Gear Review: Columbia Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Crew


A short Winter, followed by a sputtering Spring meant that it has been a long time coming for warm Summer days this year. Now that they are here, maybe we should have enjoyed the Spring a little more as the heat is pretty unbearable. Thankfully, Columbia has the perfect shirt for these warm Summer days... the Freeze Degree Short Sleeved Crew.

Rather than simply change the colours and release a new line of last year's Solar Polar Short Sleeve Crew, which was already a great shirt, they have evolved it into something even better. As before, the shirt uses technologies such as Omni-Shade to make this a UPF-50 shirt to protect you from the Sun, and Omni-Wick Evap, located under your arms and the centre of your back to lift the sweat off you. Along with it having an anti-microbial coating to help with odour control, it is a great multipurpose shirt. I used it for trail running, mountain biking, canoeing and hiking, and what I appreciated most about it was the new Omni-Freeze Zero cooling. This is the next advance in technology from Omni-Freeze Ice and it all starts with the little blue circles.


The shirt already does a great job of wicking, but in conjunction with the Omni-Freeze blue dots, it actually turns you into an air-conditioner. By using your perspiration, the blue dots activate and provide a cooling sensation. I found this to be more prevalent when combining it with moving air. Take note that the wicking sections on the back and under the armpit simply wick, and that it is the chest and arm areas where you will feel the cooling.

The shirt was very comfortable, and I never found it clingy, despite using it in humid 30º+ weather. This shirt is a perfect excuse to stay out in the warmer temperatures... just remember to hydrate, or it won't be the shirt that fails.

The Columbia Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Crew is available in Splash, White and Black and fits snugly with its stretchy material. The stitching is flat throughout the shoulders, so wearing a bladder pack while trail running won't aggravate your skin. It is also available in a short sleeved top for Women.