Columbia Compounder Shell Review
This Spring, Columbia introduces the Compounder 2.5 layer shell. As we often get to test products before they hit the market, I was able to test this jacket out for a number of months in a number of activities. The Columbia Compounder Shell is 2.5 layers which can be a little hard to tell from the first look. Typically, a 2 layer shell has more of a plastic inner feel/look and a 3 layer jacket has a fabric-like layer on the inside that sits against your skin. The 2.5 layer is a combination between the two, providing almost a suede like feel to the inside of the jacket, so it is not a complete plastic feel nor a complete fabric feel. For myself, I generally like 3 layer shells as I don’t like it when a jacket sticks to my arms when I am wearing a tee-shirt. So when I started testing 2.5 layer compounder jacket, I was very particular about paying attention to the performance and feel. The activities in which I used the jacket include hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and boating.
To get a true test of the jacket, I was lucky enough to test the Compounder in the Northwest US. During my testings, weather ranged from small drizzles to sunny and cloudy. During my testing, I found no instance of water seeping into the jacket. For waterproofing, Columbia uses Omni-Dry in the Compounder jacket. For breathability, the Compounder does a good job at wicking moisture to the outside, but it still stays a little wet on the inside if you are doing any intense anaerobic activity.
There are two side pockets that fall above a hip belt, so whether you are backpacking, hiking, or skiing with a pack, you will still be able to reach your pockets. These pockets have water resistant zips with a mesh inner. By having mesh pockets, you can open of the pockets for ventilation. While this is a nice feature, it is not all that necessary as this jacket comes with pit zips to help keep you dry and ventilated. The chest pocket also comes with a mesh pocket, but it also has a small hole in it so you can thread headphones through it.
The Compounder Jacket comes with an adjustable hood, so it fits many different head sizes. The adjusters are on each side of your chip and on the back of the head to get a great fit. It also comes with a semi-hard brim to help keep out the elements. As for overall fit, I tested a medium and it fit very well. It allowed enough room for a mid layer underneath for colder weather, but it wasn’t too bulky. As for my stats, I am 6’0 and 175lbs.
Overall, I liked the fit and performance of the Columbia Compounder Shell. The colors could be a little loud for some, but if that is your thing, you are in luck. As for the price, the MSRP is $300 which is a little pricy for a shell. Depending on what you are used to paying for gear, this could be high or low.