Columbia Peak 2 Peak Jacket Review
With snow starting to turn to rain in many parts of the US, it’s nice to have a rain jacket that can handle the elements whether you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail or hiking up one of Colorado’s 14’ers.
I’ve been testing out the Columbia Peak 2 Peak Jacket over the past few months to see how it holds up to the elements, both snow and rain. The Peak 2 Peak Jacket is a lightweight 3-layer jacket that has an average weight of 15 oz. I personally like a 3-layer jacket versus a 2-layer jacket, but many times 3-layer jackets can be a little bulky and they typically cost more. For those of you that don’t know the difference between a 2-layer jacket and a 3-layer jacket, listen up. A two layer jacket is a rain jacket that has your outer shell material and an inner layer membrane that keeps the moisture out. These jackets are typically very lightweight and do a nice job at keeping out the water. On a 3-layer jacket, you have the 2 layers previously mentioned and an additional layer on the inside of the jacket. This material doesn’t add a waterproof protection layer, but it adds a durability layer to the jacket and it makes the jacket a lot more comfortable while participating in activities when you generate more heat and sweat. When you sweat on a two layer jacket, you often feel the jacket sticking to any exposed skin which isn’t the most comfortable feeling. The extra layer in a 3-layer jacket is a material that absorbs the moisture and keeps you from experiencing that wet skin on plastic feel. The extra material also adds a good amount of durability to the jacket helping fend of tree branches and other hazards that could rip your jacket.
Columbia has done a nice job in paying attention to detail in the Peak 2 Peak Jacket. For instance, along the pit zips in the jacket there are two pieces of fabric that helps keep the jacket from going wide open. Many times in a jacket with pit zips, the jacket looses form when the pit zips are open. To keep form, the designers of the Peak 2 Peak decided to put a couple fabric holds on the inside of the jacket to help keep its form. Simple you might think, but this is something I haven’t seen on any other 3-layer jacket up to this point. For outside pockets, Columbia placed the pockets up near the chest versus by the waist. This allows the jacket pockets to function better when you have a backpack with a hip belt. This is something you see in a lot of technical jackets on the market. One thing I would have liked to see is for the pockets to be a little bigger. There isn’t much room in the outside chest pockets, so it can be hard to put a lot in there. I typically don’t put a ton of stuff in my pockets, but I do from time to time.
Other things you see on higher end waterproof jackets are taped seams. This is an extra layer of material that eliminates the risk of water coming in through seams on the jacket. The hood of the Peak 2 Peak has a wire brim that allows the brim to stay up and out of your eyes. I typically will wear a baseball cap to make sure the brim doesn’t flop down, but it’s a nice touch. Speaking of the hood, the hood on the Columbia Peak 2 Peak is adjustable so it is easy to fit a pea or watermelon sized head. On the left arm of the jacket, there is a pocket that is big enough to fit a smart phone, but I would prefer this sized pocket to be on the inside check. It just seems to be a little award on the arm. If you used the pocket for music, you can also keep the cords contained on the inside of the jacket versus hanging on the outside of the jacket.
All in all, I have been pretty happy with the Columbia Peak 2 Peak jacket. If you have read my previous postings about Columbia, you will have noticed a good amount of positive comments. 4 or 5 years ago, you would not have seen these comments as I was not a big fan of Columbia. Recently, I have had the chance to speak with some of the people in R&D as well as high level executives and I can tell you first hand that Columbia is really focused on product these days. So Columbia folks, keep up the good work! For more information on the Columbia Peak 2 Peak Jacket or other Columbia products, please visit Columbia.com.