Hands-on Gear Review

Cotopaxi Teca Half-Zip Unisex Review

Price:  $80 List | $79.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Unique pocket system, bright and inetersting colors
Cons:  Bulky, less-than-incredible wind resistance, not versatile
Bottom line:  The Teca's pros can be seen as cons and vice versa, making it a piece for a very specific person.
Editors' Rating:   
Weight (oz):  5
Material:  Repurposed polyester taffeta with DWR finish
Pockets:  1 internal, 1 kangaroo, 1 front flap
Manufacturer:   Cotopaxi

Our Verdict

With a bright, patchy color scheme, unique pocket system, and performance that did not stand up to most of our review metrics, the Cotopaxi Teca is best-suited for the zany adventurer who does not require unrelenting performance from their apparel. This piece was less wind resistant, bulkier, and less streamlined than nearly all of the other windbreakers in our review, but with such a unique pattern and a kangaroo pocket to boot, we know their a few fashionistas out there who will be psyched to bring some added color to their outdoor wear.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Shey Kiester

Last Updated:
Tuesday
March 27, 2018

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The Cotopaxi Teca is made of a repurposed polyester taffeta with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. It has a back vent, and we tested the half-zip version. The jacket has one internal, one kangaroo, and one front flap pocket. It stows into the front pocket and has a loop to clip it to your harness. It weighs five ounces and comes in a slew of colors. The Teca is unisex, though there are men and women's specific sizes.

Value


At $80, this is the cheapest model in our review. When we compare the scores in the price performance chart, we see that there are better models for your dollars. But, if colors and the price point are your thing, we salute you. If you have an extra twenty spot and need a high-performance windbreaker, we recommend the Patagonia Houdini, which is a bit more pricey (not much) and well-worth the extra money.

Performance Comparison


The Teca was outperformed by nearly all of the other models in our review, due largely to its larger fit (the jacket is unisex), and lack of technical features. However, it didn't have any truly low scores, and it if you're looking for a quirky model and don't mind the absence of techy features, it might be for you.

The bright colors of this model definitely make it stand out  but it is less technical than most other models in the review.
The bright colors of this model definitely make it stand out, but it is less technical than most other models in the review.

Wind Resistance


The Teca's polyester taffeta fabric is wind resistant enough and keeps out drafts, but reviewers found that it was slightly less resistant than jackets made of ripstop. Plus, because the Teca lacked features like an adjustable hem and hood, it as difficult to lock out the wind while wearing the Teca. We'd recommend the Arc'teryx Squamish or Patagonia Houdini if you need a model that can hold up to higher winds.

While not as technical as other models  this contender is sure to turn heads with its bright colors.
While not as technical as other models, this contender is sure to turn heads with its bright colors.

Breathability


Because of the larger fit of the Teca, it breathed significantly less efficiently than more streamlined models, like the Black Diamond Alpine Start or Outdoor Research Tantrum. However, this model is the only one in our review that features a back vent. The only drawback with this vent is that it is positioned in the middle of the wearer's back, so if you're wearing a pack, it is rendered virtually useless. Since we tested the half-zip version, the capability of venting with the full front zipper open was not an option.

While not the best jacket for outdoor activities  this piece can hold its own during moderate activity.
While not the best jacket for outdoor activities, this piece can hold its own during moderate activity.

Durability


The Teca was towards the middle of the fleet when it came to this metric. None of the jackets showed significant signs of wear throughout the three-month testing process, but we were able to identify areas where jackets might suffer in this category. Although the Teca's minimalist feature set (no zip pockets, no drawcords) means that it has fewer moving parts that can break, it has more seams than any other jacket in our test, which can break down over time. If you're looking for a more streamlined, and therefore more durable jacket, we recommend looking at the Patagonia Houdini or Black Diamond Alpine Start.

The non-technical fit of this model makes it better suited for easy scrambling.
The non-technical fit of this model makes it better suited for easy scrambling.

Weight and Packability


The Teca was not the lightest or the most packable jacket in our review. However, it was not the heaviest or bulkiest either. At five ounces, you can easily throw this in your pack and not notice the weight. The problem that our reviewers had with its packability was its Velcro closure system and polyester harness clip loop. Both of these systems are prone to failure, as the Velcro can get snagged on a branch and open, and the polyester is simply not durable enough to trust hanging your jacket on, especially if it's your only layer. Pieces like the Eddie Bauer Uplift and Patagonia Houdini were both lighter and more packable, as well as having zipper closures and more burly clip loops.

The jacket's packed size.
The jacket's packed size.

Versatility


Versatility was the Teca's Achilles heel. Because of the zany pocket design of this jacket, with a kangaroo pocket, outer pocket and inner pocket all on its belly, our reviewers felt that it would be difficult to streamline your pocket system. Each pocket is also relatively large, and none of them have a zipper, making stashing small valuable things in the Teca pretty scary. Plus, because the Teca has such a bulky fit, it's difficult to use it for sports where you need a more streamlined fit, like in roped climbing. For more versatility, we recommend the Black Diamond Alpine Start or Rab Windveil.

This model lacks pocket zips  so it can easily be worn with a pack. However  the kangaroo pocket makes keeping track of small essentials more difficult.
This model lacks pocket zips, so it can easily be worn with a pack. However, the kangaroo pocket makes keeping track of small essentials more difficult.

Water Resistance


Interestingly, although the Teca was relatively low performance, it features a DWR finish, which was lacking from three arguably more performance-focused pieces. The Teca shed water relatively well, but the piece will become saturated after a moderate amount of time in light precip. Also, because it is made from a heavier material, it takes much longer to dry than lighter models like the Patagonia Houdini and Eddie Bauer Uplift.

The piece's DWR finish helps it repel light precip.
The piece's DWR finish helps it repel light precip.

Best Applications


Because of its non-technical design, the Teca is best used for mellow missions and around-town use.

Conclusion


The Cotopaxi Teca is a zany and flashy windbreaker that had considerably fewer performance features than other jackets in our review. However, if you're in love with the color schemes and you don't need a zippered pocket to keep your valuables in, the Teca might be the one!
Shey Kiester

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