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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Columbia Dub Mountain Parka > Test Report by Edwin L. Morse

COLUMBIA DUB MOUNTAIN PARKA
TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
LONG-TERM REPORT
February 19, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
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TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 70
LOCATION: Grawn, Michigan USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. Starting pack weight was 70 lbs (32 kg) with food but no water. Since that first time I have made one and two week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. I am slowly reducing my pack weight. Starting the last one week trip in New Hampshire I carried 35 lbs (16 kg). I am slowly obtaining lighter gear. I am also occasionally switching to a hammock in warmer weather.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Columbia
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.columbia.com/
MSRP: US$279.99 according to the hang tag
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight Shell: 14.9 oz (422 g)
Measured Weight liner: 13.8 oz (391g)

Other details:
The Parka, as delivered, was not found on the Columbia website. The following description of the Dub Mountain Shell was on the Columbia website.

Description
Everything sounds good in a fully taped Dub Mountain Shell with pit-zips and a 3-way hood. It's part of the super-light 5-point interchange system and features full-stretch, 2.5L rip-stop construction. Put the needle on the record.

Fabrics and Features
• 100% nylon Omni-Tech® 2.5L stretch ripstop
Titanium™
Omni-Tech®
Active Fit
Underarm Zipper Vents
• 20000mm/20000mvtr Omni-Tech® performance laminate
• Fully taped
• Full stretch 2.5L construction
• 3 way adjustable tuck in hood
• Removable stretch powder cuff
• Super light 5 point interchange

I have to disagree about one item, the "Removable stretch powder cuff " is not removable unless I were to use shears to permanently remove it. The powder cuff is very well sewed in.

There was no description of the down liner on the website.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

My first impression is that this is a feature rich combination parka.
If you believe the idea that a picture is worth a 1000 words I have over 5000 words in this section.

The down liner has 2 outside pockets with a soft lining.
Down Liner

Down Liner


There is an inside chest pocket with a zipper in which my glasses fit snugly. There are also large inside net pockets on each side at the bottom.
liner inside pockets
Liner pockets
The shell has 3 outside pockets with what appear to be waterproof zippers. The chest pocket is just right for a pair of glasses. The pit zips are long enough to be useful and effective. The hood also folds neatly away to make a neat collar when the hood is not needed.
Dub Mountain Shell
Dub Mountain Shell

There are also 2 inside net pockets in the Shell.
Shell inside pockets
Shell inside pockets


Around the back of the neck, below the hood, are 3 snaps to fasten the down liner. There is a similar snap in the wrist of each sleeve. The snaps on the Shell go through loops in the liner.
Shell and liner neck snaps

Shell and liner neck snaps

The size medium fits me very well with the liner in place. I still had room for more layers when there will be need.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Washing Instructions

Shell: If present close hook and loop fastener.
Machine wash cold permapress, powdered detergent.
Wash separately tumble dry permanent press low.
Do not iron, Do not use fabric softener, do not bleach.
Do not dry clean.

Down liner:
Machine wash cold gentle.
Wash separately, tumble dry low.
Do not iron.
Do not bleach.
Do not dry clean.

I found no other instructions for care of the Parka.

TRYING IT OUT

The day after the Parka arrived it rained all day and I had to do some shopping. I put the Parka on with the liner still inside the shell. The temperature stayed at about 50 F (10 C) all day. All the pictures were taken under the roof over the deck since I don't want my camera out in the rain.
All zipped for cold
All zipped for the cold


I just wore a tee shirt under the Parka and I was too warm even when it was raining hard with a strong wind. The picture above shows the Parka all zipped up for cold weather, which we don't have yet.

I did find one small problem when I came out of a store. The zippers on both the liner and shell are the same and it was easy for me to zip the liner and shell together. It is not a idea to expose a down garment to heavy rain. I caught and corrected the problem before the liner got wet, just something to remember.
Zipper problem
zipper problem

The next day the forecast was for rain all day again. When the rain stopped soon after noon I went out to cut a log off a nearby trail. I wore the Parka shell over a long power stretch shirt. I carried the liner in my pack expecting more rain and colder temperatures. Instead the sun came out and it got warmer. With the temperature at 60 F (16 C) I got much too warm when I started swinging the axe.

TESTING STRATEGY

I expect to be wearing the Parka (either as a combination or just the liner or shell) from now through next April here in northern Lower Michigan, depending on conditions. I started backpacking again, after six years of only day hikes. Nearby trips have been in the nearby Manistee National Forest (MNF), generally two nights each time to make sure the gear all works. The Manistee National Forest is in north central Lower Michigan. The Pere Marquette State Forest is north and east of the MNF, with more good trails for hiking and skiing. I plan on a few nights backpacking in each forest. I will also do at least two overnights in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore along the shore of Lake Michigan, usually up in the dunes.

I hope to be wearing the Columbia Dub Shell or Parka a minimum of 6 days backpacking during the testing period. As the weather gets colder and we start getting snow I will also use the Parka for skiing, some snowshoeing, day hiking and trail maintenance work. I don't backpack with snow on the ground so the amount of backpacking depends on other appointments and the weather.

During the test period I will answer the following questions:

How will the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka and different combinations fit me?
It fits very well as a Parka but the shell alone is loose with no added layers.

Are the stitches all straight and smooth?
I found one stitch with thread hanging loose. I cut off the extra thread and now it all looks smooth.

Will the seams hold after several months of hiking, trail work and some backpacking?
Will the taped seams really hold out storm water?
Will the Columbia Dub Parka work well with added insulation shirts under it?
Will I get rain running down inside the hood?
Not so far, the hood over a ball cap is good rain protection.
Can I wear a hat or ball cap under the hood to better protect my glasses?
Is the hood made so the hat or cap is not needed?
How weatherproof is the Columbia Dub Shell? One website (not Columbia) gave several numbers to show how waterproof and how breathable the shell is but these numbers mean nothing to me. I want to know how comfortable I am in a heavy rain or a heavy wet snow storm. These are conditions I often encounter and enjoy, as long as I can keep warm.
How durable is the Columbia Dub Shell?
Will the Columbia Dub Shell stand up to the constant rubbing of pack straps?

In addition to the above questions I am sure I will think of more questions as I use the Columbia Dub Parka.
I will describe my experiences with the Columbia Dub Parka, including any problems I find.
I will also include several pictures to show the Columbia Dub Parka in various activities.

SUMMARY

The Columbia Dub Mountain Parka appears to be a very neat system for cool to cold and wet weather. There are probably features that I have missed or forgotten to show. If that is so they will be shown and discussed in later sections of the report.

At this time the Dub Mountain Parka seems to be a better solution to our local weather than anything else I own.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be added in about two months.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I got in one backpacking trip during the last 2 months in early November. This was a 2 night hike in the Pere Marquette State Forest. The weather forecast had predicted warm days with a low of 40 F (4 C). The first day actually was warm, with a high of 55 F (13 C) when I stopped for lunch.
Lunch Break
Lunch break

I wore the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka over a zip T for hiking all day and to get camp set up.
camp set up

I carried the down liner in my pack all day. I put it on soon after I had camp set up. When I got up in the morning the temperature was 26 F (-3 C). I wore both liner and shell while I ate breakfast and packed. When I was ready to hike again the liner went in the top of the pack and I wore the Shell over a merino wool shirt and the zip T. The second day was cooler and I wore the same combination all day. The second night was slightly warmer than the first. My feet were cold all both nights and only got warm when I started walking again. The liner was a great addition to the Shell evenings and mornings.

I was able to get in one more long day hike/work day a week later. This hike was in the Manistee National Forest on the section of trail I maintain. This time I wore the Shell over a zip T and a fleece shirt. This was a cooler day with a high of 42 F (6 C) so I wore this combination all day, even when cutting and moving down branches off the trail. I carried the liner in my day pack where it stayed all day.

A 2 week trip to Florida in late November interrupted my testing of the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka. I did take it along and when we stopped to visit relatives for 2 days in southern Michigan on the way back. I was glad I had taken it along. Winter came back to Michigan about the same time we did. Our first night back in Michigan the temperature dropped to 22 F (6 C) and we got 4 in (10 cm) of new snow. Since then the Parka has been the coat I wear whenever I go outside.

I use a snowblower to clean our 110 ft (34 m) long driveway when we get more snow. The Columbia Dub Mountain Parka over a zip T and a fleece shirt is just right when the temperature is 22 F (6 C) and the wind is blowing hard. The hood is tight around my face when I pull the outside zipper all the way up.

I've been skiing several times in the Pere Marquette State Forest on several different trail systems. The temperature has stayed generally a reasonable 25 F (-4 C) on these outings. I've been wearing the Shell over a zip T and a fleece shirt. Since I am learning to use a new GPS I often stop to mark locations and check distances.
Ski break

Here we stopped near the Boardman River for snacks and to decide which way to go next.

I also went for snowshoe hikes twice in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. The temperature was about the same but I was moving much slower and there was (as usual) a strong wind off Lake Michigan. I wore the complete Parka over a zip T and a fleece shirt.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Columbia Dub Mountain Parka did very well for me on my one 2 night backpacking trip. I wore the shell over a zip T the first day and I was comfortably warm all day. At night after camp was set up the temperature fell and I added the down liner while I was sitting around.
The shell did a very good job of breaking the wind both while walking and when sitting outside by the tent.

It was when I was walking behind the snowblower that I appreciated all the features of the Parka. A snowblower does just that, it blows snow with enough force to throw it 30 ft (9 m). If a strong wind is from the opposite direction the operator is often covered with blown snow. With the hood up, wind skirt snapped and the zipper pulled up to my chin I don't get any of that cold wet stuff inside the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka. The hood fits tighter around my face than any previous coat I've used for this job.

I also wore the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka for the 2 snowshoe hikes I did last month. Much of the time I was slowly working my way through trees and off trail and moving slowly. When I got out to the beach area at the Sleeping Bear Dunes the wind was very strong. I zipped up all outside zippers and even pulled up the hood for part of the hike. The Columbia Dub Mountain Parka did very well under a variety of conditions and activities.

I have worn the shell as my outer (wind breaker) layer for cross country skiing. I'm not an expert skier by any judgment, even though I've been skiing for nearly 40 years. I don't go as fast as I did a few years ago but I get lots of exercise and sweat hard. When on a trail through pine trees I even unzip the underarm pit zips to help get rid of excess moisture. Then when the trail goes past one of the many small lakes in this area the wind gets strong and I stop and zip everything tight again. Usually sweat does build up inside the shell. I don't consider this much of a negative of the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka since I don't think any waterproof garment can be breathable enough to get rid of that much sweat.
I carry the down liner in my day pack just in case it is needed. When I get back to the truck I take off the Shell, turn it inside our and hang it over the seat back. Then I put on the down liner over the zip T, another test item which does feel dry, for the drive home.

SUMMARY

I am finding the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka to be very good for the changeable weather we get in the Northern Lower peninsula of Michigan. I have worn either the complete Columbia Dub Mountain Parka, the shell or the down liner for all my outside activities (getting the paper in the morning, shopping, cleaning snow off the drive, hiking, snowshoeing and skiing) since the first week of December. I think it is a very flexible and light weight garment. It easily replaces 3 other coats in my closet.

This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be added in about two months.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

LTR date: February 19, 2008

I did at least 20 day hikes in the Pere Marquette State Forest, the Manistee National Forest (MNF) and the Sleeping Bear Dunes in the last 2 months. These are all located in northwest Lower Michigan. The terrain was mostly hilly with some swamp areas. Elevation varied from just over 600 feet (183 m) at the Lake Michigan shore to 800 feet (240 m) on the nearby dunes and just over 1000 feet (305 m) in the MNF further inland. The whole area is flat when compared to any mountain terrain. I also continue wear the Parka to clean snow from my driveway and for shopping trips.

The weather varied from -2 F (-19 C) with a strong wind to a warm and sunny 34 F (1 C). There were a few days when the snow was falling and blowing so hard driving was difficult.

Most of my hikes were about 6 hours while a few (due to equipment failure in one case and difficult terrain a few times) were closer to 10 hours. The longer trips required the headlamp to find my way back to the truck in the dark. I do as much off trail hiking as I do on trails. Since I am also testing a pair of boots I have been hiking or snowshoeing this winter rather than mostly skiing.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD


The best way I can show performance is to briefly review a few typical hikes.
January 18, 2008
Today I was testing 3 items of gear as well as exploring and mapping a relocation route for the North Country Trail (NCT). The weather prediction called for heavy blowing snow and falling temperatures.

I was wearing the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka over a fleece button shirt over a zip T. I wore a brimmed winter hat with ear flaps. Soon after leaving the truck I pulled the Parka hood up over the hat to keep out the wind and snow.

When I left the truck the temperature was 27 F (-3 C). After I had hiked about 3 hours, generally along the river, the GPS died. I thought the problem was dead batteries but after installing the third set of spares I decided the receiver was too sick for me to fix. The temperature had fallen to 22 F (-6 C). There was no reason to explore more since I had no way to map my route. I thought a direct route back to the snowmobile trail would be quicker than back the along the river. I was comfortably warm except for cold toes. Eventually I got to the snowmobile trail and turned south. When I finally got back to the truck, after 2 hours of bushwhacking and over an hour hiking on the snowmobile trail, the temperature was down to 16 F (-9 C). I later heard on the TV news the wind had reached 45 mph (72 kph).

The Dub Mountain Parka did very well. No wind penetrated through the shell. The hood was tight enough to keep out the wind even over the brimmed hat. I had not realized before what a nice feature the wind skirt in the shell could be. Since most of the hike was bushwhacking I was moving slow enough so I did not get sweaty the way I usually do on a trail hike.

January 31, 2008
Again, I was exploring, this time trying to add a loop to the North Country Trail (NCT) in the Manistee National Forest. The temperature was 25 F (-4 C) when I started walking at noon. I thought this would be more than enough time to walk about 4 miles (6 km) before dark. My intent was to find a comparatively easy route for a loop hike.

I was wearing the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka over a fleece shirt over a merino wool base layer and a wool watch cap. I also used snowshoes for this hike.

I followed the NCT, crossing over 2 bridges, to the north boundary of the MNF. I then turned east and then southerly, generally towards my truck. I looked for interesting hiking terrain and good places to put a new trail and just maintained the direction when there was a reasonable choice. The bushwhacking got me to some rather rough hiking after 2 miles. I followed the high bank of a creek formed gully back to the NCT.

By the time I got back to the NCT at 5:45 the temperature had dropped to 20 F (-7 C). According to my GPS sunset was about 5:50. Soon after I got to the NCT I stopped and got out my headlamp. Even with the headlamp, by 6:00 PM, it was slow going the rest of the way back to the truck in the dark.

My upper body was much too warm and I was very sweaty. In my opinion, pit zips are not much help. Perhaps the down liner is too warm for me to wear for hiking.

February 4, 2008
I wore the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka over a light weight nylon button shirt over a zip T base layer. The temperature stayed at about 35 F (2 C) all day. The snow was wet and very slippery. My upper body was soon way too warm.

We hiked along the Manistee River again searching for the best route. I parked my truck at the end of the plowed road and we hiked east to a point we had stopped at previously. We ate a quick lunch and I took off the down liner and put on a fleece pullover under the Dub Mountain Shell and the wet sweaty liner went into my pack. We went approximately back the way we came out, but still found some improvements to previous hikes.

The complete Columbia Dub Mountain Parka is just too warm for me when the temperature is above freezing unless I'm just sitting to eat lunch.

February 10, 2008
This was planned as a group snowshoe outing by the local hiking club. Sixteen people had signed up when the hike was announced. Twelve people canceled in the 3 days before the hike. The weather report had said winter storm warnings with a high temperature of 8 F (-13 C), heavy winds and more snow. We met at the NCT just north of the North Branch of the Boardman River. The NCT generally follows the river for at least 2 miles (3 km) in both directions. This is a very pretty hike in any weather. We hiked along the river for about 1 ˝ hours then turned back.

I wore the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka over a fleece button shirt over a zip T base layer. This would have been an easy walk with snowshoes if I had stayed in line with the group. Instead I frequently walked big loops away from the trail to go faster and try to keep my feet warm. Most of the time we were out the temperature was -2 F (-19 C). There was a short period when my digital thermometer indicated -10 F (-23 C).

This was the first time I had worn the down liner under the Columbia Dub Mountain shell for the whole hike and I was not sweaty at all. This was also one of the few times I had used the hood for a hike when it was not raining. I really appreciated the way the hood is tight around my face with the front zipper all the way up and with the wind skirt snapped there was no wind getting inside.. I was the only one of the group not wearing a face mask. With the hood pulled tight and my own natural face insulation I felt no need of a face mask. The Columbia Dub Mountain Parka kept my upper body comfortably warm.


SUMMARY

I still think that the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka is a very good choice for our changeable Michigan winters. I've hiked in all day rain at 35 F (2 C) and I've hiked a few days when it was snowing and blowing hard and the temperature was around -2 F (-19 C). There have also been many bright and sunny days, both cold and warm (for winter).
I carry a bandanna and my GPS in the outside chest pocket. When the weather is below freezing I carry my lunch in one inside net pocket of the down liner and my spare batteries in the other side.
I nearly always get sweaty when I hike so the parka generally gets sweaty too. I have made it a habit to separate the liner and shell when I get home and turn them inside out to dry. Both liner and shell dry quickly when hung up. I've not yet owned a waterproof coat that would stay dry inside when I'm hiking.
I have not worn the liner without the shell for any hikes because it is nearly always windy. I often hike through snow covered pine trees and I don't want the liner getting wet from both inside and outside. I have worn the liner alone for several town shopping trips



CONTINUED USE

I will continue to wear the parka through March and probably carry the shell through much of April. We've still got more cold and snow on the way and then a month or more of lots of rain.

This concludes my Long Term Report.

I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Columbia Sportswear for giving me the opportunity to try out (and to test) the Columbia Dub Mountain Parka.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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