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Like Wearing a Sleeping Bag: Columbia Pike Lake II Long Winter Jacket Review

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I was a bit skeptical when this giant pink puffy parka arrived in the mail. But those feelings quickly faded the second I slid on this winter jacket. 

Finding a winter jacket that can survive many winters without breaking the bank can feel like an absolute chore sometimes. Performance and great value are where Pike Lake II saves the day. At $200, this full-length parka is stylish and insulating for the most blustery days. 

I wore the Pike Lake II during one of the coldest and snowiest winters I’ve endured in Colorado. From alpine dog walks to snowy strolls around town, this parka became my best friend. Not to mention, passersby made many positive comments about how beautiful the fit looked. 

In short: The Columbia Pike Lake II Long Jacket ($200) has pillowy-soft materials combined with Omni-Heat insulation to create a solid winter parka. This jacket kept me warm during trips to Aspen and Crested Butte and for all the mountainside sunsets in between. It is also adjustable, size-inclusive, and available in various colorways.

Check out the complete Women’s Winter Jackets buyer’s guide to read more about our winter jacket picks.

  • Weight
    N/A
  • Fill
    100% recycled polyester 
  • Center back length
    45” (mid-calf)
  • Waterproof
    No. Water resistant with PFC-free DWR 
  • Hood
    Adjustable with draw cord
  • Fit
    Loose with room for layers
  • Zipper
    2-way front zipper
  • Lining
    Omni-Heat reflective polyester
  • Pockets
    Two large exterior zippered pockets and one interior check pocket 
  • Sizes
    Regular: XS-XXL; Plus: 1X – 3X

  • Full-coverage length is highly protective

  • Lofty insulation provides warmth

  • Large exterior pockets provide ample room for hands and small items

  • Adjustable waist for tailoring


  • Synthetic insulation doesn’t boast the same warmth as natural down

  • Sizing runs large 

  • A bit too cumbersome to pack in a suitcase or backpack

Columbia Pike Lake II Long Jacket Review

Despite being among the more affordable outdoor garment companies, Columbia produces pretty competitive clothing when it comes to quality. The Pike Lake II is no exception. This extremely comfortable parka was warm enough to wear during chilly winter evenings at higher altitudes in the Rockies.  

Winter Jacket Warmth

After testing, I found the Pike Lake II is a well-made jacket. This longer coat is part of Columbia’s Pike Lake II collection. The series of jackets come in short and more generous lengths designed for the most intense winter seasons. 

This parka has an interior lining that is made with Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology. The proprietary material has thermal reflective dots that help to insulate your body heat. Omni-Heat allows for more warmth without adding bulk from further insulation fill.

In my experience, this technology seemed to work whenever I pulled on the Pike Lake II. I stayed plenty warm in this jacket despite it only using synthetic insulation.

Columbia rates this jacket as a 3 on the brand’s in-house “Warmth Scale,” which is the highest score for cold-temperature use. I agree with this assessment. It’s rare to find synthetic insulated jackets that can truly boast this much warmth. I found that the Omni-Heat liner, in addition to the hood and ground-reaching length, gives the Pike Lake II that extra oomph to provide oven power.

Eco-Friendly Insulation

Speaking of insulation, the Pike Lake II utilizes 100% recycled polyester insulation instead of a natural feather down. While both have pros and cons, synthetic insulation provides less warmth per weight than goose or duck feathers.

However, I felt that the Omni-Heat lining and insulation were plenty warm. I used this jacket during outings ranging from 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, synthetic insulation is quicker to dry and more water-resistant than down fill. So, that’s a plus for people living in or visiting wetter environments. 

Water-Resistant Exterior

The face of this jacket is constructed with 100% polyester that’s treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR). This means it’s moisture-resistant, which is best for winter climates that experience lighter or dryer snow. Wet and heavy snowfall might dampen the exterior. (Synthetic insulation can continue providing warmth even when wet.)

Size and Length

It is apparent that the Columbia Pike Lake II isn’t the most inconspicuous-looking coat. But that’s not a shortcoming by any means. This coat’s lofty, bulky appearance gives it a retro aesthetic while also serving up top warmth.

I must say that the sizing of this coat runs a bit large. For reference, I am 5’3” and petite. The small fit gave me room for layers, but downsizing would have improved the overall fit. However, the waist is adjustable via a drawcord, which helped tailor the fit and further insulate my body heat. 

The Pike Lake II is decently size-inclusive including options from XS to 3X. It should be noted that the plus sizes for this design have a center back length that is 47 inches rather than the 45 inches on the regular sizes.

It can be challenging to find size variety in the outdoor industry. It’s refreshing to see a well-established brand like Columbia make strides to fill this need in this market. 

In terms of length, the 45-inch center back fell to mid-shin on my legs. This length was perfect for me, as it protected 80% of my body and was toasty without limiting too much mobility. The Pike Lake II didn’t ride up or restrict my comfort even while sitting on a chilly bus ride into town.

Hood, Pockets, Cuffs

Between the spacious hood, massive pockets, and wrist cuffs, I am not sure where to start on this jacket’s valuable add-ons. 

The hood on the Pike Lake II is insulated and still roomy enough for a beanie or over-the-ear headphones. While playing fetch with my dog in an absolute blizzard, the adjustable hood and adjoined collar protected my face and head from encroaching flakes. I always love it when a winter jacket has a generously high collar, which gave this parka some bonus points.

The Pike Lake II has two exterior zippered pockets, which are pretty significant. There’s also an interior zippered pocket well-suited for a phone or keys. I especially loved the massive hand pockets when I forgot my gloves (I nearly always forget ‘em) on walks to the post office and local coffee joint. 

The parka’s wrist cuffs are made of thick elastic bands that shield your forearms from moisture and increase the jacket’s insulation. While they are perfectly comfortable, it would be nice to see wrist gaiters implemented into this jacket for palm and back-of-the-hand protection.

Mobility 

When you buy a winter jacket that’s this long, you hope you’ll still be able to walk or sit in it without getting caught up. Thankfully, this design offers side mobility panels, which come into play for bigger moves. These flaps can be unsnapped at the hem, so you don’t have to waddle like a penguin down the street. 

Most of the time, I opted to keep the panels unsnapped for a better range of motion. But they were helpful to snap shut when big gusts started to blow, and I didn’t want any sneaky cool air shooting up the coat. This additional feature also made hopping in and out of my truck a breeze.

I would say that I prefer side panels like these with zippers rather than snaps. The latter can be a bit tedious to put back together, but that’s just personal preference. 

In Conclusion

Overall, I was pretty happy with the Columbia Pike Lake II Long Jacket for several reasons. For being $200 and providing this much warmth and coverage, I was impressed. The Omni-Heat lining combined with 100% recycled insulation made this coat an insulating powerhouse with a touch of eco-friendly design. 

Simply put, this jacket has a great aesthetic. Furthermore, this jacket has some versatility thanks to its adjustable internal waist and side panel openings.

Because it’s water-resistant instead of waterproof, I suggest women in only mildly wet climates purchase this coat. This winter jacket isn’t made to withstand an abundance of super wet snow or rain. 

Currently, the Pike Lake II is available in both regular and plus sizes on Columbia’s online store, MooseJaw, and REI. I recommend trying it on before purchasing to ensure the best fit. 

The Pike Lake II Long Jacket is proof that a solid winter jacket doesn’t have to always break the bank. For its durability, warmth, and affordability, I would absolutely recommend this coat. 



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