Monday, November 17, 2008

Trail Tested: Columbia Thunderstorm Jacket

This past Saturday was a dreary, rainy day in Louisville. Rather than spend all day indoors, I decided to go out and take a walk on some trails near my neighborhood.

A quick check of the Weather Channel showed it was 42 degrees with winds of 19 mph.

I wanted to give my relatively new Columbia Sportswear Thunderstorm Jacket another test. Wearing just the jacket and my Columbia Omni-Dry Mountain Tech T-shirt as a base layer, I headed outside.

Even though the jacket is lined, I still felt a little cool when I first walked out the door. At first I thought that maybe I was going to need an additional thin layer, however, once I was out for about 5 minutes I began feeling more comfortable, except during the occasional strong gust of wind.

I walked in a steady rain/drizzle for just over an hour. The jacket kept me completely dry, and sufficiently warded off the wind.

Perhaps a much better test of my jacket occurred during a hike in the Flattops Wilderness Area in Colorado back in July. My hiking partners and I got stuck in a surprise thunderstorm which forced us to hike almost four miles in steady to heavy rain. Again, my upper body remained completely dry and I never felt chilled from the cool breeze. I was very pleased with the performance of the product and was glad that I made the upgrade from a competitor product.

The Thunderstorm Jacket is a waterproof, breathable jacket, which also resists internal condensation to keep you dry in any conditions. The Omni-Tech technology provides premium waterproof/breathable protection by using microporous membranes which keeps water from penetrating the fabric, yet allows perspiration to escape. Additionally, Columbia seals all seams on the jacket.

The Omni-Dry Mountain Tech T-shirt also did its job by keeping me dry during my neighborhood hike. I’m a pretty fast walker and I tend to generate a lot of heat, but the shirt didn’t feel sweaty after returning home.

I’ve been wearing wicking shirts for many years now. More than a year ago I purchased an Omni-Dry Mountain Tech T-shirt from Columbia Sportswear and have had the opportunity to use it on many occasions. It’s done an excellent job of keeping me dry in both warm and cold weather conditions. In addition to wicking perspiration away, the shirt has UPF-15 rated sun protection and resists the build-up of odor causing bacteria.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

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