Columbia Outdry Ex Reign Jacket Review


The Columbia Outdry Ex Reign Jacket is a new waterproof jacket that defies the traditional rain shell industry by placing the waterproof membrane directly on the outer fabric.

While it might seem like a bad idea, the OutDry Extreme technology allows for more excellent waterproofing than other jackets that nest the membrane within different fabric layers. However, it can also make the jacket feel “water-logged” if moisture completely saturates the outside of the shell.

The technology

If you’ve been around the outdoor scene for a while, you might be familiar with Columbia’s unique waterproofing technology, OutDry. It’s a radically different way of making rain jackets than Gore-Tex, Dermizax, and other proprietary membranes that require an exterior DWR (Durable Water Resistant) chemical coating to make rain bead up and roll off of the coat.

However, Columbia has been tight-lipped about how the OutDry technology works. They claim that the fabric’s outer surface is dimpled, with tiny raised bumps, which allow water vapor to escape the membrane while repelling water.

The OutDry Ex Reign Jacket is a solid all-around rain shell that protects you during any adventure. It features a robust outer membrane that’s seam-sealed and backed by a soft, moisture-wicking internal fabric. The two pit zips, plus the adjustable hood and cuffs, make this jacket a good choice for any weather.

The design

A good rain jacket will protect you from the weather but must also be breathable. Columbia’s Outdry Ex Reign Jacket does both, fusing its waterproof membrane with a softer fabric on the inside to wick sweat away from your skin.

The jacket uses the OutDry Extreme technology, a revolutionary design that puts the membrane on the outside of the coat rather than nestling it within an outer fabric layer like most other jackets do. This eliminates the need for a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating on the exterior, which can make a coat feel soaked and less breathable after use.

This innovative construction keeps you dry by sealing the seams with external seam tape, and you’ll stay warm thanks to an adjustable hood and cuffs that can be adjusted from inside. Zip-up pockets keep small items safe, and underarm vents allow air circulation.

The fit

The OutDry Ex Reign Jacket is an innovative waterproof shell designed by Columbia. It represents a significant departure from traditional shell construction, where a waterproof membrane is fused to a synthetic outer fabric and then topped off with a DWR coating to repel water.

The innovative system instead places the membrane directly on the outside of the jacket, backed by a softer, fabric-style interior that helps wick sweat away from your skin. This is a far more comfortable fit than Gore-Tex and a big step forward for breathability.

As a waterproof jacket, OutDry Ex Reign is ideal for backpacking and camping trips where the weather can be unpredictable. Its exterior seam tape seals the outer shell to keep out moisture, and vents at the underarms help you stay calm when hiking in warm rains.

The performance

Columbia Outdry Ex Reign Jacket Review combines a tough waterproof membrane with a soft, breathable fabric that doesn’t need to be coated with DWR. This is a big deal in rainwear design because most coats need a DWR coating to work, which can wear off over time with heavy use.

However, the OutDry Ex Reign jacket does not need a DWR coating because its breathable layer is on the outside of the coat. It also has a dimpled surface that helps break the water’s surface tension and prevents it from completely adhering to the outer face fabric.

This is a really cool design that works well in rainy conditions. The only downfall is that it’s not a remarkably breathable jacket on its own, which means that sweat builds up in the coat and causes heat build-up. Some large pit zips help dump heat, but this isn’t enough to make the jacket feel comfortable when worn under a base layer.