I’m going to keep this one short and sweet – I really dig this jacket!
The Trail Drier Windbreaker Jacket is one of the pieces Columbia Sportwear sent this season’s OmniTen. I remember when it first showed up I immediately put it on and liked the weight and fit. It’s perfect for light use like hiking and running and compacts down to nothing making it easy to stow. It weighs in at about 7 oz and packs into it’s own chest pocket to about the size of a softball.
It doesn’t rain a whole lot here in Arizona, but when it does it’s pretty serious about it. I’ve been caught in a few rains now where I’ve been able to use the jacket including a monsoon here in Scottsdale, a storm at the Grand Canyon, a rainy afternoon at Mono Lake in California and a monster thunder storm on top of Mount Graham. In each, it performed well – kept me dry and comfortable without being stuffy.
The Omni-Wick built into the jacket makes it a breathable jacket. I put it side-by-side against a lightweight packable rain shell from Sierra Designs and it performed WAY better. The Sierra Designs jacket didn’t really keep me dry and was a sweat box – maybe I’ll use it when I am trying to cut weight.
All in all, a really successful weindbreaker/rain jacket for hiking and running. I now pack this thing with me every time I go out if there’s even the slightest chance of rain. The only thing it needs is a good base layer. When I’ve worn the jacket in colder rains without anything more than a t-shirt it can get cold real quick. When the rain gets on the jacket, you feel the cold through the thin material. But a simple base layer to insulate against that direct skin contact makes a huge difference. Here in AZ, the rain doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cold out so I like not having an overly warm rain jacket with it’s own insulation.
At $90 retail, I think it’s a good deal. I hope the jacket holds up over time. I haven’t really tested it’s durability in tough terrain so I’ll have to update this review later after I’ve abused it more.
Check out other OmniTen opinions on this jacket…
Eric seemed to like it, “Columbia claims omnishield keeps out ligbt rain… I can tell you from a serious testing that it keeps out heavy rain as well.”