With a bright, patchy color scheme, unique pocket system, and performance that is more fashion than function, the Cotopaxi Teca packs a fun style into a low price tag, winning our Best Buy award. This piece is less wind resistant 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 there are a few fashionistas out there who will be psyched to bring some added color to their outdoor wear.
Cotopaxi Teca Half-Zip Unisex Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Unique pocket system, bright and interesting colors
Cons: Bulky, less-than-incredible wind resistance, not versatile design
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The unisex Teca was outperformed by nearly all of the other models in our review, due mainly to its baggy fit and lack of technical features. However, it doesn't have any truly low scores. What it does have, is a lower price. If you're looking for a quirky model without techy features and too many dollar signs, it might be right for you.
The Teca's repurposed polyester taffeta fabric is reasonably wind resistant and keeps out most drafts. However, we found that it is slightly less wind resistant than jackets made of ripstop material.
Plus, because the Teca lacks certain helpful features like an adjustable hood volume or cinching hem, it is difficult to lock out a stiff wind. If you're likely to find yourself in a high wind situation, we'd recommend the Rab Vital or Editor's Choice winner — the Patagonia Houdini instead. But for low breezes that are unlikely to chill you too much, the Teca does a decent job.
Because of the baggier fit of the Teca, it breathes significantly less effectively than more streamlined models, like the Black Diamond Alpine Start or Arc-teryx Squamish.
However, this model is also the only windbreaker in our review that features a back vent. The only drawback to this vent is that it is positioned in the middle of the wearer's back, so if you're wearing a pack, it is virtually useless. Since we tested the half-zip version, the ability to vent the jacket by opening the front zipper is limited.
Weight and Packability
The Teca is not the lightest nor the most packable jacket in our review. However, it is 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 have with its packability is 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 pop open, and the polyester loop is not sturdy enough to trust hanging your jacket on — especially if it's your only layer. A jacket like the Patagonia Houdini is both lighter and more packable, in addition to featuring full zippered closures and more trustworthy hanging loops.
Versatility is not a high-performing metric for the Teca. It has an odd triple-pocket design that features a kangaroo pocket, outer pocket and inner pocket all on its belly. This makes it difficult to streamline your pocket system, and if you need to clip something around your waist (like a backpack hip belt or climbing harness), you can forget about using these pockets altogether.
Additionally, each pocket is quite large, yet none of them have a zipper, making stashing small valuables in the Teca a bit of a gamble. And, because the Teca has such a relaxed, beefy fit, it's difficult to use it for sports like roped climbing or cycling where you need a more streamlined design. For a jacket that can truly perform across sports and everyday activities, you might consider the Black Diamond Alpine Start, our Top Pick for Versatility.
Like many of the more technical windbreakers we reviewed, the Teca features a durable water repellant (DWR) treatment, which helps it repel light precipitation. Despite this coating, the Teca didn't impress us with its water resistance.
Though it sheds water relatively well, it becomes quite saturated after a moderate amount of time in light precipitation. Also, because it is made from a heavier material, it takes a bit longer to dry than lighter models like the Patagonia Houdini.
Because of its non-technical design, the Teca is best used for mellow missions and around-town use where style matters over functionality. For a similar baggy fit on a more functional — and warmer — everyday jacket, the Columbia Flash Forward is a great option.
At $80, the Teca is one of the cheapest models in our review. This price point comes with less technical features and not the best performance. But if vibrant colors and bold designs are for you, this windbreaker will give you some uniquely stylish coverage.
f you don't mind spending an extra $20, you can get a much better performing windbreaker, the Patagonia Houdini, that has taken home our Editor's Choice award for several years now.
The Teca is a zany and flashy windbreaker that has considerably fewer performance features than other jackets in our review. However, if you're in love with the color schemes and the price and you don't need a zippered pocket to keep your valuables in, then the Teca might be the one!
— Maggie Brandenburg and Shey Kiester