Gear Review: Two fall jackets from Columbia

The Departure Point jacket and OutDry shell have you covered this season, rain or shine
  • Sep 21, 2016
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Columbia OutDry EX Platinum Tech Shell Expand Image

Fall weather can often be unpredicitable, going from warm and sunny in one instant to cold and rainy in another. Canadian Geographic’s social media editor, Alexandra Pope, and online editor, Sabrina Doyle, tested two Columbia jackets to take you through crisp days and sudden downpours. 

Departure Point Jacket

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The Departure Point Jacket (Photo:

I recently made a huge lifestyle change and got rid of my car. After nine years of daily commuting, it’s been a refreshing change to hop on my bike to get to and from work and build time into my schedule for errands on foot.

Of course, now that fall is setting in, I’m coming to appreciate the challenge of transitional dressing when you don’t have a climate-controlled vehicle to shelter you from the elements. Enter the Departure Point women’s jacket, a versatile piece from Columbia that bears little resemblance to conventional outerwear and has become my go-to jacket for September’s temperature rollercoaster.

Made of soft, anti-wrinkle material and featuring roll-up sleeves that button at three-quarter length, it doesn’t look out of place over office wear. If the afternoon is warm, it can be stuffed in a purse or backpack and still look great when it’s needed after dark. It’s also lightweight and water-resistant, making it a good companion for a hike or run outdoors.

The only drawbacks to the Departure Point jacket are its bomber cut, which can be unflattering, and the fact that it’s not lined, which means most Canadians outside of perhaps southern B.C. would have a fairly short window of time to make use of it. But if your winter plans have you travelling to more temperate climes, bring along the Departure Point jacket; you won’t be disappointed.

-Alexandra Pope

OutDry EX Platinum Tech Shell

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The OutDry EX Platinum Tech Shell (Photo:

I was alone, tired and desperate to get home safe through a surprise thunderstorm when the Columbia OutDry EX Platinum Tech Shell came to my sudden rescue. I’d almost forgotten I had it — stashed in a forgotten corner of my cubicle — and when the skies opened to release a torrent of water and lightning, I assumed I was in for a rough commute. Luckily, I spied the slicker and pulled it on before heading out into the fray.

Despite the buckets of sideways rain, I arrived home with an astonishingly dry torso, thanks to the jacket’s velcro-adjustable cuff openings and breathable fabric. With external seam-sealing, silicon grippers along the hem and a cinchable visor, wearing this jacket made me feel ready for a tsunami (please don’t test that statement).

The bomb-ready design of the jacket is great for keeping water from getting in, but I was also very grateful for how well the product was able to move moisture out at the same time. Unlike most raincoats, which have waterproof linings on the inside, the OutDry Extreme line is constructed with the waterproof layer on the outside and soft, wicking fabric on the inside. According to the company, microscopic perforations let vapour escape without letting rain in. An extra bonus: this might be why the jacket doesn’t seem as loud as many waterproof shells. If that’s not enough ventilation for you, there’s also two-way underarm venting. 

As a cyclist, I also appreciated the articulated design around the joints, drop tail design in the back, reflective detailing and helmet-compatible hood.

All in all, it’s probably the best rain shell I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing while wading through downpours.

– Sabrina Doyle


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