• The Columbia Women's Heatzone 1000 Turbodown hooded parka performs admirably in Jasper National Park. (Photo: Sabrina Doyle)

Is there anything more distinctly Canadian than a parka? In a country that occasionally attributes its lovable je-ne-sais-quoiness to the harsh winters regularly endured by its populace, the mighty parka helps people not only outlast the coldest months but also celebrate them. One parka that deserves to get recognition is the Columbia Women's Heatzone 1000 Turbodown. This hooded parka was tested over many months in both wild and urban settings, from Ottawa's slushy bluster to -20 C in the Rocky Mountains; it excelled in all circumstances.


Let's get down to brass tacks. What could anyone want more from a parka than warmth? Sure there's the element of style, which we'll get to shortly, but at the end of the day a parka should keep the shivers at bay. The Heatzone 1000 is essentially a longer version of Columbia's warmest jacket. It boasts 900-fill water resistant goose down and a thermal-reflective lining that does a great job of bouncing body heat back to where it’s needed (perhaps because Columbia integrated the technology into both the lining and the inner shell, doubling the reflective oomph). The faux fur lining on the hood also effectively blocks gusty side-winds. Sure it also limits your peripheral vision, but to me, that's a small price to pay for non-burning cheeks.

From city to backcountry, the power down and reflective lining helps keep you warm in -20 C temperatures. (Photo: Sabrina Doyle)


So the parka makes you warm and, thanks to some thoughtful design details, it keeps you warm too. The Heatzone seals out rain and snow with a waterproof-breathable nylon overlay on the shoulders and hood, and all openings are cinchable with either velcro (for the contoured cuffs) or a drawcord (hem, storm hood). Some extra warm and fuzzies can be chalked up to the knowledge that the down insulation was 100 per cent responsibly sourced.

The velco-cinchable cuffs are contoured to cover more of the back of the hand while allowing range of motion and utility in the palm. (Photo: Sabrina Doyle)


Although the primary point of a parka is to keep you warm, there’s no shame in wanting to avoid looking like a marshmallow while wearing one. Thanks to a four-way stretch construction, the Heatzone 1000 is able to skim the body in a way that flatters, while also allowing comfort and mobility during dynamic activity. With an appealingly subtle sheen, this winter warrior of a coat won’t look out of place on a commute in the city.

A chin guard helps keep drafts from hitting the neck without scouring skin in the process. (Photo: Sabrina Doyle)


With powerful warmth and a pretty profile, the Columbia Heatzone 1000 Turbodown may just be the perfect winter coat for the average Canadian.