Columbia Travel Gear

, July 21, 2011

Columbia Travel Gear
The now legendary Mobex pack with me in Morzine

Aware of the similarities between adventure apparel and functional travel gear, many brands have begun to develop products that represent this crossover within the leisure sector. Columbia Sportswear offer a particularly extensive range of travel-suited adventure gear and with some exciting new products on the shelves this season, I’ll run through some flavoursome products from their summer alpine range.

Men’s Jacket

If you’re heading to the mountains and can’t be sure of the conditions, the Access Point Shell is the jacket to go for. Featuring Columbia’s Omni-Tech breathable and waterproof layer, the Access Point is designed to meet the demands of aerobic exercises in rainy and cooling environs. For colder nights, or if you’re planning on using the Access Point throughout the year, Columbia’s 3-point Interchange System allows you to connect an extra fleece beneath the shell. The Access Point’s stow-away hood and vented underarms make it relevant to a commuter lifestyle and an ephemeral mountain climate.

Women’s Fleece

Though not waterproof like the Men’s Access Point Shell, the Women’s Fast Trek Fleece is better suited for higher velocity adventure sports such as cycling and climbing. Available in well-toned red, green or blue, and equipped with three zip pockets, the Fast Trek is just as appealing for evenings walking around in town as it is for brisk pursuits at altitude.

Shirts

For a halfway option between the t-shirts and patterned long-sleeve shirts that Columbia offer, I’d recommend the Expedition Freezer Polo for men’s and the Shadow Time Polo in women’s. Both these shirts offer a good degree of wickability while their necklines (zipped in the case of the Freezer Polo) add a touch of style to the top half.

Shorts

The Vertical Ridge II Short perhaps best represent Columbia’s efforts to design adventure travel gear. Cut lower than performance shorts, and with front and back zips to keep your belongings safe, the Vertical Ridge are suitable casual wear for any summer urban or active adventure. The Women’s Dolomite WO Short is the sister product to the Vertical Ridge and too features zipper pockets and a fashionable shape that work well in town and on the trail.

Backpack

My most prized piece of adventure gear is without doubt the Mobex. The interior is laden with pockets and pouches that are sized perfectly for a 13 inch laptop and for storing smaller items on a day out. The bag can be opened fully to aid access and when you’ve got grubby gear two elastic pouches on the exterior make for further secure storage. The Mobex Float is better vented than the Mobex (Orginal) so may be worth considering if you aim to use the pack mainly for adventure rather than for loading up on the way out of the office.

Footwear

One of Columbia most novel products, the Drainmaker, is well worth considering for alpine adventures.Though it offers less support than the Ravenous trail shoe, the Drainmaker is just as grippy and far better at removing water from the shoe cavity. Visually the Drainmaker is probably as striking as the ‘hamster tent’ Mobex and offers similar credibility to aspiring urban adventurers worldwide.