Columbia Ascender

9.2 score
(TheGearHunt) score (9.2)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 9.3 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Columbia Ascender Review Facts

Cold weather can often lead to poor circulation, illness and potentially dermatological issues. It is important, especially in areas that get fairly cold, to bundle up even if traveling by car. City dwellers sometimes forget that even if parking in heated parkade just to drive to another heated parkade in cold weather, that dressing appropriately is still necessary. Breaking down in cold weather without a proper winter jacket or boots can lead to very serious health complications and general frustrations. There are numerous options on the market to choose from when considering a winter jacket. Some are fleece lined while others are not lined at all. The fabric used to insulate the jacket is also important to consider because this will indicate whether the jacket has any wind or water protection. This area also helps determine the jackets breathability too. Breathability particularly comes in handy when wearing jackets meant for sports or physical activity (like hiking or cross country skiing).  When moving around the body gets hot and requires some sort of ventilation that will both cool them down to avoid sweat accumulation. It's also important to consider the jackets durability especially when in more physical situations. You want to ensure that a little wear and tear won't break the jacket down and that the weatherproofing features are also strong enough to handle the elements.

This article is a review on one jacket in particular and that jacket is the Columbia Ascender. This jacket is a weatherproof one with a front zipper. It is meant for physical activity but is still stylish enough to wear out and about running errands. We looked at what those who bought this jacket said about it, both positively and negatively. We also looked at what reviewers thought of its durability, breathability, weatherproofing and general reliability. This is our review of the Columbia Ascender. We hope that this article helps you with any jacket purchase you have in the future. Please, enjoy!

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Those who wore this jacket found it true to size 
  • They also appreciated the weatherproofing of this jacket
  • They found the jacket quite stylish in design
  • This jacket is also regularly regarded a being quite durable
  • This jacket fits a little tight in the shoulders
  • Some reviewers said the colors were not true to the image they saw when ordering online
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 5 hours analyzing a total of 2000 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

  • This has more room than the Bionic. It has a good range of movement as well. These work for light rain and as a mild wind breaker. I would say it is better for the money than North Face.
  • I'm a big guy with a bell and the XL fits great. The sleeves are not to long or short, fall just past the wrist. The lining is great and really warm. It does get some static sometimes.
  • This is the perfect spring/fall jacket. Has a good amount of rain and wind resistance. It fits nice in the chest and waist. Not too tight. The sleeve length is great too. I would recommend it.
  • This fts way better and cleaner than the North Face Bionic. The fleece lining is so warm and soft. It has a decent water resistance to it. It is for cool weather not freezing weather.
  • The material of this jacket is nice. It fits great and not too rigid feeling. It is good for temps above 40 I think.
  • Fit is great I like that the water just rolls off. The velcro and zippers sem good enough. The callar doesn't seem to want to lay properly though , which is annoying at times. But the jacket is warm and it does what I need it to do, so that is a win for me. Just a good casual cool weather jacket.
  • The fabric feels really nice. The pockets are a good depth and feel good too. I like the whole jacket. Perfect for the chilly morning ride to school with the kids.
  • This is the perfect fit for me. I like that it doesn't have that tail in the back like most. It is a really great softshell jacket and works great in the fall. Campfire jacket for sure.
  • I use this at owk on the airstrip and it does a great job. The waist has a drawstring so I can keep the cold out and the wrists velcro tighter as well. The material is really nice and does a good job of repelling water and wind. The color is really nice and it looks great on. I highly recommend it.
  • This jacket is light but it is warm. They jacket does a decent job of stopping the wind and they has good water repellent. I would say it is better than any North Face jacket I have bought. It pretty much allowed me to get rid of my other jackets.
  • The thin fleece lining really makes this a lot warmer. Great for a cool day or a nice walk on the beach in the fall. Does great with the wind and rain. I wear it almost everyday, I love it. Great price and nice fit.
  • The jacket comes in almost half sizes on the bigger end. It is great for cold weather and light snow. When it is zipped it is super cozy. I am just really enjoying this jacket.
  • This is the perfect fall jacket for this Chicago weather. I am sure though, with some good layering, it would hold out into the depths of winter if needed. It is lightweight but super warm. It fits great and has good length throughout so your not getting cold wrists. It is a really comfortable and stylish jacket. Goes with everything. I highly recommend it.
  • Columbia is always my go to and this jacket doesn't change that. It is so warm and comfortable. It looks great. The material is truly water resistant and the wind breakage is great. It is a great quality jacket and I would recommend it for mild winter weather all year round.
  • I loved my NF jacket but needed an upgrade and this was on sale so I pulled the trigger. This jacket is impressive. I am not sure why I didn't get it earlier. The adjustable velcro and cinched waist is great. It helps with the draft. It fits great and works well with the weather going from 20 to 70 throughout the day. I am happy with it an will buy it again.
  • I would highly recommend going and trying them on if possible. These jackets always fit differently. This one is so nice. And has the best fit for me. A little snug but high mobility and super warm. I use it for work and for hiking in Colorado. It is no nice and does what it is supposed to. It is a proper fleece with great water resistance.
  • This is a quality jacket and affordable. The competition is a bit warmer but also two times the price. It fits good and keeps me warm. Exactly what I was looking for.
  • It is so soft and yet really sturdy. It keeps me warm and doesn't restrict. It is perfect for fall temps. I wouldn’t suggest it in a blizzard but a light snow or rain it repels well. I would recommend it for sure.
  • I get one of these about every 2 years and they never disappoint. They are the perfect mild weather jacket. They breathe well and still keep you warm. They repel water just enough. This is the perfect work jacket and cool day of hiking.
  • I had one of these for 7 years before buying this one and it was time. I love this jacket. It is a great material and functions so well. It is my go too and it really does a great job of locking in heat. IT has a nice fleece liner and the velcro on the wrists is perfect. There are plenty of packets. Do not really need a bag with it. I am smitten and will continue to buy it as long as the quality stays up there.
  • I am not happy with it. The jacket doesn't even look like the photo. The color is way off.
  • The zipper is sewn in incorrect and it catches when I try to zip it up. The stitching on the Velcro actually goes through the Velcro and catches and tears making the Velcro loose. I won't buy Columbia again.
  • The zipper on these is so cheap! I was so disappointing. I never got the jacket to zip up.
  • It isn’t durable at all. I mean seriously. The thing had a huge hole in it after a month. I do not do much in it. I bent over and RIP. Poor quality obviously.
  • This jacket is too thin and airy. I don't see it helping with much of the cold. When I put it on it fit way too big and sack like.
  • After 2 months, the zipper completely came out and broke. I wasn't able to get it back on because of the design of the jacket. I am disappointed to say the least.
  • The lining is really cheap and rips. The pockets get holes too soon. I have to say that Columba has showed it uses crappy material with this one. I wouldn't waste your money.
  • The sleeves run really narrow and were uncomfortable. It created restriction in movement.
  • This thing gets too dirty. It doesn't look good at all. I have tried to clean it all sorts of ways and it seems to make it worse. I won't be buying it again.
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 2000 reviews we found in total, 8% were negative, and 92% were positive.


Columbia is a very popular brand associated with outdoor wear. They started their company in 1938, making the company over 81 years old. They started their company as a hat distributor near Columbia River (hence the companies name). Since then, the company has grown and is now available in 129 countries. They are also known for making quality products and offering a highly effective customer service team. They are also associated with the popular brand names Sorel, Mountain Hardwear and prAna.


Reviwers were happy with the level of warmth this jacket provided noting that they were warmer than they expected in this coat. The material used is soft but water resistent which made the coat quite comfortable to wear. Additionally with the adjustable draw strings and hem, this jacket can be adjusted to further fit the body beyond the sizing choices. The center back length is about 27.5 inches and the jacket does fit to size according to consumers who bought this jacket. The lightweight nature of this jacket also allows for maximum energy allocation to the physical activity rather than carrying of this jacket on the body. Those who boughts this jacket also noted that it fit perfectly in all areas, even when being worn by heavier set individuals. One reviewer did note that the arms of this jacket are not lined (unlike the body) and so their chest felt warm and protected but the arms were chilled. This was enough for them to not recommend the jacket to others.


The Columbia Ascender offers abrasion resistant chin guard material in order to protect both the wearer as well as the jacket itself. The material used for the body of the jacket is both wind and water resistant which keeps the jacket protected from the elements. Those who bought this jacket were impressed with its durability and shelf-life. Those who bought this jacket said that they have not had any durability concerns associated with the jacket which is positive.


This jacket is true to size which those who bought the jacket were happy with. One issue that some found, though, is that even though the jacket is true to size they had difficulty getting the jacket on due to the arms. They felt that the jacket would snag unless being put onto a smoother, tighter under surface (like a long sleeved shirt). Outside of this issue this jacket does offer a decent fit to even larger individuals which is positive. They also noted that the arms fit well and did extend to the wrist which can be an issue sometimes with this type of product. Some reviewers did have some issues with the shoulders of this jacket noting that it was slightly restrictive which should be noted for those who are particularly broad. This jacket comes in numerous sizes (up to XXL), as well as special fittings like bigger and taller varieties truly making this jacket ideal for everyone. On Columbia's website, this jacket is described as being a modern classic fit meaning it's not quite fitted but it also doesn't lack at least some form fitting.


This jacket is meant for hiking and out and about activities. Numerous reviewers simply used it as a replacement for their winter jacket (depending on the geographical location of the client). This jacket is durable and both wind and water resistant making it great for long hikes on rougher terrains. It also offers special durability features (discussed later in this article) which means it can handle the rough outdoors. One feature that reviewers appreciated is the zip-up pockets which keep items in easily. It also offers a snugger environment for hands to keep them warm. The jacket also has warm fleece on the inside to protect the wearer for wind and the cold. This jacket also has a specific phone compartment which reviewers also really liked. Those who bought this jacket bought if for activities like hiking, mountain climbing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and walking the dog. They were pleasantly surprised by how warm this jacket was after they bought it as it was being used for cool weather but not cold weather. This jacket is also quite lightweight meaning that it won't impact sports or activities and can be easily layered with sweaters or liners to add to the warmth of the jacket.


This jacket offers a decent amount of flexibility due to the polyester soft-shell. The shell of this jacket is durable but also softer to the touch than classic hard-shells. The fabric has a slight stretch to it in order to better contour the body and allow for easier movement. This jacket is meant to be moved around in as well which makes it ideal for sports and sports related activities. The shell is both wind and waterproof which can sometimes add some stiffness to the jacket but those who bought it thought that it was surprisingly easy to move around in despite its weatherproofing features. The jacket is not quite form fitting but also not super loose. It is ideal for those wanting something to move around in physically (like when snow shoeing or walking to dog) or when out and about on errands which definitely helps justify the price of the jacket.


This jacket does offer weatherproofing features like wind and water protection, because of this it is smart to be mindful when cleaning this jacket. The best way to clean a jacket with weatherproofing features is to either hand wash or machine wash in cold water. Avoid using hard chemicals as you don't want to break down the waterproof chemicals applied to the exterior of the coat. After washing in cold water lay flat to dry so that the jacket doesn't lose its shape.


This jacket is a sporty design, though this is the case, it can be worn for everyday use due to how simple the design is. The jacket is offered in numerous color choices which helps suit individual preferences and styles. Those who bought the jacket did find that it came in in richer colors than they expected when they were browsing online. Reviewers noted that others would compliment their jacket choice, wondering where they got their jacket from and what brand it is. The shape offered by this jacket, as mentioned previously, is a classic modern fit. This is a little bit of an oxymoron but essentially this means that it is fitted to the body but also leaves enough room to move around in and adjust. This does not affect the sizing of the jacket as this jacket really does fit true to size which reviewers appreciated. Even the big and tall sizes look fashionable and both clean and modern which is positive.


Those who wore this jacket were very impressed with the waterproofing abilities of this coat. They found that water stayed out of the coat due to its waterproofing features as well as its draw string add-ons. Numerous reviewers wore this jacket in heavy rain and noted that the water just beaded and rolled off. It is important that this type of product offers some sort of water resistance especially when using this type of product for outdoor activities. When raining, this jacket will provide some sort of protection and shelter from the moisture. When snowing this will help keep the wearer warm as well as dry. In cooler climates moisture getting into the jacket can cause even further unnecessary heat loss and subsequent cold to have access to the body. This in turn can lead to dermatological issues or even hypothermia. This jacket does provide a high level of water resistance which is great, it also as a loose enough fit to offer layering opportunities under the jacket. This will further provide protection from wind, cold and moisture when out in the snow and rain.


Those who purchased this product found it to be quite wind resistant. They noted that it can be worn in 15 miles per hour wind without issues and to about 50 degrees F. They did note, though, that anything colder might cause some discomfort to the wearer. This coat is listed as a lightweight, light wear coat so this does make sense. As mentioned earlier, this jacket offers protection from both wind and moisture. It can also be layered in order to provide additional protection. There were several reviewers that were pleasantly surprised by how warm this jacket truly it. They noted that after trying this jacket it out they actually replaced their winter jacket with it because the preferred this jackets style and waterproofing abilities. They said that even when they felt themselves getting cold that they just layered the jacket which they found was enough to withstand fairly cold temperatures.


-Bonded softshell for better weather resistance
-Water and wind resistant for better warmth
-Abrasion resistance for longer wear and better durability
-Adjustable cuff tabs for a closer fit and better wind protection
-Draw cord with adjustable hem
-Zippered hand pockets to keep small items secure
-Attractive, sporty design
-Reputable brand/manufacturer


The bottom line is that this jacket is a pretty good one. Those who bought this jacket, for the most part, sang its praises. The highlights of this jacket are definitely the warmth and the fit of the jacket. Reviewers said that the jacket is true to size and does offer a decent level of wind protection. The other highlights of this jacket is the drawstring waist which helps provide additional warm in windy areas, as well as the zippered pockets which helped protect valuables like keys and phones. This jacket is also offered in several different color choices in order to suit individual styles and this jacket is attractive in design. The price point of this jacket is also extremely reasonable considering how versatile the jacket is (being able to wear this jacket out with the dog, out on the slopes and running errands) and the jacket does seem to offer a high level of durability. Issues the reviewers had with this jacket is that it isn't great for those with fairly broad shoulders (even though the jacket does come in both big and tall sizes) and some found that not all the images online of the jackets are true to the actual color of the jacket- though several reviewers were also very happy with the rich color of their jackets. Overall, this jacket is an excellent pick and worth a try!