With arms outstretched...

Compartment 14B

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The day the zipper died.

2004-01-14 - 9:02 a.m.

Have I mentioned it's cold around here? Have I? Because my expensive and not-all-that-old Columbia jacket decided no, itís positively balmy. There is no reason in the world that it should struggle onwards. Insulating in this weather, after all, is hard work.*

Thus with barely a sigh it let go of the thingy that attaches the other thingy you pull on to zip the damn thing up. (I am so technically savvy, non? I think it might be correct to say the "slider body" came apart.)

Now I must confess, I hate doing my jacket up. When it's cold, but not that cold, and Iím not going far, I just sort of wrap my jacket around myself and clench it closed with my arms. Many a guy has looked over when I was whining about the cold and snorted "Well if you just did your jacket up, you wouldnít be cold." Nevertheless, I recognize that there are times during the Canadian winter that this kimono-style of wearing a ski jacket does not suffice. Like this week for instance. (Need I again mention the forecast of -31 degrees in the offing?) So of course it is this week that my jacket gives up the ghost. And a jacket that doesn't zip up, well, it's not a whole heck of a lot of use in this Arctic air.

Needless to say, Iím not entirely impressed with this Columbia jacket. To be honest, Iíve felt that it rendered only half-hearted service as it was; I felt suspiciously damp when caught in the rain, despite the bold OMNITECH label emblazoned on the arm that promised waterproofness, and the plastic encasing the very bottom of the zipper on the non-slider side started cracking a mere week after I got the thing.

Compare this jacket to its predecessor. I went shopping for a new jacket, not because my old one was decrepit, but because Iíd had it for fourteen years and was tired of looking at the thing. It was made by a company called Banff and it was amazing. Every time it started to look dingy and possibly stained enough to warrant buying a new jacket I popped it in the washing machine and it came out blindingly crisp and clean. At an age more than ten years senior to my current jacket, it was totally fine. I bet that thing was bulletproof! Eventually I replaced it with the underperforming Columbia because, even though Iím not exactly a fashion maven, I just couldnít stand having a fourteen year-old style jacket anymore. And it still gets pressed into emergency service from time to time if I have company fly in that isnít prepared for the cold.

I understand that Columbia shells are supposed to have a good warranty so Iíve sent the company an email.

Wish me luck and Iíll keep you posted.


*It certainly couldn't have anything to do with the fixed circumference of the jacket vs. the ever-expanding circumference of my hips. No, no, no.


edited to add: For the follow-up entry on how this was resolved, go here.

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