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Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50
Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50

Columbia Sportswear Company

Fifty Sense Seal of Approval

It is obvious why Columbia Sportswear Company is a global leader in the design, sourcing, marketing and distribution of active outdoor apparel, footwear and related accessories and equipment. Founded in 1938, they have earned an international reputation for innovation, quality, performance, durability, functionality, dependability and value. Their product innovations and designs are inspired by the performance needs of consumers who participate in a variety of outdoor activities.

The Compounder Shell

This is the shell you will wish you have with you when the elements have their way with you! The fact that it weighs next to nothing and packs easily are 2 very good reasons to always carry it with you backpacking, climbing, camping, or simply tossing it in your car……Just in case.

The 2.5 layer construction features ultrabreathable, fully seam-sealed Omni-Dry technology for the ultimate in protection. This jacket also features Omni-Wick EVAP, which is a really cool new technology- a quick wicking action that pulls moisture away from your skin faster than anything else on the market. There is strategic venting that further facilitates cooling airflow and comfortable thermoregulation. I was hiking on a very warm day when a thunderstorm rolled in. In most jackets you may be dry from the rain but you are soaked through with sweat and your body temperature goes way up. I was amazed at how I actually stayed relatively cool and the Omni-Wick EVAP really worked! I only used the vents when I was really working to make it to the summit.

Other features include a drawcord adjustable hem, waterproof zippers, drop tail (which makes our back sides look good!), internal key clip and an abrasion resistant chin guard.

No matter where you are going or what you are doing make sure you pack this jacket……Just in case!

Triple Trail Shell Pant

Sue has been looking for the perfect ski pant for years. She is a ski instructor and wants pants she can use in all temperatures and weather. Being over 50, it is very hard to find a pair that is flattering to her figure, and still stay warm and dry. In these pants, you can trek, glide and hike in frigid winter conditions.

The Triple Trail features a killer combination of technology that will create a bulletproof barrier between you and the elements. Intelligent three-layer construction wicks body-generated moisture away from your skin as it simultaneously keeps rain and snow locked out. This best-in-class protection is achieved by combining Omni-Tech® and Omni-Heat® for a seriously protective and breathable pant that also keeps you toasty warm whether you’re ski touring or just out for a day trip to take in the view from a nearby summit. It used to be that you could tell how warm something is by how thick it is, but now, you can have all this in a thin fabric.

Let’s talk about why we chose these, the style! The stretch fabric make these pants so flattering and having it also at the knees delivers top-notch mobility and reinforcement at the cuff provides long-lasting durability. The pants come with an adjustable waist, zip-closed pockets and removable suspenders. An internal gaiter keeps snow out while a full side zip allows you to customize your ventilation as exertion levels fluctuate. Sue uses heaters with her boots and the pant leg is wide enough to accommodate these. In summary, she is one happy skier!

Men’s Reach the Peak™ Hybrid Down Jacket

In the debate of down versus synthetic jackets, Columbia has come up with a real contender. It is rather streamlined and compact for a 700 fill down jacket. This turned out to be great as insulation when downhill skiing. It works even better when cross-country skiing. Columbia uses their Omni Heat technology, little silver dots, to help keep the heat you generate inside the piece.

Under the arms and up to the back shoulders a stretchy knit fabric replaces the down insulation. So where you sweat the most you can also ventilate the heat to keep your body at a steady temp. During high aerobic activities, it feels darn good to cool off even if it is snowing out. The fit is a bit snug compared to normal sizes. This was great for a free range of motion thanks to the stretch the underarm fabric provided.

The Omni Shield shell is great for the messy après ski eater and those caught in the rain. There always seems to be that mysterious stain on a sleeve or the front of a favorite piece. Unintentionally, we tested to see how it cleaned up from dirtying it up. The shell passed the bacon cheeseburger, side of onion rings and a root beer test. We tested the jacket while walking the dog in a light rain and lots of around town errands.

As advertised, the Omni Shield resisted the water and kept the down aloft. The Reach the Peak Hybrid Down Jacket performed as well as we hoped for. The jacket does not have the bulk we have come to expect from warm down pieces. Wear it in confidence as an outer layer or as insulation.

Women's Le Lustre Jacket

A highly functional yet stylish jacket that performs well and looks good whether you are in the backcountry or on the street this is the perfect travel jacket.

The Omni-Heat thermal reflective liner ups the warmth factor by 20% and the Omni-Shield advanced shrugs off snow and rain so no matter what weather conditions this jacket will keep you warm and dry.

If features flattering seaming and a dropped rear hem providing great fit no matter your figure. The inferno pockets, zip closed security pockets and an interior security pocket keep your valuables hidden and safe.

Women’s Base Layer Midweight Long Sleeve Stripe Top and Bottom

Columbia has done it again! They have taken their amazing Omni-Heat technology, combined it with Omni-Wick and created a midweight base layer that keeps you warm and dry in all the right spots.

Antimicrobial treatment keeps it feeling fresh even during high exertion activities. It’s really a great feeling to know that when you are heading our for a long day on the slopes you will stay warm and dry and can even take your jacket off in the lodge to relax with a beer or hot chocolate!

This was tested skiing as well as snow boarding and even though they both require different exertion for our tester, her body temperature stayed at the same comfortable level.

One of her favorite aspects was the highly stretchable material with flat locking stitching to avoid chafing and allow for extended range of motion, which was awesome for cross country skiing!

Peak 2 Peak Jacket

The Peak 2 Peak jacket performs beautifully in a variety of environments. Outside Magazine awarded this piece with the 2011 Gear of the Year award in the shell category.

While hiking in the Smoky Mountain National Park the weather changed rapidly. As we ascended the temperature dropped, the winds grew in strength and the sun was released from behind the canopy of trees. Sometimes the sun was not there and the canopy released us in to rain. We saw it all and the jacket excelled.

The jacket is made up of an uber-breathable membrane that is waterproof. Columbia calls it Omni-Dry. A lofty name, yes. As attested to above, it lives up to its' name. We even wore it in a rain storm with 70 mph winds. Neither of mother nature's elements penetrated the Omni-Dry material or fully taped seams. The wrists, waists and hood all have cinches on them to secure the jacket on the body and keep the elements out. There two chest pockets and one more on the left sleeve. Invizzip keeps the zippers hidden revealing only the easy to grab toggles.

The jacket is only 14 oz. This is in large part due to the fact that Omni-Dry material consists of 50% air. This allows for air passage, which helps heat and moisture to escape. When a jacket is not able to do this you end up a little too warm and wet for the wear. If that is not enough there are pit zips under each arm. You can open them up from either side as there are two sliders.

Peak Power Shell

As weather conditions change and body temperature varies, this jacket keeps you warm and dry. The Omni-Dry technology is a membrane that has incredible air passage capabilities for a waterproof, breathable shell. The breathability is extremely important to keep you dry on the inside allowing moisture to escape.

There are underarm vents that are easy to open on the go with zippers on each end. The adjustable hood and cuffs keep the wind and rain outside where it belongs. There are 2 side pockets and an interior security pockets.

You can see for good reason why this jacket won the "Backpacker Gear of the Year Award for Shells". It keeps the wind and rain and sweat out allowing for optimal adventure comfort.

Ridge 2 Run Pant

Warm, comfortable and dry. That sums up how I felt each and every day I wore these pants out playing in the snow. The Omni-Heat lining is a revelation. It is a light weight material that reflects my own heat back on to my body.

There are six pockets total. The two on the hip and the two on the rear do a great job of keeping the snow out. Underneath the lip of the pocket the fabric is secured after it flips over. Very much how a dry-sack keeps items dry. There are zippers on the hip pockets with a fabric covering. All are very easy to get in and out of even with your gloves on. The inside of the cuffs are reinforced to prevent damage from the sharp edges of skis.

Most importantly they are very comfortable. The waistline is adjustable so a great fit is ensured throughout the season as your waistline or the temperature may fluctuate. There are two independent zippered vents on the inner thigh. This allows these to be worn in any type of weather. I stay cozy in the coldest of days and can cool off when my body is heating up. The material is waterproof and breathable thanks to Omni-Tech technology.

Columbia Bugathermo Techlite Boot

Once again, Columbia has combined innovation and comfort. This time around it's the Bugathermo Techlite winter boots.

What makes them stand out? Bugathermo boots utilize rechargeable batteries (one in each boot) to provide three levels of warmth, making cold feet a thing of the past. The batteries attach to the outside of the boot, discreetly concealed behind a Velcro flap and recharge in about two hours using the provided micro-USB to USB cables and USB wall adapter.

The familiar Columbia logo on the outside of the boot is actually the button that controls the Omni-Heat Thermal Electric heating element. Just hold the button for three seconds to turn on the heat then use it to cycle through and select any of the three levels of warmth. The logo will actually glow to indicate the selected level; red for high, yellow for medium and green for low. The boots can also be set to stealth mode so that the light fades after 30 seconds.

But don't assume that battery powered heating elements are all these boots have to offer. Columbia has infused many of their other great technologies as well, including Omni-Tech (a breathable, waterproof protection system), Omni-Shield (a barrier that resists water and stains), Techlite (lightweight cushioning and support), Contour Comfort (contoured footbeds), Omni-Grip (multi-terrain traction system) and Omni-Heat (a heat reflecting material used in the boot's liner).

One of the first things you'll notice when handling the boots is how lightweight they are. Winter boots can have a tendency to be heavy and tiring to wear. Thanks to the incorporation of Techlite the Bugathermos don't feel any heavier than an average pair of shoes.

The Contour Comfort footbeds are extremely comfortable and do an excellent job of reducing foot fatigue.The Omni-Grip soles performed great. Even on snow and ice they provided sure footing. The Omni-Heat lining inside the boots actually reflects body heat back to the feet. So once the boots are warm inside, the lining helps maintain the heat within the boots.

Columbia took what they knew from their previous lines of boots and added to it with their Omni-Heat Thermal Electric technology to create the ultimate winter boot, the Bugathermo Techlite

Thermodynamic Softshell-Big with Omni-Heat

This is one of the most versatile pieces in anyone's closet. This supple stretch softshell has insane heat retention levels, allowing you to wear it in a surprising range of conditions and situations. What's its secret? It's all in the technology. The liner features Omni-Heat® thermal reflective material, which boosts heat retention by an average of 20 percent to keep you comfortable in much more severe weather than you ever thought a softshell could handle. It's also super-comfy, with stretch mobility and supreme breathability, making it great for even moderate to heavy activities. Plus, Omni-Shield® repellency means that precipitation simply beads and runs off. The zippered security pockets are barely there thanks to Columbia's zipper-hiding Invizzip™. The "Big" style features a 28.5" back length and a bit extra room in the shoulders but it certainly isn't baggy.

Men's Heat Elite Jacket

Columbia's Heat Elite Jacket features Omni-Heat, a new technology that utilizes thermal reflection in the jacket's lining to keep you warm without adding bulk.

The first thing you'll notice when wearing the jacket is how lightweight it is. Then, if you're like me, you'll question just how warm it will actually keep you. Have no worries, Omni-Heat works as advertised! Even with temps in the low to mid-twenties with wind chills in the teens I have been pleasantly surprised at how well this jacket works. It also breathes well, keeping you from getting uncomfortable when stepping indoors.

Because the jacket isn't bulky it makes it easy to wear anywhere. And the styling is great as well! The jacket's lining is smooth, meaning you can slip it on over a sweater without material getting bunched up underneath.

If you're looking for a lightweight winter jacket that will keep you warm and comfortable, look no further.

Men's Travel Jacket

First things first, this is my absolute favorite jacket! I've received more compliments on the looks of this jacket than I have for any other coat I've ever owned. The styling is great and the material is extremely comfortable.

The Columbia Travel Jacket features Omni-Shield, an advanced water and stain barrier that resists light rain and stains.

The wool blended soft shell gives the jacket the feel of a sweater while the nylon wool guard on the front keeps the wind out.

Though the jacket is considered lightweight it has kept me warm as temperatures have hovered around freezing.

Men's Peak Ascent Shell

Columbia's Peak Ascent Shell is the ultimate in waterproof wear. It features Omni-Tech Waterproof Breathable technology that will keep water out while still allowing moisture from your skin to escape from the inside of the jacket to keep you comfortable.

Outer pockets are fully sealed when zipped, keeping your items dry and protected from the elements. The shell is full seam sealed.

One of the more interesting features I noticed right away are the laser cut breathing holes. When wearing the hood you can fully zip the jacket up to cover part of your face. The holes allow you to breathe without sacrificing protection from the weather.

It is important to remember that this is just a shell. While this is fine during warmer weather, you will want to add some layers underneath when the weather turns cold. Columbia's 3-point Interchange system allows you to add a Columbia liner of your choice.

The Peak Ascent Shell is great for when your adventures take you into the unknown.

Blackfin shoes

We found thethe Blackfin™ is unlike any other water footwear on the market. It is super easy to put on and we love the different look. The Omni-Sheild® technology means it repels dirt and resists water and the molded Techlite® heel cup mimics the same technology used in swim fins, for a super-snug and comfortable fit.

The upper is sewn directly to the midsole, eliminating the need for a messy, water-absorbing insole. Drainage ports in the outsole move water away from the foot while the razor siped diamond tread pattern provides top-notch traction on wet and dry surfaces alike. All these features, and the size 7 shoe only weighs 6.4 ounces! We believe that waterside footwear just got a high-performing makeover.

Super Bonehead convertible shirt

We love to find shirts that not only are multi- purpose, but also look great. We tested this shirt in the green gingham. Although we could use this for hiking and backpacking, it also looks great for adventure travel. Between protecting us from bugs to sun, Columbia understands what the practical boomer is looking for in a shirt.

Pesky bugs and burning sun are no match for this cool, protective shirt, which is designed specifically to meet the needs of women. Constructed of cotton poplin that's garment washed for lived-in comfort, it features four hook and loop closure box pockets at the chest and a rod holder loop at the left chest that frees up your hands to work with lines and lures if you are using this fishing.

Mesh-lined vents at the back shoulder keep you cool and comfortable. The collar can be turned up and secured at the collar tips to keep the sun off your neck. Roll-up sleeves secure at the elbow with button tabs.

Silver Ridge Stretch shirt

Finally, a shirt that has stretch material that fits the less than perfect body. It blends simple aesthetics and progressive performance elements. The colors are beautiful and the shirt works for casual, or more dressy occasions. When you don't know what the whole day weather will be, no problems, just roll up the sleeves and anchor as the temperature increases.

This shirt features anti-microbial properties and Omni-Dry® advanced evaporation, It keeps you cool and comfortable at the height of sweat-infused activity. A unique, two-toned yarn delivers a richly textured effect, while a long, sleek cut with flattering seam lines turns up the feminine-factor. It's perfect for mixing, matching, and layering. Omni-Shade® sun protection creates a comforting barrier between your skin and harsh UV rays.

It features a longer, more fitted cut giving it a more feminine appeal and a two toned yarn that gives the fabric a richer feeling, with a slight stretch ability, making it both super comfortable and flattering to wear.

One of the things I love most about this piece is the roll up sleeve- perfect for those days with cooler mornings and evenings, and warmer days!

This piece is so classy I find myself reaching for it even to go to work- it is definitely not just an outdoor piece!

Pave the Way Jacket

Love this rain jacket! Unlike most rain jackets that are not flexible or stretchy, the Pave the Way Jacket allows you more flexibility and won't strand in the way o your activity. Featuring an advanced Omni-Tech® membrane bonded directly to our Balata Stretch™ polyester, the Pave The Way Jacket has the advanced waterproof-breathability to keep you dry from the inside out.

This is one of those pieces that you can take everywhere with you- whether biking, or travelling, or just an everyday spring jacket. This piece sports a flattering cut and reflective materials to keep you safe on your night adventures. Although inspired by bicycling commuters, it is a crowd pleaser for everyone!

Swift Seeker Top

This sporty top has all the features to enhance your workout but also has such figure flattering lines and patterns you can look good doing it too!

It features an internal bra for invisible support and 4-way comfort stretch for the ultimate freedom of movement. Omni-Dry® technology ensures quick-drying comfort when your core temp is kicking.

I tested this piece in the yoga studio as well as rock climbing and was amazed at how comfortable and surprisingly cool it was. I love the pattern and received many compliments on the styling.

Wicked Summit Jacket

This jacket has become one of my favorite go-to's. It has a brushed fleece interior that is so soft on the skin it is like wrapping yourself in a fleece blanket when you get into camp; heavenly!

Featuring such advanced technology as Omni-Shade® sun protection and Omni-Dry® advanced evaporation, this jacket is built to keep you cozy, dry, and safe from damaging UV rays.

The exterior is a smooth stretch fleece so while it is fitted it still gives you the range of movement necessary while on the trail, at base camp, or just doing your everyday ritual.

Flattering cut and design makes this piece entirely appropriate to wear about town- perfect spring and fall piece!

Titanium Expedition Pant http://www.columbia.com/Titanium-Expedition%E2%84%A2-Pant/TM8452,default,pd.html# This is an exceptional travel pant featuring Omni-Shield® advanced repellency you can ward of the occasional rain, travel spillages, or travel wear dirt. But it definitely doesn't feel like a water repellent pant thanks to the buttery softness of the fabric and flattering fit. I take this pant with me anytime I am packing a suitcase or travel bag, but I can also wear this pant to the office!

Whoosh Set- two piece snowsuit for infants and toddlers
(this can not be ordered on the web right now, look for a local retailer)

We tested this snowsuit on a 17 month active boy in Northern Michigan. At this age, they can be wiggly and hard to dress, but it was easy to get on and adjusted to his size with the adjustable shoulder on bib. He stayed comfortable and warm sledding and walking in the snow. Even though the color is blue, we think this would be darling on a girl.

He left the adjustable storm hood on, and we loved the internal leg gaiter that kept his feet dry. When you never know when the weather is going to change, it is important that this has Omni-shield advanced repellency which makes it waterproof. The sizes run from 6 months to 6-7 youth.

Alpine Falls II men's ski pant
(this can not be ordered on the web right now, look for a local retailer)

Our tester really gave these pants a work out! He is 6'5"and thin, and couldn't believe the pant was long enough and with the adjustable waist, they stayed up! He used them for cold Alpine skiing and warm Nordic skiing and was pleasantly surprised that they were comfortable in all weather.

What an extra joy to have the Omni-Tech waterproof/breathable fully seam sealed feature when it started raining on the course. The full side zip came in handy when he was skate skiing on a warm day. The removable suspenders allowed him to use these pants to be stylish after skiing. When you are looking for a pair of ski pants for multiple uses, these are the ones to pack!

LOL softshell Jean ski pants

What a perfect pant for the woman who likes one pair of pants for Alpine and Nordic skiing. The Softshell Jean is supple, stretchy, and waterproof-breathable. Best of all, the cut makes the wearer look slim. Omni-Shield® advanced repellency provides premium protection from rain, snow, and everything in between. Four-way stretch ensures supreme comfort and mobility.

Outer thigh vents provide key air-conditioning when activity heats you up, and internal leg gaiters keep the fresh snow out of your foot. The internal leg gaiter works great over the boots. Our tester loved the zippered privacy pocket, plus two pockets for easy access.

Power's Vertical LS Shirt

This is a travel-oriented shirt that doubles just as well for around town or on the trail. What makes it unique is their Omni-Shield advanced repellency technology, which resists moisture or stains. Our tester wore it around the house, for Nordic skiing and can't wait until warmer weather for backpacking. He loved the added features of the venting at the back shoulder and a center back mesh lining and the sleeves that roll to tabs to make it short sleeved that keeps you cool and collected on hot days

Quilt-Essentials Full Zip

This fleece quickly became a favorite of our tester. The fit was flattering, and stylish. She loved the combination of the plan and quilted look. Although very functional protecting her from rain and spills, it is dressy enough to be used as an indoor jacket at work. She loved the full zip that allowed for those days when you just can't decide if you are going to be warm or cold.

The Harlow Parka

After skiing for almost 50 years, this could become our tester's favorite jacket.. The fun style combined with high performance creates a ski parka that is waterproof/breathable and great on the slopes. For the over fifty woman in mind, the back has a flattering lower length. As a ski instructor, one never knows what the weather is going to be like.

To have a liner for extra warmth that can be removed as the day warms up makes the whole day enjoyable. This jacket has so many extras, from air vents, a removable adjustable, snap-back powder skirt with pant connector tab, to an interior security pocket and zip-closed pockets. This is a jacket that draws attention on the slopes for being stylish and functional.

Caribineer II parka

Our tester has looked for a long time trying to find a mid weight jacket that can fit with a lifestyle where the weather is always changing. He is very excited to have this jacket and grabs this for just about every activity. It is so light, but warm with 550 fill down insulation.

It is waterproof, breathable and every seam sealed against the outer elements. The hood can be rolled up and in the collar. For carrying extras, it has three outside zip pockets and two inside mess pockets. The sleeves have Velcro cuffs to seal against the wind.This is really two jackets. The liner can be removed and be used alone, as well as the outer shell alone for warm weather. Add the great style, and what more could we want?

Tough Soft ½ Zip

It's possible be tough and still maintain a softer side. Featherweight, moisture-wicking microfleece is treated to an anti-pill finish so it won't shed on your base layer.

The deep half zip makes for great temperature regulation; finished with a quick pop of contrast color at the collar and zippered security pocket at the chest. This quickly became not only a sport fleece, but because of the flattering design, a favorite for going out in the evenings.


...Fiftysense Product Review Panel

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