There's a place on a many consumers' coat racks for a simple, affordable, entry-level rain jacket…and the Columbia Watertight II is our favorite of the simple, 2-layer models we tested. It fits well, looks sharp, provides good mobility and — most importantly — will keep you dry. For those seeking protection for high energy or more demanding activities, our Editors' Choice winner, the Arc'teryx Beta SL offers a much better range of motion. It also does a better job at keeping the wearer dry.
Our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick Outdoor Research Foray also offered superior storm-worthiness, as well as excellent ventilation for aerobic outings or for folks who merely run on the warmer side. Meanwhile, the affordable 2.5 layer Marmot PreCip which won our Best Buy award, is an overall more versatile option, offering better ventilation, a more breathable shell fabric, and superior and total weather resistance for active outdoor fun.
Columbia drops the price of the Watertight II from $90 to $60. That's a huge jump in value. The manufacturer confirms that, other than the decrease in price and rotating color palette, all aspects of this jacket remain the same.
The PreCip won our Best Buy award because it's far more versatile and high performing. It's a much better choice for active endeavors like hiking, backpacking, and cycling. The Watertight II, built for the budget conscious, is great around town, but not as well suited to high energy activity.