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Hands-on Gear Review
Columbia Arcadia II - Women's Review
The Arcadia II from Columbia is the most affordable rain jacket we reviewed. At an impressive $65, it is hard to be critical of this jacket. While it is a master of none, this jacket will fit the bill if you find yourself with a long gear list for a new type of adventure you're planning, or if you need a once-in-a-while rain shell. This jacket is perfectly functional, though not for the rain connoisseur. Plus, if you find a new (soggy) hobby in the process, and find yourself turning into a rain gear snob, you certainly won't kick yourself too hard for wasting money if you decide to upgrade.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Columbia's Arcadia II is an excellent rain shell for the price. It is heavier and bulkier than most of the other jackets in our review, but if rain is not often on your itinerary, this is a great choice.
The Omni-Tech 100 percent nylon MP LTX shell stands up to moderate inclement 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.
Columbia's Omni-Tech™ waterproof/breathable, fully seam sealed outer fabric matched with its polyester mesh lining managed moisture adequately in our aerobic tests. A two-layer jacket just like The North Face Resolve - Women's, it uses a mesh lining to help wick away moisture from the body and keep the wearer comfortable.
The Arcadia Rain is cut for easy layering, which gives it a more boxy shape but makes it highly practical and functional. We especially appreciate the extra length in back. The inner lining, however, frequently catches on wet hands when putting the jacket on. The arms are shorter than the other jackets we tested, and frequently we found that the inner lining would spill out of the cuffs and bunch up around the wrist. The jacket accommodates a helmet though feels tight, slightly limiting head mobility.
Dropping in at 14.4 ounces, Columbia's Arcadia II is not the right choice for ladies looking for an ultralight, packable shell. It is however great for those who need a solid, affordable rain jacket to keep in the car. It's great for easy hikes, and a solid workhorse. It is fairly heavy and somewhat bulky for packing, but if it's what you have, you can certainly take it on a backpacking trip.
This jacket is rugged enough for tough tasks outdoors, and will be a solid go-to piece for anyone spending just a few soggy days in the mountains per year. It is a good all-arounder that will not let you down after many trips to the market or trailhead.
This was one of the bulkiest jackets we tested, but it still packed into its own pocket for ease of organization and protection of the waterproof fabric. This is an upgrade to the previous model of Columbia's Arcadia Rain.
Since this jacket runs a little heavy, we think it is best suited to car camping, day hikes, and urban adventures. It is well suited to everyday around-town wear and since it is inexpensive, also makes the perfect yard work and gardening layer that can take a beating and doesn't require you to keep it nice.
At a stunning $65, this jacket is a steal! Rain jackets typically start at double that price. Start with this jacket and upgrade to a more lavish shell only if you need to.
While you do get what you pay for with rain jackets, if you are on a tight budget, this jacket is a great option. It is functional, simple, and affordable.
Columbia Watertight II
— Lyra Pierotti
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Most recent review: October 19, 2014