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What Makes Columbia’s New Cold-Climate Heat Tech Different

Columbia Sportswear has introduced Omni-Heat Black Dot technology, billed as the outdoor industry’s first external thermal shield built to protect from the cold.

The new material acts as a heat magnet, with thousands of multilayered black dots capturing solar heat and trapping warmth to keep wearers warmer in cold weather, Columbia said. Each dot is made of aluminum and covered with a black coating to enhance heat absorption from scattered or direct sunlight.

Combined with Columbia’s Omni-Heat 3D thermal-reflective lining, the new collection of men’s and women’s Omni-Heat Black Dot jackets is Columbia’s most advanced solution for fighting the cold this winter. Columbia said extensive laboratory and field testing shows that the jacket heats up quickly and holds that heat longer than garments without the technology.

Columbia said its Omni-Heat Black Dot material represents a culmination of warming innovations that began with the introduction of Omni-Heat Reflective lining, a “revolutionary” approach to lightweight insulation that is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. The reflective qualities of Omni-Heat aluminum dots bounce back the body’s radiant heat, similar to a breathable space blanket. In 2018, Columbia introduced its enhanced Omni-Heat 3D technology that features small pods of vertically oriented fuzzy fibers on top of the reflective material to add more heat-retention properties.

Columbia Sportswear has introduced Omni-Heat Black Dot technology, billed as the outdoor industry’s first external thermal shield.
An array of multilayered black dots capture solar heat and trap warmth to keep wearers warmer in cold weather. Courtesy

“To maximize a shell fabric’s heat retention, we looked closely at low emissivity windows that rely on a thin layer of metal on the glass,” Haskell Beckham, Columbia’s senior director of apparel innovation, said. “We’d never seen insulation placed on the outer layer of a jacket before, and we’ve been extremely impressed with the heat absorption and retention performance throughout our testing in the laboratory and in frigid climates around the world.”

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In its inaugural season, Columbia is offering three Omni-Heat Black Dot jacket styles, for a total of six models across men’s and women’s collections. Combined with Columbia’s Omni-Heat 3D lining and high-performance insulation, these Omni-Heat Black Dot jackets represent Columbia’s most advanced system for cold weather.

The collection includes the Dawn Watch Black Dot Jacket that has a trio of Columbia technologies designed for ultimate warmth, including an Omni-Heat Black Dot outer layer, advanced thermal-reflective Omni-Heat 3D lining, and Omni-Heat Stretch Insulation. It’s built for the coldest days and retails for $350. The Barrett Spur Black Dot Parka, Columbia’s most luxe Black Dot style, offers 700 fill-power responsibly sourced down and a plush faux fur trim.

Columbia Sportswear has introduced Omni-Heat Black Dot technology, billed as the outdoor industry’s first external thermal shield.
Columbia Sportswear has introduced Omni-Heat Black Dot technology, billed as the outdoor industry’s first external thermal shield. Courtesy

The Barrett Spur features a full suite of Columbia technologies, including an Omni-Heat Black Dot, advanced thermal-reflective Omni-Heat 3D lining and Omni-Heat Stretch Insulation. It’s a premium parka designed for maximum warmth and protection and retails for $600.

In addition, there’s the Three Forks Black Dot Jacket that features a combination of cold-defeating technologies, including a heat-capturing Omni-Heat Black Dot exterior, advanced thermal-reflective Omni-Heat 3D lining, and the enhanced warmth and flexible comfort of Omni-Heat Stretch Insulation. Available later this fall, it will retail for $280. The jackets are available at columbia.com and select retail locations.