The good people at Columbia sent us one of their latest creations, the Reach the Peak Hybrid Down Jacket—an innovative jacket that boasts both down and flexible/ventilated areas together with their Omni-Heat® technology.
Right away I noticed that the fit of this jacket runs small—I’m generally a small in Columbia’s products, and it just barely fits in the shoulders, and I would love even half an inch when using the “comfort cuffs” thumb holes. You don’t want a spare tire in this thing, either—or if you have one, ensure that you buy a size up to match its sleek looks. This is apparently not an uncommon problem, so be sure to consider size carefully, especially if ordering. Best bet: try it on.
I also quickly became convinced that this is jacket best suited for climbing those peaks it mentions in the title. When doing any strenuous activity, the combination of a well down-insulated front and breathable side panels made me feel warm where I wanted and like I was shedding heat where I didn’t. Teamed with a good shell, the RtP Hybrid Down Jacket excels at providing for the body-in-motion’s needs.
That said, when that body stops…my back started getting a bit chilly. A look at the jacket shows the front appears more heavily insulated-looking than the back. The stretchable knit that gives you such good movement reaches back into the back panel, and even that panel seems less filled than the front. Especially when wearing the RtP Hybrid Down Jacket alone, if I wasn’t exerting myself (or after I was done), I actually felt under-insulated for very cold days.
A quick look at the stats don’t show any shortcomings—700 fill-power is a good rating. It’s also a compressible jacket, which is great for packing. The shell is durable, Omi-Shield is effectively repellent, and it feels nice to the touch (and yes, that does matter). Omi-Heat seems effective—although it can shed little silver scales on you if you’re not careful. The price isn’t bad either—it retails for $180 on Columbia’s site, which isn’t bad for 700-fill down.
Like so many things, this jacket is about knowing what you want and then making sure the product provides that before you buy. I wouldn’t recommend it for very cold weather skiing, for instance; that time in the lift chair might get chilly. However, for any active winter pursuit where the hybrid breathability means the difference between getting sweaty (and then freezing later) vs. staying ventilated while exerting, the RtP Hybrid Down Jacket should be a great fit—if you get the right size!