A super comfortable layer that doesn't sacrifice looks for function
Price: $150 ListPros: Soft and stretchy, four pockets, great hood coverage, dual direction pit vent zips Cons: Baggy fit, doesn't pack into its pocket, inner liner layer cracks during stretch Manufacturer: Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is becoming well known for fashionably funky styles that also perform pretty well in the elements, and they've done it again with the Parque. This raincoat seals out precipitation without sacrificing style, earning it our Top Pick for Functional Fashion. With a spacious hood and four good-sized pockets, you can keep yourself and your things dry, whether you're out getting groceries during a storm or trekking through the rainforest on vacation.
Cotopaxi is known for their bold, fun color palettes, and the Parque has received some new hues since our test period. Check out one of the season's fresh new splashes of color in the photo above.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cotopaxi Parque is a soft, bendable, slightly stretchy jacket made of 100% nylon treated to be waterproof. It doesn't pack down into any of its four pockets but does have dual direction pit vent zippers.
The Parque passed all of our water resistance tests with flying colors, from mister bottle to rainstorm and hose spray to sitting in a puddle of water. Its watertight front zip is backed by a storm flap just in case. Each zippered pocket is similarly covered by a storm flap, and the pockets that unsnap toward the sky are lined with more waterproof material to keep you dry even if those pockets get wet. The hood has a stiff but flexible brim and single adjustment pull that do a pretty solid job of keeping your face protected. With 2.5 layers of waterproof fabric and membranes and fully taped seams, this coat is well-suited to protecting your dryness.
If pulled too tight, the hood does leave the sides of your face exposed a bit, so finding the right snugness for your comfort is a bit of a balancing act. Also, as treated nylon, the water-repellent layer will need to be reapplied throughout the course of this garment's life and isn't quite as impressively beefy as some of the options made of GORE-TEX. But for something so soft and flexible, we're impressed by how waterproof the Parque is.
In a category that too often is described as "plasticky" and "crinkly", the Cotopaxi is a breath of fresh air. It's soft and flexible, and though it's not completely silent to wear, it's a much less ear-grating jacket to hear. It's so soft (even on the inside) that we didn't immediately notice it has no fluffy chin guard like many of its crinkly cousins do - and we don't even miss it. It also has a serious amount of hem drop (six full inches in the size small.) that we appreciate when it comes to being active in this coat.
The bottom of the hem can also be cinched tight against the wind, though it's controlled by just a single toggle rather than the much easier-to-use dual toggles on each side of the jacket like some others have. The sleeves of this coat are also quite long, and the chin is quite tall when fully zipped. This adds not only water protection but also peace of mind when cats and dogs are raining from the sky. The inner storm flap is on the same side as the zipper, and quite wide, making it difficult to get stuck in the zipper - though not impossible.
Though some users have complained that the sleeves are too long, we think a raincoat should always have longer sleeves that can be easily adjusted to stop them from falling over your hands but will keep your wrists protected as you move. The Parque does a great job of having long enough sleeves for this job. However, the stretchiness of the material is lost in the bagginess of its fit, exposing your wrists when your arms are raised simply because the loose fit allows the whole jacket to move freely around. The pit vent zippers aren't stretchy (no surprise there - none are), which further restricts the mobility of this jacket. The exceptionally tall, five inch chin of this raincoat can also deter some users when the jacket isn't fully zipped up, but their flexibility helps to make them less in the way.
Like most layers that are truly waterproof, the Parque makes some sacrifices when it comes to breathability. The fabric itself isn't overly breathable, which means the Parque isn't ideal for running or other high output activities (unless you're out in very cold weather). When fully zipped, the neck is also a bit on the snug side - which again keeps precipitation out but also body heat in.
This is one of the few jackets we tested to have dual direction pit vent zippers, meaning you can open it any amount and at any point along the (fairly small, comparatively) venting zipper, according to your preference. This is also one place where the jacket's baggy fit can come in handy by adding a bit of extra ventilation by leaving the bottom loose. And though this isn't the most breathable jacket, it is better than a lot of the other options we tested up against a stiff wind and does a fantastic job keeping those biting breezes out of your coat.
Any jacket that's made to have a little stretch and give in it is always a good idea to accommodate movement. However, sometimes, this stretch isn't always the most durable idea. When it comes to the Parque, as you stretch the outer fabric, you can actually watch tiny cracks appear in the inner lining layer. This didn't seem to affect the otherwise performance of the jacket, though, so perhaps it's just an oddity.
The construction and seams of the Cotopaxi are neat and tidy with no unevenness or ends poking out. The inner taping is excellent and on par with some of the beefiest raincoats we tested. Like many jackets, the front and pocket zippers are two different types of zippers; they're all of good quality and without any indicators that they're prone to breakage or jumping teeth after use.
Weight and Packability
Weighing 11.0 ounces (size small), the Parque isn't exactly lightweight or thin. It's not the heaviest or thickest model we tested, but it's not insubstantial. Its flexibility does facilitate packing a bit more than a stiff coat, but it's still fairly large, comparatively.
It doesn't pack into its own pocket like so many raincoats these days. If you're after a jacket you can hide at the bottom of your daypack for an emergency, the Parque may not be the best choice. However, if you're on the hunt for a jacket that hangs in the front closet between wearings, you probably won't be bothered by the extra thickness and weight of this soft, fashionable jacket.
Though the Cotopaxi isn't even close to the most expensive coat we tested, it's also pretty far from the cheapest, hitting somewhere in the middle of the pack. If you're looking for that Goldilocks rain layer that can keep you well-protected both on the trail and in the parking lot without compromising style or comfort, the Parque is an excellent choice that will keep you hip and dry for years to come.
Though this jacket isn't a super technical piece for mountaineers or extreme athletics, it still brings a pretty solid performance to a surprisingly comfortable and cute jacket. This perfect storm of traits makes it our Top Pick for Functional Fashion, which we think says it all.
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