Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $65
Pros: Traditional design, breathable, inexpensive, good for urban excursions and suburban adventures.
Cons: Heavy, doesn’t pack Into a pocket
Best Uses: Budget rain protection, lifestyle
The Columbia Arcadia is a great option for gals who are ready for a well-priced, traditionally-styled rain shell. We give this jacket our Best Buy award because of its excellent performance coupled with a reasonable price. It easily fits into any wardrobe lacking a basic around-town shell, and will also perform during hiking, biking, walking, etc. It is the most broad use jacket and so is the most accessible. Testers found the shell to be quite waterproof; the Omni-Tech® waterproof-breathable fabric sheds water well, and all seams are taped. The main zipper and pocket zippers are effectively covered with storm flaps preventing leakage along these traditionally weak areas. That said, the Columbia Arcadia is an old school, mesh-lined style rain jacket and is not particularly lightweight.
The drawbacks to the jacket are that it can't pack into one of its own pockets and that it doesn't have a very stylish cut. Due to its weight, we wouldn't recommend the Arcadia for climbing or backpacking trips, but it is our favorite budget jacket regardless.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A budget rain jacket, the Arcadia Rain is an amazing protective piece for the price. On the heavy side, it is not ideal for hiking, but excels as a general use rain jacket.
The Omni-Tech 100 percent nylon MP LTX shell stands up to moderate inclimate weather. It is not as weatherproof as some of the newer tech fabric shells like three-layer Gore-Tex, but it holds its own as a dry top layer, especially with some wicking base layers underneath.
Many of the rain jackets tested did not prove to be very breathable. Surprisingly, we found that Columbia's Omni-Tech waterproof technology fabric matched with a 57 percent recycled polyester/43 percent polyester mesh lining allowed for surprisingly good escape of internal sogginess. When we took this jacket out in rain and fog for our varied endurance testing settings, such as running, cycling, hiking, etc., it became a lot less moist inside than many of the other jackets.
Comfort & Mobility
The Arcadia Rain is cut for easy layering, which might explain its boxy shape. The less-than-flattering cut of the shell, however, is balanced by the simple fact that it does not pretend to be stylish and just performs solidly. We did appreciate the slight tailoring and extra length in back, giving ample rump coverage. There is a chin touch point of soft taffeta to prevent zipper chafe on your face.
This jacket is perfectly, adequately styled for around town use. It is not what we would call hip or cool but will keep you dry.
The entire jacket is mesh lined for comfortable, roomy function. There are two nice side pockets and a third on the inside at the breast for small things. The hood rolls down and secures with a Velcro strap and adjusts with basic side cinches. The hood is not built to accommodate a helmet, but this jacket is not designed for super-serious sporty functions. There are cinches along the waistline that are easy to operate and the cuffs are adjusted with simple Velcro straps. The shell also provides fair rump coverage with its lengthened backside.
Weight & Bulk
Weighing 13.7 ounces, the Columbia Arcadia Rain is not the right choice for ladies looking for lightweight, packable shell - it is however great for those who need a multi-purpose rain jacket you can keep in the car. It's a good commuter option, great for casual hikes, and a solid work option for those who are out in the elements. It is fairly heavy and somewhat bulky for packing, but if you like this jacket, you could happily bring it along on whatever adventures you choose. It is lighter than other jackets such as the North Face Venture.
Since this jacket runs a little heavy, we think it is best suited to car camping, day hikes, and every day around town use.
For only $65, this jacket is a steal! Most other rain jackets cost twice this much. It it worth it for a jacket that also offers adequate protection from weather.
Columbia Arcadia II Rain - Women's, $90.
For the price you will not find a better standard rain jacket. If you are on a tight budget or looking for a rain jacket for every day life, this is the one to buy.
— Erisa Coppernoll and McKenzie Long
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 30, 2014
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