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Columbia Arcadia II - Women's Review

It's not great for active endeavors but it's cheap and gets the job done if you're just heading out around town.
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Price:  $60 List | $35.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Extra insulation layer (mesh), protective hood, waterproof
Cons:  Crinkly, not durable, not ideal for high output activities, bulky
Manufacturer:   Columbia Sportswear
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 13, 2019
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44
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Water Resistance - 30% 5
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Breathability - 20% 3
  • Durability - 15% 4
  • Weight and Packability - 10% 4

Our Verdict

Though it's not a super technical option, the Columbia Arcadia works pretty well as an around-town raincoat that costs quite a bit less than the competition. An inner mesh liner helps this jacket to be a little warmer than most and can wick away small amounts of sweat as you carry in those groceries. Despite its relatively unimpressive looks, we stayed totally dry in this jacket. We love the spacious hood, which has a floppy brim that does a pretty good job keeping the rain from splattering in our eyes. If you're looking for a comfortable jacket for everyday wear and the occasional, short adventure, the Arcadia can help you there and save you a fair chunk of change in the process!


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Extra insulation layer (mesh), protective hood, waterproofWater resistant, wind resistant and breathable, dual direction whole side/pit vents, dual direction main zipperExceedingly water resistant, great fit, comfortable fabric, good zipper design, very durableIncredibly stretchy, comfortable, breathable, long arms, not crinklySimple but functional, can pack away hood, high pockets for waistbelt, inexpensive
Cons Crinkly, not durable, not ideal for high output activities, bulkyVery difficult to pack into its pocket, sleeves a bit short, main zipper difficult to match upNo pit zips for dumping excess heat in a pinch, doesn't pack into a pocket, expensiveThin, hood not great coverage, not windproofNot the most durable, hood not great protection, difficult to fit into pocket
Bottom Line It's not great for active endeavors but it's cheap and gets the job done if you're just heading out around town.Waterproof, breathable, and comfortable, it's an all-in-one marvel.A seriously protective jacket that's also impressively comfortable and could double as a lightweight hardshell in a pinch.Its status as a highly functioning stretchy rain jacket sets this model apart and will suit your active lifestyle be it rain or shine.A solid, non-technical rain shell that will get the job done without making you broke.
Rating Categories Columbia Arcadia II - Women's Aspire Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Women's Stretch Ozonic Marmot PreCip Eco - Women's
Water Resistance (30%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Comfort (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Breathability (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Weight And Packability (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Columbia Arcadia... Aspire Arc'teryx Zeta SL... Stretch Ozonic Marmot PreCip Eco...
Measured Weight 10.9 oz 11.4 oz 9.4 oz 9.4 oz 8.7 oz
Number of Fabric Layers 2 2 2 2.5 2.5
Material Omni-tech 100% nylon, 2D Full Dull plain weave GORE-TEX with PACLITE technology 2L, 100% polyester 50D plain weave 40D ripstop (N40r) GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus, DWR treatment Dry.Q Active Stretch 40D 2.5L (100% nylon) NanoPro Eco 100% recycled nylon ripstop 24 oz/yd
Pockets 2 hand 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand
Pit Zips No Yes No Yes Yes
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Helmet Compatible Hood No Yes No Yes No
Stows into Pocket Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Carabiner Loop in Stow Pocket No Yes No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Columbia Arcadia II is a relatively bulky rain jacket with an interior mesh liner. It's made of 100% nylon 2D Full plain weave and has taped seams. It packs into its own left pocket and has two hand pockets.

Performance Comparison


Though not an impressive jacket in the face of some intense competition  the Arcadia still does its job and might be just the jacket your dog truly approves of.
Though not an impressive jacket in the face of some intense competition, the Arcadia still does its job and might be just the jacket your dog truly approves of.

Water Resistance


Though the Arcadia II isn't the most impressive looking or feeling jacket we tested, it holds its own against rain. Double storm flaps on the main zipper help keep water out of the front, and a spacious hood with a slightly floppy brim helps to keep your face from being pelted with raindrops. The seams are fully taped, and though this taping is significantly thinner than many beefier models we tested, it does the trick.

It may not last forever  but with some fresh DWR treatment  this jacket does exactly what it's supposed to do - keeps you dry.
It may not last forever, but with some fresh DWR treatment, this jacket does exactly what it's supposed to do - keeps you dry.

Comfort


The Columbia stands alone among models we tested as the only one with a separate mesh layer. This creates a very different feel. It helps to cut down on the plasticky, crinkly feel that many other jackets have, making it easier to wear comfortably against your skin if the day is warm. Though you may not want to wear it if it's too warm, as that mesh layer acts like another insulating layer - which is great if you tend to be out in cold rain or are using this jacket as more of a fall windbreaker.

The dual storm flaps do make it a bit more annoying to zip up, though the lack of any snaps or buttons (all Velcro, baby!) then makes it easier. The hem and hood are each singly adjustable. The hem has a regular push-button toggle, but the hood utilizes just pressure toggles, which are a bit more annoying to use with one hand and can't keep the hood super tight. This jacket also has a very small drop in the hem in back, just 2.5 inches lower than the front. It's not overly flexible and will expose your wrists if you're climbing or swinging across monkey bars in the rain.

The wide brim helps to keep rain from pelting you in the eyeballs.
The wide brim helps to keep rain from pelting you in the eyeballs.

Breathability


The Arcadia isn't really made with breathability in mind. If this is a top priority for you, we fully recommend looking at another product. It has no pit vents, and the mesh layer is like wearing another shirt under your jacket. This does help to keep condensation from forming inside the jacket, but overall makes you warmer when you wear it.

No proper ventilation features  but at least it has pockets!
No proper ventilation features, but at least it has pockets!

Durability


This isn't the jacket that you'll wear for dozens of adventures each year for the next 15 years. But it may last a few years of casual errand-running. It's not made of ripstop material, and so not a great choice for rough adventuring. The construction also leaves a bit to be desired compared to some impressive competition. The inner mesh is also easy to snag on rings and watches or other zippers. If you treat this raincoat very gently - and reapply waterproofing at regular intervals - you'll likely get a bit more use out of it, but don't set your expectations too terribly high.

This itty bitty zipper is not easy to use  especially when it's such a tight fit to stuff the whole jacket into this pocket!
This itty bitty zipper is not easy to use, especially when it's such a tight fit to stuff the whole jacket into this pocket!

Weight and Packability


At 10.9 ounces, the Arcadia is a fairly heavy, bulky jacket. It does stuff into its own left pocket, but it's challenging to do so and tough to then zip the tiny zipper over this massive package. But at the end of the day, if you're after a super packable option, this is not the right jacket for you. For wearing on a day hike, it's adequate.

Though it's not a tiny package like some  it does actually fit into its own pocket. Here it lies against a standard 1L Nalgene for size comparison.
Though it's not a tiny package like some, it does actually fit into its own pocket. Here it lies against a standard 1L Nalgene for size comparison.

Value


This is one of the cheapest jackets we tested. While the quality of materials and craftsmanship don't come close to some of the super-gnarly coats in this review, it's also meant for very different applications. For everyday use, we're impressed by this jacket's ability to keep us dry through all levels of rain, and we like its protective hood. If you're searching for a casual rain jacket to wear to the game or to walk the dog in the rain, the Arcadia is a solid option at a reasonable price.

Not the ideal choice for hardcore adventures  but the Arcadia is better than nothing.
Not the ideal choice for hardcore adventures, but the Arcadia is better than nothing.

Conclusion


While this coat isn't blowing our socks off, it offers solid protection for a good price. It's a bit bulky and warm for active endeavors, but a great choice for just getting from here to there during a PNW winter or rainy spring day.

Though we think there are significantly better options out there  if the price is more your style  this jacket does decently.
Though we think there are significantly better options out there, if the price is more your style, this jacket does decently.


Maggie Brandenburg