Columbia Peak to Park - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Columbia Peak to Park is ultra-versatile and highly affordable. It's protective and warm, offering comfort all day long during the cold months of the year.
Lofty and toasty, this jacket is sufficient to take on the strong frigid gusts of winter. The puffy 100% synthetic insulation reminds us of down, capturing heat in the loft and additional space. We tested it in temperatures that sunk down to the double negatives and learned that it provides sufficient warmth when worn with a great base layer or an insulative piece of clothing. While it's not our top choice to wear to the top of a mountain peak, it would certainly work, offering both loft and comfort.
During our testing in everything from cold to moderate temperature, we never truly got cold, and our core was always toasty. We played in the snow, threw snowballs, cross-country skied, and went for long snowy hikes. The interior liner that sits against the skin is made of nylon material, keeping you dry even when wet. The high loft of the jacket isn't only warm but also cozy, wrapping you up like a sleeping bag. The shell is relatively water-resistant, which adds to its overall warmth.
While taking on a gusty and cold day in Lake Tahoe, we appreciated all the extra warmth features. Take, for example, the cozy fleece-lined pockets, a removable hood, with its removable fur. We were able to bundle up, zip up, and stay warm, even when the wind blew hard on the chairlifts. While the coat is warm itself, we opted to layer a thinner jacket underneath for additional warmth on this sub-zero day in the mountains. It works great as a resort ski coat.
In the rain, it still retains warmth. Unfortunately, it isn't the highest quality insulation out there, so wet warmth doesn't compare to the higher-end products in this review. As a result, we wouldn't recommend it for sleet-laden weather where you might find yourself outside for days. Overall, a great recreational winter jacket.
Weight & Compression
While the Peak to Park does feature super lofty insulation that is packable, its features add bulk. It feels lightweight while wearing, but isn't the smallest jacket out there. While it's not as lightweight as other quilted competitors that featureless insulation, it certainly compresses nicely into a backpack or a ski bag for easy travel. The nylon exterior and interior is flexible, while the insulation has air pockets that can be deflated to pack away.
This jacket is not our first choice for a lightweight mission or while skinning up a mountain. It's heavier than most, and its added features don't skimp on the weight. It also does not have a compression sack, nor does it fit into its own pocket, earning it a lower score in this category overall. However, if you chose to take it with you on your next hut trip, it will certainly perform and stuff into an overnight bag. Simple wrap it inside of its hood, or buy a stuff sack to put it away with.
We are thoroughly impressed with the Columbia Peak to Park's ability to combat storms and rough weather. While it's not our first choice for the nastiest conditions that old man winter has to offer, it will certainly keep you comfortable in most winter storms.
When wearing this jacket on a particularly windy day in the Sierra mountains of California, we stayed well protected from a harsh and blowing wind. The shell is made up of a 100% Polyester Storm-Lite DP II material that is relatively impervious to cutting and blowing wind. The insulation is thick, with a nylon liner that again helps to ensure that you stay warm. The stitching is nice and tight, and we didn't observe any wind getting through the seams. The zipper lies overtop a piece of fabric to protect you further. We didn't notice any wind making its way through the zipper or the face fabric. Overall, a very wind-resistant jacket that adds to its overall warmth.
In comparison to other jackets with a completely bomb-proof Gore-tex shell, its weather resistance does not compare. While the Peak to Park certainly provides excellent protection against the wind, water is another animal.
During our water resistance tests, the fabric did a great job of wicking away moisture for a short period. It'll do just fine in dry snow or light rain. However, as soon as the fabric gets saturated, it gets heavy and wet. As a result, it can't be recommended for super heavy rain, and it may not do well if you're going to be sitting in really wet snowstorms for hours on end. The nylon liner provides nice protection, and even with wet insulation, it doesn't permeate through to a base layer.
Overall, as Columbia advertises, this is a water-resistant jacket that does surprisingly well in windy conditions. While there are better options for weather resistance out there, the Peak to Park will keep you warm and dry in most winter storms. Don't be afraid to wear it while at the resort or while window shopping in snowy weather.
Comfort & Coziness
If you want to be wrapped up in a nest of comfort during cold weather, the Peak to Park will absolutely deliver. It features a plethora of comfort features that our tester love, in addition to its ultra-lofty insulation. Take, for example, the faux-fur collar that doesn't only offer comfort but a feeling of security as you can nuzzle down when the wind whips your face.
So what are these comfort and coziness features? The hood is probably one of the best features. It is large, lofty, and removable. The size can accommodate a small helmet, and the hood itself is super warm and well insulated. Our only caveat is the adjustment around the hood (to cinch it down) is not very easy to use. The pulls are hard to grab and difficult to release. Aside from that, we enjoy the hood that adds loads of comfort to the jacket.
Since the hood is removable, you can choose to wear the coat as a layer that you might wear underneath a more weather-resistant shell. This leaves just a high collar that functions well for skiing, hiking, and the like. This also adds a bit of breathability.
Other comfort features include a plethora of pockets and cozy cuffs. There are two handwarmer pockets with a fleece-lined interior that are both soft and large enough to easily sit a smartphone or wallet.
The chest pocket on the interior is velcro, where you can easily stow away a small sandwich or snack for later. The hem offers pull-cords that can be pulled for added warmth on cold days. The comfort cuffs are an additional stretchy nylon material that envelopes the wrist and sits back within the main cuff of the jacket. This is a nice addition because it protects your wrists from the wind and provides a more "fitted" feel without being too tight.
Our biggest caveat with this jacket is that it has no pull tabs on any of the zippers, making it very difficult to use with gloves. We noticed this while snowboarding and skiing, with many of our testers noting this imperfect design. We would urge Columbia to fix this to make the zippers a little more versatile and easier to use.
All of these features, in addition to its lofty nature, makes this jacket exceptionally comfortable and cozy. Wear it all day, whether you're skiing in the mountains or relaxing seaside on a cold winter day. Add in a warm cup of coffee, and you'll find yourself completely content for even the coldest days this season.
Given the loft and warmth of the Peak to Park, it is surprisingly breathable. While it offers great weather resistance, the shell material also vents and off-loads heat fairly well right through the fabric. While it doesn't compare in breathability to other jackets constructed of thinner and more lightweight materials, it does well on moderate winter hikes and while hanging around town. We didn't choose to wear it while skinning uphill or while running in the winter simply because we would get way too hot way too quickly. This jacket is best for low-aerobic activities or while sitting around on lifts at the ski resort.
Style & Fit
Featuring a super cute design that is versatile, we appreciate the overall style and fit of this coat. As a mountain-chic coat, it has a flattering chevron stitching pattern that looks good on all types of women. The coat itself is spacious, offering lots of room for layering thick fleeces underneath, while its thin enough to put underneath a big shell. The length of the torso and arms is on-par for everybody from short to tall. It is also true to fit.
While some women love the look of faux fur, others loathe it. We appreciate that the faux-fur collar is removable for this reason. If you feel like sporting a Northern winter look, wear the faux-fur collar. If you want to keep it simple, take it off and just wear the hood. Overall, while this jacket performs, it doesn't look techy…but cute and ready for everyday wear.
This is a high-value product, winning a Best Buy Award in the past. Retailing for a low price, it is very affordable. If you're on a tight budget, it's our top recommendation. That said, we did note some durability issues during our testing period. The stitching is sub-par and loose in some places.
We noted some flyaways, and we accidentally punched a hole in the seam of the comfort cuff after just two days of wear. We didn't notice any issues with warmth deteriorating in our testing period. However, we will continue to monitor this as we continue to test it throughout the year
The Columbia Peak to Park is a non-technical jacket offered at a low price with decent performance. It's weather-resistant, warm, and versatile. Wear it while crushing double black diamonds or while sipping cocoa next to a fire. Its lofty construction keeps you cozy and comfortable during the cold months of the year.
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