Best Columbia Jackets
Everyone already knows that Columbia is a company that makes high-quality outdoor gear, but what you might not know about this company is that they were originally founded by a couple that had founded a humble hat company in Portland after fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938. Today, they are one of the leading manufacturers in the outdoor apparel market, and they know a thing or two about the materials needed to stay warm when the temperature starts to plunge. With such an overwhelming catalog of great designs, it can be hard to pinpoint the right one for you. In this guide, you will find some of the selections of the best Columbia jackets to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable in the colder months out of the year.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
Comes down over your butt
Flattering seam design
- Mighty Lite
- Benton Springs
- Crested Butte II
- Kaleidaslope II
- Frost Fighter
- Watertight II
- Glennaker Lake
- Morning Light II
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Mighty Lite
Comes down over your butt
Flattering seam design
Some users feel that it is too thin
Runs a little on the small side
The thing that we liked the most about this option is that it has a very long length that we don’t see in a lot of other options, plus it is- as the name implies- very lightweight. Plus, it is made from the same high-quality materials that you come to expect from this brand.Read more
As we mentioned earlier, one of the things that we liked about this design is that it is made to come down to about the bottom of your back jean pockets, ensuring that not only your upper half insulated, but part of your lower half is as well. It has cuffed sleeves to keep cold and snow from blowing up your arm, and a compact hood.
The outer shell of this design is made from a waterproof polyester material that sports flatter seamlines. It boasts the patented Omni-Dry insulation which is a blend of half polyester, half recycled polyester for the padding.
Almost 3 out of every 4 users felt that this design fit them as they thought it would. It comes in sizes that start with extra small and run all the way up to 2XL.
There are quite a few colors that users can select from and they range from subtle and muted to bright and cheery. Colors include black, white, gray, olive green, pink, and purple.
The cost of this option is not one of the more affordable options from this brand, but we felt that the price was very reasonable considering how long it is as well as what others had to say about it.
Users love this design because it feels incredibly lightweight and has the power of keeping them incredibly warm, even when the temperatures really plunge this winter.
2. Benton Springs
Structured and lightweight fleece materials
Available in tons of color options
Not made for incredibly cold winters
Some users have had issues with with zipper
If you live somewhere that has winters that are a little less harsh, this is going to be one of your better options. What users like about this fleece design are that it has a stiff and structured feel to it that you often don’t get with the type of material.Read more
Simplicity and comfort is the name of the game when it comes to the Benton Springs. It has a simple silhouette that comes down just to the top of your jeans. The simple sleeves are cuffed at the base to keep cold air from blowing in, and the hoodless high collar can be worn flipped up or flipped down.
This unit is composed entirely of MTR filament fleece which means that you are going to get a lot of the same comfort and softness from a traditional fleece, but it is going to be just a little bit more structured and stiff to keep you warm.
An impressive 81 percent of users felt that this design fit them exactly as they expected. It offered in sizes that start out as extra small and run all the way to 2XL.
The great thing about this option is that it comes in a wide variety of colors. In fact, it comes in pretty much any color that you could imagine, with some unique and different tones included that you might want to consider.
Our favorite thing about the Benton Springs is that it comes in at an incredibly low price point that will set you back about the same amount that you would spend on a pepperoni pizza.
If you need something for a mild winter that is going to give you the softness of fleece, but it is going to be a bit more structured to keep you warm in cold temperature without breaking the bank, the Benton Springs is going to be one of your better options.
3. Crested Butte II
Users reflective Omni-Heat technology for the lining
Slim and lightweight
A little expensive
Runs a little large
The Crested Butte II is going to be a great in-between point from the big puffy insulated options, and the lighter designs made for milder climates. It boasts the smartly designed Omni-Heat silver lining that users the heat your body expels to keep you warm in cold climates.Read more
Users like this option because it has a simple but smart design. While it is just a little bulky, it isn’t anywhere near close to being considered a puffer coat. While it has the stitching of a puffer, it doesn’t have a lot of the extra bulk. It has elastic on the cuffs and waist to keep cold air out, and a high hoodless collar.
The exterior of this option is composed of waterproof and windproof nylon materials, and the inside boasts their Omni-Heat silver lining. This lining is composed of little dots that are able to reflect heat and push it back towards you instead of out into the cold winter air.
An impressive 84 percent of users felt that this option fit them exactly as they expected. It is offered in sizes that start at small and run all the way up to extra large.
While it doesn’t have a wide range of color options as some of the other designs, there are still a few really great colors to select from. Colors include red, gray, blue, green, and black.
The cost of this coat is just a little bit more than the other designs out there on the market, but we feel that it is well worth the slightly elevated price tag, and many users tend to agree.
If you can’t decide if you want something big and puffy, or slim and understated this winter, we feel that the Crested Butte II is going to be a good marriage of both styles to keep you high and dry when the temperatures plunge.
Detachable nylon and fleece layers
Lightweight yet incredibly warm
A little expensive
The Bugaboo is great for users that want something that is going to keep them incredibly warm in harsh winter conditions, but it just doesn’t have the same bulk as some of the other puffy options. This design uses smart layers of fabric that hold in the heat your body creates to keep you dry and warm.Read more
The style of this option is pretty simple. It runs down to about the top of your jeans and offers a double zippered layer for the top and bottom layer. While it doesn’t have cuffed sleeves, it has velcro straps that can be used to cinch the cuffs to your wrists to keep cold air out. It has a tall neckline and a low profile hood.
The top layer of this design is composed of a waterproof and windproof nylon material. The inside is composed of a very comfortable fleece lining that serves to maintain body heat while keeping you comfortable.
Sizes start out at extra small and run all the way up to 2XL. We like that they offer users a detailed sizing chart that uses the measurement of chest, arms, waist, and hips to ensure that you get the perfect size for your body type the first time.
Color options are a little bit more limited with the Bugaboo than they are with most, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few great color choices to select from. Users can opt for more muted tones such as blacks and gray, or they can select brighter color options that include yellow and green, copper, blue, or red.
The cost of the Bugaboo is going to be quite a bit more than some of the other options that we have seen out there on the market. However, considering that this is basically 2 coats built into one (fleece and a windbreaker) this is actually an incredible deal.
Due to its smart design and detachable layers, we feel that the Bugaboo is not only going to be a great design that will keep you want in those harsh winter months, but detachable layers mean that you can also wear it in the spring and fall as well.
5. Kaleidaslope II
Fitted cuffs with thumb holes
Users Omni-Heat tech for the lining
A little expensive
Some feel that it runs a little small
The Kaleidaslope II is great because it is made from well-crafted materials that are designed to keep you warm in cold climates, but it has a few unique features that make it stand out from some of the other designs, and is worth checking out.Read more
While the outside silhouette is very similar to many of the other design in their outdoor line, what makes the Kaleidaslope II different lies in the sleeves. Instead of using elastic or velcro to cinch it shut, this design has cuffs that come down to the bottom of the fingers and has a hole cut out for the thumb to hold them in place. You won’t have to worry about your sleeves riding up with this design.
The exterior shell of this option is composed of waterproof and windproof nylon, and the interior uses a layer of their reflective Omni-Heat lining. What this means is that it is going to reflect the heat that your body expels back onto your skin to keep you nice and warm without a lot of extra bulk.
An impressive 81 percent of users felt that this option fit them just as they thought that it was going to. What we like is that users are provided with a size chart that uses detailed measurements to ensure that you get the right size for your build.
Colors include subtle earth tones such as gray, black, brown, and white, as well as brighter and more fun colors that include red, pink, blue, and purple.
The cost of this design seems to run just a little bit more expensive than some of the other options in their line. However, users feel that the slightly higher price point is worth it based upon the smart design and the superior warmth offered.
If you want something that is going to keep you incredibly warm in those harsh winter temperatures, and looks good while doing it, this is going to be well worth the slightly padded price tag.
6. Frost Fighter
Some find that is runs rather large
While many of the options so far on our list have set out to tackle low temperatures with materials that won’t add a lot of additional bulk and weight, the Frost Fighter is made for those that want a lot of puff to their winter wear. This option uses down materials to hold in body heat while being nice and soft and comfortable.Read more
This is the quintessential puffer coat. It has that classic down-style baffling design on the body, and tighter stitching on the sleeves. There is a little bit of extra padding on the sleeves and waist to keep cold air from blowing without the need for uncomfortable straps or elastic bands.
The exterior of this coat is composed of materials that are incredibly waterproof and windproof. On the inside lies a reflective layer of the Omni-Heat material to keep body heat from escaping. It is also insulated by a thick layer of synthetic down materials that give it that classic puffy look.
About 3 out of every 4 users feel like this design fit them exactly as they had anticipated that it would. It is offered in sizes that start off at small and run up to extra large.
Color options are going to be just a little bit more limited with this option. Users can select from neutral earth tones that include deep shades of black, brown, gray, blue, or green.
While it might have a much larger silhouette than most, the price tag is actually a good deal lower than many of the other designs making our list.
If you live in an area that suffers from some really harsh winters and you want something that is going to feel like you are wrapped in a warm cloud, the Frost Fighter is going to serve you very well without putting any extra strain on your wallet.
7. Watertight II
Comes in a ton of color options
Users found that it runs a little small
Some found that it isn’t very breathable
If you are looking for something that is going to be lightweight that will keep the rain off of your back while hiking or fishing during the rainy season, the Watertight II is going to be one of your better options. Plus, it has panels of the Omni-Heat tech on the inside to keep you warm, but not too hot making it one of the best Columbia jackets.Read more
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this Watertight II. The cuffs are wide and unrestricted but offer a velcro strap if you find the need to cinch them closes. It has a high collar with a low profile hood that has an elastic band to cinch it tightly around your face in the instance of a blowing rain or snow.
You are going to worry about getting when wearing this design. The exterior shell is made from a high quality waterproof and windproof nylon that will wick water away and will not absorb into the material. There is no insulation with this option, and the lining is simply composed of a few panels of the Omni-Heat material.
While about 79 percent of past users felt that this unit fit them as expected, the other 20 percent felt that this design ran just a little bit too small for them. If you are someone that would rather your outerwear fit a little too loose than tight, we suggest buying one size up from normal on this design.
What we love about this design is that there are tons of color options that users can select from. Colors include neutral tones such as black, brown, gray, blue, and tan, and also include bright and fun colors such as green, yellow, red, orange, and blue.
The price tag on this design is a lot more affordable than many of the other options in their line. Keep in mind that the lack of insulation and limited lining means that it is not going to be ideal for very cold climates.
If you need something that is going to keep you high and dry when that rainy season rolls around, this is going to be one of your better options that aren’t going to break the bank.
A little expensive
Not ideal for extremely cold temperatures
We liked the Ascender because it has a structured slim design that makes it a great choice to wear during mild winters, or during the spring or fall months. Users love it because it is lightweight and it keeps when dry when conditions outside are pretty wet.Read more
The look of this design is simple and structured. It has panels on the front, sides, and arms, and it has very deep zippered pockets to keep your belongings dry. It has a neckline that when zipped up completely ends at the bottom of the chin and it also has a hood with a comfortable and soft lining.
The outside shell of this unit is made from a very durable polyester that will be able to wick away water and protect your skin from high winds. The lining is made from a very soft polyester material that feels like a lightweight fleece. This lining also lines the hood as well.
An impressive 83 percent of users found that this design fits them exactly as they expect. It is offered in sizes that start at small and run all the way up to XX-large.
If you were looking for something that might be offered in bright colors, the Ascender is only offered in deep earth tones that include black, brown, navy, and two shades of gray.
For being a thinner design that offers more protection from rain and wind than it does from cold, the price tag is a bit higher than one would expect from this design. Users seem to really love the fit and comfort of this design and feel that it is well worth the price point.
If you are in the market for something that is going to be a great addition for wet conditions that aren’t going to be as cold, this is going to be a great choice.
9. Glennaker Lake
Omni-Shield lining absorbs moisture
Doesn’t breathe very well
Runs a little large
The most notable feature about the Glennaker Lake is it is thin enough that it can be rolled up into a compact carrying case and thrown into a backpack. It’s not going to have any lining on the inside to keep you warm, but it is going to do an excellent job at keeping the rain off of your back!Read more
What we liked about this option is that it has a few detailed flairs in the colored panels users on the shoulders. It offers users a high neckline that can be folded down if needed, and wide cuffs that have a velcro strap that can be cinched shut to keep the rain out.
This unit is made from 100 percent polyester inside and out. The outside shell is made of waterproof and water resistant polyester, and the interior has a mesh lining to promote breathability.
About 76 percent of users felt that this design fit them just as they thought it would. It is offered in sizes that start at small, and up all the way up to XX-large.
What we really love about this design is that it comes in a wide variety of fun color choices. With most colors, the top shoulder panel is typically a lighter color than the bottom panel. Color options include black, red, blue, green, orange, yellow, and gray.
Another thing that we really like about this design is that it is one of the most affordable options of this brand line that is currently on the market. If you wanted to test out the quality and reliability of one of these products, this is an excellent place to start.
If you are in the market for something that is going to be small and lightweight to keep the rain off of your head and the wind from piercing your back, the Glennaker Lake is going to be an excellent choice to bring along on your next camping trip.
10. Morning Light II
Omni-Heat panels on the inside
Some find that it runs a little small
Upon first glance, you might think that this design is a lot similar to the Mighty Lite options, but there are a few key differences that set it apart and make help it make it on a list of best Columbia jackets. What we liked most about this design was how long it is, and also the bulky materials that make it incredibly warm on cold winter days.Read more
Seams that are placed closer together give this design more of a puffer look and the addition of insulation gives it a heavier silhouette. In addition to the length, we really liked the addition of the cuffed sleeves to keep cold air out, and zippered pockets to keep personal belongings in.
The exterior shell of this design is made from waterproof and wind resistant material that will help keep you nice and dry. Polyester insulation will help retain heat, but the real star here is the Omni-Heat panels found on the inside that will reflect lost body heat back to you.
Three out of every four customers felt like this unit fit them exactly as they expected. Sizes are a little bit more limited than in most, offering sizes that start at small and run up to extra large.
Color options are a little bit more limited as well. Users will be able to select from a handful of darker earth tones that include black, gray, teal, silver, and purple.
The cost of this design is actually one of the more expensive options coming out of this line. However, users find that this unit is well worth the price tag if you want something that is going to keep you warm.
If you are in the market for something that is a little bit longer than many of the other options out there that come down just to the top of your jeans, and you want it to be made from materials that are going to keep you warm when the temperatures drop- the Morning Light II is going to be a great option.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
For those that live in a part of the world that has some pretty harsh winters, you coat is going to be your main fashion attraction for much of the year.
That’s why we wanted to make sure that we selected designs that were not only going to look good but were also going to be timeless so they won’t be going out of style any time soon. The great thing about this particular line of outdoor apparel is that almost every garment sports a very simple design as well as a simple and low key silhouette. What that means for you is that you will be able to wear each design for years without worrying about if it has gone out of style. Plus, simple silhouettes also means that it is going to be able to be something that is going to work with almost any wintertime outfit, whether you are wearing it to go skiing or hiking, or if you just plan on spending the day shopping at the mall or going to a movie with some friends.
What type of materials used will determine two things: how long it is going to last, and how warm it is going to keep you when the temperature start to plunge.
One thing that we discovered about this line is that they use a type of fabric that they call Omni-Heat. This plastic but breathable material works the same way a space blanket (or emergency blanket) would work at maintaining body heat. The only difference between a space blanket and the Omni-Heat fabric is that Omni-Heat has little holes on the surface that will promote airflow while still holding in the heat so that you will be warm, but you won’t be as sweaty, and you won’t run the risk of overheating. Another thing that we looked at was what the outside shell was made from. We liked shells that have a waterproof and windproof exterior shell because keeping dry is one of the most important ingredients when it comes to staying warm. Insulation is another key factor when it comes to these products, which is why we make sure to select designs that used recycled polyester insulation, or their high-quality synthetic down that keeps heat high and costs low.
Due to the fact that for a few months out of the year this garment is going to be the only thing that people will see you wear when outside- we wanted to make sure that it fits the way that it should.
One thing that we did to ensure that each design had a good fit was to check if there was a sizing chart offered. Many of the options that we selected for our list had very detailed sizing charts that not only took into consideration the size of your waist, but that also took into consideration length, arm size, and hips. This way, you will be able to prioritize where you would prefer your coat to fit better if there isn’t a size that fits like it was tailored to your body. We also took into consideration what previous users had to say about each option because the proof is always in the pudding. If there was an overwhelming number of users that felt that it either fit too tight or too loose, we typically selected a different style or made note of it in the product description.
Winter is long and it can be rather bleak, so selecting a style that would offer users a lot of different colors to select from was something that we felt was important.
The great thing about this brand is that they don’t hold back when it comes to colors. Other brands may just offer the staple color options such as black, red, blue, gray, and white- but Columbia offers customers with color choices that they might not have seen anywhere else. We found that this is important because these coats are going to be something that you are going to wear every single day. Unlike pants and shirts that you change often, this is going to be the color that you are going to be seen in by everyone outdoors for an entire season- so you want to pick something that you love. Overall, we are big fans of companies that offer the customer a wide assortment of colors when it comes to their gear, and this company does not disappoint.
We want to save you money when we can, but we don’t want to leave you out in the cold.
What we discovered is that designs that were made for spring and fall, or places with mild winters were generally a lot more affordable. Designs that have a simple fleece layer, or that don’t utilize the Omni-heat tech are typically priced to be pretty affordable. When you start to add higher end materials, details in the stitching and designs, multiple removable layers and plush insulation is when you are going to run into pretty high price points. While we find that these details are worth it in the long run, we also wanted to include options such as the Frost Fighter that comes in at a very affordable price point but uses materials that are going to warm even in some pretty cold temperatures.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The type of material that a coat is made from is going to tell you a lot about how well it is going to perform outdoors. If it has heavy insulation in conjunction with the Omni-Heat tech, you know that it is built for some of the coldest temperatures that you can find. If a design uses fleece with minimal layers, you know that it is going to be better for temperatures that are more mild. If it had a mesh lining with a waterproof polyester shell, it is going to be something that is designed for warming and rainy conditions.
Be sure to select a style (and color) that you absolutely love! This is going to be a garment that is going to be your identifier when out on adventures this winter, so it is important that is should be something that you love. Also, keep an eye on smart features that are designed to keep you warm, such as cuffed sleeves and adjustable hoods. Also, zippered pockets are incredibly handy to ensure that all of your important belongings stay put.
Really take a look at what people have to say about how each design fits. While companies may offer a detailed sizing chart, sometimes they just aren't as reliable as trying it on in person. We have found that if it fits too tight or too loose, there is typically quite a few users that will warn you before you make your purchase. We feel that getting a size too big is always better than too small, because it means that you will be able to add more layers, and it will not hinder your range of movement they way a coat that is too small can tend to do.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What makes this brand so great?
As far as outdoor apparel is concerned, this brand is one of the heavy hitters. They have been in the business of making great quality gear for over 80 years. They were founded in an area of the world that is well versed in incredibly cold temperatures, so they know a thing or two not only about what it takes to stay warm in cold weather but also what types of materials that users like to wear when it gets cold. One of the things that this brand is known for its lightweight gear. No one likes to feel weighed down to the point that their joints ache when engaging in any wintertime activity such as fishing, hiking, or skiing, so Columbia makes sure that the materials that they use are going to be incredibly lightweight.
q: What is Omni-Heat
For many of the cold weather designs in their line, you might have noticed that many of them use a material called Omni-Heat. So, what is this type of material? If you have ever watched a movie where a character has been rescued from a cold mountain, you might have noticed that the rescue crew drapes what looks to be a thin layer of aluminum foil over their shoulders. These blankets are sometimes referred to as space blankets, or emergency blankets, and Omni-Heat uses the same types of materials as these blankets. They are typically made from a type of plastic, and they work by trapping heat that is being expelled from your body, and keeping it from escaping. The Omni-Heat is just a little bit different because it has a series of hole that will trap heat, but it also is a little bit more breathable that simple space blankets so that you don’t feel like you are wearing a plastic trash bag!
q: Are they expensive?
What we really like about Columbia is that they offer users high quality materials and craftsmanship, but they aren’t so expensive that they are going to break the bank. While they do offer some styles that come in at a price point that many would find just a little too rich for their blood, there are some options that are a little bit more palatable. Plus, that doesn’t mean that the designs built for harsher climate are going to be more expensive. The Frost Fighter, for example, is a puffer design that is made for some of the most extreme temperatures that you can find. It uses synthetic down for insulation, and Omni-Heat materials for the lining, but it is actually one of the more affordable options to make our list.
q: Are they waterproof?
For the most part, almost every option in their lineup offers some type of water resistance. Some are considered to be 100 percent waterproof, while others may only just be water resistant. Designs that have an exterior shell that is composed of nylon (which are most styles in their line) are typically considered to be completely impervious to water or wind. The fleece options, on the other hand, are usually designed for less harsh temperatures, and aren’t designed to be worn outside in the rain for long period of time. While the top layer may be treated with a water-wicking substance, over time the water will start to seep into the soft fleece. If you absolutely need to be 100 percent waterproof, steer clear of fleece shells.
q: Are they easy to wash?
One thing that users are always curious about is how well they wash. We have all had that one coat that we loved for an entire season, and the moment we threw it into the washing machine, it just never looked or felt the same ever since. So, how do these designs wash up? The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to washing any of these designs is that they are going to need to be exposed only to cold water. If you use warm water, you run the risk of shrinking or misshaping the materials. Columbia suggests that users add a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle to help keep colors vibrated and prevent them from fading when you wash them. When it comes time to dry, skik the dryer completely. We suggest place it on a flat surface, or even hanging on a line in a well ventilated area to allow it to dry completely.
q: What are some tips to ensure that it will hold up for multiple seasons?
Taking good care of your gear is a great way to ensure that it will be there for you for multiple winters. The very first thing that we recommend is to spot treat stains first before you jump to throwing it into the washing machine. Washing it only after a season (or as needed if you are incredibly active and get sweaty and dirty a lot) is going to wear on the fabrics a lot faster than if you saved it for once a year. Another thing that will make it last longer if proper storage in the off season. Be sure to dry it completely before storing it, and also make sure that it is stored in a cool, dry area that has ideal air circulation so that it doesn’t become moldy or stale when you take it out of storage.