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Columbia Sportswear Omni-Heat Heavyweight ½ Zip Base Layer – Review

Columbia Sportswear Omni-Heat Heavyweight ½ Zip Base Layer – Review

by Mary Chong
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Super excited when Columbia Sportswear asked me to #TryStuff and sent me an Omni-Heat Heavyweight Base Layer to review.

You may hear the word “sportswear” and say to yourself, “I’m not an athlete I’m a traveller!” Well, think again because if you are like me, you are running to catch your connecting flights at the airport, hiking the canyons of Arizona and climbing the steep steps of Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha.

You are an athlete whether you realise it or not!

A lot of design and technology is incorporated into Columbia Sportswear products to ensure peak athletic performance, and when you are travelling, you need optimum performance and durability.

Omni-Heat – Make your own heat

This top is made using Omni-Heat fabric. “This thermal reflective technology keeps you warmer by reflecting back the heat your body generates. It also helps regulate body temperature by allowing excess heat and moisture to escape”

When you first look at the fabric, it’s reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s silver glove or metal/aluminium foil. Well, it works on the same principle as aluminium foil or space blankets. It reflects your heat back towards your body to keep you warm (unfortunately, it doesn’t help with your moonwalking capabilities)

I first thought the fabric would be rough and scratchy against my skin, but it’s smooth as silk and doesn’t feel like anything other than cloth.


  • Longer sleeves with thumb hole allows for extra warmth when wearing gloves
  • Longer in the back for extra coverage
  • Omni-wick fabric at the side/underarm to allow the fabric to breath and wick sweat
  • 4-way soft stretch fabric
  • Antimicrobial
  • Ergonomic flat seaming
  • Weight 7.7 oz


  • The mock neck is a little high on me, and the top of the zipper is a little scratchy, and I found it irritated my skin.
  • The fabric is waffle weave, similar to thermal underwear. I, however, prefer a smoother finish or less “underwear” like fabric so that I could wear it as a top layer without feeling self-conscious.
  • I have a few pulls in the fabric of the sleeve/elbows already. I’m not sure if this happened in the washing machine (I’ve washed it three times) or through rough wear.
  • Expensive if you compare it to a regular thermal shirt but this isn’t a regular thermal shirt – you are paying for the advanced technology.

Does it work?

It may just be in my mind, but I do feel warmer when I wear it compared to a regular thermal weave top.

I think it would be a great addition to your travel bag for situations when you are migrating from a cold climate to a warm climate and don’t want to wear anything bulky on the plane. It’s also thin enough and light enough to pack in your luggage for those just in case moments when the weather turns cold unexpectedly.

Product Info
Code Number: 1509841
Colours: Quill (as shown), Black
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL

Also available in Men’s sizes.

So, give a Omni-Heat Baselayer a try and let me know what you think.

I received this item from Columbia Sportswear for review purposes. This had no bearing on my review. As always, all my opinions are my own.

Check out these other Columbia Sportswear articles:
Packable Down versus Omni-Heat Columbia Jacket
Omni Freeze Zero Rules Gets Top Score

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