A high-performing and relatively robust bit of kit, the Columbia Alpine Crux makes a good choice for urban day-to-day excursions, as well as for when you’re mountain-bound.
Omni-Heat technology traps in warmth
Great warmth-to-weight ratio
It’s slick shiny looks aren’t for everyone
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The Columbia Alpine Crux is lined with 800 fill power down (responsibly sourced), yet still packs away very small (into one pocket), making it easy to carry in a pack. It’s not just the down that keeps you warm in this jacket, because, as with all Columbia’s cold-weather gear, the Alpine Crux is lined with Omni-Heat thermal reflective material, which promises to keep the wearer very toasty.
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It boasts a couple of zippered hand pockets and a drop tail to keep your bum warm. Other features include bindings at the hood and the cuffs, to keep the warm air in, and the hood has a ‘scuba’ design, for extra snugness. The outer fabric is water resistant to fend off light showers.
• RRP: £270 (UK) / $374 (US)
• Fill: 800 fill down
• Sizes: XS–XL
• Weight: 390g / 13.75oz
• Colors: Black / Bold Orange / Bright Geranium
In the field
Columbia promise ‘powerful warmth’ to wearers of this packable jacket, and we’d have to agree with their tagline. The 800 fill in the Columbia Alpine Crux offers excellent warmth to weight, especially considering you can magic the entire thing away into one of its own pockets.
There is some serious heat-trapping technology at play here – Columbia line their winter jackets with their own-brand Omni-Heat material, a fabric covered in little silver dots that works rather like a space blanket and reflects your body heat back, doing a good job of quickly trapping warmth around your torso, and the dropback cut and slim fit also help to heat your lower back.
We’ll be honest, we don’t particularly love the rather shiny padded looks of this slim-cut jacket, but the Alpine Crux is more breathable than some of the other puffer jackets we have tested, making it ideal for use as a mid layer for sports where you’re alternating between working hard and cooling down, such as climbing, hillwalking and skiing. We also rated the outer material on test – it’s water-resistant and tough enough to take scratches without ripping.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.