Gear Review: Columbia Sportswear Women's Zenith Vista Trench

All buttoned up and ready to go!
(Justin Doran)
Up until recently, all of my coats were black. You couldn't find a speck of color in my outerwear wardrobe because, truth be told, I didn't want to stand out. Then, over the past few years, I've discovered red.

Red is just a spectacular color. It's vibrant. It's the color of passion and confidence. It's a color I've embraced, and now can't get enough of. Thankfully, Columbia made a casual winter jacket that helped me incorporate more of my newly discovered favorite outerwear color into my life.

Prior to receiving the Columbia Women's Zenith Vista Trench, I'd already accumulated three red jackets - a windbreaker, a soft shell and a hard shell - but my go-to wool winter coat was still black.

When I received the Zenith Vista Trench from Columbia, I couldn't wait to wear it. It's versatile enough to wear on my walking commute to work or to a restaurant with friends, it's stylish, and better yet, it's as warm as Columbia promised it would be.

More than just a twist on a classic trench, the jacket features Columbia's Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology, designed to keep you 20% warmer than standard outerwear liners will. The Zenith Vista Trench also has a front zip panel inside the buttoned panels, which gives you an extra layer of warmth. The removable lined hood is a great feature as well, and the jacket has kept me warm on many a windy fall day thus far.

Testing out the grass stain resistance.
(Justin Doran)
The Zenith Vista Trench, though not waterproof, does feature Columbia's Omni-Shield advanced repellency technology, which is designed to resist light rain and stains. It won't protect you against liquids over 170ºF, though, so try to avoid spilling a bucket of coffee on yourself while wearing the jacket. The Omni-Shield fabrics are designed to dry three times faster than untreated fabrics, which means the coat won't be soaked all day if you get stuck in a sudden rain shower.

The jacket itself is heavy, but not overly so, and it has a wonderfully tailored fit. Some bulky wool coats can be unflattering, but the Zenith Vista Trench fits like a glove, or so I've been told! I ended up removing the belt as it hits my short-torsoed self in a strange place, but love the way the jacket looks without it. It's one of the few coats I can say I honestly feel attractive in! I've received numerous compliments on it over the past few months.

Overall, it fits true to size. I got the medium and there's still plenty of room to layer underneath. The sleeve length and the length of the jacket itself are great. Also, In addition to two typical front pockets, the jacket has a small zippered wrist pocket that I've found great for holding lip balm and my iPod. It's discreet enough to hide anything tiny, and I affectionately call it a James Bond pocket.

I did find two small issues with the jacket. The added front zipper panel, though a great way to stay warm, adds a little bulk where most women don't like to add a little bulk. It's not enough to cause a significant issue for me. The second issue is with the buttons. One of the lower front buttons came off a few weeks after wearing the jacket, and they could be sewn on more effectively. I don't mind having to fix a button here and there, but would love it if I didn't need to so soon after getting the jacket.

The "James Bond" wrist pocket. (Justin Doran)
Overall, I absolutely love it. I'd recommend it for anyone looking to add a little color and pizzazz to their outerwear collection. There are other colors to choose from if the red's not your favorite.

Disclosure: Columbia provided Adventure-Inspired with a complimentary Women's Zenith Vista Trench free of charge for this review. For more information about the Adventure-Inspired gear review policy, please click here.