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Columbia Panther Creek - Women's Review

This light and simple shell isn't overly technical, but it does make a great starter jacket at a very nice price.
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Price:  $85 List | $63.33 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent mobility, decent breathability, lightweight, great price point
Cons:  Tailoring is a bit awkward, not very warm, hood is a little tight with a helmet
Manufacturer:   Columbia
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Weather Protection - 30% 5
  • Breathability - 30% 7
  • Mobility - 25% 9
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Columbia Panther Creek is a lightweight shell with entry-level features that's good for swing season activities. It's not super warm, but it breathes and moves well and has a generous fit that's easy to layer under. The sleeves run short, and the hood gets a little tight with a helmet, but overall, this affordable layer is a fine choice if you need a bit of protection for hiking, biking, or strolling, and you don't want to spend a ton of money.


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Pros Excellent mobility, decent breathability, lightweight, great price pointHighly breathable, quick-drying, harness and helmet compatible, stowable hood, durableThis is a cozy insulated hybrid ideal for situations when you need a bit more warmth in a lightweight package.Very lightweight, excellent mobility, highly breathable, great fit, affordable.Full-legth side zippers, excellent fit, windproof, lined, thumbholes
Cons Tailoring is a bit awkward, not very warm, hood is a little tight with a helmetNot very warm, only one pocketIf you need need good breathability and all-around comfort, this insulated hybrid is a great option.Not warm, only two pocketsLess breathable due to windproofing, expensive
Bottom Line This light and simple shell isn't overly technical, but it does make a great starter jacket at a very nice price.This lightweight and streamlined pullover is a fabulously durable layer that breathes like a dream and dries lightning fast.Insulated, comfortable, stretchy, lightweightThis smart and ultralight softshell is extremely easy to move in and highly breathable - an excellent pick for the movement-minded adventure seeker.This innovative hoody ups the ante with great features like full-length side zips, fantastic mobility, and excellent weather protection.
Rating Categories Panther Creek Sigma SL Anorak Pullover Proton FL Hoody Rab Borealis - Women's Ultimate V SO Hooded Jacket
Weather Protection (30%)
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5
10
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8
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7
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4
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8
Breathability (30%)
10
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7
10
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8
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8
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9
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7
Mobility (25%)
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9
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9
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8
Weight (10%)
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9
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7
Versatility (5%)
10
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6
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7
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8
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8
Specs Panther Creek Sigma SL Anorak... Proton FL Hoody Rab Borealis -... Ultimate V SO...
Measured Weight - Size Medium (oz) 10.8oz 9.5oz 10.7oz (size Large) 8.3oz 13.1oz
Material 94% polyester, 6% elastane Aequora Airperm - 86% nylon, 14% elastane 84% nylon, 16% elastane Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR 100% polyester
Lined/Insulated? No No Yes No Yes
Hood Yes, stretchy but not adjustable Yes, 2-way adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, stretchy but not adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable
Helmet Compatible? Yes Yes Yes, under Yes, under Yes, under
Wind Resistant? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, windproof
Water Resistant? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted) 4 (2 hand, 2 internal mesh drop pockets) 1 chest 4 (2 hand, 2 chest) 2 hand 2 hand
Adjustable Cuffs? No No No No Yes
Available Sizes XS - XL XS - L XS - XL XS - XL XS - XXL

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Panther Creek isn't a highly technical piece, but it is very affordable and perfectly adequate for simple, moderate weather outings like hiking and biking.

Performance Comparison


While there are more technically-savvy layers to have  this one is totally decent for a lot of things and the price is more than fair.
While there are more technically-savvy layers to have, this one is totally decent for a lot of things and the price is more than fair.

Weather Protection


The Panther repels a bit of water but can't withstand too much for too long. It's also not particularly warm being mostly polyester with no lining or insulation. If the weather is mild and your body is moving, all will be well, but this isn't the jacket to get for weathering storms. That being said, the fit is on the baggier side, so layering up underneath is super easy.

The Panther is just right on a cloudy cool day in early spring  though if those clouds in the background open up we will be wet and cold.
The Panther is just right on a cloudy cool day in early spring, though if those clouds in the background open up we will be wet and cold.

Breathability


Breathability is just okay in this layer. It's thin enough that you won't be stifled, but the material isn't super technical or high quality. The pockets are mesh-lined, though, so you can vent if things get clammy. The elastic on the cuffs also means they are easy to push up and have stay in place, much like wearing a sweatshirt.

While this layer isn't the most breathable  it's decent and the mesh-lined pockets help with ventilation.
While this layer isn't the most breathable, it's decent and the mesh-lined pockets help with ventilation.

Mobility


The Panther has great mobility as long as you're not wearing a helmet — the back of the neck gets a bit tight in that scenario. The arms are on the short side, and the fit is rather baggy/boxy, but we didn't feel impeded or restricted in any way when out and about.

The Panther Creek is thin  generously cut  and easy to move in.
The Panther Creek is thin, generously cut, and easy to move in.

Weight


This jacket weighs 10.8 ounces in a size medium and can pack down quite small, making it suitable for situations where space is at a premium. If you want to add another layer to your arsenal that won't take up much space and is super cheap, this is a good candidate.

This isn't a highly technical layer  but for a bit of extra protection hiking around it does the trick without weighing you down.
This isn't a highly technical layer, but for a bit of extra protection hiking around it does the trick without weighing you down.

Versatility


Versatility is so-so for the Panther. It's decently featured but not in a technically-minded way, the cut is not overly flattering, and it's performance in regards to weather protection and breathability limit what it's good for. However, it is durable, lightweight, easy to layer over or under, and very cheap, making it a solid choice for a beginner outdoorswoman or for someone that just needs a little something extra for hiking or walking the dog.

The Panther has a generous fit except when it comes to arm length. While it's decently versatile within its wheelhouse you will feel limited if you try to get too technical.
The Panther has a generous fit except when it comes to arm length. While it's decently versatile within its wheelhouse you will feel limited if you try to get too technical.

Value


This is an affordable layer, currently the cheapest in our review. It's not a highly technical piece, but for the price it's great.

Chillin' with the pup is perfect for the Panther. Getting wet in a canyon or cold on a rock climb will require a more technical and finely-tuned jacket.
Chillin' with the pup is perfect for the Panther. Getting wet in a canyon or cold on a rock climb will require a more technical and finely-tuned jacket.

Conclusion


The Panther Creek is a simple entry-level shell at a very affordable price point. It has excellent mobility, doesn't weigh much, and breathability is decent, particularly when considering the mesh-lined pockets. It's not very warm, and water resistance is just okay, but if all you need is a cheap layer for less-technical outings, this one will surely suffice.

Light  comfy  and affordable - this is a good layer if you don't need something very fancy.
Light, comfy, and affordable - this is a good layer if you don't need something very fancy.


Penney Garrett