The Crosslight II fleece paired with the hooded TurboDown jacket is an ideal layering system for winter adventures, and a perfect marriage of natural fibers and synthetics that lead to high performance in inclement weather.
To test them I headed to Mount Rainier National Park for a mid-winter snowshoe to a mountain hut at 4,500 feet. It was raining heavily in the foothills and didn’t turn to snow until a few miles into the ten-mile trek. The final half mile to the hut traversed an exposed ridge; it was windy and snowing hard. Here’s how my gear performed:
Columbia Platinum 860 Turbodown, $200, columbia.com
The Platinum 860 combines 800-fill goose down with Columbia’s own synthetic blends: Omni-Heat Insulation and Omni-Heat Reflective. The silvery fabric reflects body heat and wicks moisture away from to keep you dry. The water-resistant shell held up in a light rain and though the outside of the jacket was damp, I stayed dry and warm.
The TurboDown is lightweight and roomy in all the right places without feeling bulky. The sleeves are long and secured by a thin elastic band, and the jacket itself is long enough to feel fully covered (and has a drawcord-adjustable hem to keep it in place). The hood was roomy enough to wear a thick beanie and didn’t blow off when the wind started to howl. I was able to slip the Crosslight fleece on underneath, but if you’re looking to do heavy layering then size up as it runs a little small. I had a bit of trouble with the zipper (it’s small and can be hard to undo when taking off the jacket), but overall it’s a solid jacket, especially for the price.
Columbia Crosslight II Half Zip Fleece, $85, columbia.com
In addition to wearing this fleece in the mountains I’ve also been running in it. It’s not designed for running per se, but the fabrics used make it ideal for any outdoor activity and I found it particularly good at regulating body temperature.
While running in 25-degree weather my legs were cold, but my core was a perfect temperature and I didn’t overheat. Like the TurboDown, the Crosslight features the same Omni-Heat technology as well as Omni-wick side panels that wick away moisture. This fleece fits true to size and is roomy enough to sneak a layer or two underneath.
To purchase Columbia products, click here.