A few months ago I was contacted by Columbia Sportswear to see if I’d like to try some Omni-Heat Reflective clothing. I didn’t have to think about this offer very long because my winter playground is the Canadian Rockies where temperatures can easily get down to -20F or colder when I want to go out snowshoeing or skiing. Not one to sit inside and wait for the weather to warm up in spring, I need warm clothing so I can enjoy our lengthy winter season.
I was sent a few pieces of clothing but the one that has been a lifesaver to me this winter is the Whirlibird Interchange Jacket. I call it my fire jacket because it can be -5F or -25F and I’m always warm! I have yet to feel chilled while wearing it, and I’ve been outside in some pretty crazy temps. this winter.
A few things I love about the jacket:
One – It’s a 3-in-1 jacket so I can get lots of use out of it in a variety of conditions. The white insulating inner jacket can be worn out for drinks after skiing by itself, the shell jacket can be worn in wet conditions, (and would be great for rainy backpacking trips), and both pieces can be worn together as one big warm ski jacket. (Which I’ve tried, and can testify to its warmth on a ski hill.)
Two – It has thumb loops on the insulating layer – which I’ve never ever seen on a jacket before! I love thumb loops because they help keep my hands warm when I’m not wearing gloves. (Which, since I love photography, is a lot!)
Three – It has pockets everywhere and tons of places to stash things like i-pods, my phone, chap-stick, or even keys.
Four – The shell is fleece lined near my mouth so that when I put the hood up, and zip the jacket up over my mouth, I have something soft against my face.
The jacket would feel bulky for cross-country skiing (not to mention, be too warm), but it is a fabulous jacket for snowshoeing or winter hiking. It’s become my staple for winter outings now, and is always one of the first things I pack when heading out for the weekend. I’m confident that I will be toasty warm as long as I’m wearing it.
One final note about Omni-Heat Clothing: I’ve heard that you have to work for your heat when wearing Omni-Heat clothing, but I’ve worn the jacket when it was -25F while hiking at a child’s pace and the jacket performed very well when I wasn’t moving very quickly.
Shopping Tip: Buy a size larger than you’d normally wear because the jacket fits on the small size.
For more information on Columbia Sportswear, their Omni-Heat Technology and the Whirlibird Jacket for Women, visit the Columbia website.
Disclaimer: While I was given my jacket for review purposes, I was not compensated in any other way by Columbia. As always, my opinions and words are my own.