Columbia Passo Alto Full Zip

They Say – The Passo Alto Fleece is the perfect mid-layer made using Omni-Wick technology, a moisture-management technology designed specifically for the outdoors. It moves moisture away from the body and enables perspiration to evaporate quickly.

With 4-way comfort stretch, drawcord adjustable hem and zippered hand pockets.

We Say - I love the slim fit of this, it’s very retro, the sort of thing I used to wear and love as a kid, and I also love the ‘Springbok Green and mustard piping’ colour, for the same reasons as I love the Columbia Mission II Jacket’s colour – it’s muted and unobstrusive. The last thing I want to see when I’m out hiking is brightly coloured all weather clothing polluting the landscape. Not that I’ve worn this fleece as an outer layer much yet – it’s been too cold for that for most of the time this year – although I’m sure I will do so more when spring comes.

I’ve used it whilst out hiking, under my waterproof whilst canoeing and under the windproof whilst cycling and found it works well in all situations. Long and tight enough in the body so it doesn’t ride up whilst bent over the bike handlebars, and with enough space in the shoulders and length in the arms to enable paddling, the Passo Alto has proved itself to be a sound multi-purpose mid layer.

So, with these findings in mind, I can say that the fleece delivers, for me, on the general Columbia claim that their kit is multi purpose, town or country, hanging off a cliff face or just hanging around in the park, it’s got the looks and the quality to handle it all, very well.

I’ve been wearing it in conjunction with a variety of waterproofs and there have been no breathability issues, meaning, no sticky, sweaty back, no overheating. True, I don’t race around like I just want to get from A to B as quick as I can, but then again, if you do that then you deserve all the uncomfortable feeling you get.

On the one occasion that I wore it running on a 12km loop, it wicked away the sweat much the same as any running fleece. It was a touch heavier feeling, sure, but it was an icy day and I was glad of the extra warmth. I wouldn’t say it was great for running, but if you’re hard up and want to buy just one mid layer to suit you for all your activities, then you’d do a lot worse that getting this.

The pockets have zip closures of about 6 inches long, so plenty wide enough to make putting stuff in/taking it out whilst on the move an easy task. They also sit low on the fleece as well, so that when I’ve got my day pack on I can access the pockets without having to open the waist belt.

Columbia’s Ethical Policy – We asked Colombia about their ethics. Where is their product made, how did they ensure good practice in the workplace and in sourcing materials, that sort of thing. Here’s their statement;

“”At Columbia Sportswear, we are committed to building a company of which we can all be proud – not only of the innovative products we create and the financial results we achieve, but the manner in which we achieve them. Whether it’s responsible sourcing, giving back to our communities, or reducing our environmental impact, we believe corporate responsibility is a companywide effort. We want you to be proud to wear our products, and use our accessories and equipment anytime you step into the Greater Outdoors. Stakeholder input is invaluable to the continuous improvement of our corporate responsibility programs.”

—Tim Boyle, President, CEO, and Director

This past December, Columbia Sportswear was featured globally on CNBC in a short film about HERproject produced by Responsible Business Television (RBTV). The film (viewed here:,default,pg.html) highlights the need for health education for female factory workers in developing countries and illustrates how HERproject addresses these needs by providing workplace programs that link women’s health to business value. The film was included in a broadcast of several short RBTV films on CNBC Asia, CNBC Europe and CNBC USA.

Several Columbia Sportswear factories have participated in HERproject over the last two years and thousands of workers have received health education through this program. HERproject has seen impressive results overall, including a 60% increase in the number of prenatal medical visits among workers as well as a 41% increase in knowledge of STD symptoms.

One of the Columbia Sportswear participating factories has seen concrete business impacts in regards to employee recruitment as a result of HERproject, “We have women coming to us looking for work, so we don’t need to go in search of female workers anymore. We are seeing the business benefits of this program with our own eyes,” said Factory Management from one of our participating factories.

For more information on HERproject, visit 

Summary - I’ve been using this Passo Alto Full Zip Fleece an awful lot these past 6 weeks and I’ll continue to do so for a long time yet. I love the look and fit of it and it’s extremely comfy. This makes it an automatic choice for lounging around the house in (I like to have the windows open a bit even in deep winter to let fresh air in, which makes indoors a little cold sometimes), but it also does a superb job as a layer between thermal/shirt and waterproof. There’s nothing more I want in a fleece, so it’s easy to give it a 5 out of 5 rating.

To find out more about Columbia and to see their full range of clothing -

Comments are closed.