Materials: 87% nylon / 13% elastane
Features: helmet-compatible hood; 2-way pit zips; over-sized front pockets; water-tight, invisible Vislon zippers; adjustable, contoured cuffs, hood and, hem.Buy Here
PHOTO: Maggie Kaiserman
The day starts off warm and sunny, you’re making good time as you cruise up the trail toward the summit. You’re happy, you’re warm, you’re dry—until you’re not, because an afternoon thunderstorm has rolled in and is unloading so much wind and rain you’re scanning the horizon for Noah and the arc. Welcome to summer in the mountains, where you’ve got to prepared for all four seasons in just one afternoon.
Columbia’s Thunderstrike Jacket, which comes in a cut for both men and women, is one of the best ways to batten down the hatches when it’s wet outside, be it a summer storm, a spring slush shred, or an inability to get the beer from your cup to your mouth without casualties. Thanks to the four-way stretch in this jacket, it doesn’t inhibit my range of motion and I don’t feel trapped in a stiff, crinkly package. It’s comfortable enough that even after the rain stops, I’m not rushing to rip it off. Made with Columbia’s Omni-Wick fabric, water just beads up and shakes off. If it’s a hot and humid day, the massive pit vents dump a ton of heat without letting any water in because of their placement.
If it’s really nasty out, I’ll pull up the hood and engage in what I like to call “max cinch.” I crank that toggle down as far as it will go on the back of the helmet-compatible hood and even in extremely windy conditions, I haven’t had trouble with it blowing off. Two quick tugs on the elastic pulls on the collar and you’re snug as a bug in a rug giving a hug to a slug. (That was Dr. Suess for: No water is going to get inside.) You can also tighten the waist and adjust the cuffs to make sure you’re totally and completely sealed off from the elements. All zippers are Vislon, which means they’re practically invisible but seal up super tight. The Thunderstrike is also equipped with two big pockets up front—room for your hands, a beanie, a cold-ish beer, and whatever else.
Both the men’s and women’s jacket have a slim, tailored fit which looks good enough for streetwear but isn’t too snug for layers. I’ve layered mine over this down jacket and this mid-layer hoody and both worked fine. The cut of this jacket is long in the torso (center back length is 29.5 inches), which I love, and the sleeves seem to be the right length as well, especially if you’re tall.
Skiing hot: One jacket for all four seasons—hike, bike, ski, slip-and-slide, whatever.
Skiing not: This jacket is lacking an internal pocket or two. No spot for your phone/camera/beef jerky.