Columbia Unveils Omni-Heat Infinity Technology, A Gold Thermal-Reflective Lining | Gear News - Outdoors Magic

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Columbia Unveils Omni-Heat Infinity Technology, A Gold Thermal-Reflective Lining | Gear News

Utilising a gold-coloured metallic lining, Columbia has billed its new Omni-Heat Infinity material as the “most advanced thermal-reflective tech yet”.

Columbia is well-known for its thermal-reflective clothing – and over the years its slightly confusing array of similar technologies (Omni-Heat Reflective, Omni-Heat 3D and Omni-Heat Black Dot) have come in various guises. Everything from black dots to silver tri-stars and metallic pods have all been lauded as the ultimate in heat reflection, but now there’s a new kid on the block – and it’s gold.

New for 2021, Omni-Heat Infinity technology is billed as “the next evolution in thermal-reflective warmth”. It debuts a striking new gold metallic lining material in a pattern “scientifically engineered to optimise warmth and breathability”. Inspired by the reflective technology used by NASA, the enhanced pattern of gold metallic dots reflects and retains natural body heat, delivering “instant and lightweight warmth without compromising breathability or adding bulk”, according to Columbia. The new patented technology is available across a number of insulated jackets, boots and accessories, making it one of the largest technology launches in the company’s history.

The new technology is said to build on Columbia’s Omni-Heat foundations, but takes the principle one step further with a “breakthrough” iteration. The difference with the new gold liner is that it mixes large dots in with small ones, allowing them to cover a greater surface area with the reflective foil, therefore keeping you warmer. According to Columbia, this new heat-reflective technology increases the radiant body heat reflection by a whopping 40 per cent, making it the “gold standard in warmth” with what they claim to be their “highest body heat reflection” results ever. Indeed, Omni-Heat Infinity is designed to be used in the extreme cold, during the height of winter.

Joe Boyle, president of Columbia, which has launched a global marketing campaign about the new tech, said: “Omni-Heat Infinity expands upon our best-selling platform of patented technologies and we’re looking forward to showcasing this revolutionary innovation in what will be Columbia’s largest campaign in our 83-year history. The campaign injects Columbia’s signature light-hearted style but makes it clear that there is a new gold standard in warmth.”

The inaugural collection of Omni-Heat Infinity products features an array of technical jackets, winter footwear, hats, and gloves for both men and women. Key Omni-Heat Infinity pieces include the Titan Pass Double Wall Hybrid Jacket and the Infinity Summit Double Wall Down jacket, which feature a multi-layered construction that blocks wind and rain while trapping heat. In terms of ski and snowboard, the Aerial Ascender Jacket is described as “feature-rich and mountain-ready with dynamic stretch for incredible mobility”, while for hiking and mountaineering the Labyrinth Loop Hooded Jacket (pictured below) is a packable piece that features recycled synthetic insulation and a drawcord adjustable hem to seal in the heat. Several footwear styles will feature Omni-Heat Infinity technology, including the new Bugaboot Celsius and the women’s Slopeside Peak Luxe.

Tester’s Verdict

James Forrest, record-breaking hiker and outdoors Magic gear reviewer

I’ve seen jackets with the new Omni-Heat Infinity technology referred to as a “gold space suit”. I’m not too sure about that, but on first sight the gold lining is certainly very striking – a bit like a fusion of a marathon runner’s foil blanket and a sequinned dress, all in gold. That’s the best comparison I can come up with, anyway. But, other than looking dramatic, how does it actually perform out in the great outdoors? And is it any better than Columbia’s earlier versions of Omni-Heat technology?

Certainly, the heat reflective technology works – and it seems to be based on sound science and long-standing expertise from Columbia. The temperature boost you get is noticeable and the all-round warmth is pretty impressive. Whether it works better than Omni-Heat Black Dot or any other Omni-Heat version is nigh on impossible to say, without the same jacket with a different lining to compare it against – so we’ll just have to take Columbia’s word for it. All I can say, however, is that the Labyrinth Loop feels very warm for its weight of 630g (men’s small, measured on my scales). I’ve almost been tempted to dramatically announce “activate the heat-bouncing circles” when I’ve been out and about testing this jacket in the cold.

Overall the jacket works perfectly well. It runs slightly small, particularly around the waist (so sizing up might be sensible, if you prefer a baggier fit), and the features are pretty comprehensive: adjustable hood, chin guard, zippered chest and hand pockets, drawcord waist hem and elastic cuffs. The outer shell is water-resistant (not waterproof) and the insulation – a 100% recycled synthetic down – has good eco credentials too.

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