If you’re going to be an outdoor family like we are that means you need to keep the kids warm happy and dry. If you live in The Fraser Valley in BC, it’s going to rain a lot so you better have some decent rain gear if you want to still enjoy the outdoors with your kids.
This year we purchase our 6 year old the Switchback Jacket from Columbia. The reviews said it was great, and many things about this jacket are nice. It does have one fatal flaw we found though.
The Good parts of the Columbia Switchback
The first great thing with this jacket is that it fits our kid very well. She seems to fit things on the ‘husky’ side. I’m not saying she’s heavy by any stretch of the imagination, she’s just not built like a lanky runner. That’s meant some of the jackets in her size from MEC just don’t even come close to fitting her. This Columbia jacket fits her, and fits her well.
The second stellar thing about this jacket is that it’s really light. Kids already regularly need some extra encouragement to get going in the outdoors. Having clothing that feels like it’s weighing them down does not help out parents as they try to build a great time for kids in the outdoors. This jacket is light and easy to pack. It takes up very little space in any backpack and certainly doesn’t make it feel heavy in any fashion.
The third great thing about the Columbia Switchback is that the hood stays reasonably well put. Our daughter has been out with it on in wind and it mostly stays where you expect it to. Now it doesn’t have any drawcords so if you’re facing directly in to the wind the hood is going to come off. I found that simply by walking in front of her in to the wind meant that the hood stayed on. So it was never that big a deal.
The Bad Parts of the Columbia Switchback
IT’S NOT WATERPROOF!!
Really that’s all there is to say about the jacket. It’s not waterproof. The seams are not sealed…at all. Even outside of that, I don’t think that the coating on the jacket is waterproof. Taking a short walk with the dog around the block, the kid is wet. Hanging out camping and riding bikes, taking forest adventures, hiking…the kid is wet to the bone.
We’ve had other jackets used in similar conditions, including a decent sized hike to Lindeman Lake in 50mm+ of rain and the kid was dry. Not so with the Columbia Switchback. The thing leaks like a sieve.
So no, don’t purchase the jacket unless you’re looking for a light windbreaker. For us this means we’re purchasing another coat soon. Possibly something from MEC, if we can find something that fits.
From Eden’s point of view
This is a great rain jacket and the company that makes it is Columbia. I like it because it’s purple. It has pockets that I like to put rocks in. But it’s not waterproof. It’s great because it has good features, like the pockets for rocks.