Teaming up With Columbia Sportswear: The First-Ever #OmniTen Crew and a Season of Epic Adventures!

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There are few things more exciting than receiving a giant mystery box in the mail, especially when it's unexpected and from a company like Columbia Sportswear. The box I received late last week bore an "OmniTen" label, and though I'm familiar with Columbia's Omni-Heat and Omni-Wick technology, among other things, OmniTen was completely new.

The nondescript brown package held a white cardboard box and a letter notifying me I've been selected to be a part of a team of ten passionate outdoors folk who are influential about adventure in the social media realm. As part of my participation with the OmniTen team, I'll have the inside scoop on new, innovative Columbia gear and technology, and a chance to pass on what I learn here!

The best part? I'll get to test out some of Columbia's new gear on epic adventures they'll take the OmniTen team on as well as on my own. Shortly after tearing open the box, I received an email invitation for an eight day heli-skiing adventure in Cordova, Alaska the third week of March. Due to the short notice and my level of skiing experience, among other things, I won't be taking advantage of that incredible opportunity, (lucky you,  Gina Bégin!), but can't wait to see what else Columbia has planned for us. Their "Trying Stuff Since 1938" tagline is something it's obvious they take very seriously, and I'm excited to put all of the products they send along through the most rigorous testing possible.

My box of fun from Columbia!
So, What Was In The Box? The white cardboard case was divided into three compartments, each home to one of Columbia's new (and complementary) spring products. After partnering with Columbia to test gear this fall, I'm beyond excited to see what new and innovative products they've got for warmer weather. It's obvious that their design teams are paying serious attention to quality, durability, and making technical apparel for women that actually fits. The gloves and jacket I tested this fall remain a regular part of my wardrobe.

The first compartment held the Women's Compounder Shell, a low-profile waterproof, breathable jacket that promises to "rock the evaporatory world" of the wearer. It fits like a dream and I can't wait to get it out in some less-than-ideal weather conditions to see how it performs. In the second compartment, I found a bright blue and purple Women's Solar Polar Short Sleeve Top. It's designed to both wick the sweat away from your body during rigorous activity and also use that perspiration to activate Omni-Freeze ICE technology to cool you down. (After one CrossFit workout in it, so far, so good.) Finally, the Women's Powerdrain Shoes sat in the third compartment. They're going to be great for light and fast hikes with multiple stream crossings, potentially even for water sports. I can't wait to start testing everything out!

Aside from how exciting being a member of this team is from a personal perspective, OmniTen also a testament to Columbia's company-wide emphasis on innovation and connections. The internet as a communication medium has evolved at an exponential pace over the past several years, and platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide anyone with access to a computer an opportunity to share their opinions. In this new world, everyone has a voice and everyone matters.

What the folks at Columbia also seem to understand is that in this new world, there are informal influencers that, like it or not, can impact the bonds customers form with brands. These influencers, people like other OmniTen team members Katie BouéHeather Balogh, Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd and Steve Weiss are real people using real gear in real situations, and feedback from people like them can affect purchasing decisions and brand equity. As I test out the gear Columbia provides me as part of the OmniTen program, you can bet you'll get honest-to-goodness information about how it all performs that will (hopefully) allow you to make better decisions about your gear.

Follow all of us involved in the 2012 Spring OmniTen on twitter using the #omniten hash tag, and stay tuned for reviews and fun here! Also, to see who else is on the OmniTen crew, visit this twitter listMany thanks to Columbia for this exciting opportunity.

7 comments :

Stephanie said...

Is it okay to be utterly envious of your selection onto the OmniTen team? Because I am! Sounds like such an awesome opportunity, and I can't wait to read what you and the rest of the gang are up to!

Katie L said...

Thanks so much, Stephanie! It was a huge surprise and it's both an honor and a privilege to be part of the team. I'm psyched to really put the gear through its paces and provide honest feedback here. My peers are my guide when it comes to buying gear, and I'm hoping I can help other people too!

Tiffany said...

This is way damn cool! I'm so proud and impressed with you and this blog Katie! Nice WORK! :) And funny, I was daydreaming this morning of a road trip on the East Coast and figuring out a way to kidnap you for a hike. :)

k8tlevy said...

Thanks so much, T. It means a lot coming from you! And if you do come to the East Coast, kidnapping me will be a piece of cake...just as a bit of incentive :)

Meghan J. Ward said...

Wow, Katie. How did you get involved with this? 

Katie L said...

Meghan, it was a complete surprise. I had one or two email exchanges with Columbia about new spring gear, but had no idea what was coming!

Meghan J. Ward said...

 Amazing! You deserve it, girl!