What’s next to your skin sets the stage for your comfort: don’t mess around. Developed with top physiologists, Columbia’s new baselayer series offers maximum warmth, minimum weight, and zoned performance for optimal comfort.
The perfect first layer for winter snow sports, our bodymapped tights keep you warm and dry in all the right spots by placing Omni-Heat reflective dots in zones that need warmth most, and Omni-Wick in high-perspiration zones for maximum moisture transmission. Antimicrobial treatment keeps the fabric feeling (and smelling) fresh during high-exertion activities, while the wicking waistband sits slightly below the waist to avoid unnecessary bulk. Highly stretchable, with flat-lock stitching and gusset detail for enhanced range of motion, these midweight tights set you up for success.
- Fabric: 86% polyester/14% elastane
- Omni-Heat thermal reflective
- Omni-Wick advanced evaporation
- Form fit
- 4-way comfort stretch
- Ergonomic seaming
- Gusset detail
- Measured size medium (* measurements taken from unstretched tight)
- Weight – 154 g (5.4 oz)
- Waist – 32.2 cm (12.7 in)
- Inseam – 68.2 cm (26.9 in)
- Thigh width – 24.8 cm (9.8 in)
- Knee width – 17.2 cm (6.8 in)
- Ankle cuff – 11.9 cm (4.7 in)
- Retail – $55-$60
Columbia has been making gear since 1938. During that time, they have been more focused on the lifestyle side of things. In the last couple of years Columbia has really been putting effort into being an innovator in the outdoor world. One of their first new technologies they released was Omni-Heat in 2010. In 2011 they put into a baselayer collection that I was able to put to the test over the fall and winter.
I tested these tights in conjunction with the Zip Top. I took these on several hiking trips, runs, snowshoeing adventures, and cross-country skiing.
The Columbia Midweight Tights are made to be form fitting. They are a mix of polyester and Elastane, so they can stretch to the contours of your legs. The tight feature Omni-Heat technology which has been body mapped to place Omni-Heat where you need it and not where you don’t. Essentially there is a section in between the legs, which does not have Omni-Heat as it tends to be warmer than other spots. The Omni-Heat reflects body heat back to the body to help you maintain the temperature your body has already created. 35% of the interior surface of Omni-Heat is covered by reflective dots while the other 65% is Omni-Wick fabric. This fabric breathes a little better and wicks moisture away from your skin and evaporates it off the outside. For more information about Columbia Omni-Heat technology, check out this video below.
Omni-wick is a moisture management technology built into the fabric. Its superior wicking properties move moisture away from the body and enable perspiration to evaporate quickly. During physical activity, increased body temperature causes perspiration. Normally, this results in damp, clammy, and uncomfortable clothing. With Omni- Wick clothing, moisture is quickly wicked up into the fabric, and away from the wearer’s skin. The moisture spreads out across the surface of the fabric where it quickly evaporates. This wicking/evaporation process keeps the wearer cool and the clothing dry. You stay dry, which helps regulate temperature, prevent chafing and keep you comfortable all day. This Omni-Wick fabric makes up 65% of the inner surface.
Columbia is making a very conscious effort to be more sustainable as a business. With solar panels on their roof to reusing boxes in their warehouse. Columbia also has some products made from recycled materials. Since this was not one of those products I gave it a rating of 2.5.
Comfort Next to Skin (30%)
Ease of Movement (30%)
Inseam Length (20%)
Leg Sizing (20%)
The Columbia Baselayer Midweight Tights are form fitting. They are skin tight and layer well under other pants. I was surprised how comfortable the Omni-Heat was against the skin. I had envisioned the Mylar blankets that are handed out after running races and figured it would be like those again the skin. Fortunately, I was wrong and the tights ended up being very comfortable. On one occasion, I wore these for three straight days without taking these off and had no complaints; they were comfortable the whole time. The fabric has a high amount of Elastane in it, which gives it a lot of 4-way stretch. This with the gusseted crotch gives the tights great range of movement. The seams are all flat locked and ergonomically placed to be more comfortable. I never had any issues with chafing on any of my trips or even running.
The sizing of the tights was right on for me. I am normally a size medium, and that is what I tested with these tights. The length in the inseam was about right, and the fit through the legs was tight without being compressive. You can purchase these tights with or without a fly. I tested the ones with the fly and liked having that convenience. I did not have any comfort issues associated with it.
Drying Speed (15%)
Moisture Transport (20%)
The Columbia Midweight Baselayer Tights have performed well. The Omni-Heat does seem to add some extra warmth to the tights. It is tough to quantify how much extra warmth is garnered from this technology, but it does seem to be noticeable. I especially noticed it sleeping while hiking. I did not get chilled at all and even had to unzip part of my sleeping bag because I was too warm. This happened at temperatures where I normally am a bit cold. I felt like the tights breathed well, but moisture transport was only so-so. In higher intensity activities, I could make the inside of the tights clammy with sweat against the skin. It seems that the less fabric devoted to wicking makes it slightly slower than normal baselayers. When the tights did get a bit damp with sweat, they will dry quickly when you stop and take a rest.
The tights are very versatile and can be used for a range of activities. I would just try to limit these activities to stop and go or less intense activities as this is where these will perform their best. The tights have been very durable thus far. The seams and fabric have held up to all the abuse and washing that I have put them through. I have not noticed any diminished performance or condition of the tights. If anything does pop up I will update this review. These tights have been treated with an Antimicrobial to prevent bacteria growth and therefore, odor. While they can smell a little after a couple of days, I definitely have had smellier baselayers.
Overall, I have been a fan of these tights and the top as well. I was intrigued but skeptical at first but must say that I think they really do offer a bit of extra warmth over similar competitors. I would not consider these a good option during higher intensity activities as it is completely possible to overwhelm the wicking properties of the fabric. For hiking and other slower moving activities, I would definitely recommend these tights. The fit of the tights is form fitting and stretches where needed. They are very comfortable and I never had any fit issues. The tights are $60 with a fly and $55 without one. If you are curious about Omni-Heat, don’t fear it is a good innovation to an otherwise stagnant category in the outdoors. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Omni-Heat adds warmth
- Gusseted crotch and stretchy fabric give great range of motion
- Flat locked seams for comfort
- Can overwhelm wicking capability
- Timberline Trail Hike
- Demaris Lake Hike
- Sleeping on the South Sister Summit
- Snowshoe Run at Meissner Sno-park