Titanium High Alpine Parka by
Reviewed by Judy Nugent
One of the more frustrating things for a snowshoer is marrying
performance with function. When it comes to being prepared on the
trail, no detail can be overlooked and you want your equipment to
complement your experience. The new High Alpine Parka from Columbia
not only takes care of the basics like keeping you warm with optional
layering, but it also provides ample pockets for everything from
keys to cell phones.
The High Alpine jacket is really two jackets in one. The inner
layer is made of 100% polyester fleece and fits in any Columbia
jacket with the Interchange System. This allows you to mix and match
the liners depending on the weather and activity. I have found the
liners easy to interchange involving an interior zipper and then
an additional snap at the wrist. Both do a good job of keeping the
liner in place.
The outer layer is made of a 100% nylon 2-layer GORE-TEX® Ripstop
with 100% nylon 2-layer GORE-TEX Alpine Taffeta reinforcements,
and 100% polyester Ultra-Wick Mesh lining. In addition to
being a wind blocker, rain and snow simply bead off the GORE-TEX.
One shake of the outer shell and the moisture falls to the ground.
The GORE-TEX material is breathable allowing body heat and moisture
to escape keeping you warm and dry.
There are several pockets inside and outside of the jacket. Most
are what you would expect on a Columbia jacket. Two outer pockets
have zipper closures while two inner pockets do not. Both parts
of the jacket have pockets giving you many options for storage.
Perhaps the most exciting pocket it the radio pocket designed to
hold a two-way radio. In addition to the obvious safety benefits,
I use this pocket to keep in touch with my friends and family when
we decide to explore in different directions. All of the outer pockets
have a rain guard and zipper to keep them safe and dry.
Another important component to this jacket is its versatility.
With articulated elbows and radial sleeves, the jacket allows for
a full range of motion. You can wear this jacket for a variety of
activities from snowshoeing to cross country skiing. Columbia has
even included a lift ticket D-ring to secure lift tickets with easy
access. I think you'll find this jacket provides ample flexibility
for a wide range of outdoor sports.
The Radial Venting System provides maximum air circulation for those
uphill climbs and strenuous workouts. It is as simple as pulling
on the Velcro and unzipping the vents. This can be performed with
one hand, even when wearing gloves. The side vents allow body heat
to escape easily keeping you comfortable throughout the day.
Zipper pulls are long and thick making them easy to find and manipulate
even in cold weather. For windy days, there is an attached hood
with volume control and control storage tab. These features can
be manipulated quickly, even when wearing gloves. The hood does
not have a liner, so an extra wool hat may be necessary.
When it comes to buying a jacket I have two pet peeves. One is
a cold zipper touching my lips on a cold day, and the second is
sleeves that are too long and in the way of my gloves. For the first
time, I have a jacket that solves both of these problems. For that
cold lip there is an extra layer of fleece that covers the cold
zipper on the liner. On the outer shell is an additional chin guard
to keep out wind and moisture. Together my face stays much warmer.
This alone makes the first few minutes outside more enjoyable for
The wrist guards have elastic and Velcro to help cinch them closed
around my gloves. In the winter snow can't sneak up my sleeve and
my gloves are secure. When I'm ready to come in, one pull of the
Velcro and my gloves are ready to come off.
With a MSRP of $300 this jacket is for serious outdoor enthusiasts.
The price may be high, but you are buying the convenience of a zip
out liner, full arm movement, and the flexibility of arm vents and
versatile pockets. The High Alpine Jacket is a strong addition to
Columbia's Titanium line. While not inexpensive, this jacket offer
flexibility and function whether on the slopes or on the trail.
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