Columbia Back Up & Out ReviewJune 15, 2012
- Quite warm
- Waterproof and windproof
- Excellent value for the level of performance
- Soft, supple fabric for comfort
- Fits well at waist due to adjustable waist tabs and Velcro-reinforced snap closure
- Boot gaiters are too tight
- Frayed seams in several places after minimal use
- Cuffs are not reinforced
These pants are an excellent choice for the price-conscious resort skier or snowboarder who also cares about functionality and comfort in a wide range of temperatures and conditions—and they are competitive with more expensive brands in several areas.
These pants are made with Columbia’s Omni-Heat thermal insulation—part synthetic insulation, partly a matrix of silver dots that theoretically reflects your body heat back at you. They outperformed other insulated pants in terms of warmth—I tested the pants with and without long underwear, and found that warmth was not compromised (and even improved) when not wearing a base layer, perhaps due to the silver dot lining. In fact, in temperatures ranging from single digits to low 40s, including one cold and windy day and one day during which the temperature changed dramatically, the temperature regulation of the pants was impressive.
Despite being priced on the lower end of the scale, these pants are technically competitive and have just as many bells and whistles, if not more, than more expensive pants in this category. They have seam-sealed zippers, inner thigh vents, adjustable waist tabs, articulated knees, and a secure, double-snap waist closure reinforced with Velcro. An extra snap-close pocket on the lower leg is perfect for items you don’t want too close to the body in the zipped waist pockets.
The shell of the pants is made of a soft, stretch polyester twill, which I found slightly more comfortable than most other ski pants I’ve tested. The fit is enhanced by adjustable waist tabs and a double-snap closure reinforced with Velcro.
I did not get too warm or too cold hiking for turns in these pants, and they felt warm and dry even on a very snowy day with a lot of chairlift time.
The only drawback I’ve noticed in about a month of testing is that some of the seam stitching—along the fly, the crotch, and the inner thigh vents—is already beginning to unravel, and the fabric seems to scratch easily. Also, the cuffs are not reinforced, which could lead to durability issues.