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Columbia Evapouration Review

Columbia Evapouration
Photo: Columbia
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Price:  $100 List | $99.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Light, seals out rain well, stuffs away small in pocket
Cons:  Poor breathability, low comfort scores
Manufacturer:   Columbia
By Brandon Lampley ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 5, 2015
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  • Water Resistance - 30% 7
  • Breathability - 25% 5
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 5
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Durability - 5% 5
  • Packed Size - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Columbia Evapouration rain jacket is impressively light and seals out the rain well. It's an adequate and affordable jacket for hiking and backpacking. Large mesh hand pockets and pit zips provide good ventilation for this model, but we found the 2.5-layer fabric itself doesn't breathe as well as competitors. Overall, we found the Marmot PreCip, our Best Buy winner, to be a higher performing featured rain jacket at the same price. The other Columbia model in our review, the Columbia Watertight II, has a hanging liner, no pit zips, and is best suited for around town use.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Columbia Evapouration is nice and light, plus it packs down small in a hand pocket for storage. That said, it's much less breathable and comfortable that some other similarly priced jackets.

Performance Comparison

This rain jacket is one of the lightest three we tested with hand...
This rain jacket is one of the lightest three we tested with hand pockets. It doesn't breathe as well as the Torrentshell or PreCip, but seals out rain well enough.
Photo: Brandon Lampley

Water Resistance

This jacket does a good job sealing out the rain, but we found it doesn't seal around the face as well as other models. Blowing rain can find its way in around your cheeks, and because the brim of the hood is soft, this jacket provides less protection for your face than models with stiffened brims. We did find that the wrist cuffs seal well, with elastic on the inner wrist and adjustable Velcro to cinch them down. All told, the DWR beaded water well and this jacket does an acceptable job keeping out the rain.

Breathability & Ventilation

While this jacket ventilates well enough via the pit zips and mesh-lined hand pockets, overall we found the breathability lacking. More so than other lightweight 2.5-layers contenders, the Evapouration steamed up inside quickly when all sealed up when we made tracks uphill.

We would like to see larger pit zips on this jacket to increase the...
We would like to see larger pit zips on this jacket to increase the ventilation. Our tests hiking and running found the breathability of the fabric lacking.
Photo: Brandon Lampley

Comfort & Mobility

The Evapouration is a bare bones jacket in terms of its comfort features, and doesn't include a soft fleece patch at the chin, or ergonomic pulls attached to the zipper strings. In addition, we found this jacket one of the least mobile as well. Raising one arm tugged the waist hem up.


The size large Evapouration we tested weighed in at 11.7 ounces, which is impressively light. This weight is comparable to the highest scoring 2.5-layer featured rain jackets we tested.


This is one of the few jackets we tested with a nylon face fabric that is not ripstop. Rather, Columbia uses a higher Denier (70D) nylon. Partly due to the lack of a ripstop thread in the fabric, but more due to imperfect stitching in a few areas, the Evapouration earned a low durability score.

Packed Size

Stuffed away into the left hand pocket, the is one of the more compact pieces we tested.

We feel a rain jacket geared towards hiking and backpacking should...
We feel a rain jacket geared towards hiking and backpacking should stuff away into a pocket for ease of packing and protection. This one is easy to pack away into its hand pocket and it's nice and compact.
Photo: Brandon Lampley


The hood of this 2.5-layer jacket is quite basic. The front brim is large but not stiffened to hold much of a shape. The elastic cinch cord around the face opening passes through a small nylon taffeta sleeve next to your face, and is sewn in at either side of the brow to isolate the tightening to either side of your face. The sewn-in cord locks are interior to the hood…good for water resistance but poor for convenience of tightening. A Velcro tab at the back of the head allows you to adjust how low the brim falls on your forehead.

The is no interior collar to this jacket. A simple hood of shell fabric protects your chin from the zipper, but there is no soft fleece patch here. Rather than an interior hang loop at the back of the neck, a small hang loop is sewn into the outside of the jacket at the back of your neck.

This jacket features average size pit zips protected by a small storm flap. Unlike some other models, there is a single zipper pull. When closed it is at your side, and opens the zipper traveling up through your pit and under your arm. Two medium-sized, mesh-lined, zippered hand pockets are the only pockets on this jacket, and it stuffs away into the left one to make a compact package. All the zipper pulls have about two inches of knotted string attached for ease of use.

The jackets cuffs have a bit of elastic on the inside of the wrist and a Velcro tab to cinch them up tight. As is common with most models, a sewn-in cord lock at each hip allows you to cinch up the hem.

2.5-layer fabric, average size pit zips, and an adjustable cuff...
2.5-layer fabric, average size pit zips, and an adjustable cuff round out the features and construction of this jacket.
Photo: Brandon Lampley

Best Applications

This light and bare bones 2.5-layer rain jacket is a good choice for hiking and backpacking. Its light weight and easy packability meet the needs of weight conscious adventurers.


Retailing at $100, the Evapouration is very affordable. But at the same price point and weight you'll find the Marmot PreCip, our Best Buy winner, and a higher performing rain jacket overall.


The Columbia Evapouration rain jacket is a simple, no-frills shell that will keep you dry, but doesn't breathe as well as similar competitors. It is ventilated well, and stuffs away nice and small.

Don't try this at home kids. Getting a little silly in the Columbia...
Don't try this at home kids. Getting a little silly in the Columbia Evapouration while out dayhiking and testing jackets and ultralight backpacks.
Photo: Amanda Fenn

Other Versions

Columbia Evapouration - Women's
  • $100
  • Women's version
  • No-frills, functional, and highly practical
  • Earns our Best Buy honorable mention!

Brandon Lampley