Review: Columbia OutDry Ex Eco Insulated Jacket*

Columbia Ex Eco insulated shell

This was one that confused me slightly. It’s white for one thing – who wants to wear a white coat in the outdoors? Secondly it reminded me of the cheap coats we used to wear skiing: stuffy and hot for moving about in but really not very waterproof. The more I’ve worn it though, the more it has grown on me. Let me tell you why…

Firstly, let’s tackle the colour.

It’s very white… Apart from the fact it throws your camera’s sensor while out and about (above right hand photo), you might agree with me that white is not really the best colour for a coat aimed at the outdoors market. However, it’s white for a very good reason and since learning why, I’ve changed my mind on how unacceptable white is for an outdoor coat. The reason? Because it has not been put through a dying process. This means that a whopping 90 litres of water has been saved in the making of this coat. How impressive is that!

Columbia are taking the whole eco thing seriously – as every brand should. This is the most environmentally friendly jacket that Columbia has EVER produced. So, before we get into the nitty gritty of the coat here are a couple of stats.

  • They have removed all intentionally added PFCs
  • The main fabrics in the jacket is 100% recycled polyester – approximately 32 recycled bottles went into making this.
  • Even the tags on this have been made out of recyclable products.

This whole recycling, reduce/reuse plastic ethic is something that is getting increasingly closer to my heart. You can find out why in this below blog post.

No more plastic please

The nitty gritty stuff.

I like wearing this coat and it’s certainly a conversation starter – most people don’t often see a white coat. It allows me to start talking to them (to – not at) about how it’s recycled and then (if they’re interested) about the whole plastic issue.

It wear a size M. I think this equates to roughly a size 12, which allows me (a top size 10/12) to wear a couple of layers underneath it comfortably.

  • The arms are a nice length – not too short.
  • The hood isn’t gapping, which means it struggles to fit a bobble hat underneath (unsurprisingly) but this also means it’s not really helmet compatible. There’s a velcro tab at the back for pulling the hood back and toggles down the side of your face to keep the hood snug.
  • The hood peak isn’t wired. I do love a good wired hood peak… but it’s not the end of the world.
  • The zipper is nice and large, which although I felt rather put out by at the start I found brilliant the more I used it as it meant I could still do it up wearing gloves.
  • There’s a storm shield both under and above the main zip – no wind is getting through that baby!
  • The pockets are HUGE and fleece-lined (YES COLUMBIA!). It’s often so hard to find women’s coats that have decent pockets.
  • There’s an inside chest pocket.
  • There are pit-zips to help with ventilation.
  • Dirt wipes off pretty damn well and although I’ve spent many occasions on the floor with my camera in hand in this coat, it has come out very well. Cue surprised face…
  • A small thing but man-oh-man it’s never something I take for granted – it has a loop to hang it up on a hook at the end of the day. It’s the small things…

Wearing it

I still feeling slightly nervous about reaching for it for a bigger day – I’ve been raised with the philosophy to layer-up. Therefore my usual go-to is to wear layers of lighter weight clothing, including coats. I’ve certainly started to trust this one more, the more I’m wearing it day-to-day. I’ve had it on up some pretty damn windy mountains. I’ll post a couple of picks/vids of times when I’ve been wearing it and it’s been seriously chilly. It’s kept me snug every single time and I don’t think I’ve ever over heated in it. I’ve had a fleece on underneath usually – that’s just how I roll – layer, layer, layer… But I’ve usually taken my fleece off when I’ve got warm and I’ve still felt comfortable enough. Overall, I’m a fan.

On Hay Bluff for sunset Columbia Novelty Hoody

My favourite points

  • It’s a conversation starter – the white colour has really grown on me.
  • It’s easy to clean
  • Wind doesn’t get through.
  • At the end of it’s life you can return it to Columbia’s ReThreads program and it can be reprocessed for a second life.

You can see how windy it was in this video of us chasing a sunrise on Pen Y Fan

Rounding up

Without a doubt, I’ve come to enjoy wearing this jacket. I like the fit and overall performance that I’ve experienced so far. However, it does come at a price… £225. That’s quite a hefty price tag Columbia! With my new commitment to reducing my plastic consumption – or at least reducing/reusing as much as possible, I’ve come to accept that the price tag for ethical clothing is going to be higher – but I imagine there are lots of people who won’t be at the point where they want to spend that much for something that’s ethically responsible (although I do encourage those people to seriously look into plastic pollution). It’s perhaps a little more bulky and heavy than I’m comfortable with at the moment but it has many features that I’m thrilled with and so rate this coat a 7/10, knocked down for weight and price. Otherwise, top coat!

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Check out my review of the Columbia Novelty Hoody below!

Columbia Novelty Hoody review



Just here living life with an outdoor-loving-whiskey-flavoured twist.

Come along with me as I explore, learn, grow and see what life has to offer through my twenties. Includes mountain highs and rocky life lows. Just keeping it real – but if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout it all it’s “live life, don’t just exist”.

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1 Comment

  1. January 19, 2018 / 10:34 am

    That’s interesting about the Eco friendliness, but white just isn’t right for the outdoors, I’m surprised white is the natural colour rather than grey though, I wonder what out of the recycled bottles come out as white. it’s a nice looking coat mind you.