Packable down jackets have been around for a few years now and I’ve owned quite a few budget-friendly down packable travel jackets specifically for the purposes of colder weather adventures.
The jackets were both convenient and practical for use when travelling from cold climates to hot climates and vice versa, but also useful for keeping warm on a chilly plane or for use as a soft pillow when stuffed into the provided carrying bag.
But packable down jackets are not all as I thought it would be.
My issue with packable down – those darn feathers
I’ve found that with every budget-friendly packable down coat that I’ve seen – mine included – the feathers seemed to migrate (pun intended) from the jacket onto whatever I’m wearing. Feathers are like cat hair, they go everywhere and quite frankly, it’s embarrassing when you remove your coat, and there are feathers and fluff all over your clothing. My mother-in-law was wearing one recently, and after driving her home one evening, I noticed that the car seat had all these little pieces of feathers all over the seat!
That’s why I now prefer my Omni-Heat Columbia Jacket.
The Columbia packable jacket is thin, packs away easily and I’ve found that the heat reflective jacket to be just as warm as my budget priced light-weight packable down jacket only without the annoying loose fly away feathers.
Does Columbia Omni Heat Work?
So, what is omni heat?
The Omni-Heat Columbia Jacket has Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective Fabric on the inside. I wrote another Columbia omni heat review for the Omni-Heat Heavyweight ½ Zip Base Layer. To summarise, the omni-heat reflective lining consists of these little silver dots all over the inside the jacket that reflects your body heat right back at you to keep you warmer.
I wore my Columbia omniheat jacket on the plane when travelling from cold, snowy Toronto, Canada to what I thought was going to be hot, sunny Orlando, Florida. Little did I know (Calculated Traveller weather fail) that a cold snap was passing through town, and it was going to be freezing at Disney World’s the Animal Kingdom! But luckily I had my jacket with me, and I was toasty warm.
- Thumbhole sleeves for extra warmth
- Longer in the back
- Nice clean seams inside
- Lightweight yet warm
- Not entirely waterproof (I didn’t want to take a chance and get soaked on the Kali River Rapids Ride!)
- Would be great if there were more inner pockets (there is only one)
Is Omni Heat Warmer Than Down?
Something to note is that you can’t really wear either the lightweight packable down or the Columbia Omni-Heat jackets in sub-zero temperatures. You would need to have a heavyweight jacket for those colder temperatures. Columbia Omni Heat temperature rating varies from jacket to jacket depending on the style.
What to look for when shopping for Omni Heat Reflective Jacket?
With a multitude of coat styles all designed with Omni-Heat reflective lining, Columbia Sportswear covers all omni heat temperature ranges from light weight to full-weight down jackets that include the lining for added warmth.
I suggest you look at these factors when making a shopping decision:
- Columbia Omni Heat jacket temperature rating. Think about where your typical travel destinations. Do you live in a cold climate and often travel to hot climates? You don’t want to buy a jacket that is too warm or not warm enough for your needs.
- Do you need a hood? I always buy a jacket with a hood because you never know when you are going to need that little bit of extra wind protection. That being said, I do find a hood to be cumbersome at times.
- Size. Since most women’s jackets are form-fitted, I typically look for a looser jacket so that I can wear a sweater underneath in case I need extra warmth.
- Waterproofing. Columbia Sportswear does make waterproof, seam sealed omni heat reflective jackets. However, I’ve found these to be quite expensive. I’ve found it to be more budget-friendly to wear a seam sealed waterproof rain jacket over top of my reflective jacket.
They also use the same Omni-Heat reflective fabric on insulated pants, vests, hats, gloves – the list goes on and on.
The Omni-Heat Columbia Jacket is my go-to travel jacket now. It’s travelled with me to Italy in the Spring of 2015. (See the photo in the article: Chroma Tessera Hotel in Rome Italy – Review). In 2019, I still wear and travel with my jacket regularly and still prefer the Columbia omni heat vs down jacket.
I hope you found this Columbia Omni Heat jacket review helpful. Check out the Omni Heat product line, you’ll stay comfy cosy.
I received product from Columbia Sportswear for review purposes. This had no bearing on my review of this item. As always, all my opinions are my own. I did not receive financial compensation for this review.