Columbia Solar Camo and LightRail Zipper

Columbia Solar Camo

During our trip to Ireland last week, Columbia Sportswear walked us through the highlights of the Spring ’15 line. With a new fabric innovation debuting in the PFG collection, a trickle down innovation making its way into the spring rainwear lineup, and an entire group of both performance and lifestyle Vent Series footwear, next spring is looking great for Columbia.

Just as the company’s Snow Camo in the Olympic uniforms was designed to masque leg movement, the new Solar Camo fabric is designed to help anglers better blend in with the sky. Dubbed “camo on demand”, the unique fabric reacts to both your body heat and UV rays to change into different shades of blue and even specs of white.

When coming up with the concept for Solar Camo, Columbia turned to nature. White heron supposedly have an easier time catching fish than black heron, as their color helps them blend in with a cloudy sky. The company thought a fishing shirt that blends in with the colors of the sky would therefore help make an angler less conspicuous on top of the water and less likely to become a known presence to the fish.

Columbia Sleeker Jacket

Also for spring, the LightRail Zipper has trickled down into select rainwear pieces for the consumer market. First seen on the Olympic Freestyle uniforms at the Sochi games this winter, the zipper innovation can now be found in the men’s and women’s Sleeker Jacket ($80).

Instead of stitched and taped separately to the garment, the LightRail Zipper is bonded to laser-cut fabric using an adhesive similar to seam tape, removing bulk, weight, and giving the jacket a more streamlined appearance. A special dock for the zipper head eliminates any gap in the closure and the zipper teeth themselves are designed to block any water from getting inside.

The LightRail Zipper is used on the oversized pockets of this 2-layer ripstop rain jacket. The pockets are mesh lined and can be opened to help with venting with the absence of underarm zips.

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