Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Columbia’s next-gen waterproofing shrugs off spring showers without wearing out

If you end up feeling damp in your rain jacket, most likely it’s just worn out. But before you upgrade you replace it with yet another jacket eventually destined for the garbage, there’s a new option to check out. Last year, we showed you how Columbia Sportswear’s techs figured out how to make breathable, comfortable gear that stays waterproof — but you still couldn’t buy it. Now spring is just around the corner, and Columbia Sportswear’s new OutDry Extreme breathable waterproof jackets and pants are just hitting store shelves.

Most breathable-waterproof jackets are constructed with a hydrophobic membrane in between fabric layers. The outermost layer, usually a heavy-duty fabric, is merely fabric treated with a durable water repellent (DWR). What most jacket manufacturers won’t tell you is that rough treatment and dirt degrades this waterproofing over time. Eventually, the DWR wears off. After that, the jacket can get waterlogged when it rains.

In this case, the interior fabric is usually something soft and, if the designer is smart, moisture wicking. Unfortunately, with the waterproof membrane preventing it from fully breathing, the inside can become a little clammy when the jacket is wet on the outside. The jacket becomes less comfortable and functional as the DWR wears off. The fabric gets soaked with rain from one side and sweat or body heat from the other.

The other option is a rain slicker of thin but totally waterproof material, like rubber. Generally, that’s what you need if you’re sure you’ll be caught in a deluge. The downside is they’re about as breathable as a plastic bag.

Columbia’s OutDry clothing line offers the best of both worlds. Its waterproof membrane is on the outside of the jacket, so the rainproof-effect is permanent. At a glance, its shine makes it look like the classic rain slicker. But, unlike those old slickers, OutDry Extreme layer remains breathable thanks to microscopic perforations in the membrane. Steamy body heat worked up during a hike can escape, but rain can’t get in. The gear is still lined with a moisture-wicking fabric (Columbia’s Omni-Wick EVAP) to feel comfortable even if you work up a little sweat on a misty morning run, or if you work in a rainforest like Columbia’s testers.

Columbia announced the new line in June of last year, and spent over a year and a half developing and testing OutDry Extreme wear. Their no-nonsense beta-testers hit every continent, even Antarctica. The Portland, Oregon based company takes its rain wear seriously, and the Pacific Northwest can see its fair share of wet weather. If OutDry Extreme gear can do the job through Olympic National Park’s 250-280 inches of rain a year, that’s a good sign.

Columbia’s OutDry Extreme line ranges from $150-$400, in a variety of sizes and colors for both men and women. The selection is up now on Columbia and REI’s websites.

Aliya Barnwell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Aliya Tyus-Barnwell is a writer, cyclist and gamer with an interest in technology. Also a fantasy fan, she's had fiction…
I was wrong. E-bikes are so practical, they’re a transit cheat code
An Aventon Level 2 ebike sits outside a grocery store.

Confession: Despite loving both bikes and gadgets, e-bikes never excited me. Compared to my bicycle, e-bikes seemed unfair. Compared to my motorcycle, they seemed slow. Compared to my car, they seemed impractical.

But with $1,500 federal e-bike rebates potentially on the horizon at part of E-Bike Act, I decided it was past time to reconsider. Not just because 30% off would make them way more accessible, but because the entire idea that e-bikes could be worthy of a rebate changed the way I looked at them: less as toys, more as transit. Had I written off an entire way of getting around because I was looking at it the wrong way?

Read more
Upway launches one of the best marketplaces for certified e-bikes, new or not
Man holding ebike from Upway in a field, lifestyle image.

This content was produced in partnership with Upway.
It wasn't too long ago that e-bikes were a rare sight, but all of that has changed, and rightfully so. Electric bikes are all over the road these days, and there are many brands either venturing into the technology, to launch their own versions of the sustainable transportation option or reiterating existing and traditional designs. From Aventon to Schwinn, or RadPower to Momentum, with so many opportunities, the prevailing question is, where do you go to find the best deals and the best information about these brands and their e-bike models? The answer is Upway, the number one certified electric bike provider and an official partner to many of the aforementioned brands.

What is Upway, exactly? It's a marketplace, specializing in e-bikes, featuring an inventory that's sourced from some of the best brands in the world. There are American brands -- like Specialized, Cannondale, and RadPower -- and European brands -- like Riese, Muller, and VanMoof. The best part is the discounts, offering up to 60% off retail, for a plethora of brands. Upway is on a mission to make sustainable mobility affordable for everyone. It's also one of the best places to go for a new or pre-owned e-bike, and here's why:

Read more
EcoFlow launches Delta 2 Max solar generator for home emergencies and outdoor adventures
ecoflow's delta max portable power station on a table

EcoFlow, a manufacturer of portable energy solutions, has announced the launch of the Delta 2 Max -- an eco-friendly solar generator that could replace your current gas generator. The device clocks in at 2,048 watts and should deliver enough power to keep your home running for two days as an emergency backup (or many more if you’re using it as an off-grid power source).

The original Delta Max was a popular item for outdoor adventures, as it could connect to the existing lineup of portable EcoFlow solar panels to juice up gadgets while out in the backcountry. That legacy continues with the Delta 2 Max, which features an upgraded lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery for a longer life cycle and faster charging.

Read more