When you spend a lot of time exploring the outdoors, having the best clothing and gear is a must have to stay comfortable.
Columbia is one of the top outdoor clothing brands when it comes to innovative technology. They always seem to be pushing the envelope and introducing the next technologies to make their clothes better than the competition.
Most of technologies come in the form of incredibly specialized fabrics when can be incorporated into their products.
Two very successful technologies Columbia has invented are Thermal Coil and Omni Heat. Both are made to help keep you warmer in cold conditions by radiating your body heat.
Let’s explore how exactly Thermal Coil and Omni Heat work — or if you want skip ahead to see some of our top Columbia Omni Heat gear picks.
Columbia Thermal Coil vs Omni Heat Technology
|Technology||Diagram||How It Works|
|Reflects body heat using silver coils printed on fabric|
Omni Heat 3D
|Reflects body heat using small silver circles printed on fabric|
Omni Heat Reflective
|Reflects body heat using denser pattern of silver reflectors printed on fabric|
How Does Omni Heat Work?
Columbia’s most innovative reflective heat technology is found in their patented Omni-Heat technology. There are two variations of this thermal reflective lining technology: Omni-Heat 3D and Omni-Heat Reflective.
Both technologies feature a pattern of silver reflectors printed on fabric. They essentially reflect heat back towards your body to limit heat loss and keep you warmer in extreme cold conditions.
Omni-Heat 3D vs Omni-Heat Reflective
Omni-Heat 3D is the newest technology which features a new pattern of silver reflectors to better radiate heat with increased coverage.
This updated version creates an air gap between your skin and fabric using small pods of soft fibers. This makes for a more comfortable feel against your skin without losing any heat retention capability.
Omni-Heat Reflective uses small circles or silver printed on the fabric. It works essentially the same way Omni-Heat 3D functions, although it lacks the small fibers that create an additional air gap between the fabric and your body.
Both versions of Omni-Heat are highly breathable and lightweight. This makes they an excellent choice for all types of active outdoor adventures.
How Does Thermal Coil Work?
Columbia’s Thermal Coil technology is designed to reflect body heat using lightweight silver coils printed on the surface of the fabric. Thermal coil technology is generally used on the inside of Columbia’s insulated jackets.
Thermal Coil works by reflecting and radiating your own body heat back towards yourself from the inside of a jacket.
Although lightweight and efficient, Thermal Coil was phased out replaced by Columbia’s Omni Heat technology, which is found in many of Columbia’s current winter gear models.
Columbia Thermal Coil vs Omni Heat Comparison: Which is Better?
Both Omni-Heat and Thermal Coil are reflective heat technologies that help retain body heat. They both work by using a lightweight silver printed design on the surface of a fabric to reflect body heat.
Omni-Heat uses smaller circles vs Thermal Coils large zig-zag pattern, which allows for more breathability. This makes it a superior option for active outdoor activities and is why Columbia has focused on utilizing Omni-Heat in most of it’s gear.
Omni-Heat 3D is newest generation of Omni-Heat and gives a more skin to fabric feel by using small, soft vertical fibers between the reflective print.
The Best Columbia Omni Heat Gear
You can also read our detailed outdoor clothing comparison of Columbia vs North Face or our jacket comparison of Patagonia Nano Puff vs The North Face Thermoball and other recommended travel products here.