Reviews You Can Rely On

Columbia Benton Springs - Women's Review

A high value and maximum comfort fleece
Columbia Benton Springs - Women's
Photo: Columbia
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $60 List | $38.67 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Super warm, inexpensive, cozy and comfortable
Cons:  Not breathable, thicker for layering, pills after a few washes
Manufacturer:   Columbia
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 18, 2019
  • 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
66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Warmth - 20% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 8
  • Breathability - 20% 4
  • Layering Ability - 20% 4
  • Ease of Movement - 15% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Seeking cozy comfort for an amazing price? The Columbia Benton Springs is a classic fleece that stands out for its plush and fleecy fabrics that wrap you up like a warm blanket. This thicker fleece is designed to keep you warm during the coldest days of the wear. While it's not the most breathable, this non-technical fleece performs well for casual days in the cold. Wear it while raking the leaves, chopping wood, or simply sipping tea while reading a book. It comes in a variety of colors, and its casual design is perfect for wearing out while grocery shopping or meeting friends for coffee. This is our go-to for lounging around the house and an even bigger favorite for its super low price. This Best Buy winner is designed to keep you warm without exhausting your wallet.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $38.67 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$170 List
Check Price at REI
$159 List$99 ListCheck Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
66
85
82
75
73
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 Super warm, inexpensive, cozy and comfortableBreathable, durable, helmet compatible hood, awesome thermoregulation, high valueWarm, extremely breathable, cuts the wind, soft and cozy fabrics, stretchy and great mobilitySuper breathable, great price, wind resistant, quick to dry, long arms and torso, thumb loops, stretchyWarm, comfortable fleece material, decent wind resistance
Cons Not breathable, thicker for layering, pills after a few washesNot weather resistant, expensivePills after washing, style isn't for everybody, breast pocket is small and seemingly unfunctionalLacks water resistance, fit constricts under arm pits for someNot breathable enough for aerobic activities, shorter arm length
Bottom Line A high value and maximum comfort fleeceThe reigning champion that simply can't be beat for versatilityOur go-to layer when a balance of breathability and warmth are keyHighly breathable and built for the backcountryA classic fleece for wearing around camp or town
Rating Categories Columbia Benton Spr... Patagonia R1 Full Z... Patagonia R1 Air Hoody Outdoor Research Vi... Patagonia Re-Tool S...
Warmth (20%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
Breathability (20%)
4.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
Layering Ability (20%)
4.0
9.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
Ease Of Movement (15%)
8.0
10.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
Weather Resistance (5%)
7.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
8.0
Specs Columbia Benton Spr... Patagonia R1 Full Z... Patagonia R1 Air Hoody Outdoor Research Vi... Patagonia Re-Tool S...
Type Midweight Midweight Lightweight Midweight Midweight
Main Fabric Polyester Polartec PowerGrid (93% recycled polyester/7% spandex) 100% polyester Solid color: 93% polyester, 7% spandex Polartec Thermal Pro 100% polyester fleece (51% recycled)
Unique Features Extended collar Hidden zippered pocket, balaclava hood fits under a helmet, brick-patterned insulation balances breathability and warmth Ultra breathable and windproof face material that is stretchy and comfortable Flat lock seams, UPF 30, thumb loops Kangaroo-style handwarmer pocket, super soft and hi loft materials
Weight 13.4 oz 12.05 oz 10.6 oz 10.85 oz 14.4 oz
# of Pockets 2 hand 2 hand, 1 hidden zippered pocket (right hand) 1 small chest, 1 hand 2 hand, 1 chest 1 chest, 1 kangaroo pouch
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Columbia Benton Springs is the classic fleece at a great price. This award winner is perfect if you're seeking a comfy and cozy layer that'll keep you warm through the coldest nights of the year. Wear it while hanging around the house or while lounging around the park on a Fall Sunday afternoon.

Performance Comparison


The Columbia Benton Springs is a super warm fleece, perfect for...
The Columbia Benton Springs is a super warm fleece, perfect for chilly days. It's a great loungewear piece and a good option when you're not getting too sweaty. Here we test it on a cool morning in Northern Ontario.
Photo: Amber King

Warmth


If you're seeking a fleece to curl up in after a long day on the slopes, this is the one! Featuring 250-grams of polyester fleece, this jacket is designed for warmth. It was a go-to when the house felt cold on especially blustery days and our favorite for basic chores around our country home.


The jacket itself features a wind-blocking collar that wraps around the neck, preventing both wind and cold from seeking into the jacket. We tested it on blustery Fall days and cold nights, while camping, lounging, and hiking.

We love the super cozy, fleecy collar that provides warmth all day...
We love the super cozy, fleecy collar that provides warmth all day long.
Photo: Amber King

In all cases, this jacket always felt warm. It's best for the coldest months of the year and worn alone during cooler days in both the Spring and the Fall. Is it warm? Yes!

We love the soft pile of this fleece that generates heat...
We love the soft pile of this fleece that generates heat efficiently. When zipped up, it does a great job keeping heat close to the body, offering immediate comfort and happiness.
Photo: Amber King

Comfort


Cozy and comfortable? Indubitably! This fleece is constructed with a midweight in mind but feels a little heavier than other midweight fleeces in this review. These materials are thick and protective, wrapping you up like a cozy blanket. If you're looking for a fleece that offers well-priced comfort, this is our top recommendation.


The jacket has two large fleece-lined pockets that'll keep your paws warm on cold days. The jacket itself is pretty roomy and allows for easy movement, which inherently adds to the comfort of it.

Unfortunately the comfy handwarmer pockets become unusable with a...
Unfortunately the comfy handwarmer pockets become unusable with a harness or a hip belt from a backpack done up. Another reason it's a less technical fleece, and best for lounging around.
Photo: Amber King

Unfortunately, you can't access the pockets if you're wearing a backpack or a harness.

A look inside the fleece-lined pockets that offer optimal comfort.
A look inside the fleece-lined pockets that offer optimal comfort.
Photo: Amber King

The cuffs are thick with an elastic band, that doesn't really hug the body, but offers a relaxed fit, perfect for relaxing at a chalet or lounging at home. If cozy and comfortable is what you're after, this soft fleece has your name written all over it.

Both hands fit easily into the jacket without a worry.
Both hands fit easily into the jacket without a worry.
Photo: Amber King

Breathability


Designed a little thicker than most of the technical fleeces in this review, this jacket doesn't offer the best in breathability. The materials do offer some heat exchange, but for the most part, are good at capturing heat and keeping it close to the body. Aside from the zippers and pockets, it doesn't have any specific areas for ventilation.


We tested it while hiking and canoeing in the Fall. When hiking uphill, we got very hot and had to take the fleece off. Most technical fleeces will vent heat efficiently, not causing us to overheat, but in the case of the Columbia Benton, we had to. The same happened while canoeing. After a few minutes of paddling a little bit of warmth on a cold day, we were forced to strip down to our next layer. Other testers, wearing thinner and more breathable jackets, didn't need to do this. While you can absolutely wear this jacket while hiking, we wouldn't recommend it for any activity where you might find yourself sweating. It's simply too warm and not very breathable.

This warm day canoeing made this jacket a touch bit warm. She took...
This warm day canoeing made this jacket a touch bit warm. She took it off after wearing it for about ten minutes on the water. As a result, it's not the most breathable, but it certainly is warm.
Photo: Amber King

Layering Ability


Wearing the Benton Springs on its own is no problem. The jacket offers a lot of roominess and doesn't hug the body tightly. As a result, you can layer any type of baselayer or t-shirt underneath without an issue. However, layering overtop this fleece isn't as comfortable as other thinner base layers.


When trying on different layers, we appreciated the larger and relaxed fit of this fleece. Wearing a t-shirt or heavy baselayer proved to be no problem. However, when trying to layer it underneath jackets with interior liners that aren't frictionless, we had more of a problem.

On this beautiful but cold Fall day, we take to the bush, getting...
On this beautiful but cold Fall day, we take to the bush, getting ready to fell a tree, remove stumps, and do some sweaty chores. Layers fit nicely underneath but putting a jacket overtop this bulky behemoth is a chore in itself.
Photo: Amber King

The sleeves on this fleece are quite roomy, meaning that when trying to put them under a tighter jacket, they bunch. It doesn't have any thumb loops, which meant we simply had to grab the cuffs with our hands to layer properly.

Roomier jackets like the ultra layerable Rab Xenon makes layering...
Roomier jackets like the ultra layerable Rab Xenon makes layering overtop this bulkier layer easy.
Photo: Amber King

Some of our tighter fitting jackets simply didn't work, and we had to switch the fleece out so we could move. We didn't want to be left feeling like the kid from 'The Christmas Story' who "Can't put their arms down!". Aside from tight-fitting jackets, this fleece layers well overtop other layers, and underneath looser layers.

Unfortunately, this jacket that is intended to have a trim fit...
Unfortunately, this jacket that is intended to have a trim fit, doesn't do so well. We can hardly put our arms down. As a result, this fleece isn't the most layerable underneath other items, but super easy to layer over top of other layers.
Photo: Amber King

Ease of Movement


The relaxed fit of this fleece allows you to move easily without restrictions.


The arms are the regular length with a regular length torso. Some of our taller testers mentioned that the arms weren't long enough to cover when putting their arms up. However, regular movements were not restricted in any way. Overall, our testers could move easily in this jacket, which is another reason it's one of our favorites for lounging around the house in comfort.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

A look at the movement of this fleece. Even though it's relatively...
A look at the movement of this fleece. Even though it's relatively stiff, it still moves easily with the body. Unfortunately, it does ride up a little when you put your arms up, but aside from that, we are pretty happy with it's movement.
Photo: Amber King

Weather Resistance


While no fleece is designed to be completely weather-resistant, the Benton Springs provides a minimal level of resistance to the elements. When hiking and exploring during Fall conditions in Northern Ontario, we were presented with some windy days. When wearing just the fleece and a baselayer, the wind did not cut through the layers, and we stayed warm. The hi-pile, thicker fleece, provides some level of wind protection, as it does the same for water.


During our water tests, we found ourselves in a small rainstorm. The fleece did a great job at wicking away light drops of rain; however, when the downpour came, our jacket got soaked and absorbed this water.

The lofty fleece is quite good for repelling water!
The lofty fleece is quite good for repelling water!
Photo: Amber King

During our water tests, we noticed the same effect. When pouring water onto the face fabric, the polyester wicked away and repelled the water droplets until it was too heavy. Then it absorbed into the fabric and through to the interior. Of the other jackets tested, this performed at an average level, offering some wicking power of water, but far from a being "good" at repelling water. As a result, we'd recommend using this with a shell in bouts of poor weather if you plan on hiking or exploring while using this fleece.

Value


The best-valued fleece that we've seen thus far! Most fleeces retail at a higher price, offering lots of technical features and comforts. This jacket retails for a mere just under a third of that cost, making it one of our highest valued options in this review. During our testing, the only wear that we've seen in the fleece pilling on the interior is breaking down slightly after three months of wear every single day. According to many online users, this jacket has lasted for years and is a solid goto. With this history, price, and performance, we'd say the value is pretty stellar and a great deal.

We love this fleece for chopping wood on this cold day. As the day...
We love this fleece for chopping wood on this cold day. As the day heated up, we ended up taking it off, but it was nice early in the morning where temperatures sat close to freezing.
Photo: Amber King

Conclusion


If you're seeking a fleece that you can yourself into and looks good at the same time, the Columbia Benton Springs is a great option. Its price tag makes it our highest value fleece, earning our Best Buy Award. It's perfect for lounging or hiking around while checking out the Fall colors. As one of the warmest fleeces, it's a go-to for cold days and nights hanging out in the chalet.

Curl up with a good book into this ultra-cozy fleece jacket. Not...
Curl up with a good book into this ultra-cozy fleece jacket. Not only is it super comfortable, it's also extremely affordable.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King