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Columbia Takes No-Brainer Approach to Rainwear in Spring ’16

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When it’s raining and pouring and venturing outdoors is inevitable, most people choose to weather the storm in something that keeps wetness out—but a water-repelling exterior is all for naught if the wearer is stewing in sweat underneath.

Enter OutDry Extreme, a patent-pending technology from outdoor apparel and footwear giant Columbia that turns traditional rain jackets inside out.

Instead of sandwiching a waterproof membrane between layers of fabric which can restrict breathability, the Portland, Oregon-based company has taken a no-brainer approach to rainwear and put it on the outside to offer a first line of defense against dampness.

Oh, and it’s breathable. Microscopic perforations in the abrasion-resistant membrane allow moisture to escape, while the wicking textile lining keeps the wearer dry and comfortable.

Sounds like an obvious solution, but rainwear hasn’t really evolved since rubber rain jackets first appeared in 1824 and most shells featuring fabric coated with Durable Water Repellant (DWR) wear away over time.

OutDry Extreme spent nearly two years in R&D and after getting a thumbs-up from 147 beta testers in soggy surroundings spanning Portland to Ireland and New Zealand to Germany, Columbia claims the technology is “an enormous jump forward in keeping dry and comfortable no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.”

Ranging in price from $150 to $400, OutDry Extreme hits stores in Spring ’16 as part of Columbia’s Titanium collection and will come in 19 styles of jackets and pants and myriad colors for men and women. A children’s collection will be available, too.

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