Columbia Outdry Ex Blitz Rain Jacket Review

Columbia Outdry Ex Blitz Jacket Review
The Columbia OutDry Ex Blitz Rain Jacket is an inexpensive waterproof/breathable rain jacket that doesn’t have a DWR coating. It’s made with OutDry so it’s waterproof layer is on the outside of the jacket eliminating the need for a DWR coating like the ones needed for Gore-tex jackets and other waterproof/breathable membranes. That means it can never wet-out and that its level of breathability will remain the same for the lifetime of the jacket.

Columbia Outdry Ex Blitz Rain Jacket

Waterproofing
Breathability
Comfort & Mobility
Hood Adjustability
Weight
Durability
Packed Size

Great Value

The Columbia Outdry Ex Blitz Rain Jacket is a low maintenance waterproof/breathable jacket with a three-way adjustable hood and velcro wrist cuffs.

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Specs at a Glance

  • Gender: Men’s and Women’s models available
  • Waterproof/Breathable Fabric: OutDry Extreme
  • Weight: in size Men’s XL 13.7 oz
  • Pit Zips: No
  • Wrist cuffs: Yes
  • Hem adjustment: Yes
  • Hood: Three-way adjustment, with bill
  • Waterproofness rating: 20,000 mm water column
  • Breathability rating: unavailable.

Hood

The Ex Blitz has a three-way adjustable hood with an articulated front bill which is surprisingly decent. There’s a velcro tab on the back that lets you adjust the volume of the hood and how far the front bill comes down over your forehead. There are two neck pullcords which control the size of the face opening, with neat little cordlocks to hold the desired fit.

While the Ex Blitz Hood is over-sized like many of Columbia’s Jackets, its three way adjustment lets you reduce its volume to a manageable level
While the Ex Blitz Hood is over-sized like many of Columbia’s Jackets, its three way adjustment lets you reduce its volume to a manageable level

The hood may still be too large if you have a small head, but you can shim out the difference using a billed cap to take up more of the interior volume. The cordlocks used to adjust the hood are a little unintuitive to use at first, but once you figure out how they work, they’re pretty effective at keeping the hood tensioned.

Internal Lining

The inside of the Ex Blitz is lined with black polyester which makes it warmer than thinner rain jackets. That can be a good thing if you have to hike in cold spring or autumn rain, but the jacket becomes noticeably clammy in warmer weather. The polyester liner is bonded to the external waterproof layer over the front of the torso, around the back of the jacket, down the arms, and in the hood.

The interior of the jacket is lined with polyester, while an added layer of mesh cover the front of the torso and backs the side pockets.
The interior of the jacket is lined with polyester, while an added layer of mesh covers the front of the torso and backs the side pockets.

Pockets

The Ex Blitz has two large side pockets that close with waterproof zippers. They’re backed by the mesh and provide limited ventilation into the interior of the jacket. The pockets are huge and occupy the entire front of the torso, on both sides of the zipper. While you can use them for storage, they’re clearly intended to help ventilate the interior of the jacket. Jackets made with Outdry are not as breathable as Gore-tex (generally speaking) and put much more reliance on mechanical ventilation such as pit zips and normal airflow through a garment to vent water vapor.

Wrist Cuffs

The Columbia Ex Blitz Jacket has velcro wrist cuff which help seal in the heat and seal out moisture
The Columbia Ex Blitz Jacket has velcro wrist cuff that help seal in the heat and seal out moisture.

Other rain jackets that cost under $100

Make / ModelAdj HoodPit ZipsAvg WeightWTBPrice
Marmot Precip Eco Rain JacketYesYes13.1 ozYes$99.95
REI Rainer Rain JacketYesYes13 ozYes$89.95
Frogg Toggs UL2 Rain JacketYesNo5.5 ozNo$24.99
Frogg Toggs Xtreme Light Rain JacketYesNo7.6 ozNo$39.95
Compass 360 Ultrapak UL Rain JacketYesNo7.8 ozNo$39.95
North Face Venture 2 Rain JacketYesYes11.5 ozYes$99.00
Lightheart Gear Rain JacketYesYes7.2 ozNon$99.00
Columbia Outdry Ex Blitz Rain JacketYesNo13 ozYes$99.00
Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil Nano PonchoYesNo5.2 ozNo$99.95
Red Ledge Thunderlight Rain JacketYesNo13.5 ozNo$54.99

Recommendation

If cost is a priority, then the Columbia Outdry Ex Blitz Rain Jacket is really quite a good deal. While it is a few ounces heavier than other budget rain jackets, the fact that it is made with Outdry means you can count on its waterproofing and breathability performance over the long term, without having to periodically refresh an external DWR coating. The main limitation with the Ex Blitz Jacket is that it is warm to wear in hot weather. Pit zips would have extend the range of jacket but I suspect Columbia left them out to reduce the cost of the jacket. But for cooler weather in spring or autumn, the Ex Blitz jacket is a good option if you have to hike or backpack in the rain all day.

Disclosure: The author purchased this jacket.

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4 comments

  1. Alll, I presently own three OutDry jackets, the 1st edition pant (non-stretch), and two pair of OutDry gloves. After almost 40 years of four-season hiking/backpacking/cycling, I am wowed with the total water-proofness of OutDry, and personally, I have found the OutDry to be superior to both E-Vent and 3-ply GoreTex in terms of breathability, but just by a tick. In my experience I have found E-Vent to be a tick more breathable than GoreTex, but all three of those far superior to any proprietary, urethane membrane from any label. It should be noted that I don’t perspire easily, but my back does completely swamp with sweat when wearing a loaded pack just like everybody else. With temps in the mid 40 – mid 50 range, it takes me a good 30 minutes of active hiking to generate enough heat to overcome the coolness coming through the fabric, and that’s with both jacket and pant over bare skin. The one variable that I’m still looking out for is failure of the OutDry membrane/coating due to abrasion from my pack’s shoulder straps. My original jacket is now a bit more than three years old, with around 100 miles of mostly winter use, and so far so good – still totally water proof. After lugging 30 lbs of winter kit for several hours, up 2000′ of elevation on snowshoes, I can barely perceive any dampness on the inside of the jacket even though the back of my shirt will be pretty wet. I absolutely love this stuff.

    • Marko Koskenoja

      Rand – thanks for posting on your experience with OutDry jackets.

      I’ve been tempted to buy an OutDry jacket but based on Philip’s earlier review of OutDry I declined as the breathability concerned me.

      Based on my experience Gore-Tex PacLite is the best combination of breathability and waterproofness.

      I’ve tired of the continuous wetting through my Gore-Tex, Event and and other waterproof breathables that I started using silicone spray on my older jackets and pants.

      I’m going to buy an OutDry jacket and gloves.

  2. Hi, my experience with Outdry is far less impressive… after only 1 month and a few hikes my jacket was already showing wear marks. I have never experienced this with any jackets I’ve ever owned and that is including jackets I bought for 10 bucks in thrift stores! I have googled it and I am not the only one to which this has happened. Basically after a while the Outdry layer flakes off and you’re just left with an expensive polyester jacket. This really sets back the whole argument that one should chose this over Gore-Tex because it is « durably » waterproof and doesn’t need a DWR layer. A pitty since I really wanted to like this jacket.

  3. I bought my Outdry around 4 years ago. In the cold, rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest, (think windy rain in the 30s – 40s F), it is my go-to rain jacket. The rubbery fabric gives me confidence: it is absolutely waterproof and windproof, which in this kind of weather is exactly what I want in a rain jacket — I don’t want so-called breathable/waterproof jackets based on a DWR treatment (Durable Water Repellant treatment which eventually wears off). Also, the rubbery fabric material gives me confidence that it will not transmit the coldness of the rain to my interior, as would happen while wearing a lightweight fabric like the thin Houdini rain jacket. Thin jackets get wetted down and hang / cling to your midlayer, transmitting the cold. The Outdry fabric is rubbery and stiffer, less clingy. In warmer weather, it does get clammy moist in the interior; I would rather wear the Patagonia Houdini, Zpacks Vertice rain jacket or a poncho. I wear size Large in shirts, but I bought the Outdry in size XL. I always choose size XL for parkas or rain jackets – the extra room means I can insulate more in my midlayer if need be, and it has more interior ventilation.

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