Columbia Thermodynamic Softshell Review
Columbia’s new line of thermodynamic items looked a little, well… spacey. It looked as if it could be turned inside out and used as a halloween costume much more so than as any type of active wear. We are happy to report that we were ENTIRELY wrong. While the interior may just be a little flashy, it works. And when zipped up, the jacket’s simple, single color/black pocket design really looks quite wearable. Although flashier than it really needs to be, the Omni-Heat interior reflects your body heat to create a toasty interior, making this jacket comfortable in very cold temperatures.
While Columbia claims that the jacket is “comfortable in a surprising range of conditions and temperatures” we’d have to say that for milder days, this jacket is just too hot. However, since the jacket is designed to handle even the coldest winter days, Columbia added an “Omni-Shield” exterior, which repels moisture and keeps you dry. When combined with Columbia’s patented “Invizzip” zipper technology which seals all zippers and seams, the jacket is practically a wet suit.
We tested this in a variety of conditions, from drizzly rain to fairly heavy snow, and are happy to report that in all but the heaviest rain it kept us surprisingly dry. Our only complaint was the stiffness of the material when worn. Softshells usually have a supple and wearable exterior which is more reminiscent of your favorite hoody than of a coat, and Columbia certainly claimed to have this quality here. Our complaint was silenced the first time we used it on the slopes. When combined with a warm base layer, the wind blocking capabilities of this jacket really shone through. We were pleasantly surprised by the overall versatility. The bottom line – while suited to much colder temperatures than other softshells, this jacket’s low pricepoint and excellent feature set make it a must have for the price point. Check it out at Columbia.com.