Columbia Peak 2 Peak 2011

Columbia are not known for technical mountaineering gear, but for 2011 they have released their own waterproof and breathable fabric called Omni-Dry, and designed the Peak 2 Peak jacket, which is very much biased towards the climber and mountaineer. Design Omni-Dry is a 3-layer laminate that is air-permeable and boasts laboratory figures that place it up there with the best fabrics. It feels pretty robust on the outside, and the inside scrim should soak up any sweat that doesn’t make it through the fabric. I’ve been using it for a few months, and found – while you can overpower it when cooking up a good sweat – it controls condensation as well as the other fabrics here. This jacket weighs a very respectable 456g (size L) and packs down pretty small too. You get Napoleon pockets, pit zips and a hood with a wired peak. On the hill In terms of staying dry and comfy this works as well as the other laminates here. It is waterproof and as breathable as current technology allows. But when walking I did find it a frustrating jacket to wear as it only has those Napoleon pockets, which you cannot warm your hands in. I know they are good for accessing guidebooks but I would still rather have pockets for warming my hands. However I know for some people the Columbia Peak 2 Peak will be ideal. You do get pit zips, which I like for mountaineering while wearing a harness, but seldom use when mountain walking. The hood gets a wired peak, face drawcords and a Velcro volume adjuster at the back. However it did not turn with the head as well as other designs here. The main zip does not get an external stormflap, and although it did not leak for me, I ‘d prefer an external stormflap for long-term protection of the exposed zip. This is a good jacket for mountaineers who prefer Napoleon pockets, but the hood could be slightly better. This jacket highlights that having a good fabric is only part of the buying decision as this design is not ideal for everyone in my view. It also has quite a high price tag, considering the features provided by other jackets at lower prices.

Outer 3-layer Omni-Dry
Inner none
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XXL
Weight 456g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 1
Stockist details – tel. (01189) 220130;

The Columbia Peak 2 Peak offers excellent breathability and waterproof performance; reasonable hood; Napoleon pockets, relatively low weight. However, it has a relatively short design; no external stormflap on main zip; no pockets that can be used to warm the hands; high price for feature set. In summary, it’s a reasonable design for climbers and mountaineers, but walkers may prefer a jacket with handwarming pockets and a better hood
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2011