Brand: Columbia Sportswear
Model: Decompression Jacket
Pair the highest quality down (1,000-fill goose) with a heat-reflective liner (this has a similar effect to the Pinneco Core) and a DWR-treated, lightweight (10-denier) ripstop nylon shell, and what do you get? The holy grail of puffy jackets: ultratoasty and so feathery that you can hardly feel the weight of it on your body. “I wore it on every single trip last winter, sometimes with just a baselayer underneath, sometimes with a shell on top,” one editor says. “Backcountry skiing in spring with heavy, wet snow coming down, skinning above treeline on Colorado’s Loveland Pass on a 3°F January day, resort skiing at Copper Mountain in the 30s and 40s, and in camp around Upper Montgomery Yurt down to 25°F.”
Despite its warmth, we found it remarkably breathable when we were on the move in freezing temps. Sweat vapor just dissipates through the super-light fabrics.
Cut is relaxed through the torso, but long, so it prevents drafts from sneaking in at your waistline when you bend over to adjust bindings or stake a tent. The hood doesn’t fit over a helmet, but is plenty warm under one. Two side cinches let you snug it down over a beanie, but some testers wished for a third adjustment point to really crank it down for maximum thermal efficiency. If you want to splurge on something you’ll take on pretty much every winter trip, you’ll get your money’s worth. Sorry, ladies: men’s only.