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Cotopaxi Palmas Review

A great light duty running jacket offering excellent breathability
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Price:  $105 List
Pros:  Stylish, lightweight, recycled materials, breathable
Cons:  Stuff pocket is larger than it needs to be, weather protection isn't great
Manufacturer:   Cotopaxi
By Brian Martin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 26, 2020
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Breathability - 30% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 7
  • Portability - 15% 7
  • Features - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The lightweight recycled polyester of the Cotopaxi Palmas comes into its own on chilly spring and fall runs. To the touch, this jacket's material feels lighter than any other we have tested, and, in line with the lightweight feel, the breathability is also fantastic. Additionally, folded seams offer a comfortable lining, and elastic cuffs and a hood drawstring help keep everything in place when moving. While overall this is a comfortable and effective running layer, there are a few little frustrations that kept it out of the running for any of our top awards.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

A soft, lightweight, and stylish running jacket that will shield you from morning chill as well as the wardrobe police. Don't be fooled by the retro designs on the Palmas; it's as functional as it is good-looking.

Performance Comparison


The Palmas is a great urban running layer: lightweight  breathable  and good looking to boot.
The Palmas is a great urban running layer: lightweight, breathable, and good looking to boot.

Breathability


While Cotopaxi doesn't reveal the actual denier or thickness of the fabric used in the Palmas, it is one of the thinnest jackets we tested. The material feels airy in your hands, translating to a high level of breathability through the fabric and an ability to dry quickly. Additionally, there is a set of air intakes on the back panel that help with airflow. The result is a jacket with adequate breathability, even for hard workouts.

Sewn-in vents on the back of the Palmas in conjunction with the thin  breathable fabric  provide ample ventilation and breathing.
Sewn-in vents on the back of the Palmas in conjunction with the thin, breathable fabric, provide ample ventilation and breathing.

Weather Resistance


The ultra-light material of the Palmas, even with its Durable Water Repellant (DWR) coating, proved to be vulnerable to the elements. In this day and age, there is a large range of available materials for running layers, from ultra-thin Gore-Tex to recycled polyester. While the Palmas is about a third the cost of the Gore-Tex models we tested, it's also about a third as protective against the elements. During morning runs brushing past wet plants, the DWR coating performed effectively and allowed water to bead and shed away. But anything more proved detrimental to our comfort. Similarly, with wind, the thin material was effective to a point, but high winds pushed through the thin material easily.

While the Palmas did have a weather resistant coating  the ultra-thin material just doesn't have enough backing to really keep any moisture out. Overall  the Palmas was pretty low on the totem-pole for weather resistance.
While the Palmas did have a weather resistant coating, the ultra-thin material just doesn't have enough backing to really keep any moisture out. Overall, the Palmas was pretty low on the totem-pole for weather resistance.

Comfort and Mobility


Thumb loops, generously cut sizing, and soft recycled polyester combine to make a fantastically comfortable jacket. Internally, seams are obscured with folds to keep abrasive thread away from the skin. Similarly, a large protective flap lines the zipper to keep it off of your body. Thumb loops guarantee that the adequately sized sleeves stay in place and don't require any fiddling during a jog. Overall, the Palmas offers plenty of mobility and comfort for running, though the thin material is vulnerable if attempting to use it for other activities such as climbing or biking.

A relaxed fit and thumb loops help keep everything in place.
A relaxed fit and thumb loops help keep everything in place.

Portability


As we stated previously, the airy recycled polyester of the Palmas makes for a really lightweight jacket. When stuffing the Palmas down in a pack, it disappears easily. The included stuff pocket, however, is about twice as large as it needs to be considering how packable the jacket's material is.

Such a thin  lightweight jacket  definitely doesn't need a zipper pouch this big!! That said  the pocket is easy to use and does have a double-sided zipper pull  something other models skimp on!
Such a thin, lightweight jacket, definitely doesn't need a zipper pouch this big!! That said, the pocket is easy to use and does have a double-sided zipper pull, something other models skimp on!

Features


While the high level of contrast with the color scheme we tested stands out against urban environments in the day, it lacks the necessary pop without 360-degree reflective markings for the night. Overall the visibility is okay, but as it is with many jackets tilted towards use in urban environments, reflective markings are critical, and having just the chest logo as a reflector isn't really good enough.

A vibrant color scheme is a huge benefit when hoping you are seen by drivers!
A vibrant color scheme is a huge benefit when hoping you are seen by drivers!

Additional noteworthy features include the built-in thumb loops and the comfortable elastic hood.

Value


If you're looking for a functional jacket to cut the chill out of spring and fall mornings, the Palmas is a great choice. Not only is this a functional jacket, but it is also one of the more stylish layers we tested. Additionally, ethically sourced recycled polyester isn't a cheap material, which is why it isn't used as often for already expensive outdoor layers. Ultimately this is a comfortable and effective jacket at a fair price.

The Palmas is at home on city streets and performs well enough to get in your daily miles with a little extra comfort.
The Palmas is at home on city streets and performs well enough to get in your daily miles with a little extra comfort.

Conclusion


While there are jackets available that offer more warmth, weather protection, or packability, the Palmas is effective and looks better than almost any other jacket in our lineup. If you aren't gearing up for the Wasatch 100 and just need an effective jacket to jog around the local trails, the Palmas won't let you down.

Brian Martin