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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 | $62.99 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 15
  • Weather Protection - 30% 5
  • Breathability - 30% 7
  • Mobility - 25% 9
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Columbia Panther Creek is a simple and relatively lightweight shell 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 just need a bit of protection and you don't want to spend a ton of money.

If you want something more technical and tailored toward climbing, our Editors' Choice for Warmer Weather, the Arc'teryx Sigma SL Anorak Pullover is a fantastic layer — though it is about twice the price. Other great options for not that much more than the Panther are our two Best Buy winners, the ultralight Outdoor Research Whirlwind Pullover and the great fitting Rab Borealis.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $62.99 at Amazon$124.93 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$114.95 at Amazon$115.00 at Amazon$194.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Excellent mobility, decent breathability, lightweight, great price pointHighly breathable, quick-drying, harness and helmet compatible, stowable hood, durableVery lightweight, excellent mobility, highly breathable, great fit, affordable.Super breathable, great sun layer, excellent mobility, chest pocket doubles as stuff sack, thumb loopFull-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 pocketNot warm, only two pocketsNot warm, less durable than other options, hem adjustment piece is bulkyLess 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.This smart and ultralight softshell is extremely easy to move in and highly breathable - an excellent pick for the movement-minded adventure seeker.This thin pullover is perfect for when you just need that little bit of extra protection while standing in the sun, working up a sweat, or shimmying up a rock face.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 Rab Borealis - Women's Whirlwind Pullover Ultimate V SO Hooded Jacket
Weather Protection (30%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
4
10
0
3
10
0
8
Breathability (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
7
Mobility (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
8
Weight (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
7
Versatility (5%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Panther Creek Sigma SL Anorak... Rab Borealis -... Whirlwind Pullover Ultimate V SO...
Measured Weight - Size Medium (oz) 10.8oz 9.5oz 8.3oz 8.2oz 13.1oz
Material 94% polyester, 6% elastane Aequora Airperm - 86% nylon, 14% elastane Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR 86% recycled polyester, 14% spandex, 75D stretch woven 100% polyester
Lined/Insulated? No No No No Yes
Hood Yes, stretchy but not adjustable Yes, 2-way adjustable Yes, stretchy but not adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable
Helmet Compatible? Yes Yes Yes, underneath Yes Yes, underneath
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 2 hand 1 chest 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 fair.
While there are more technically-savvy layers to have, this one is totally decent for a lot of things and the price is 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.

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 a bit short, and the fit is on the baggy/boxy side, 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, the Panther 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.

Best Application


With thin material and entry-level features, this layer is good for simple non-technical outings in mild weather. Hiking, biking, camping, and strolling with the pup are all good applications. If you need a jacket for outings that require a helmet or harness, you might be happier with a layer tailored specifically toward your activity of choice.

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.

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.

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 non-technical outings this one will surely suffice.

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


Penney Garrett