I’VE never been a fan of full-on duvet jackets for Scottish conditions. The PointFive effort I was wearing on the previous post came about after I had joined the Lomond Mountaineering Club in Glasgow.
We used to meet every Wednesday evening in Wintersgills pub in Great Western Road and the Lomonds were easily identifiable. They were guys sitting round the fire wrapped up in duvet jackets.
These big and bulky down-filled jackets were a badge of identity, a proclamation of our mountaineering masculinity – but a totally useless garment in the normal wet and cold conditions of a Scottish winter.
Over the years I’ve tended to wear synthetically filled jackets for those especially cold days when a normal three-layer –base layer, fleece and waterproof – still lets in the chill.
Generally I wear these jackets without a fleece, just on top of a base layer, just like a sweater. They’re great for ski touring or snowshoeing, although for many folk they might be sometimes on the warm side. That tends to be the case with the new Columbia Shimmer Me jacket.
I’ve been really interested to see how Columbia has developed ever since they bought Mountain Hardwear a few years ago, and I think there is a steady trickle-down factor in terms of styling quality and technology.
Columbia is a big multi-national sportswear company and their outdoor gear has always tended to be closer to the budget end. Having said that, I’ve always rather liked their gear, especially their trousers, but that’s perhaps because the generous American fit suits me a little better than the usual racing-snake European styling!
Interestingly, the Shimmer Me Jacket is an athletic fit – it’s definitely not designed to wear bulky fleeces beneath it. But you wouldn’t want to anyway because the Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective technology that’s utilized in this garment makes it pretty warm.
This is a combination of the company’s Omni-heat lining – a silvery dotted lining that is designed to reflect your body back at you – and Omni-heat Insulation, a 100g polyester insulation. I found it to be pretty effective.
As I mentioned earlier, the warmth of this garment might not suit everyone, but it certainly suits me. I’ve used it a lot this winter, although I should say the temperatures until now have not fallen very far.
So what else does the Shimmer Me jacket boast? Well, it has a 100% ripstop nylon shell: two zippered and fleece lined hand pockets: one internal zippered chest pocket; a drawcord hem; cotton cuffs and a drop tail.
The jacket comes in four different colours – red, green, brown and black and sizes range from S to XXL. It costs £100 on the Columbia website, but I’ve seen it advertised from anything between £60 and £89.
At those lower prices I reckon it’s a very good buy for what is a fairly technical, well made jacket which is ideal for UK winter conditions. It’s reasonably compressible and fairly lightweight at 550g (on my household scales).
Disclosure: The Shimmer Me Jacket was supplied to me free of charge by Columbia