Columbia outdry extreme ecoOutdoorsy runners, one of your biggest gear frustrations may be a thing of the past and you have Columbia to thank. 

If you’re that type of person who always says yes to activities outside– think climbing, kayaking, hiking or running– you’ve probably dealt with the classic “breathable versus waterproof” debate when shopping for a jacket. It seems that when faced with choosing this piece of gear, athletes either get a well-ventilated outer layer that soaks through in the rain or they can be confident that they’ll stay dry– but at the cost of feeling sweaty and sealed in. 

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Columbia claims to have just solved that problem with a recent creation: the Outdry Extreme Eco jacket which retails for $279.99. The snow-white layer is breathable, entirely waterproof, and is made with environmentally friendly methods.

When this one caught our eye, we decided to find out more about its creation. Here were the take-home points that surprised us: 

It was created by a Canadian.

Woody Blackford is the vice president of design and innovation at Columbia and the brains behind this jacket. He’s originally from Halifax. There’s something about sports wear being designed by Canadians that gives us confidence… They get our crazy Canadian conditions.  

“Lucky” testers got to test it by standing under a waterfall.

When tackling this project, Columbia’s goal was to “make the most waterproof, high-performing product that we could,” says Blackford. He says he’s confident that the jacket will keep runners or hikers dry. In fact, their testers actually had to stand under waterfalls during the testing phase. “I can confidently tell you that this will completely hold up,” says Blackford. “You can be in a heavy rain for a long period of time and it will perform.”

Each jacket contains 21 recycled bottles…

The goal was to create a quality piece of outdoor gear while also minimizing environmental damage in the process. A fun fact about this outer layer is that it contains 21 plastic bottles. But that’s not all…

… it’s also dye free and free of PFCs that are tough on the environment.

You’ll notice this jacket is sheet white. Blackford says Columbia opted to go dye-free with this jacket. By doing so, they saved 49 litres of water for each piece. What’s more is that it doesn’t use perfluorocarbons (PFCs)– chemical enemies of the environment that are used on many outdoor apparel items. 

It’s waterproof AND breathable.

If a rainy forecast makes you a little hesitant to get outside for the daily miles, it’s likely not because you’re shy of drops of rain, it’s because your jacket soaks through OR is deflects raindrops but seals you in allowing you to overheat (gross!). One detail that outdoorsy, active people will notice about this jacket is that the seams are sealed. That further prevents rain, sleet and mist from working through holes in seam stitching. 


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