Monday, November 7, 2011

Columbia Baselayers: The Merger of Technology and Performance

Layering your clothing is a tried-and-true way to ensure comfort (and warmth) during those days where the mercury drops and your breath hangs in the air around you mid-sentence. The beauty of this simple concept is that it allows you to make quick adjustments based on your activity level and changes in the weather.

Thanks to Columbia, it’s time to ditch those cotton undies and the souvenir T-shirt from that U2 concert and upgrade to the Baselayers bolstered with Omni-Heat technology for warm, dry, layer-able comfort during your active cool weather pursuits.

On the Merger of Technology and Performance...
John Wooden once said, “It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

By paying detailed attention to the oft-ignored liner of our cold weather garments Columbia is inciting a revolution in outdoor performance apparel through their patented Omni-Heat technology.  This thermal reflective technology manages body heat through a system of tiny silver dots.  These tiny dots are the little details that work together to make big things happen.

Similar to an emergency blanket, Omni-Heat’s tiny silver dots bounce body heat back at you while at the same time allowing excess heat to escape through the permeable/breathable regions between the dots thereby preventing your body from overheating.  

According to Columbia, the Omni-Heat technology on average boosts heat retention by 20%.  While the Gumption Crew had no scientific means of measuring the increased levels of heat retention here’s what we can tell you from our time in Mother Nature’s laboratory: It works.    
Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology kicks in when you need it most and helps regulate body temperature while keeping you comfortable without compromising your performance.

As your next to skin layer, baselayers are also primarily responsible for keeping built up moisture away from your skin.  Towards these ends Columbia’s “Omni-Wick™” feature moves moisture away from the body, allowing perspiration to evaporate quickly. This wicking/evaporation process keeps you cool and your clothing dry, even when you’re heart rate is hitting the red zone.

In a nutshell, the Omni-Heat and Omni-Wick technologies work in harmony to  expel sweat but lock in warmth, better regulating your body temperature.  And while those technologies are working to help you perform better, antimicrobial treatment keeps the fabric feeling (and smelling) fresh during high-exertion activities which your adventure buddies will appreciate on the drive home.

On Fit and Feel...
Columbia’s top and bottom baselayers provide a slim, form-fitting design that fits more like a second skin than additional piece of garb.  Instead of feeling like a knight heading out for battle, the fabric blend of polyester and four-way-stretch elastane is light and flexibile working with you in your athletic endeavors all while reducing excess fabric bulk.  

The other feature our field crew thoroughly enjoyed was Columbia’s flat-lock stitching.  Flatlock stitching provides comfort by minimizing friction against the skin.  So whether your going for a morning run, or heading into the backwoods on a snowshoe adventure, smooth interior seams ensure that you never need to worry about any skin discomfort.

Bottom Line...
Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology is part of the new school look for this old school brand forging a new standard in outdoor clothing that’s difficult to beat.  No matter what your cold weather adventure entails, Columbia’s Omni-Heat midweight baselayer garments are a mandatory addition to the closet of any outdoor enthusiast.  Columbia’s full line of baselayer apparel is available in tops (standard and ½ zip) and bottoms for both men and women.  

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