Columbia Omni Heat Review

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I’ve been on the search for the best base layer for a long time. As a ski instructor, I’m out on the snow a lot – both on warm days and cold days. What I want is a base layer that works well on both kinds of days. On cold days, I really get cold – I don’t know why… my body type or something. I need to feel comfortable in order to do my job well. Here’s my review of what I’ve found to be the best base layer for skiers and snowboarders.

Columbia’s Onmi Heat and Omni Wick

What Omni Heat is, is a reflective material inside the clothing. You see those like aluminum foil type blankets used for people who have fallen into cold lakes in the winter to help prevent hypothermia. It’s the same idea. What it does is reflect your body heat back at your body instead of letting it escape.

In addition to the extra warmth, what you get is a material that whisks away moisture as well. This is so that you don’t get too damp and then start to get cold again when you’ve stopped moving. This is what they call Omni Wick.

Together, what you get is what most people want – to stay warm when it’s cold and stay cool when it’s warm. What that means is that you’re not changing clothes throughout the day. What that also means is that you don’t have to think as hard about what kinds of clothes to wear for a day. You know that your base layer will work in both situations. You can then just add and subtract mid layers as the temperature changes through the day. Simple!

My Experience With Omni Heat

These aren’t really cheap pieces of clothing. You’ll pay about $50 for the top and $50 for the pants/bottoms.

Let me take a second and explain what I think about paying for clothing. I’ve learned that going cheap can often cost more. If you buy something cheap that doesn’t work well, you’re not going to like it and you won’t wear/use it as much. Your cost per use goes way up compared to something that costs more that you enjoy and wear often. I learned this with buying dress shirts. The cheaper ones, I never wanted to wear. I look better in the more expensive ones, I want to wear them more and they last longer. It’s so much better paying more if you know it’s something you will use often. I also learned this lesson with the North Face ski pants that I bought.

What I did with the Columbia Omni Heat baselayer was to buy one top and two bottoms. I spent about $150. I figured that if they worked out well, I could buy more. Within a few weeks, I came back to buy another top and the store was out of bottoms. Right now, I have two tops and two bottoms.

I love this base layer! They fit well and they kept me nice and warm. Along with keeping me warm, I also didn’t get too hot. They work so well. I love them. I also looked pretty good just wearing my base layer around the house or wherever – an added plus!


Caring for them is easy. You just put them in the washer. With drying them, I try to watch it. They dry fast and the inside of them gets really warm because that’s what the reflective inside layer is supposed to do. I’ll take them out of the load before other clothes in the dryer because they dry so fast. Beyond that, they’re very easy to take care of.

I didn’t notice them ripping or getting “runs” in them (think ladies nylons). They’re durable and continue to fit very well. The size you buy is the size they’re going to stay.

What Do You Think?

Are you using Columbia’s Omni Heat base layers? How are they working for you? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Mike Cap says:

    This winter I purchased a white medium Omni-heat l/s shirt as well. It was well tested with this past NY Winter. It’s my favorite base layer so far. Its not thick like the Under Armour one. It’s warmer than my Patagonia capilene. It’s great stand alone as a long sleeve shirt or even worked well, under a t-shirt, button down, sweater, and a fleece. Highly recommended, although if I were in sub zero weather I may want to try to find the heavy weight version.

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