We put the Columbia OutDry™ Ex Tech Shell Jacket to the test and it came up trumps. Every hardcore adventurer should have one of these in his/her backpack for when the elements take a turn for the worse.

Columbia OutDry™ Ex Tech Shell Jacket

Price: €150.00 – €180.00

Columbia OutDry™ Tech Shell Jacket

The people over at Columbia have been working their asses off and they have played a stormer. They have wowed the market with their latest innovation, OutDry™ Extreme. It is Columbia’s first waterproof and breathable fabric technology constructed with a waterproof layer on the outside and soft, wicking fabric inside.

The brand has really shaken things up by taking a step away from traditional interior waterproof membranes which fail to allow for air flow and use a water-repellent coating that degrades over time. Columbia has stepped it up a notch with the Columbia OutDry™ Ex Tech Shell Jacket, boasting a strong exterior, a water-tight membrane and a wicking membrane directly fused to the shell.

Columbia OutDry™ Tech Shell Jacket

I’ve been busy testing the OutDry™ Tech Shell Jacket for the past few months. I’ve been wearing it hiking, trail running, mountain biking, right down to my daily bicycle commute to work and to a few music festivals. And it has proved itself as the perfect all-rounder, handling the most extreme of conditions to the stresses of daily life. Plus it is Irish ultrarunner extraordinaire Eoin Keith‘s race jacket of choice and if it’s good enough for him then its good enough for us.

Interview: Eoin Keith Prepares for the Columbia UTMB

Features I loved

  • It acts as an extra layer for those cold winter months. An added layer of heat is a bonus I definitely wasn’t expecting considering how lightweight it is.
  • It’s splash proof so it’s really easy to clean. Simply wipe off the muck.
  • It’s eye-catching. It’s hard to make a rain jacket that looks good, but the OutDry™ Tech Shell jacket range does. The external seam tape is really retro and it comes in a whole range of colours! White been my favourite but probably not an ideal colour for outdoor pursuits!
  • The adjustable sleeve cuffs are very handy for completely sealing you up in bad weather. The drawcord adjustable hem allows you to tighten the jacket around your waist to tailor the fit to your body.
  • It’s completely waterproof! You’d be horrified at the amount of ‘waterproof’ jackets I’ve gone through.

Columbia OutDry™ Tech Shell Jacket

  • It’s a breathable fabric instead of a clammy shell. OutDry Extreme flipped the waterproof/breathable fabric around, moving the jacket membrane to the outside. In the membrane’s bonding to a wicking fabric, the process uses no adhesive but are mechanically bonded via heat and pressure which really does seem to have done the trick. The addition of underarm venting is another plus that allows you to control the airflow.
  • It’s super durable. The OutDry technology strengthens the polyurethane.
  • It packs down into nothing, a feature that is really important when travelling and racing. It’s super lightweight and it folds up easily.

Columbia OutDry™ Tech Shell Jacket

The faults

  • The jacket can be a little stiff, which means it makes noise when running.
  • I found the storm hood slipped back on my head a lot so I couldn’t seal it completely around my head in bad weather.

Available from: Great Outdoors, Basecamp and Cotswold Outdoors

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By Orla O'Muiri

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