Have you been watching the weather reports lately? A blizzard just whipped through Iowa and closed us down. The snow plows weren’t even out. Neither were the tow trucks. As DH so politely puts it… “Where’s this global warming they keep talking about?”If you’ve never been to a cold state, you probably don’t understand. When we lived in Los Angeles, so many people had no grasp of what COLD really is. When I said “You cover every piece of skin because it only takes a minute to get frostbite if the wind chill is bad enough.” Their response, with a cocked head and dazed look… Huh? Their only concept of winter is skiing on the Southern California slopes. Not exactly the same thing.You know what we do for entertainment here in the winter? We build igloos out of jungle gyms and sled. And shovel the sidewalks and driveway… over… and over… and over again. The only way to combat the cold and have any hope of enjoying the great outdoors is to dress warm. Layers underneath combined with quality outerwear. If you aren’t wearing snow pants over your pants then you better have thermals underneath. If the jacket isn’t good enough, you’ll be cold in no time. Especially if you’re outside for an extended time shoveling snow.
As seasoned cold-weather folk, we understand that. When we gather as an extended family – DH, me, my daughters, my parents, brothers, sister-in-law, niece and nephews – we look like a Columbia advertisement. One of these days, I’ll take a picture as proof. We all wear Columbia jackets, DH and I have Columbia boots, hats, headbands, sweatshirts. DH even has a few Columbia shirts. I totally should have bought stock in the company.
Well, rant and rave long enough and loud enough and eventually Columbia will hear. I was delighted when Columbia PR asked if I would be interested in reviewing their products on SAHM Reviews. Someone get the smelling salt, I feel a faint coming on. I couldn’t type back to them quick enough saying “OMG! Can I? Can I? Really?” My only request was that they find some gloves to send to my daughters. It’s the one thing that we can never find on the shelves here. The stores don’t stock enough.
Shortly after that email, I received a note that they weren’t sending gloves. Instead, they found a few outfits. For Miss K, they sent an Annie Angel set. It’s positively adorable and it’s designed for a growing toddler. One of the big complaints I have about typical snowsuits is that the shoulder straps don’t stay snug and they don’t cinch small enough for my small girls. The Annie Angel set doesn’t use the normal bib-overall shoulder strap but rather a vest-style secured at the shoulder with Velcro.
Miss M received a beautiful Board Beauty Jacket and Abby Avalanche Bib. One thing that’s great about these is that they have a “Grow Cuff” in them so you extend the hem when the inevitable growth spurt occurs. Nothing worse than paying good money for a nice set of snow pants then having your child outgrow them before the season is over. When I saw the cuff, I was baffled. “Grow cuff? Huh? Where?” Well, it’s not like some kind of Velcro or button adjustment. It shows more forethought – where the pants are made extra-long and just hemmed up. There is a seam that you remove when you’re ready. Yes, remove a seam from a perfectly good snowsuit. Thanks to the hem, the pattern is consistent and it results in extending the life of the suit without making it look like patchwork.
There’s one thing I need to say that was a little surprising about the Annie Angel set that Miss K received. The pull tap on the zipper broke within no time. That’s very, very unusual for Columbia products. Since Miss K and Miss M stay so warm in these suits, they’ve been spending a ton of time outside so it’s possible that she bumped it against something while on the school playground. I don’t know. But I was fine by it. Why? Because Columbia has an incredible warranty program – a lifetime warranty on outerwear – and we’ve returned other items to them for repair. Not that Columbia stuff breaks a lot, but on a few occasions, the kids have come home with the zipper pull on their jacket broken. Instead of calling the jacket a total loss, we use one of the other Columbia jackets that we have in the closet while we ship the broken one off for repair. Yes, we own OTHER Columbia jackets for the kids. Aside from the two sets we received from Columbia’s public relations department for the purpose of this review, we already own… wait a second while I go count… 4 OTHER children’s Columbia winter jackets and 4 adult Columbia winter jackets, in addition to the various items I mentioned earlier in this post.
So what do I think of these latest additions to our Columbia collection? Love them. The grow cuff is a novel idea and the modified strap-style on the toddler sets make for a much better fit (and are easier for little kids to get out of quickly when they need to use the restroom.
Would I buy Columbia products in the future? It would take a massive downward shift in their quality, customer service, community service, corporate responsibility and business approach for us to stop buying their products. Columbia outerwear keeps us warm, is comfortable, cute and the company stands behind their products. What else could we ask for?