Whether hiking through wet woods in eastern Ontario's early spring or touring the Vegas Strip during the rainy season, Columbia’s OutDry Extreme Eco jacket stays completely waterproof in even the hardest downpours, with the added benefit of being an environmentally-friendly product. The jacket was well-suited for all that I could throw at it: comfortable enough to wear socially yet high performance enough for a range of wet, outdoor activities.
Many companies are striving to offer more environmentally-friendly products to their customers, but Columbia has set a new industry milestone with the technologies employed in this jacket, one of the first releases from their newest Eco line. Learn more about the jacket’s eco-friendly technology from Woody Blackford, Columbia’s Vice President of Design and Innovation.
The OutDry Extreme Eco jacket boasts a high performance breathable water-repelling membrane without the use of PFCs (perfluorinated compounds: a common rain-repellingtechnology that leaches out of the fabric into the environment where it can’t be broken down naturally). The result is a rain jacket that performs just as well as high performance garments made with the bio-accumulative chemical.
The jacket’s fabric is made from 21 recycled plastic bottles and all labels, toggles, zippers, pulls, tread and eyelets are also made from 100% recycled content.
This jacket only comes in white because it's constructed without dyes, another eco-conscious decision from Columbia, saving more than 49 litres of wastewater compared to a standard dyed jacket. The only downside to this is that you need to be ready to wipe down the jacket after each outing. However, it really does wipe down easily, saving you the need to throw it in the wash (further reducing water).
Performance and fit
Despite a downpour in Vegas, some very wet hikes and some long periods chasing my students around the schoolyard on rainy afternoons, I was extremely comfortable in this jacket. The water didn't seep through the fabric and my skin didn’t feel cold, wet or clammy. Thought the jacket is comfortable and flexible, it does make that “swishy” noise with every move, which is typical of most rain jackets.
This jacket has a flattering, clost fit (I received numerous compliments, from young and old, men and women, on the look and the fit of the jacket) that hits just below the waist. It has a drawstring around the waist for a tighter fit and to maximize body heat retention. The Velcro around the wrists and the high neck with an adjustable drawstring allowed for more adjustments to ensure I stayed toasty and protected from the elements. This jacket’s large, deep pockets and durable, smooth zipper were an added bonus.
I am genuinely impressed Columbia's efforts in creating such an eco-friendly and high performance rain jacket.