Columbia Omni-Tech Review - Is It Waterproof? (2023)
Many wonder how waterproof Columbia’s jackets are with their Omni-Tech technology, we found out just how waterproof they really are.
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Waterproof coats are a must on any hike where rain is a possibility. If you plan on being outdoors for long periods the risk of getting wet and sodden through is high but needs to be avoided for any success or comfort. Many hikers want waterproof coats they can rely on as well as having comfort for long trips.
Breathability is a huge issue with waterproof jackets too, the role it plays in comfort as well as how it affects performance is high and many hikers look for the best waterproof jackets out there that are sufficiently waterproof as well as comfortable, with the least effect on their performance.
Columbia is one of the best hiking gear companies out there, and we are going to review their omni-tech jackets to see if they are sufficiently waterproof as well as how their other properties stand up against the market. Keep reading to find out more about waterproof jackets and Colubia’s omni-tech range.
What Is Columbia’s Omni-Tech?
Generally, Columbia’s Omni-Tech technology takes a layered approach to creating a waterproof jacket. The Columbia jacket has three layers to protect you from rain. The outer shield of the jacket is coated with Columbia's trademarked ‘omni-shield’ layer.
This layer is what attempts to repel stains and general dirt, keeping the jacket durable for the long run, while also helping to make the jacket waterproof.
The second layer of the Columbia’s jackets is what makes it water resistant, and is what they call a ‘membrane’ where most of the jacket’s water resistant qualities lie. Yet, this only gives the jacket a waterproof rating of 10.000mm
The third layer is a water-wicking mechanism that attempts to keep the interior of the jacket dry and breathable, utilizing the body heat to try to keep moisture away from the body and make the jacket breathable. This works by trying to create more surface area for the sweat to easily evaporate from.
Are Jackets That Have Columbia’s Omni-Tech Waterproof?
Yes, by the nature of the jackets, you can be sure they are waterproof to a decent degree. The second and middle layer within this omni-tech matrix is what provides the jacket with a waterproof quality.
Yet, the waterproof rating of the jacket is only 10.00mm. This is pretty good if you don’t expect to be in intense rain or snow, and will keep you free from rain getting in for the most part. However, in comparison to its market competition Gore-Tex, you can expect it to fail in comparison.
A Gore-Tex jacket has a waterproof rating of 28.00mm, nearly 18mm more waterproof protection. In this way, Columbia can seem subpar in compression, as the waterproof rating is more than doubled in other jackets such as Gore Tex.
Put simply, the Columbia omni-tech jackets are certainly water resistant and will keep you dry in most settings. If you are going on a particularly long expedition where you plan on getting quite wet for long periods, it may be best to go with a jacket that has a higher waterproof rating.
Bear in mind that price is a big factor here, Columbia is generally a cheaper brand and can provide waterproof jackets that are good quality for a low price, but if we are looking purely at waterproof abilities, there’s no doubt there are better jackets out there if cost isn’t necessarily an issue.
Columbia’s Omni-Tech line can be the best choice if you want an affordable waterproof jacket that is lightweight, perhaps ideal for a waterproof running jacket.
Best Jackets With Columbia Omni-Tech
Here’s a few of the best rated jackets in Columbia’s line, that use the Omni-Tech material.
Columbia Women’s EvaPOURation Jacket
This is one of the more popular waterproof jackets for women, which boasts Columbia’s waterproof technology. This jacket is particularly well rated for being so breathable, something that matters to many in the hiking world.
The layer of Omni-Tech that allows sweat to evaporate more quickly means that even in heat and rain the interior area of the jacket is drier than most. It’s ideal for women who want an inexpensive and lightweight jacket that can keep them dry inside and out.
Columbia Men’s Rebel Roamer Rain Pants
This softshell technical rain pants is a great product from Columbia which uses omni-tech.
Omni-tech is a great choice of material for these rain pants, as rain pants need to be pretty lightweight and breathable in order to be practical, if you have a heavier waterproof layer on top then these rain pants are an affordable option for waterproof pants that are particularly enjoyed for their breathability and lightweight nature.
If you want to reserve more money for a good waterproof jacket, these rain pants do the job well but aren’t super expensive.
Columbia Men’s Watertight Jacket
This is a well reviewed jacket. It has good waterproof capability for certain levels of rain and snow, but many enjoy the lightweight nature of the jacket. This is particularly useful for packing.
Many want an inexpensive jacket that is easily packable into a smaller bag, allowing them good waterproofing abilities when needed, but also the ability to pack light. If you want a jacket that can easily be packed away but can be waterproof when necessary, this isn’t a bad choice for something inexpensive.
Yes, Columbia’s Omni-Tech material is waterproof to an extent. There are degrees of being waterproof, though, and Columbia’s Omni-Tech gets a 10.000mm rating which isn’t the highest out there.
On the one hand they are affordable jackets that don’t break the bank but can certainly be waterproof in most conditions. They are also well reviewed for being lightweight, easy to pack away, as well as being pretty comfortable and breathable thanks to this Omni-Tech technology.
Columbia is known as a good brand, in large part because of Omni-Tech.
In comparing Columbia to The North Face, Columbia's technology is well-touted, but The North Face is still, generally speaking, more popular. You might also consider one of the up-and-coming brands, like Vuori.
Yet, with this said, there are other jackets out there with ratings of as high as 28.000mm which is much higher than Columbia’s jackets, yet these jackets are not as lightweight and will cost more.
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