Expert Review: Columbia Men's Whirlibird™ IV Interchange JacketPublished on 02/23/2023 · 4 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2022.
All photos courtesy of Nelson A.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2022.
The Columbia Men’s Whirlibird IV Interchange Insulated Jacket is ideal for someone big and tall. It has extra long sleeves and a wide torso with multiple layers to meet whatever the weather demands. The Whirlibird is warm on the coldest days but can be worn on a spring day with no problem.
About the piece
- Model: 2023 Whirlibird Insulated Jacket
- Size: XXLT
- Fit: Runs wide
- Height: 6’4”
- Weight: 240lbs
- Experience: 5 years of snowboarding/skiing
- When I bought this: December 2022
- Days tested: 4
- Where I’ve used it: Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Eldora
- Conditions I’ve used it in: Absolutely windy, cold days
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was looking for a jacket that fits a taller person. I was also looking for a jacket with multiple layers that could be added or removed based on the weather.
Why I chose this gear
This jacket has a reflective coating on the inner layers to help reflect body heat, keeping me warm in even the coldest, windiest conditions. As a taller person, I am always concerned about fit. This jacket fits my long torso well and has long sleeves to help cover my long arms from the elements. The Whirlibird is a big and tall jacket for the tech-conscious rider. I have other jackets, like The North Face Triclimate, that aren’t as baggy, but the sleeves aren’t as long, so my wrists will often get cold. I like this jacket because it is made for a bigger person who can’t just pick a jacket up off the rack and run it.
What I love about it
- Fit: The fit is true to size. I ordered an XXLT, and it was a true XXLT.
- Range of Motion: Full range of motion with no restrictions.
- Design: This jacket is designed for the functional,** **tech-focused person who is more concerned with staying warm and dry than being fashion-forward.
- Quality of Materials: This comes from a trusted brand, Columbia. It’s a quality jacket, and since this is one of their more premium products, its materials reflect that.
- Durability: This jacket will last. It has great seams and a tough but flexible material.
- Pockets: The Whirlibird has tons of pockets with great zippers. The zippers pull easily, even when the jacket is bunched up.
- Waterproofing: I sat in a water puddle with this jacket on and did not get wet, even after about 20 minutes.
- Warmth: This jacket keeps me warm, even in the freezing, blowing wind.
- Weight: Midweight. This jacket isn’t heavy but doesn’t feel light like a windbreaker.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Style: While this is not the most stylish jacket on the hill, it is one of the warmest and most functional. The fit is baggy. It’s definitely not svelte. The jacket doesn’t exactly have an eye-catching pattern or a mind-blowing color palette.
- Features: I wish this jacket had two chest pockets, one for each side. Another feature I would have liked is a chamois in the sleeve pocket for wiping goggles off.
- Breathability: I think that the breathability of this jacket is decent. It definitely is a jacket that will keep one warm, but it is a bit stuffy. This jacket runs HOT, so if one likes a warm, insulating jacket, this is it.
- Other: I wish the pulls on the zipper were a bit heftier, something easier to grab onto with mittens on.
Favorite moment with this gear
I saw tons of people in this jacket around Copper Mountain in Colorado on the same day. It is popular for a reason. The function and warmth on a cold day were great, even stuffy at times. As the cold gave way to the afternoon sun, it was great to peel off the inner lining and just run the shell for a comfy, easy breezy rest of the afternoon. I really appreciated being able to take the inner lining off easily. Then, as I got colder, popping the liner back in was absolutely no hassle.
Value for the money vs. other options
This jacket is absolutely worth the money for someone who wants a versatile jacket without having to take out a loan. The zippers work great, and it is easy to switch out all the different layers quickly and without too much fuss. While this isn’t as fancy as The North Face’s Summit Series jackets, it is about half as much. This jacket is also about the same as the Smarty tech from 686, but the 686 has a bit more style and is a bit more expensive. Columbia is a workhorse brand that will keep one warm and dry.
The Columbia Men's Whirlibird IV Interchange Insulated Jacket will keep a big and taller rider warm and dry. The jacket's versatility and ability to adapt to my temperature demands quickly and easily is my favorite part of this jacket.