Columbia Women’s Bulo Point Down Vest review: shiny, but ruggedly practical too

The Bulo Point Down Vest offers excellent warmth thanks to a reflective liner – and even doubles up as a camping pillow

Columbia Women’s Bulo Point Down Vest
(Image: © Columbia)

Advnture Verdict

This gilet’s looks may be polarising but its performance and comfy fit come highly recommended.

Pros

  • +

    Heat-reflecting lining

  • +

    Comfortable elasticated arm holes

  • +

    Stuffs into stuff sack

Cons

  • -

    Shiny finish

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Columbia Women’s Bulo Point Down Vest: first impressions

You can expect real warmth on tap from the Bulo Point Down Vest, thanks to plenty of goose down insulation and Columbia’s innovative and effective reflective liner technology.

Insulated gilets are either slim-fitting and easily layered, or big, bulky and seriously warm for use as outer wear – and Columbia’s Bulo Point is firmly in the second category – it’s just two arms away from a down jacket. (See also: What is fill power? Understand the insulating capacity of your down gear.)

This is a chunkier padded gilet that offers impressive warmth: zip it up and it immediately traps in warmth thanks to plentiful down insulation and Columbia’s clever Omni-Heat gold lining, which reflects body heat. 

The elasticated arm holes and neck are great for getting a comfortable close fit without restricting movement, and we also like that the vest packs down into its own stuff sack (which could double up as a handy pillow on winter camping trips).

Specifications

• RRP: $245.85 (US) / £180 (UK)
• Fill: Goose down
• Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL
• Waterproofing: Water resistant
• Colors: Mineral Pink, Iridescent & Malbec / Black / Dark Nocturnal
• Compatibility: Ideal worn as outer wear in cold conditions

Columbia Women’s Bulo Point Down Vest: on the trail

For our best women’s gilets buying guide we tested the Bulo Point out on chilly, rainy dog walks and countryside hikes as the soggy British fall fell towards winter, and we were impressed with how cosy and comfortable it was to wear – and by how water resistant it was, repelling rain during long treks in heavy downpours. 

You’ll probably either love or loathe the slick, shiny finish of the Bulo Point – we like its urban feel but others may think it looks a tad too much like you’re wearing a bin bag. 

We also liked the rather boxy fit of the gilet, which isn’t too restrictive around the torso even with multiple layers underneath. All in all, this is a high-performing vest that will keep you cosy even in snowy conditions.

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.