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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
Columbia Panther Creek - Women's
Photo: Columbia
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Price:  $85 List
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
  • Weather Protection - 30% 5
  • Breathability - 30% 7
  • Mobility - 25% 9
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 6

Our Verdict

Columbia discontinued the Panther Creek jacket.

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.

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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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

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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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

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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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

Penney Garrett