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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Columbia Outdry Ex Gold Pants

My old pair of rain pants are so old that I've forgotten when I bought it. I want to say I bought it in Switzerland during one of the more rainy tours of the Alps (hence it must have been outrageously expensive), but it could easily have been in Austria. In any case, this winter, I discovered that it wasn't waterproof any more. (It might never have been waterproof, but the plasticky surface fooled me into thinking that it was)

Having had a great experience with the Columbia Mens Titanium Outdry Ex jacket, I bought the Gold Titanium Outdry Pants, which strangely enough are not actually gold, but are the same color as the jacket I bought. Whoever names these clothing items at Columbia must be even more color-blind than I am. (And before you tell me that it's obvious that "Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Titanium" must be obviously grade levels for gear quality, I have searched in vain on Columbia's website to see if there's any rhyme or reason to the metal-type they use in their branding and have found nothing)

The pants are relatively light at 286g for my size (size small, in both jacket and pants). They come with belt loops in addition to the elastic. That's good, because the elastic is insufficient to keep the pants up on my svelte waist, so I had to add a belt. It's also not good, because that means I have to carry a belt on tour! The pants also fold neatly into a pocket that's labeled "packable," a neat feature with no counterpart in the jacket! (Again, no rhyme or consistency in their product-line) The packed size is quite big, but the packing protects the shiny material so it won't wear out prematurely in  your pannier or saddlebag.

In practice the pants are big enough that I can wear normal (non-cycling) pants under it and ride comfortably. The pants flare out a bit too much at the bottom, so if you're a cyclist you MUST use ankle ties or the pants will get caught in the chain/chainrings eventually. Yet another thing to carry on tour. Clearly, it's designed more for hikers than for cyclists. Some complain that the pants are noisy, but they must be hikers: on my bike I can't tell, mainly because the rain drowns out any noise from the pants.

The pants do stay dry (which included time not just cycling, but also fixing a flat tire in the rain). They're also nice and warm (though how much of it was that I was wearing a whole layer of hiking pants underneath, I don't know), maybe a bit too warm. Not a problem on tour: just don't wear leg warmers under these pants. I wish the color was something bright (like the jacket), but again, these seem designed for hiking and not cycling, but I'd say that they're very good for what they do, and well worth the price. (Around $90 or so on sale) I'm discovering that I must be a Columbia fan, because my favorite pair of hiking pants (bought so long ago that I don't remember when) also say Columbia Titanium on them.


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