The Colombia Arcadia II will get the job done if you need protection from the elements for mellow activities like running errands, commuting to work, or hanging around camp. With no pit zips, it lacks breathability and ventilation, so it's not the best rain jacket for the outdoor enthusiast looking to stay dry and sweat-free while hiking, biking, or kayaking. However, for a simple, well-made rain jacket, the price tag is reasonable and won't break the bank.Editor's Note: We retested the Colombia Arcadia II for this review update, publishing our findings here on October 4, 2022.
Columbia Arcadia II - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Inexpensive, simplistic design, easy to use
Cons: Poor ventilation, less comfortable
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Columbia Arcadia II - Women's
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|Pros||Inexpensive, simplistic design, easy to use||Comfortable, breathable, versatile, not crinkly, soft hand feel||Simple but functional, hood packs away, good value||Affordable, good fit, comfortable||Inexpensive, deep pockets, easy to use|
|Cons||Poor ventilation, less comfortable||Hood doesn't offer great coverage||Small zipper pulls, internal fabric can stick to bare skin||Hood isn't super comfortable, fabric doesn't feel good on skin||Breathability, no stow pocket, bulky|
|Bottom Line||A decent casual rain jacket offering protection for when you have to go out in the rain, but lacks breathability for outdoor enthusiasts||An exceptionally breathable and comfortable jacket for active adventures offering a full range of motion while repelling light moisture||A solid rain jacket that offers decent performance at a price point that won't break the bank||A simple rain jacket in which function meets value at a reasonable price point||A simple rain jacket with decent water resistance that is cute enough for the city and functional enough for the woods|
|Rating Categories||Columbia Arcadia II...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Marmot PreCip Eco -...||REI Rainier - Women's||The North Face Antora|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Comfort and Mobility (20%)|
|Weight and Packability (15%)|
|Specs||Columbia Arcadia II...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Marmot PreCip Eco -...||REI Rainier - Women's||The North Face Antora|
|Measured Weight||11.2 oz||9.7 oz||9.2 oz||11.4 oz||12.2 oz|
|Number of Fabric Layers||2||2.5||2.5||2.5||2|
|Material||100% Nylon||50D Stretch Ripstop||100% Ripstop Nylon||100% Ripstop Nylon||100% Nylon|
|Pockets||2 hand||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand||2 hand||2 hand|
|Pit Zip Length (in)||N/A||11||10||10||N/A|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||No||No||No||No||No|
|Stows into Pocket||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Carabiner Loop in Stow Pocket||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Colombia Arcadia II is a simple, minimalist rain jacket offering the essentials to keep the wearer dry in the elements. The 2-layer Omni-Tech plain weave nylon fabric offers acceptable rain protection from the elements, and the hood offers decent coverage to keep the face dry. The mesh lining and membrane did little to vent excess internal heat and moisture, and we missed pit zips to quickly dump heat.
The Arcadia's hood offers decent coverage, with a visor that overhangs the face to keep water off and a drawcord that cinches down snugly around the head.
The water resistance of the nylon fabric is acceptable for short amounts of time in light to moderate rain, though this is not the rain jacket we would choose for extended periods of time in a torrential downpour.
The Arcadia falls short when it comes to breathability. The 2-layer Omni-Tech fabric's membrane and nylon mesh lining do little to wick internal sweat, leaving testers feeling damp and uncomfortable while hiking. This garment is lacking pit zips, and we found we rapidly got hot and sweaty on our set route test, where we hiked a mile uphill with the zippers closed. To dump any heat and get a breeze, the wearer has to unzip the front, leaving underlayers exposed to precipitation.
Comfort and Mobility
The Arcadia's fit manages to be flattering while still offering a full range of motion for easy movement. The longer length offers great coverage even when reaching arms overhead or bending over.
Without a chin guard, the exposed zipper at the chin was scratchy and uncomfortable. The jacket stuffs into one pocket, and for some mystifying reason this pocket is not as deep as the other one, so when both hands are in the pockets it feels bizarre to have one go deeper than the other. The last little detail that negatively affected comfort was the hood drawcord. Colombia used tiny clever lock-out beads to clock the drawcord in place, but these are on the inside of the collar and are hard to access to adjust.
Weight and Packability
The Arcadia weighs in at 11.2 ounces, on the mid-high end of the jackets in our review. Not a dealbreaker if weight is not a huge concern, but not the best option out there for those counting ounces and keeping pack weight down.
The jacket stuffs into one hand pocket, and when packed, it is a convenient rectangle with a fairly small footprint. That said, it is a tight fit and takes a bit of effort to get stuffed into its stow pocket. Not a quick turnaround time to stash this garment.
The fabric held up decently over months of testing, and most components continued to work well even after repetitive use.
The center zipper tended to get stuck on the fabric of the inner zipper flap, especially when zipping in a hurry, which was irritating. Additionally, the stitching uses long stitches and does not seem as precise as that on some other models.
Should You Buy the Colombia Arcadia II?
Because it lacks breathability and ventilation options, the Colombia Arcadia II is best suited for those looking for protection from the elements while engaged in mellow activities such as hanging around the campsite, running errands, or commuting. However, we appreciate this jacket's flattering fit and find that it's a good option to stay dry in light to moderate rain.
What Other Rain Jackets Should You Consider?
The Marmot PreCip Eco offers better water resistance, breathability, and comfort at a comparable price, and it's our top recommendation for a high-performing budget rain jacket. For those looking for an emergency layer that packs down small and goes anywhere, the Outdoor Research Helium is a good option for coverage in a pinch.
— Jessica Albery
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