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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Other rain jackets that cost under $100
|Make / Model||Adj Hood||Pit Zips||Avg Weight||WTB||Price|
|Marmot Precip Eco Rain Jacket||Yes||Yes||13.1 oz||Yes||$99.95|
|REI Rainer Rain Jacket||Yes||Yes||13 oz||Yes||$89.95|
|Frogg Toggs UL2 Rain Jacket||Yes||No||5.5 oz||No||$24.99|
|Frogg Toggs Xtreme Light Rain Jacket||Yes||No||7.6 oz||No||$39.95|
|Compass 360 Ultrapak UL Rain Jacket||Yes||No||7.8 oz||No||$39.95|
|North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket||Yes||Yes||11.5 oz||Yes||$99.00|
|Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket||Yes||Yes||7.2 oz||Non||$99.00|
|Columbia Outdry Ex Blitz Rain Jacket||Yes||No||13 oz||Yes||$99.00|
|Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Poncho||Yes||No||5.2 oz||No||$99.95|
|Red Ledge Thunderlight Rain Jacket||Yes||No||13.5 oz||No||$54.99|
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.
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