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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 | $114.52 at Amazon
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  ⋅  May 22, 2019
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55
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 3
  • Mobility - 25% 5
  • Weight - 10% 4
  • Versatility - 5% 4

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. This 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 cumbersome, 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.


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 the Phurtec 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 inner material holds in moisture and doesn't dry quickly. Overall, however, 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 many don't allow the body to ventilate very effectively. Some models will have mesh-lined pockets, which can help. The Phurtec has soft plush lining everywhere, which doesn't allow you to shed much heat.

The Phurtec can be great 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 your heart rate starts to climb, you will feel stifled and overheated in this heavy jacket. 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 to choose.

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 its overall thickness and weight.

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


Weight 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.

Versatility


We do not consider this a very versatile layer. It's fine for keeping warm, but for much outside of that, it's simply not appropriate. It's decently stylish and has a lot of the typical features of a basic softshell like an adjustable hem, zippered hand pockets, an abrasion-resistant chin guard, and adjustable velcro cuffs. But the hood isn't helmet-compatible, and while the windproofing is great for certain scenarios, breathability and mobility are noticeably impeded.

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.

Value


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.

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.

Conclusion


All in all, the Phurtec is an enjoyable layer for non-technical, non-sweaty activities. 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.

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


Penney Garrett