I wore a $200 Columbia rain jacket in my shower to test water resistance — here's what happened

Columbia OutDry Extreme Wyldwood Shell shower test.
(Image credit: Future)

Columbia has been in the outerwear business for decades longer than many of its American counterparts, like Patagonia, Arc’teryx and even The North Face. While the brand has a well-earned reputation for affordability and quality, the $200 Columbia Wyldwood Rain Jacket sits on the higher end of the manufacturer's waterproof offerings.

Welcome back to another edition of the Tom’s Guide rain jacket shower test, where I wear raincoats in my shower to test water resistance. Today’s competitor is the Columbia OutDry Extreme Wyldwood Shell Jacket, a sleek and comfortable piece of apparel jam-packed with tech. 

Columbia OutDry Extreme Wyldwood Shell shower test.

The taped seams are both practical and a tad stylish.  (Image credit: Future)

Columbia OutDry Wyldwood Shell: Key features

Built to withstand downpours, the Wyldwood combines a highly waterproof polyester exterior with a soft, sweat-wicking interior for maximum comfort. The priciest jacket I’ve worn in my shower to date, the outer part boasts taped seams for added moisture protection. 

Columbia Wyldwood Shell: $200 @ Columbia

Columbia Wyldwood Shell: $200 @ Columbia
This is no casual rain slicker. No, the Columbia OutDry Extreme Wyldwood is meant to keep you bone-dry in even the gnarliest of downpours. Packed with more tech than a jet engine, the Wyldwood looks as fly as an F16. Choose from three lowkey colors and a wide range of cuts and sizes. 

You also get an adjustable hem and cuffs and a sizable hood brim to ensure the wet stuff stays out. Oversized vented hand pockets double as storage and a means to dissipate body heat. 

Weighing around 12 ounces, the Wyldwood shell adds little bulk and packs down into either zippered hand pocket for easy storage. Beyond being feature-rich, it also looks pretty darn cool (in a nerdy, gorpy sort of way). The gray seam tape really adds to the techy aesthetic. 


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Columbia OutDry Wyldwood Shell: Shower test

The rules of the shower test are simple. I put on the jacket in question, zip it tight, deploy the hood, cinch the cinchables and step into my shower. Over 3 minutes, I slowly rotate beneath the shower head, exposing each part of the rain shell to my faucet’s fury.

Once the three-minute mark is reached, I kill the H2O, step out, shake myself off like a mud-soaked Chow Chow and unzip. If the t-shirt beneath remains dry, the jacket passes our test. If not, it fails. (That’s science, baby). 

I wore the $200 Columbia Wyldwood Rain Shell in my shower to test its waterproof performance.

Here we go again. (Image credit: Future)

Columbia OutDry Wyldwood Shell – shower test results

I again went into this test feeling fairly confident I’d walk out dry as a communion wafer. This is our third "official" TG  shower rain jacket challenge, and both the previous contestants from Outdoor Research and REI received a laurel.

It turns out, my confidence was justified: The Columbia OutDry Wyldwood Shell kept me utterly and completely dry, with zero signs of seepage to report. This is impressive given both the jackets mentioned above had itsy-bitsy/negligible amounts of water sneak in. In one case, though, that was because I failed to fully zip a pit vent. Oops. 

Of course, the REI Rainer rain jacket is exactly half the price of the Columbia Wyldwood. The Outdoor Research Helium Jacket, at $180, is closer in cost but notably half the weight.

Columbia OutDry Wyldwood Shell Jacket: Verdict

Ultimately, the Columbia OutDry Wyldwood Shell not only passes our official rain jacket shower test, but it's now the rain shell to beat in future challenges. 

Which waterproof shells should I test in my shower next? And should top performers, like the Wyldwood, return for a second, longer soaking? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Dan Bracaglia
Senior Writer, Fitness & Wearables

Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.