We received an email from Columbia asking if we’d test a parka with their new Omni-Heat insulating technology. The rep was very forthright: “All we ask is that you fill out a questionnaire on the product, and do a blog entry about the performance of the coat. We do not expect you to pull any punches.” With the Gore-tex coating on my North Face shell gone, I figured I had little to lose.
We wondered: Does Columbia Omni-Heat really work? My perception of Columbia was that they make nice gear, but I have never considered it to be expedition grade. While I’m not even sure what that means, if you’d asked me a few months ago which coat I’d rather be in on a planned or unplanned night in the woods, I’d have chosen my North Face.