GEAR | The Columbia Helvetia Half Snap Fleece Is Like Wearing A Hug – Review

As an outdoors enthusiast and camping blogger, it goes without saying that I’ve got an extensive collection of fleeces. From cheap and cheerful Mountain Warehouse through to brands like The North Face. Take it from me though, the Columbia Helvetia is hands down the absolute cosiest fleece I’ve ever owned. Read on for my full review…

Columbia Helvetia Half Snap Fleece Review

What is it?

Overall Rating 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


  • Zippered hand pockets
  • Drawcord adjustable hem
  • Elastic at cuffs
  • Elastic at hood
  • Snap front closure
  • Center Back Length: 24.0″
  • Uses: Urban Activities

When I first started snowboarding as a poor student almost 23 years ago (yikes!), I went to Fernie in Canada and quickly realised the second-hand technical gear I’d taken with me just didn’t cut it in -30°C temperatures; I remember it being so cold when I left the airport the cold air it literally took my breath away.

Review Columbia Helvetia Fleece
Mark in his fleece with Columbia matching walking boots

After a couple of cold and soggy days on the mountain, I found a ski and snowboarding shop and came across a pair of fully taped waterproof snowboarding pants from a brand new to me at the time.

I’ve had a fondness for Columbia ever since, and on a recent Highlands and Islands holiday, it was Columbia I chose for my hiking pants (so good, I immediately bought a second pair!) and when my husband needed new hiking boots last Christmas, it was Columbia I bought for him.

Columbia Helvetia Fleece Review
Shell wearing her Columbia Helvetia hooded fleece

What we thought

On the upper side of women’s UK ‘straight’ sizing, with large hips and a big bum, I always size up when choosing jackets, so I went for the XL and it provides me with a comfortable and oversized fit.

Given the fleece is a relaxed fit anyway, a large would have easily fitted, but I’m not sorry I sized up as it means I can stuff as many base and mid layers as I want underneath it!

Mark chose a size M and it looks great on his slim but tall and broad frame, and like mine, it’s roomy enough to allow him to wear even his chunkiest of jumpers underneath.

We both love the addition of hoods, the elasticated cuffs and the zipped pockets, basically all the things we want from the ideal fleece.

As well as wearing them at every given opportunity, we spent a rather cold and gloomy weekend in the Peak District camping in mid-October. Once the sun goes down, long evenings in a tent in Autumn can be quite chilly if not downright unpleasantly cold.

A decent fleece that allows you to easily layer up then is a must, and after a day of hiking Kinder Scout, returning to our tent, getting into warm lounge gear and our Helvetia fleeces made for a cosy evening under canvas.

The verdict

Our Rating

Comfort 5/5

Practicality 5/5

Vibe check 5/5

Value 5/5

Overall Rating 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

I don’t care what anyone says, I think the outdoor matchy-matchy look is cute, and the different colours and patterns available in the men’s and women’s versions of this fleece make it easier to pull off the look.

In fact, there are so many different versions of this fleece, including kids’ ones, that the entire family could rock a different version of the fleece for a same-but-different vibe.

Columbia Helvetia Fleece Review

Honestly, when I find something that performs really well and provides the added bonus of epic comfort, why wouldn’t I want my best favourite partner in shenanigans to share the joy?!

“I can only describe this fleece as like wrapping a big fluffy cloud around you…”

It’s rare that I put something on and then refuse to take it off again (that’s not the whole truth, I do that with new footwear frequently), but I can only describe this fleece as like wrapping a big fluffy cloud around you or wearing a warm and cosy hug. What’s not to love about that?

Camping in the middle of October was dreamy in the Columbia Helvetia fleece and we both agree, it’s the star of our Autumn/Winter wardrobe and you won’t be disappointed if you choose to add this to yours.

See the full Columbia Helvetia Fleece range here.

DISCLOSURE | The featured product was supplied by Columbia. We were not required or paid to write this review.

Where to next?

Shell Robshaw-Bryan
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