Winter warmth doesn’t need to cost a lot.
US outdoors brand Columbia is one of the top selling labels in the States and in Canada, but in the crowded European market it has yet to make much headway.
Many down jackets can make you look like the Michelin Man, but the TurboDown is a really slim fit. The medium was neat for my 5â€™9â€ average build. I have worn it on hill walks and dog walks in some fairly challenging weather. It is seriously windproof, and actually better than expected in the rain. Normally down jackets are for fair weather walking only, as, if the down gets wet, it takes forever to dry and can clump together, reducing its insulation properties. I got caught in a torrential downpour lasting about half an hour, and the jacket took it all in its stride. No water got through, and it dried off really quickly. You would need a shell in persistent rain though.
Itâ€™s quite long in the body and has a ducktail at the back to keep your bum warm. Thereâ€™s a drawstring at the hem, but I didnâ€™t use it as the fit was so neat, and I never experienced any draughts. Elasticated cuffs and hood help keep the cold out, and there are two zippered pockets. Theyâ€™re not huge, and I could have done with an inside pocket, or a chest pocket for my phone, but itâ€™s a minor quibble. Another strange thing about the jacket is that the main zip appears to be positioned on what is normally the â€œladyâ€™s sideâ€. Again, not an issue, but slightly strange.
The insulation comes from goose down â€“ at the top end of the fill spectrum â€“ 800. This means that one ounce of the down occupies 800 cubic inches. As a good rule of thumb, you get a warmer, more compressible jacket the higher the fill. The extra 60 in the insulation rating comes from the space-age inner fabric. This is Columbiaâ€™s own Omni-Heat technology â€“ designed to reflect your own body heat back at you, keeping you cosier. Basically a series of tiny silver dots, the lining looks like silver foil. It came in handy when we were transporting our just-cooked Christmas turkey to my mumâ€™s a few miles up the road. I can report that it kept it deliciously warm.
At Â£150 RRP for a down jacket, it is superb value â€“ and we’ve seen it even cheaper. Iâ€™ve been wearing it a lot, and due to its lightweight compact nature, it would make a great emergency jacket stuffed in your pack.
â€¢ Omni-Heat reflective lining
â€¢ Water resistant
â€¢ Two zipped pockets