Perfect for the budget conscious shopper, the Columbia Arcadia II functions well as an all-around rain jacket. Definitely not a high-performance piece of equipment, this shell held its own against the industry's leading rain jackets, offering reasonable performance for the price for occasional downpours, wearing on a day hike, or sporting around town.
Columbia Arcadia II - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Affordable, offers amenities, comfortable
Cons: Bulky, heavy
Manufacturer: Columbia Sportswear
Our Analysis and Test Results
With an Omni-Tech™ 2L membrane, storm shields both inside and outside the zipper, and the standard soft hood, elastic cinchers, and Velcro wrist straps, the Arcadia II serves as a fairly waterproof rain shell. During testing, we did notice that the hood didn't quite stay in place, causing water to drip down into the neck of the jacket, thus undermining Columbia's waterproof guarantee, but water did not penetrate the fabric, making it a largely effective rain shell.
This jacket offers 3-layer Omni-Tech coated fabric with a mesh liner to help keep you dry and cool during periods of exertion or on hot, humid days. The mesh allows air to move through around the torso and keeps the fabric from sticking to your skin as you sweat. Overall, it performed about average when compared to the other jackets we tested when it came to breathability and could benefit from some sort of venting system.
While not the most flattering fit or pleasant material to wear, this jacket was fairly comfortable. The inner mesh liner was soft and smooth, though it did bunch a little when worn with a backpack, causing chafing after long wear.
At 13.07 ounces, the Arcadia II was among the heavier of the jackets, placing it among the leaders in the good-for-around-town category, but disqualifying it as an ultralight contender.
With its inexpensive fabric, low-tech pull cords, and mesh liner providing a number of possible failure points, we don't see this jacket serving as a long-term heavy use shell for backwoods adventures or everyday use. However, if you plan on only using it for occasional rainfall, it will prove a trusty companion.
This jacket ranked about average when matched side-by-side with the other jackets we tested. One of its major amenities is its pocket stuff sack for easy packing convenience. When stuffed into the pocket, it measures about 8x6.5x5 inches, making it a bit big to put in your Camelbak but fine for a full-sized daypack.
The Columbia Arcadia II will serve well as a multi-purpose jacket for the occasional or unexpected rain storm, keeping you relatively dry and comfortable in a variety of locales and conditions.
At only $60, the Arcadia II ranked as the least expensive, and for the decent performance you will get from it and the waterproof guarantee of the trusted Columbia brand, this is a great value.
While Columbia did cut some corners in order to place this jacket at a low price point, it functions well and even offers some of the amenities of a higher-end rain shell.
— Lyra Pierotti