Columbia Sportswear Aerial Arson Shell Review
The Aerial Arson Shell from Columbia Sportswear is a light-weight, high-performance ski jacket that will also serve you well while hiking, snowshoeing, or grabbing dinner in your favorite mountain town. The ultra-breathable, waterproof Omni-Dry® slub fabric outer shell will cut the wind and seal out the rain, and the Omni-Heat® thermal reflective liner will keep you nice and warm. The Aerial Arson offers nice versatility, both on its own against rain and wind, and paired with a layer or two beneath as the temperatures start to drop into the 20’s and 10’s.
While the temperatures have been fairly mild here in Colorado this September and October, I did have an opportunity to do a little early season testing on this jacket during a recent round of golf. Yes, golf. My in-laws visited our family from San Diego in late-October, and as an avid golfer, my father-in-law wanted to do a little mountain golfing. The weather had been mild, so we figured what the heck. We chose a great Jack Nicklaus course near Castle Rock that sits around 6,500-ft and reserved a mid-morning tee time. The weather forecast warned us that a storm was possible, but the round started off in mild conditions. I wore my Columbia Sportswear Thermarator Fleece jacket, and tucked the Aerial Arson Shell in my bag. As is often the case here in Colorado, the weather took a quick turn for the worse, and by the sixth hole, the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees F and the wind had picked up to about 25mph. I threw on the Aerial Arson over my fleece and got some immediate relief from the cold wind. By the time we got to the seventh green, rain and slush had started falling from the sky, but the Aerial Arson didn’t even blink, and the full hood came in handy.
The Aerial Arson also features a nice assortment of bells and whistles. Multiple exterior and interior pockets provide plenty of storage, with the bottom two pockets including an Omni-Heat® thermal reflective liner to help keep fingers warm. A removable snap-back powder skirt, Velcro arm cuffs, and the removable storm hood all help to keep body heat in and the cold out, and there are two zip vents to help you regulate your body temperature if you start working up a sweat. While the shell itself is quite warm, on colder days this jacket also pairs well with an under-layer, like the Columbia Sportswear Thermarator Fleece or the Columbia Sportswear Reach the Peak Hybrid Down Jacket.
Overall, I am very pleased with the performance of the Aerial Arson. It does what is says it will do, at a nice light weight. The Aerial Arson has a retail price of $350, and is offered in three color combinations: Dynasty (blue, shown), Blade (gray, shown), and Black. If you are looking for a versatile shell, this jacket is certainly worth adding to your short list.
Reviewer’s Note: I will also be testing out this jacket on the slopes in the coming weeks, and will provide an update at that time.