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Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip Review

It's basic and heavier weight, but still maintains the creature comforts, and is soft and affordable
Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip
Credit: Columbia
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Price:  $65 List | $27.93 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, packs away easily, casual look for around-town use
Cons:  Poor warmth-to-weight ratio, bulky, not the best for layering
Manufacturer:   Columbia
By James Lucas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 26, 2022
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Warmth - 20% 7.0
  • Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Breathability - 20% 6.0
  • Layering Ability - 15% 6.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Weather resistance - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 is one of the least expensive models in this year's selection. Much to our surprise and delight, this fleece kept our testers as warm as contenders that cost over four times as much. However, this bulky, bare-bones model couldn't match the breathability, comfort, or layering ability of the higher performing models. We wouldn't recommend this jacket for any high-octane, backcountry pursuits like alpine climbing, but it will keep you warm on shorter, casual outings or around-town use.

Editor's Note: On August 26, 2022, we added the Steens 2.0 to our line up.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $27.93 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Inexpensive, packs away easily, casual look for around-town useCozy, athletic fit, breathable, lightweightHigh performance, solid fit, breathable, solid featuresBreathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athleticsInexpensive, cozy, great stand-alone jacket
Cons Poor warmth-to-weight ratio, bulky, not the best for layeringNo thumb loopsDifficult to add many layers under, not as warm as other modelsAverage weather resistanceBulky and lacks breathability, hard to layer under tight layers
Bottom Line It's basic and heavier weight, but still maintains the creature comforts, and is soft and affordablePatagonia made the classic R1 warmer and more comfortable with this versatile pieceBuilt for the athlete, this model provides warmth, as well as a highly functional pieceHighly featured and even higher performing, this cost-effective option provides a hard-to-beat valueAn inexpensive fleece jacket with a simple non-technical design and a bit of comfort
Rating Categories Columbia Steens Mou... Patagonia R1 Air Fu... Mountain Hardwear S... Outdoor Research Vi... REI Co-op Groundbre...
Warmth (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Comfort (20%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Breathability (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Layering Ability (15%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Weather resistance (10%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Columbia Steens Mou... Patagonia R1 Air Fu... Mountain Hardwear S... Outdoor Research Vi... REI Co-op Groundbre...
Type Midweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight
Measured Weight 16.6 oz 12.5 oz 13.3 oz 13 oz 11.6 oz
Main Material 100% polyester 100% Polyester 100% polyester 94% polyester, 6% spandex 100% polyester
# of Pockets 2 3 2 3 2
Unique Features None Slim-fit hood, quick drying Raglan sleeves, thumb holes, three-piece fitted hood Thumb holes, UPF 30, 3-panel hood with binding Stretch binding at waist and cuffs
Hood Option No Yes Yes Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Light on the wallet, the Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 is a jacket made from 100% polyester MTR filament fleece with two cozy, zippered handwarmer pockets. Additionally, snug elastic cuffs and a hem cinch help trap heat and keep out cold drafts. Due to its bulky cut, this isn't our favorite piece for layering, but it gets the job done around town and on short hikes.

Performance Comparison


Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip fleece jacket - with a comfortable, casual feel, the mountain steens offers a decent...
With a comfortable, casual feel, the Mountain Steens offers a decent jacket at a low price.
Credit: James Lucas

Warmth


The mid-weight Steens 2.0 kept our testers warm, thanks to its 100% polyester MTR (maximum thermal retention) fleece. The jacket is on the thinner side and half as warm as many of the other models that we tested. The rolled elastic cuffs and stretchy bungee cord hem cinch are amply tight, keeping the hot air in and the cold breeze out. This fleece has a long cut, extending the warmth well below the waist.

Comfort


The Steens 2.0 has an odd cut. On our size medium, the long arms bunched up around the cuffs, but when fully zipped, the collar pressed firmly and uncomfortably against the throat. A warm collar is a nice feature when you're sitting on a chairlift with the cold wind blowing in your face, but not when it's so tight it restricts your movement.

Breathability


The Steens Mountain 2.0 is uniformly thick over the entire jacket. This simple design keeps the price down but it doesn't breathe well. This is adequate if you're on a chilly morning bike ride and you want to keep the wind out, or if you're fishing in a cool mountain stream, but if you're running or hiking quickly uphill, you're likely going to sweat, making this jacket less of a performance piece and more of a casual wear jacket.

Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip fleece jacket - this fleece repelled water better than lighter weight models, but...
This fleece repelled water better than lighter weight models, but still soaked through in light rain.
Credit: Jenni Snead

Layering Ability


The bulky cut of the Steens 2.0 doesn't lend itself to layering. Under multiple layers, the bunching up of the fabric on the sleeves is noticeable and annoying. Under a hardshell or an appropriately sized wind layer our testers weren't bothered as much — just make sure your shell is big enough to accommodate this hefty fleece.

Weather Resistance


The Steens won't keep you dry in a rainstorm, but it did resist being penetrated by precipitation better than some of its more breathable competitors. Light drizzle beads up on this fleece, but heavier rain will soak through, so be prepared with more of a shell if there's major precipitation. Without thin gridded areas for breathability, the Steens does a nice keeping out the breeze, but it is a fleece, and its design is geared towards insulation, not wind resistance.

Weight


At t 16.1 ounces, it's light and packable. It's also fairly easy to wear though the sleeves and the shoulders felt bulky, adding to the weight. The weight-to-warmth ratio on this jacket is adequate but nothing too special.

Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip fleece jacket - with a bit of a bulky fit, the mountain steens performed less than...
With a bit of a bulky fit, the Mountain Steens performed less than favorably in athletic pursuits.
Credit: James Lucas

Should You Buy the Columbia Mountain Steens 2.0?


For the price, this jacket does well as an insulating layer for day hikes, fishing trips, car camping, and staying warm while in the yard. It doesn't score as well with more technical applications but the price is hard to beat.

Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip fleece jacket - with a hard-to-beat price, the mountain steens is a good option for...
With a hard-to-beat price, the Mountain Steens is a good option for casual wear.
Credit: James Lucas

What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?


If staying warm and saving money are your primary concerns, then the Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0 will deliver. We don't recommend it for backpacking, ski touring, or climbing because it doesn't offer a high level of breathability; the bulky cut also makes it difficult to wear underneath multiple layers. It makes a good, inexpensive jacket for around-town use. Another option similar to this jacket is the REI Groundbreaker, which comes in at a slightly less expensive price. The Outdoor Research Vigor is next in line when it comes to price, and it offers one heck of a deal.

James Lucas
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