Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket Review

Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket

It is technically called a “jacket”, but at first it felt and looked a bit more like a mid-layer. It does, however, have qualifications to repel Mother Nature, so I am thrilled to put it to the test.  The Columbia Caldorado is not merely just a shell either, because it does so much more. It is certainly a great lightweight layer of protection that could actually push into more extreme conditions.

The name, Caldorado, is a term that has baffled me. Where did it come from, and what’s the inspiration. I thought it was a typo at first, and that it should have been Colorado. Is it California blended with Colorado? I suppose it really doesn’t matter. The Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket has a lot of good qualities that will allow me to run in a multitude of conditions and climates.


I do want to address the “Insulated” part first which is obviously a main component of the jacket as it is part of the name. Insulation can mean a lot of different things to people. This is not the warm and toasty kind of insulation you may be thinking of. No 800 down feather counts here! The insulation component is limited to the front and shoulders, and is a very thin layer of Polartec Alpha Insulation. The Caldorado is meant for higher intensity workout, so that insulation along with your increased body temperature helps provide the necessary heat. No insulation on the back allows for breathability without getting super sweaty and potentially overheating.

The Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket has just 1 pocket. The chest pocket can carry your essentials: keys, money, ID, a Gel, or your phone. Depending on your phone size that is! If you unzip the coat while running, the weight of the phone will cause some sway for lack of a better word. When the jacket is all zipped up, my phone fit just fine (the regular iPhone, not the Plus) and didn’t bother me at all. There are no side or rear pockets which I’m ok with. It allowed me too add a water hydration pack to fit nice and tight without pockets getting in the way.

The zipper worked fine for the most part. Time will tell, but I wished they would have gone with a slightly beefier version to eliminate any possible snags or zipper failures. These outdoor active garments that I test and wear do tend to see more abuse, so sacrificing a bit of weight for substance would be appreciated.

Putting the Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket to good use.

This is a 3 season coat for sure, with winter likely seeing the majority of use. With that said, I won’t hesitate to take the Caldorado on higher altitude trips during the summer and fall where some nasty storms can surely pop up unexpectedly. One layer and 50 degrees is about the max I would wear this on the warm side.

When the temperatures were around the freezing mark, this jacket hit a sweet spot for me with a layer or two of tech tees underneath to allow for sweat wicking. The Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket protected me from any kind of wind, and that initial cold while I warmed up.  Once in a rhythm and properly warmed up, the jacket had enough breathability to not get too overly hot.

I’ve run the Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket in light rainy and sleety conditions, and the Omni-Shield worked very well. The rain drops beaded off without leaving the jacket really wet. A complete downpour may have varying results, but I have yet to test that one out.

Fit of the Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket

I have a medium, and that size for the most part fits me really well. I would say the Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket is a bit on the larger side. Maybe intentionally so….? It does not fit snug and tight like some other jackets. This does allow for layering with varying temperature differences. Also, if you needed to take it off, and stuff in a small pack it won’t take up too much room. In addition, I like that the sleeves are fairly long. Combine that with the stretch and you can easily cover your hands to provide some initial weather protection instead of bringing gloves.

The “Comfort Stretch” is pretty cool. It will provide flexibility depending on a users build and what they want to put underneath. Along with that stretch is the fact that the material wicks moisture and is highly breathable.

Columbia does provide a nice sizing chart to help you with your decision. Click HERE for more details.


A comfortable fit. I am wearing a fairly thick mid-layer underneath in this case.

Features and Technical Specifications

Omni-Shield advanced water and stain repellency


Comfort Stretch

Security Pocket

Polartec Alpha Insulation

Shell: 100% Nylon

Shell: Omni-Wick Anytime 85% Polyester / 15% elastane Jersey

Insulation: 100% Polyester

Final Thoughts On The Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket

This jacket really feels lightweight and does not have a lot of fancy bells and whistles. In this simplicity lies it’s beauty. The technical specs on this outer layer provide the necessary relief from the elements. Depending on your location, use, and effort level, I see this Columbia Caldorado Insulated Jacket as the perfect 3 season top layer to tackle your pursuits. Lightweight enough to stuff or carry easily if temperatures rise; warm enough to protect you from the rain, snow, or wind. And the fit hangs easily, so that adding a few base and/or mid layers will help you beef up in more extreme conditions.

MSRP: $140   I think that’s a decent price especially since it can cover a wide variety of uses and conditions.

For more information and purchase please visit:


Niels Oomkes: I am a multi-sport endurance athlete, and love to get out into the great outdoors to push the body to its limit. Most of my weekend expeditions, adventures, trips, or vacations are planned around running, biking, snowshoeing, camping, or anything else that will allow me to enjoy nature's exquisite beauty.
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