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Columbia Phurtec II - Women's Review

This plush and windproof softshell will keep you warm when the temperature drops, though it's not meant for high-exertion activities.
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Price:  $120 List | $119.95 at MooseJaw
Pros:  Warm, windproof, decently stylish, durable, affordable
Cons:  Heavy, thick, runs small, not breathable, not the best mobility, hood isn't helmet-compatible
Manufacturer:   Columbia
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 20, 2018
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Weather Protection - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 4
  • Mobility - 20% 5
  • Weight - 10% 5
  • Features - 5% 5
  • Style - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Columbia Phurtec II is a thick, fuzzy, and cozy softshell that will keep you seriously warm. It's completely windproof and has a generous — though not helmet compatible — hood. The Phurtec isn't a serious technical layer, and we don't recommend it for high-exertion activities because the furry-lining and windproofing mean it doesn't breathe very well. It's also very heavy, and the fit runs small, so it's not the best for mobility. But, on cold days when you need something to keep you warm for a casual walk or when sitting around the campfire, this is a stylish option at a very approachable price.

If you love the idea of a plush lining but don't want to sacrifice mobility and breathability, we highly recommend the Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody, our Top Pick for Warmth. And, if it's within your budget, the Editors Choice Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody is our favorite option for solid precision performance across all testing criteria. If it's not, check out the Best Buy winning Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

While not meant for activities where you'll be working up a sweat, the Phurtec II is a stylish budget option for staying warm in the cold and the wind.

Performance Comparison


Warm like a hug  the Phurtec is windproof with a plush lining - fantastic if you're not working up too much of a sweat  but quickly stifling if you are.
Warm like a hug, the Phurtec is windproof with a plush lining - fantastic if you're not working up too much of a sweat, but quickly stifling if you are.

Weather Protection


This is the one category where this jacket really excels. The warm and plush inner lining and windproof exterior mean that you can stay quite warm even when not moving or generating much body heat. We found ourselves grabbing this layer when doing less exertive activities such as preparing camp or belaying.

The Phurtec also repels water quite well. Though if you happen to get the furry internal lining wet (say, at the sleeve cuffs or inside the pockets), you will be chilly for a while. The material holds in moisture and doesn't dry quickly. But overall this is a solidly warm layer for a casual and laid-back individual.

The Phurtec kept us warm in frigid wind and cold on a glacier hike  especially when we were just standing around admiring the view. However  as soon as we started to hike and raise our core temp we quickly overheated.
The Phurtec kept us warm in frigid wind and cold on a glacier hike, especially when we were just standing around admiring the view. However, as soon as we started to hike and raise our core temp we quickly overheated.

Breathability


This is not the jacket to buy if breathability is a priority. Windproof layers tend to keep out the cold, but they don't allow the body to ventilate very effectively. Some models will have mesh-lined pockets, which can help. But the Phurtec has soft plush lining everywhere, which doesn't allow you to shed much heat.

We loved having this layer for things like preparing camp or standing around belaying and just admiring the views. (Still a puffy would be an arguably better — albeit more expensive — choice.) But as soon as we started to get our heart rate up, we felt stifled and overheated in the Phurtec II. If you need something for walking the dog or cooking camp dinner, this is an acceptable choice. If you need a softshell for your favorite aerobic activity, this isn't the one for you.

As a cozy layer to belay or rack up in this jacket was fine  but we would never climb or hike in earnest with it due to the lack of breathability and mobility.
As a cozy layer to belay or rack up in this jacket was fine, but we would never climb or hike in earnest with it due to the lack of breathability and mobility.

Mobility


Again, this is not where the Phurtec shines. It's fine for activities with minimal movement such as an easy stroll, chores around the house, or urban errands, but an athletic, technical layer it is not. The fit also runs small, so there's some constriction due to that as well as the overall thickness and weight of the jacket.

The Phurtec runs small and doesn't have a ton of stretch  so the arms were noticeably short and the hem rode up when we got too crazy with our movements.
The Phurtec runs small and doesn't have a ton of stretch, so the arms were noticeably short and the hem rode up when we got too crazy with our movements.

Weight


At 25.8 ounces this is the heaviest piece in our review. That is typically the tradeoff with lined windproof models. If space isn't an issue (i.e., you don't need to stow this jacket in your pack) and you just want to stay warm, it may not matter. But for anything technical, you will undoubtedly want something else.

Features


The Phurtec has many of the typical features of a basic softshell. The drop tail hem has an adjustable drawcord. The hand pockets are zippered. There's an abrasion-resistant chin guard and adjustable velcro cuffs.

The non-helmet compatible hood adjusts with a velcro tab in the back, which we didn't care for. It doesn't work nearly as effectively as drawcords. And, of course, it has a warm fuzzy lining and a windproof exterior. It all adds up to a nice straightforward jacket, though none of these features are tailored toward serious athletic endeavors.

The "fur" lining on the Phurtec definitely kept us warm  though it also didn't allow our body to breathe when active.
The "fur" lining on the Phurtec definitely kept us warm, though it also didn't allow our body to breathe when active.

Style


We found the Phurtec pretty stylish, especially in the gorgeous wine color we tested. It's got classic lines and a sporty-yet-urban chic look that will please a lot of people.

We enjoyed the simple yet classic look of this cozy softshell.
We enjoyed the simple yet classic look of this cozy softshell.

Best Application


We find this softshell to be best for simple activities where you won't be working up a sweat. Walking the setting up your campsite, admiring the windy vista, or doing simple chores around the house are all appropriate for this warm layer.

If you try to get into much more than that, you will find yourself overheating and not able to move as freely as you can in the more technical pieces found in this review.

The Phurtec is best for casual activities and errands that don't require much  if any  exertion.
The Phurtec is best for casual activities and errands that don't require much, if any, exertion.

Value


For $120 we think the Phurtec is a good value purchase for those in need of a warm, non-technical layer. It's durable, windproof, and stylish — not a bad resume for such an affordable piece.

Conclusion


All in all, we really enjoy the Phurtec for all the non-technical, non-sweaty moments in our day. It's cozy, warm, durable, supremely windproof, and not too expensive. This became the softshell we grabbed in between technical testing sessions of the more serious pieces in our review. It felt like a comforting hug that we were happy to return to when we needed a rest and a cup of tea.

While this isn't a layer we would choose for serious outdoor objectives  it is a comforting jacket to have for all those moments in between.
While this isn't a layer we would choose for serious outdoor objectives, it is a comforting jacket to have for all those moments in between.


Penney Garrett