Columbia Caldorado trail jacket review

Last updated: 17-Aug-18

By Fiona Outdoors

I have been testing Columbia’s insulated Caldorado jacket, which is part of a new trail running collection. I have worn it for trail and hill runs in a variety of weather, from cool and windy to warm and damp.

Features

  • Omni-Shield water and stain repellency
  • Omni-Wick
  • Polartec Alpha insulation on front and shoulders
  • Comfort stretch side panels, back and arms
  • Thumb loops
  • Security pocket (on men’s jacket only)
  • Zipped pocket at the rear
  • Full-length front zip

RUNULTRA_Columbia-Caldorado-jacket-review

Photo credit: Fiona Oudoors.

Pros: What’s good about the Columbia Caldorado trail jacket

When autumn and winter arrive in Scotland you need a running top that is a bit warmer than an ordinary long-sleeved top but not so warm that you are immediately hot.

The Columbia Caldorado jacket is a great idea. It is a combination of a lightweight running top and an insulated jacket. The arms, sides and back are made of a thin and stretchy fabric, while the front and shoulders have Polartec Alpha insulated panels.

The insulation is lightweight and synthetic but offers just about the perfect amount of warmth and windproofing. I used it in all kinds of weathers and found I was almost always comfortable. (See notes below, too.)

Even when I got sweaty or wet from a bit of rain the insulation still worked well to keep me warm.

When I stopped running the insulation was also very useful in keeping up my core body temperature so I did not become immediately cold and shivery.

The long sleeves with thumb loops are great and even though I have long arms I found I could still use these comfortably.

There is a small amount of water-repellency in the main area of the jacket. Because the insulation works even when wet you could choose not to bother with a more protective outer layer in a downpour.

However, the jacket would easily fit under another waterproof layer because it is lightweight and a neat fit.

This is the sort of jacket I would keep as a warm layer reserve in my rucksack on days when the weather is changeable and I would happily use it for running, walking, skiing and cycling so it’s a useful asset to my wardrobe.

There is a large zipped pocket at the rear of the jacket. (Again, see notes below).

It also washes really well and comes out looking like new.

The colour choice is good and the price is reasonable for such a useful and versatile jacket.

RUNULTRA_Columbia-Caldorado-jacket-review

Photo credit: Columbia.com

Cons: What’s not so good about the Columbia Caldorado trail jacket

The jacket keeps you nicely warm as you start a run or during a cold spell but I did find I ended up too warm on a number of occasions. It is almost as if once you are warm, the jacket does not breathe enough to allow you to cool down a bit.

I would like to see a two-way front zip in this jacket. To be honest, I always prefer a two-way zip. This would allow for more ventilation and it is helpful to be able to access clothing etc from under the bottom of the jacket.

I can’t understand why there is not a security pocket in the chest area of the women’s jacket. Perhaps this has something to do with women having a chest but, really, it should our choice whether we use the pocket or not.

The rear pocket is a bit odd. It is large and stretches across the hip area.  You can’t really add anything too small and heavy because then it bounces about against you back and butt while you run. It is fine for dog poo bags or a spare pair of gloves but not for a key or phone.

RUNULTRA_Columbia-Caldorado-jacket-review

Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.

The insulation does not look attractive when it gets damp. (See image above.) The damp creates a strange mottled look and several people asked me why it looked like that. It didn’t detract from the usefulness of the insulation but it looks a bit unpleasant.

Conclusion

This is a widely useful and very versatile jacket for year-round use. I like that it combines the best of a running top with a lightweight insulated jacket. It has quickly become a favourite for autumn and winter running.

Score  
Design 9/10
Features 8/10
Performance 10/10
Value 8.5/10
Total 8.8/10


Other jackets you may want to consider:

Salewa Pedroc Polartec Alpha jacket
Columbia Titan Lit jacket
Rab Alpha Flux Jacket
Dynafit Elevation Polartec Alpha Jacket

About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.

Have you used the Columbia Caldorado trail jacket? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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OUR RATING:
4/5
YOUR RATING:
0.0/5

"The insulation is lightweight and synthetic but offers just about the perfect amount of warmth and windproofing"

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