Omni-Heat by Columbia: clothing to keep you active all winter long


December 15, 2023


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winter with Omni-Heat by Columbia

Everyone has different ways of enjoying the great outdoors. Some hike for days on end, while others prefer to hit the slopes, and still others set out on expeditions to conquer the highest peaks. Columbia has been innovating continuously for over eight decades to meet the needs of all these people. The brand has developed several “in-house” technologies, tested in the most challenging conditions, to integrate them into its clothing, footwear, and equipment. By providing the very best for those who cross the most arid spaces or brave the polar cold, the company leaves no one behind. 

Omni-Heat™, which follows in the footsteps of Thermal Coil™, is one of Columbia’s tried and true technologies. It has proven its worth to those who wait for winter to go outside and play. Let’s look together at the technologies used by Columbia for its winter clothing. If you’re looking for a warm winter jacket, you’re definitely in the right place!

In this article, you will find out all about Columbia's technologies for winter:

  1. What is Columbia's Omni-Heat™ technology?
  2. Columbia's different versions of Omni-Heat™ technology

What is Columbia’s Omni-Heat™ technology?

technology Omni-Heat™

Omni-Heat™ is one of the American brand’s leading technologies. Introduced in 2010 and now available in several versions, it is based on a simple principle: reflecting the heat generated by the body to keep it inside cothing. A true revolution at the time, it continues to be incorporated into the brand’s men’s and women’s jackets today. That’s enough to prove its effectiveness for all your winter activities.

The science behind Omni-Heat™

Omni-Heat™ is inspired by space blankets or survival blankets, which reflect a significant amount of body heat. Columbia’s challenge was to replicate this property while making the material comfortable and breathable. Omni-Heat™ relies on the heat radiated by the human body.
This patented thermal-reflective technology traps warmth in the fabric without making it heavier, thicker or less breathable. This achievement is the result of hundreds of small silver “dots” that cover the inner lining of garments. Warmth is retained and moisture escapes thanks to the small spaces between each dot. All this ensures good thermoregulation and proven breathability. What more could you ask for?

Columbia’s different versions of Omni-Heat™ technology

OMNI-HEAT™ & Thermal Coil


Omni-Heat™ Infinity is the most reflective technology in the Omni-Heat™ range, i.e., the one that “makes the best use” of the body’s heat radiation. All this without compromising breathability.
This technology builds on the “little dots” principle featured in Omni-Heat™. In this case, gold dots of various sizes are scattered over the entire surface of the lining. Clothing items with Omni-Heat™ Infinity are some of the brand’s warmest, as they have an exceptional ability to retain body heat. This makes them ideal for the coldest conditions, whether for winter hiking or expeditions in polar environments…
Omni-Heat™ Infinity can be found in Columbia winter jackets for women (the Lay D Down III Mid, for example) and for men (the Oak Harbor, for example), or as the inner lining in footwear like the Bugaboot Celsius.


Columbia’s Omni-Heat™ Black Dot technology is designed for the most extreme cold. Working like an actual thermal shield, it is made up of small black dots that capture and trap the sun’s heat.
Unlike other Omni-Heat™ technologies, this one is used as an outer layer rather than a lining. By combining it with Omni-Heat™ Infinity (on the inside), Columbia manages to offer jackets for those who embark on expeditions or climbs in the harshest conditions, with prolonged exposure to the cold.


With Omni-Heat™ 3D, Columbia still uses its “dots” principle but applies it with a new pattern of silver reflectors covering more of the fabric’s surface to further enhance heat retention from body radiation. As with Omni-Heat™ Black Dot, the idea is to maintain heat consistently during extended exposure to the cold.
Omni-Heat™ 3D also focuses on next-to-skin comfort. The fabric is very comfortable to wear, as it incorporates small fibre “balls” that create pockets of air between the body and the fabric (hence the “3D” effect). This construction also has the advantage of improving insulation.
Here again, the fabric is highly breathable and moisture wicking – perfect for high-intensity activities in cold environments. This technology is an excellent option for hiking, snowshoeing and other winter pursuits.


Omni-Heat™ Reflective is a thermal-reflective lining derived from Omni-Heat™ technology. Once again, the technology involves small dots that reflect body heat to retain it and keep the wearer warm.
In terms of specific features, Omni-Heat™ Reflective offers high breathability and moisture-wicking abilities. Since it is not the warmest version of Omni-Heat™, it is ideal for high-intensity outdoor activities when the cold isn’t too severe. The brand’s products that incorporate this technology also fit perfectly into a multi-layer system. Columbia jackets and down puffers with Omni-Heat™ Reflective make excellent outer layers. Check out Columbia’s Heavenly women’s jacket, for example, a reliable choice for mid-season!
The brand also offers base and mid layers that take advantage of this proprietary technology. One example is the women’s Midweight Stretch tights with Omni-Heat™ Reflective thermo-reflective lining, a great option for outdoor activities!


Omni-Heat™ Helix is the latest innovation from Columbia. Its distinctive feature is the gold thermal-reflective dots positioned across the entire surface area. Insulation cells effectively trap the heat released by the body, making Omni-Heat™ Helix a temperature-regulating and breathable technology. Omni-Heat™ Helix pieces are in fact designed to retain heat for as long as possible. They are recommended for those who switch between periods of intense activity and “breaks.”
Another special feature of this technology is that you can actually see it! The small pads visible on the outside of the clothing give it a texture that is instantly recognizable.

OMNI-HEAT™ and Thermal Coil: which Columbia technology to choose?

different technology Omni-Heat™ de Columbia

Thermal Coil is another patented technology which is slightly older than Omni-Heat™. It is notably found in Columbia jackets, winter coats, and down puffers.
Like Omni-Heat™, Thermal Coil works by reflecting body heat, but in this case, it uses a pattern of coils/filaments spread across the entire surface of the fabric. This technology is ideal for mild to moderate temperatures. Heat is retained inside the garment for a long time without adding extra weight or bulkiness to the fabric. It should be noted that Thermal Coil is a bit less breathable than the various Omni-Heat™ versions.

Thermal Coil: how does it work and for which activities?

Columbia’s Thermal Coil clothing is both insulating and lightweight. The silver filaments printed on the fabric provide excellent heat retention. Although the brand now prioritizes the different versions of Omni-Heat™ for its down puffers and jackets, Thermal Coil remains an excellent option if you need a high level of insulation.

If you’re going on a long walk in the mid-season or a leisurely hike in the winter, you will definitely appreciate your Columbia jacket with Thermal Coil. Clothing and gear that feature this technology also fit perfectly into the multi-layer system, particularly when worn as an outer layer.

Omni-Heat™: for which activities?

As you now know, Omni-Heat™ is a technology that consists of small dots (or other patterns) printed on fabric, which act as reflectors to retain body heat. What you also know is that all the variants of this Columbia technology are not only warm but also breathable. This is one of the main differences between Omni-Heat™ and Thermal Coil.
Columbia takes advantage of this breathability by integrating Omni-Heat™ into a variety of clothing, footwear, and accessories such as gloves. It is notably found in several of the brand’s boot models for women and men. Good to know if you’re looking for a good pair of boots for your next winter hike!

Another advantage is that there are several versions of this technology available, allowing outdoor enthusiasts to select the most suitable one based on their specific needs and the type of adventure they prefer. If you’re planning an expedition to the far north, for instance, make sure your Columbia winter jacket integrates Omni-Heat™ Black Dot. If you’re more of a Sunday short hike type, Omni-Heat™ Infinity will keep you warm even if the temperatures aren’t on your side. Ultimately, there’s no doubt you will find the perfect Columbia technology for your needs!

Pro tips

When the weather and temperatures fluctuate, having several layers of clothing is key. We are referring here to the famous multi-layer system, well known to all those who keep exploring when the mercury gets low. Columbia Omni-Heat™ clothing is perfect for layering and wearing as an outer layer (Omni-Heat™ Infinity, Black Dot…), base layer (Omni-Heat™ Reflective), or even mid layer. You just have to give it a try and see which combination suits you best!


Is Columbia Omni-Heat™ really warm?

Is Columbia Omni-Heat™ a good base layer?

What is the difference between Omni-Heat™ and Omni-Heat™ 3D?


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