Gear Review: Columbia’s Whirlibird Interchange Jacket for Women

A few months ago I was contacted by Columbia Sportswear to see if I’d like to try some Omni-Heat Reflective clothing.  I didn’t have to think about this offer very long because my winter playground is the Canadian Rockies where temperatures can easily get down to -20F or colder when I want to go out snowshoeing or skiing.  Not one to sit inside and wait for the weather to warm up in spring, I need warm clothing so I can enjoy our lengthy winter season.

I was sent a few pieces of clothing but the one that has been a lifesaver to me this winter is the Whirlibird Interchange Jacket.  I call it my fire jacket because it can be -5F or -25F and I’m always warm!  I have yet to feel chilled while wearing it, and I’ve been outside in some pretty crazy temps. this winter.

Snowshoeing in the hibiscus colored Whirlibird jacket

Snowshoeing in the hibiscus colored Whirlibird jacket

A few things I love about the jacket:

One – It’s a 3-in-1 jacket so I can get lots of use out of it in a variety of conditions.  The white insulating inner jacket can be worn out for drinks after skiing by itself, the shell jacket can be worn in wet conditions, (and would be great for rainy backpacking trips), and both pieces can be worn together as one big warm ski jacket. (Which I’ve tried, and can testify to its warmth on a ski hill.)

Wearing the insulating layer on a warm day

Wearing the insulating layer by itself on a warm day

Two – It has thumb loops on the insulating layer – which I’ve never ever seen on a jacket before!   I love thumb loops because they help keep my hands warm when I’m not wearing gloves. (Which, since I love photography, is a lot!)


Thumb loops on the insulating jacket

Three – It has pockets everywhere and tons of places to stash things like i-pods, my phone, chap-stick, or even keys.

Warm and Toasty

Warm and Toasty

Four – The shell is fleece lined near my mouth so that when I put the hood up, and zip the jacket up over my mouth, I have something soft against my face.

IMG_2835The jacket would feel bulky for cross-country skiing (not to mention, be too warm), but it is a fabulous jacket for snowshoeing or winter hiking.  It’s become my staple for winter outings now, and is always one of the first things I pack when heading out for the weekend. I’m confident that I will be toasty warm as long as I’m wearing it.

Warm enough for hiking at any pace

Warm enough for hiking at any pace

One final note about Omni-Heat Clothing:  I’ve heard that you have to work for your heat when wearing Omni-Heat clothing, but I’ve worn the jacket when it was -25F while hiking at a child’s pace and the jacket performed very well when I wasn’t moving very quickly.

Shopping Tip:  Buy a size larger than you’d normally wear because the jacket fits on the small size.

Trying Stuff with Columbia

Trying Stuff with Columbia

For more information on Columbia Sportswear, their Omni-Heat Technology and the Whirlibird Jacket for Women, visit the Columbia website.

To purchase the Columbia Whirlibird Jacket for Women, click here… and for Men, click here.

Disclaimer:  While I was given my jacket for review purposes, I was not compensated in any other way by Columbia.   As always, my opinions and words are my own.

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