“I loved wearing each piece separately, which is really the crux for a 3-in-1 system,” said our tester after a weeklong Utah ski tour in single-digit temps. And together, the shell and insulated jacket had none of the binding and bunching that plagues other 3-in-1s. Plus, the hem on the insulated jacket stays up off the shell hem, so there’s no capillary action sucking moisture into the inner jacket’s torso (the two pieces connect via a single snap at the neck). And the system is remarkably warm for the low bulk and weight, thanks to the insulated jacket’s Omni-Heat liner, a reflective aluminum dot pattern that traps body heat. The lightweight 2.5-layer shell is made with Omni-Wick EVAP, which disperses moisture so it evaporates quickly, reducing clamminess during high-output activities—testers gave it 5 out of 5 stars for breathability. $450; shell: 11 oz.; insulating lining: 13 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; columbia.com
Gear Review: Columbia Ultrachange Hardshell JacketA 3-in-1 system that also works great as separate pieces.