Columbia took the concept of a down vest and evolved it by adding a stretchy, breathable side panel and arm. The 650-fill power duck down is housed in polyester and uses their Heat Seal technology to eliminate baffled stitching. By eliminating holes in the fabric, Columbia improves the jacket’s warmth retention and water resistance. Though neither of the fabrics is meant to stand up to large amounts of rain, they are water resistant, so rain beads up and roll off in light precipitation.
Fairly simple in design, this women’s softshell jacket has zippered pockets above the hips and a basic binding at the cuffs. Columbia added an insulated collar to this softshell so warmth can’t escape out the top when fully zipped. As this isn’t a heavy weather piece, the designers opted to go without a hood.
Field Notes: This softshell was put to the test on many hikes up in the mountains near Lake Almanor and fishing trips across Idaho and Oregon. The Flash Forward covers all the bases for a relatively fair weather workhorse. First and foremost, the insulation helped to keep Active Junky testers warm through what we would describe as fall or shoulder season weather, or as Columbia states “cool-to-cold temps.” The movement that the softshell material provides is well-placed and enabled testers to have full range of motion. Throughout our tests, aka adventures, there was never an issue with interior moisture build-up. And when the sky did open up, the material beaded well; just don’t get stuck in a rainstorm unless you packed a hat.
Tester Comments: “I like the level of warmth this Columbia softshell provides while still enabling a whole lot of movement. It was perfect for trudging around in cold waters and trying my hand at fly fishing Silver Creek. The jacket moved with me as I cast and did not have the bulky feeling that sometimes comes with insulation. It allowed me to power through some sprinkles and wind without worrying about my core temperature. Unfortunately, the fish evaded me, but I got to meet a moose!”
Key Attribute: Features
- HEAT SEAL technology eliminates baffled stitches, so the down stays in and the cold stays out
- Water resistant fabric
- 650 fill power down insulation
- Responsibly-sourced down insulation
Size: XS - XL
Material: [Shell] 100% Polyester, [Stretch Side Panels] 94% polyester / 6% elastane, [Insulation] 650 Fill Power Down, 80% Duck Down, 20% Duck Feather