elminated baffled stitches so that the down stays in and the cold stays out. It’s wave version reduce water and wind penetration and gives high warmth-to weight.
  • TurboDown Wave: It eliminates the cold spots by essentially two layers of down, where the layer are themal bonded with their Heat Seal technology.
  • Thermarator: It gives high warmth-to-weight, trap heat using ultra-fine fibers and retain heat even when wet.
  • Omni-Wick EVAP: Thich tech ensures that the sweat is dispersed across a broad surface area to accelarate evaporation to keep you dry.
  • Omni-Wind Block: It is a waterproof-breathable barrier that allows sweat to escape, while blocking off wind chill.

Columbia also makes fleece jackets which are really good to wear on a normal cold day. When going to Fleece jacket especially look for MTR (Maximum Thermal Retention) Technology Fleeces which is there for the active outdoor enthusiasts to keep them warm and comfortable while being stylish.

While researching this topic, I found that some people claim that Columbia Women’s Benton Fleece Jacket which is under $50 gives nearly the same level of warmth that a $200 North Face Jackets gives, absolutely for this level of warmth you need to compromise other things like softness or the overall construction quality.

So, at last, I would say you can go for the Columbia jackets if you need a tech that is focused on warmth at an affordable price.

But they fail when the temperature continues to rise in negative and thus you need a lot’s layering which results in discomfort due to the fit going tighter and tighter as you increase the layering, the bulkiness adds up, and the ease of movement is also compromised.

Read Also: Are Patagonia jackets Warm & Good For Sub Zero Temperatures

If you’re sure that temperature can go really mad at your place then go for some heavy jackets or look for any other brand that made jackets solely for extreme cold using CoreLoft or PrimaLoft insulation.

Let’s look at whether Columbia jackets can serve you for skiing.

Are Columbia Jackets Good For Skiing?

Are columbia jackets good for skiing
Columbia Ski Jackets

Yes, Columbia jackets are good for skiing in moderate weather which means with most recreational ski trips Columbia will keep you warm and comfortable.

Buying a Columbia jacket is good for entry-level skiers. But regular and extreme skiers should look for more technical jackets such as Patagonia, Arc’teryx, or Moutain Equipment.

But why? Let’s peel it off…

In Columbia jackets, you get Omni-Tech Shell and Omni-Heat Reflective lining but so that you know Omni-Heat is not insulation but a reflective fabric which means it will reflect 20% of body heat.

However, one of the most popular Columbia jackets among resort skiers is the Columbia Last Tracks which uses synthetic insulation called Microtemp XF II which sadly is not a pro player but a budget man.

Let’s go a little broad, all ski jackets offered by this brand uses Omni-Tech whose waterproof rating is 10,000mm/24 hours means the jacket can handle 10,000 millimeters of rain in any given 24 hours, and the breathability is 10,000 g/m2/24 hours.

Regardless of the jacket, you’re buying, 10,000 mm is the minimum requirement for skiing.

And to be honest, this level of waterproofing is only good for skiing in moderate rain, snow, and wind.

Because once rain and wind cross the limit you will see the loss in insulation and warmth because it gets wet and wind chill.

So no matter which Columbia Jacket you choose, choose it with the intention that you’ll ski occasionally and in moderate weather.

Here’s a trick: If you’re really on a tight budget and can handle little discomforts you can layer the Columbia ski jacket with Columbia rain jackets to make it more waterproof and to save money purchasing a premium shell jacket of Gore-Tex or some other brand.

Let’s see how waterproof are the Columbia rain jackets.

Are Columbia Jackets Really Waterproof & Good For Rain?

Yes, all rain jackets made by Columbia offer good quality waterproofing at an affordable price which makes them the first choice for tight-budget people.

Read Also: Do Columbia Jackets Run Small?

At a reasonable price, you can get a jacket featuring 2 layers of Omni-Tech and a 100% Nylon fabric shell.

With some rain jackets, Columbia offers Omni-wick Evap Technology to quickly and widely disperse the moisture for rapid evaporation.

As I previously told the waterproofing rating of Omni-Tech is 10,000 mm but with 2 Layers there is an improvement. So being honest they are jackets for immediate reasons which will protect you from heavy rains but do not expect them to keep you dry for a whole day hike.

However, you should look for a Columbia jacket with OutDry Extreme Tech if you really want some serious protection from extreme rain on a long trail.

Read Also: Are Arc’teryx Jackets Fully Waterproof?

OutDry Extreme is a technology developed by Columbia especially for their rain gears with which you get the permanent water repellency and durability by an exterior waterproof membrane.

This layer is heat-bonded directly to the outer fabric, leaving no gaps, no seams, and no way for rain to get in.

While being highly waterproof the tech does not lack in providing good breathability and more durability than most of the textile products.

In 2017 Columbia launches its OutDry Extreme ECO line that does not use DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish which requires PFCs(poly-fluorinated chemicals) treatment that is good to make the garments water-resistant but contains environmentally harmful components.

As there is no DWR treatment you do not need to worry about re-treating it because no matter how good a DWR is but with time this finishing wears off which is not the case with Columbia OutDry Extreme due to the permanent beading layer the jacket will never get wet.

According to sources, OutDry Extreme has a waterproof rating of 20,000 mm which makes the Columbia jacket with this tech fully waterproof.

Are Columbia Jackets Unisex?

Yes, Columbia does have unisex jackets but they are occasional offerings.

For most of the time, the Jackets they made are categorized gender-wise – Men’s/Women’s.

But according to them, there is no reason why a Men’s could not wear a women’s style jackets and vise versa.

Usually, the difference between women’s and men’s jackets are in the fit/cuts because men’s tend to be larger than women’s.

Thus, if you and your sister are near the same height and fit you can wear the jacket interchangeably.

Are Columbia Jackets Vegan?

Columbia Jackets are not Vegan and because there is a chance that the glue or adhesive used in the manufacturing process could contain traces of animal products.

However, if you kept aside the glue scene, Columbia does offer many synthetic jackets which are worth buying and affordable as the fabric used in them is mostly Nylon or Polyester which is Vegan.

And for non-vegans, Columbia offers down jackets in which the down is used only after complying with the Responsible Down Standard which is a certification program that gives credence to authentic and best practices in regards to animal and birds welfare.

Yes, I am not denying the fact that Columbia does not make jackets, especially for vegans.

Does Columbia Make Leather Jackets?

No, Columbia does not make Leather jackets. Though there was a time when Columbia is involved in manufacturing Leather jackets but they are now withdrawn from it and have no clue whether they will start the manufacturing or not.

Surprisingly I have noticed eBay and amazon entries for Columbia Leather Jackets.

Leather jackets listing on eBay in Columbia brand's name
Columbia Leather Jackets listed on eBay (Don’t Buy)

But I doubt and contacted the Company itself and got a confirmation that they are no longer offering Leather jackets and do not recommend buying from any third party stores because if you do so you’re not eligible to get the necessary assistance.

Leather jackets that are listed on Amazon in the name of Columbia brand
Columbia Leather Jackets listed on Amazon (Don’t Buy)

Can You Machine Wash Columbia Jackets?

Yes, all Columbia Jackets including rain jackets, synthetic insulated jackets, Down jackets, and fleece jackets are machine washable in cold water.

Make sure that fleece, windbreaker, and rain jackets are machine washing on the delicate or hand wash cycle while the down jackets are only recommended to wash in a front load washing machine on a gentle cycle.

If you have High-efficiency (HE) top-loader washing machine make sure to check the manual before putting your Columbia rain jacket in it because the waterproof clothing can interfere and cause damage to HE washing machines.

Also make sure all the jackets are completely dry before storing and do not Iron rain jackets, windbreakers, and Down insulated jackets at any cost because doing this can cause the inner coating and seam sealing to melt due to heat and if the jackets come in contact with iron on high heat setting can even damage your iron.

However, if needed, you can Iron the cotton-majority fleece on a low setting but do not iron 100% poly fleece.

Read Also: Can You Wash Arc’teryx Jackets?

Where Are Columbia Jackets Made?

Most of the Columbia Jackets are manufactured in southeast Asia which includes China, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and India.

The problem is Columbia does not mention the manufacturing location on each of their jacket’s descriptions so I undeviatingly contacted customer service to ask the locations of Manufacturing which I’ve stated.

This makes me unable to compile a complete list of their top-selling jacket manufacturing locations, in the same way, I did with all Arc’teryx jackets manufacturing locations and the Patagonia Jackets manufacturing locations.

What’s In Columbia Jacket’s Warranty?

Columbia offers a limited lifetime warranty with all of their Outerwears but this does not mean the jacket is valid for warranty till you die instead the limited lifetime warranty in Columbia means the warranty will be valid only till the course of jackets or any outerwears practical lifetime.

But there are lots of rules on place, such as:

  • The Limited Lifetime Warranty only covers defect in materials and workmanship.
  • The warranty is valid till the practical lifetime for the products offered by Columbia Sportswear brand or its affiliates.
  • The warranty is applied only for the products that are original and not altered and modiefied in materials or workmanship
  • Normal wears and tears are not covered.
  • Warranty will not be vailid if it’s damaged due to accident, improper care, misuse, neglect, or the natural breakdown of materials over time.
  • You’ll not get refund if you return. Instead, the columbia will either repair your jackets if it is defect in workmanship and materials or it iwll give you a Virtual Merchandise Credit as a disscount for your next purchase (Oh. a Good business plan to not let the customers run).
  • You can not be benefited from the warranty if you sell or transfer the jacket or any other Columbia Sportswear you have.
  • This policy is only valid for United States customers.

For more info on warranty and repair for Columbia Sportswear: Read the Columbia warranty and General Warranty Questions answered by the Customer care.

Is Columbia support Good? (Proof)

To the point I know, Columbia support is pretty good. You can contact Columbia by going to their official website either via phone call or live chat.

The Chat and calling options are live from Monday to Friday (5:00 AM to 8:00 PM PST) and on Saturday you only get the Chat option from 6:00 AM to 3:00 pm PST.

Point to be noted that when you click on the Live Chat option don’t get fool by the bot as a real person. To chat with a real person type & send ‘Chat Customer’ and in no time a customer representative will be there to solve your problems.

Chatting with Columbia Customer Care
My Chat With Columbia Customer Care


After you’ve read so much about Columbia jackets, Now I want to be direct with you for the question you asked – are Columbia jackets worth it? If you want a jacket that can give you moderate warmth and weather protection at an affordable price then Columbia is good at that and worth the money. But, don’t expect their jackets to give the same quality of weather protection and technicality as some expensive and premium brands like Patagonia and Arcteryx can give.

However, Columbia Rain jackets can be your first and last stop if you go for the jackets with OutDry Extreme technology which is expensive but you can also go for Columbia’s 2 layer Omni-Tech rain jackets if you want immediate protection from rain for a short period of time.

I hope you’re now very clear whether to go for Columbia jackets or not. If I am at your place – I will buy Columbia jackets for my hiking and camping trips in temperatures not dropping much in the negative (wind chill and surrounding) and would most probably buy their ski jackets If I am a first-time skiier or ski occasionally in moderate weather.


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