The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Columbia Last Tracks Review

A good entry-level ski jacket for an affordable price
Columbia Last Tracks
Photo: Columbia
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $175 List | $87.50 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Affordable, weather resistant, good set of features
Cons:  Not stylish, no ventilation, boxy fit
Manufacturer:   Columbia
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 3, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 15
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 5
  • Ventilation - 15% 3
  • Style - 15% 4
  • Features - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Columbia Last Tracks is an entry-level ski jacket that provides a moderate level of warmth and weather resistance. It combines synthetic insulation with a heat-reflective liner to provide enough warmth for most days on the ski hill, given you wear a warm mid-layer underneath. The waterproof and breathable membrane in the outer shell keeps water out, but the external fabric wets out quickly, and some seams and zippers are left unsealed. The removable hood is big enough for most ski helmets, and other features include a sleeve ski pass pocket and a powder skirt. On the downside, the jacket isn't very stylish and has a boxy fit that droops off the body loosely. It doesn't have any vents, which means you can't quickly ditch heat on warm days or during bootpacks to hike-to terrain. Still, this ski jacket has most of the features that we crave on the ski hill and is a great option for beginners and occasional skiers who don't want to spend too much.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Columbia Last Tracks
Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Editors' Choice Award 
Price $87.50 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$275.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price on Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price on REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price on REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
53
88
81
80
79
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Affordable, weather resistant, good set of featuresExcellent performance in every category, durableImpeccable quality, clean lines, very warm, excellent weather protectionVery warm, great weather resistance, high quality constructionCompletely weather resistant, good ventilation, freeride style
Cons Not stylish, no ventilation, boxy fitMore snug fit than other optionsSuper expensive, too warm for some applicationsBoxy fit, unremarkable style, expensiveExpensive, too heavy and warm for most backcountry use
Bottom Line It has almost everything you need and nothing you don'tWe can't picture a better all-around jacket for skiingThis top-shelf manufacturer pulls no punches and creates a spectacular jacket in the processA warm and durable jacket with a high price tagWith weather resistance, style, and ventilation, this is the total package for a ski shell
Rating Categories Columbia Last Tracks Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft Arc'teryx Macai Patagonia Primo Puff Arc'teryx Sabre AR Jacket
Warmth (20%)
6
8
10
10
5
Weather Resistance (20%)
7
8
8
9
10
Comfort And Fit (20%)
5
10
9
7
8
Ventilation (15%)
3
8
6
7
8
Style (15%)
4
9
8
6
9
Features (10%)
6
10
6
8
7
Specs Columbia Last Tracks Helly Hansen Alpha... Arc'teryx Macai Patagonia Primo Puff Arc'teryx Sabre AR...
Main Fabric 100% nylon 2-layer stretch polyester N40p-X Gore-Tex 2-layer, 4-oz 75-denier 100% recycled polyester N80p-X Gore-Tex
Insulation Omni-heat thermal reflective LifaLoft synthetic Coreloft 100, Coreloft Compact, and 750 fill goose down PlumaFill synthetic Thin flannel backer
Pockets zippered hand, chest, and ski pass 2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 sleeve 2 handwarmer, 1 sleeve, 1 chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal chest 2 hand, 1 chest, 2 interior 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal
Weight (pounds) 2.14 lbs 2.56 lbs 2.64 lbs 2.54 lbs 1.66 lbs
Waterproofing Multi-layered waterproof construction Helly Tech Professional 3L Gore-Tex Pro Shell Gore-Tex Gore-Tex
Hood Option? Yes Adjustable and removable Adjustabe and Removable Adjustable Adjustable
Pit-Zips? None Mesh-backed Mesh-backed Open Open
Cuff construction Velcro adjustable Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs Velcro Velcro Velcro
Powder skirt? Yes Yes Yes, removable Yes, removable Yes
RECCO? No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This jacket performs adequately in the important metrics of warmth and weather resistance but lags behind the high-end competition when it comes to fit and useful features.

Performance Comparison


Powder turns on a bluebird day in the Columbia Last Tracks.
Powder turns on a bluebird day in the Columbia Last Tracks.
Photo: Matt Grossman

Warmth


The Columbia Last Tracks provides a decent amount of warmth via synthetic insulation and heat-reflective metallic liner fabric. The insulation isn't very thick or heavy, and as a result, the jacket isn't warm enough for days when the temps dip much below freezing without a warm mid-layer worn underneath it. Still, for beginner skiers, or for skiers who only get on the slopes a handful of days a year, the warmth is adequate and can be supplemented by proper layering.

The Columbia Last Tracks features a thin layer of synthetic...
The Columbia Last Tracks features a thin layer of synthetic insulation and a reflective liner to provide a decent amount of warmth without weighing the skier down.
Photo: matt grossman

Weather Resistance


The Last Tracks jacket uses Columbia's proprietary Omni-Tech waterproof and breathable membrane, which works decently well in our experience of using this tech for several years. It isn't as waterproof or as breathable as Gore-Tex, but it generally gets the job done as expected for the price. After a few uses, liquid water started to soak into the external shell fabric, but it never made it through the jacket. The hood fits over a size Large helmet, but we wish the hood extended a bit further around the helmet to provide complete coverage. The jacket is critically seam-sealed, and the chest pocket zipper is waterproof, but we wish more zippers and seams were fully waterproof. The sleeve cuffs have a velcro closure to seal the jacket at the wrists.

The Last Tracks' outer shell fabric wets out after a few uses, but...
The Last Tracks' outer shell fabric wets out after a few uses, but liquid water never made it through the shell and into the jacket in our test.
Photo: matt grossman

Comfort and Fit


The Last Tracks has a boxy and loose fit that doesn't feel like it was well-tailored. The materials are all relatively plasticky, including the metallic interior lining. It doesn't feel as uncomfortable as a stiff shell-only jacket, but our testers preferred to wear thick mid-layers underneath to buffer the interior liner fabric. The sleeves are about the right length, and the hood fits helmets decently, but it could fit better. Overall, there are many more well-tailored jackets out there, but we can't complain too much for the price.

The Last Tracks feels boxy and loose on the body, whereas other...
The Last Tracks feels boxy and loose on the body, whereas other jackets fit better and have more contoured tailoring.
Photo: matt grossman

Ventilation


Ventilation is not a strong suit here. This jacket has no vents, and the insulation is fixed, meaning that the only way air can move through the jacket is through the hem, hood, and neck opening, or by opening the front zipper. We have come to expect the best jackets on the market to have armpit vents to ditch heat on warm days or during high-output aerobic activities, like mogul skiing and inbounds hiking. On the upside, the hood is removable, which allows some heat to escape from the neck area. Still, don't expect much ventilation capabilities from this jacket.

The Last Tracks does not have any armpit vents, meaning any...
The Last Tracks does not have any armpit vents, meaning any ventilation must come from unzipping the front zipper.
Photo: matt grossman

Style


The Last Tracks features a middle-of-the-road and straightforward style that doesn't take any chances. It is reminiscent of an urban winter jacket, and lacks an athletic look due to its boxy cut. While it doesn't offend the senses, its lack of athletic design implies that the user is on the introductory side of the spectrum. Hardcore skiers will probably want a better fitting jacket and prefer a jacket with a more ski-specific style. It comes in a wide variety of subdued colors, in stark contrast to the neons and bright colors used in more high-end ski apparel. If you want to blend into a crowd, this jacket will help.

The Last Tracks features a simple style that is not objectionable...
The Last Tracks features a simple style that is not objectionable, but it doesn't get any points for boldness either.
Photo: matt grossman

Features


The Last Tracks includes a large amount of ski-specific features that make life easier on the hill. In addition to two handwarmer pockets, there is also an external chest pocket with a waterproof zipper and a ski pass pocket on the left sleeve. The fixed powder skirt keeps out snow on deep days, and the removable hood can be cinched down tight on both sides of the face and in the back with a velcro flap. The right handwarmer pocket has an internal key clip so you won't lose your car keys while accessing the pocket.

The Last Tracks jacket includes a handful of useful ski features...
The Last Tracks jacket includes a handful of useful ski features, including a helmet-compatible, adjustable, and removable hood.
Photo: matt grossman

Value


This jacket has all of the performance attributes that a basic ski jacket needs. It keeps the user relatively warm and dry and has plenty of pockets for storage. While it lacks the refinement of more high-end jackets, like ventilation systems and a stylized and contoured fit, it gets the basic job done at a very affordable price. For skiers who hit the slopes for a week or less every ski season, or for those who want just one jacket for both skiing and other winter use, this jacket is a great value. Just be prepared to layer up underneath when temperatures get frigid.

Conclusion


Overall, we are impressed by how much performance this jacket brings to the table, given its price. It performs where it needs to regarding protection from weather and cold temperatures, but if the weather gets really bad and you still want to ski, you might be stuck wishing your jacket was warmer. Otherwise, this is a great choice for occasional skiers who are more concerned with their budget than with their jacket's performance. It also doubles as a general-use winter jacket in milder winter climates.

One final powder run in the Last Tracks. While this jacket isn't...
One final powder run in the Last Tracks. While this jacket isn't warm enough to be an everyday ski parka, it gets the job done for occasional users.
Photo: matt grossman

Jeff Dobronyi