Columbia Outdry ex Diamond Down Insulated Jacket ReviewFebruary 17, 2017
- Very warm
- Absolutely waterproof
- Low on Toxic PFCs
- Slick Naugahyde feel
- More delicate than synthetic insulation
Columbia’s Outdry ex Diamond Down is your rig for days in the freezing rain. The 800-fill down puffy is wrapped in Columbia’s waterproof-breathable Outdry fabric. It fits like of the best top-end ski coats and has ample features. Testers weren’t wild about the sheeny, rain-slicker hand feel on the jacket, however.
The Outdry ex Diamond Down Insulated Jacket is tough for a puffy. It’s wrapped in a 2-layer waterproof-breathable fabric, making it tougher than most single-layer, thin-denier puffy coats, but less durable than a three-layer coat backed by some sort of brushed fabric. It should stand up to all but the most vigorous tree skiing.
Columbia’s Outdry has been winning awards for its breathability, but it is absolutely waterproof, too, especially with seams taped on the outside of the coat. The Outdry ex Diamond Down Insulated Jacket is cut for wet weather with long sleeves and hem as well as a tall collar to seal out sloppy, sideways-blown snow and rain. There’s a powder skirt, the hood cinches down tight and it has waterproof zippers.
Bells and Whistles
Six pockets including a forearm pass pocket and a large goggle pocket provide ample storage in the Outdry ex Diamond Down Insulated Jacket. Waterproof zippers, pit zips, and a pow skirt are all hallmarks of a serious resort ski coat. We also approve of the heavy-duty gauge center zipper.
You will give out on the conditions long before this coat will. It shrugged off wind, snow and rain in every instance and is light enough to stash in your pack if you do venture into the backcountry. The Outdry ex Diamond Down Insulated Jacket has everything you want in a cold-weather resort coat.
Down coats rarely get too clammy because moisture migrates into the down layer. However, the feathers can get a bit clumpy if they don’t dry out. The extremely breathable Outdry fabric helps that. There are pit zips, too, for when conditions get a little too warm.
All the ski jackets and pants reviewed are tested by the same five criteria; materials, features, weatherproofness, temperature control and fit/comfort. All the pieces were tested over multiple days in a variety of conditions to see how they perform throughout an entire ski season. Testers do all they can to try out every piece on the same day to compare each one in similar conditions and they get out on lots of days to test the jackets in a range from sunny spring days to stormy wintery days to see how they hold up.
For materials, the specifications provided by the brands is often very important. These specifications tell us what type (if any) and amount of waterproofing or insulation a jacket may have. With a wide variety of third-party insulating and waterproofing materials available, as well as the recent rise of “in house” proprietary materials being used, it is important to know exactly what fabrics and insulations are being added to each piece in an effort to distinguish what makes one piece better than the next. Since testers typically only have only one season to test these pieces, durability is determined in part by any obvious fraying, ripping or other signs of reduced durability.
Since heavily insulated jackets are primarily intended for lift accessed skiing and riding there is an expectation that features will be tailored to provide the ultimate in comfort and convenience when on the mountain. This means that features such as a powder skirt, pockets for gear, a dedicated pass pocket, a helmet compatible hood, and wrist gaiters are all expected and then extra features such as a RECCO reflector or insulated phone pocket are considered a bonus.
The weatherproofness of a jacket first depends on what the intended purpose of the jacket is and then is based on the specifications that the brands supply. Since most heavily insulated jackets will be used at the resort under cold conditions there is an expectation that the jacket be able to shed blowing snow for the stormiest of days yet also fairly breathable. Since these jackets are for very cold weather, waterproofness isn’t as necessary.
The temperature control of a jacket is also based on the specifications that the manufacturer provides. The line between a lightly and heavily insulated jacket isn’t clear cut but generally one would expect to use a heavily insulated jacket primarily when the temperatures drop well below freezing and need to still be comfortable when the day proceeds to get even colder. The jackets are then rated to how well they do in very cold temperatures and more importantly how well the jacket does when the temperatures fluctuate which is a common occurrence for any regular snow sports enthusiast. Breathability plays a big factor here because the breathability of a jacket will affect how warm or cold one feels as heat generated while skiing and then go sit on a long chair lift afterwards. The ability to fully unzip pit zips is a crucial part of temperature control since that is often the largest factor in preventing overheating.
Lastly, the fit and comfort category is fairly subjective but having multiple testers use the product provides for a good range of body shapes and opinions. Factors that are important here are how long or short a jacket is and if it is true to size. For determining comfort, the amount of stretch the jacket has and how soft it is on the inside often plays into the rating.
Frederick Reimers was the editor of Canoe and Kayak Magazine from 2007-09 and has been writing for Outside, Men's Journal, Skiing and Powder ever since.