BlogTravel Gear

13 Best Columbia Rain Jackets: Budget Friendly And Stylish

85Views

Since its beginning in 1938, Columbia Sportswear Company is a global brand specializing in affordable, functional outdoor gear – including the reasonably priced Columbia rain jacket. The motto is perfection isn’t good enough – make it better – this is how the tough founder Gert Boyle continually exhorted her design team to put more into their products. 

This post may contain affiliate links. That means that I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you buy something through my site. This helps me run my website and produce the articles that I hope you find helpful.

Columbia rain jacket

Why Buy a Columbia Rain Jacket?

When in the market for a rain jacket, why spend your money on a Columbia rain jacket rather than another manufacturer?

The top reasons for buying a Columbia rain jacket include:

  • Affordability – a Columbia rain jacket gives you the qualities of a Gore-Tex jacket at a fraction of the price. One of the top reasons for looking at a Columbia jacket is performance on a budget. 
  • Choice of sizes and colors – across the whole range, you can get extra tall, small, and extra large sizes with plenty of color options. 
  • Packability – most lightweight jackets will stow away into one of the pockets making a small parcel that fits neatly into your pack. If you are an ultralight backpacker, you can use that small parcel as a travel pillow. 

The other features are much the same as any other rain jacket – a selection of pockets, adjustment features, and you can machine wash them (follow instructions). 

What is Missing?

The one feature missing from most Columbia rain jackets is additional ventilation under the arm with pit vents. (The one exception is the EvaPOURation Columbia rain jacket for men and women that supplies arm vents – see below.) The fabric is breathable, but if you are running along a trail, cycling fast, or exerting yourself, then you will generate heat quicker than the fabric can breathe. In these circumstances, opening the space under your arms can cool you down faster. 

Most jackets with pit zips cost considerably more than a Columbia rain jacket, so it is a judgment call about how much you need this feature. If you already use a jacket with pit zips and are in the market for a replacement, ask yourself how often you actually open those zippers. 

The other thing missing on some of the Columbia raincoats is zip pulls – useful for opening zips without taking off your glove. This absence is easily fixed with an inch of cord if zip pulls are helpful for you, so it really is not a deal-breaker for most people. 

How These Reviews are Organized

There are a couple of styles of Columbia rain jackets offered in men’s and women’s sizes which are reviewed. Otherwise, the Columbia jackets split into men’s and women’s ranges. The difference between one Columbia rain jacket over another maybe slight in some cases– colors and patterns, small design differences, or length of jacket. A couple may be significant – warm lining, removable layer, or packability.

Under “Best Features”, I try to give you a snapshot of each Columbia raincoat so you can assess if it meets your essential criteria for your next rain jacket. Overall, you can expect any of these jackets to keep you dry and shielded from wind and sun. 

Under “Buyer’s Guide”, some of the key features and technology are discussed in more detail so that you can have a better understanding of what makes these Columbia rain jackets better than others.

Other Options

Columbia has a fantastic selection of rain jackets for affordable prices. However, they may not have everything that you want.

If you plan to be very active, you should explore Marmot rain jackets. A Marmot rain jacket either has angel wings or articulated elbows to allow a full range of arm movements – necessary if you want to climb, boulder, or have flexible upper body movement.

Best Columbia Rain Jackets For Men

These seven Columbia rain jackets are only available in men’s sizes.

Columbia Watertight™ II Rain Jacket – No Frills Best Seller

columbia rain jacket mens

Best Features

  • Waterproof nylon shell with microporous Omni-Tech for waterproofing and breathability.
  • Omni-shield – repels moisture and dries quickly.
  • Sealed seams prevent leaks.
  • Packable – folds and zips into a pocket.
  • Fitting – elastic hem and cuffs with Velcro adjustment.
  • Storage – two zippered side pockets.
  • Comfort – abrasion-resistant chin-guard. 
  • Attached hood.
  • Plenty of color choices.
  • Plenty of size options.
  • Budget-friendly.

Conclusion

This best-selling Columbia rain jacket for men gives you a breathable, waterproof shell that packs neatly into a pocket. The Omni-Shield means rain beads and falls off, allowing the jacket to pack away dry in your pack or a corner of your suitcase. It’s lightweight and waterproof, so there is no reason to be caught out by rain as this Columbia jacket is the ideal companion for work and play. 

You get a staggering 35 color options, and sizes range from small to 6X, with some tall and wide options included for the perfect fit regardless of your body shape. Typically you can expect to pay around $60, which is a pocket-friendly price for a superior waterproof and packable rain jacket that performs as well as this Columbia men’s rain jacket. Over 80% of more than 16,800 reviews on Amazon gives this jacket 5*.

Glennaker Lake™ Rain Jacket – Budget Buy

columbia rain jacket mens

Best Features

  • Hydroplus waterproof nylon fabric.
  • Windproof.
  • Packs into the chest pocket.
  • Stowaway and removable hood.
  • Adjustable sleeves and hem.
  • Three zippered pockets.
  • Low price – under $50

Be Aware

  • It is just a shell without a lining designed for layering or for rainfall in a warm climate.
  • The sleeves do not roll up. The adjustments at the wrist are meant to tighten the jacket against water or wind seepage.

Conclusion

The waterproof fabric with fully sealed seams acts as an effective windbreaker as well as a rain jacket. This Columbia rain jacket for men packs neatly into the chest pocket when not in use, making it ideal for your backpack or suitcase. The hood stows into the collar when not in use which is convenient as no one enjoys the distraction of a flapping hood on a dry but breezy day. You get the standard adjustments and enough pockets for carrying small items when you don’t need a full pack. 

Columbia Ascender Softshell Jacket

columbia softshell jacket

Best Features

  • Polyester softshell treated with a water and wind-resistant finish.
  • Add your favorite college logo.
  • Three zippered pockets
  • Bound cuffs and a drawstring hem.
  • Excellent range of colors and sizes.

Be Aware

  • This jacket is not intended for being exceptionally active, either at work or in the outdoors.

Conclusion

This Columbia soft shell jacket for men will keep you warm and relatively dry during the autumn and winter months. It is water and wind-resistant rather than waterproof. You are looking at a modern fit, so order bigger if you like to layer up with bulky layers. It is a smart casual wear jacket that does not have a hood. It is reasonably priced and comfortable to wear to outdoor events and activities. 

The chest pocket gives you secure storage for small items, and the two zipped hand pockets either keep your hand warm or provide handy storage for other essentials. 

A very popular Columbia softshell jacket, one happy Amazon purchaser wrote, “This is literally the light weight heavy duty jacket to get! I got the grey with the orange highlights and I like the contrast but I might purchase the black one to have as well. I was in northwest Arkansas and it dropped down to 32 with 15 mph wind gusts and was raining. Jacket repelled water and kept me warm. I was pretty skeptical on the warmth aspect due to being so light and thin but man, few times I actually had to take it off haha. Great jacket. Stop reading and just get this already – totally worth it.”

Columbia Roan Mountain™ Jacket

columbia rain jacket mens

Best Features

  • Waterproof and breathable nylon shell.
  • Seams sealed to prevent leaks.
  • Two zipped side pockets.
  • Adjustable sleeves, hood, and hem.
  • Packs into the hand pocket.
  • Range of colors and sizes. 
  • Budget-friendly under $50.

Be Aware

  • This jacket is intended as a shell only to protect against wind and rain. Will need layers or a different jacket for warmth.

Conclusion

Another excellent Columbia men’s rain jacket at a pocket-friendly price. You get everything you need – waterproof, windproof, but a breathable outer shell, and seam sealed. The jacket packs neatly into a side pocket for storage, and you get a superb range of colors and sizes. 

This Columbia raincoat suits all outdoor activities and is convenient to have in your pack if rain stops play. 

Columbia Oroville Creek Lined Jacket

columbia rain jacket men

Best Features

  • Water-resistant Hydroplus nylon shell.
  • Fully lined with soft, comfortable jersey.
  • Two zipped hand pockets.
  • Adjustable hood.
  • Range of colors and sizes. 

Conclusion

This Columbia rain jacket for men with a soft jersey lining is ideal for those cooler occasions when you need superior wind resistance, additional insulation and may face a light shower. The three-panel hood has a drawstring adjustment so you can fit it to your face and gain enhanced peripheral vision. The chest yoke finishes with a storm flap that encourages rain to drip off the upper part of your body. The standard-fit finishes at the upper hip level allowing freedom of movement for walking.

Best Columbia Rain Jackets For Women

These Columbia rain jackets for women have subtle tailoring at the waist to give you a more feminine silhouette.  It is a small detail but having less unnecessary bulk around your waist feels lighter, allows you to move more freely, and looks better.

Columbia Arcadia II Jacket

columbia rain jacket womens

Best Features

  • Waterproof and breathable nylon shell with mesh lining.
  • Adjustable hood, cuffs, and hem. 
  • Two zippered hand pockets
  • Lightweight and packs into a hand pocket.
  • Seams sealed to prevent leaks.
  • Wide range of colors and sizes.

Conclusion

A classic bestselling Columbia rain Jacket for women with 24 colors giving you plenty of options to match your style. A good choice of bright and pastel shades with mouthwatering names like deep iris (purple) and waterfall (blue-green) appeals to a woman’s enhanced depth of color perception and aesthetic taste. 

Apart from the color choices, this Columbia women’s rain jacket has all the functional parts in place – breathable and waterproof, sealed seams, storm vents, zippered pockets. Plus, you can pack it neatly into one of the pockets for transport. The price varies depending on color and size, but you can expect to pay around $50 to $80 for most models. Popular sizes and colors sell out fast. 

An exceptionally popular Columbia rain jacket for women, one reviewer stated: “Great as both a windbreaker and rain jacket. It has no lining for added warmth, but does a great job keeping cold elements out. At the same time, it really is “breathable”, because I never got overly sweaty, even with heavy exertion while hiking (a problem I’ve encountered with other waterproof items). As for its waterproof utility, it did a great job keeping me bone dry through several brief but heavy showers out on hiking paths with zero cover to duck under.”

Columbia Switchback III Jacket

columbia women's rain jacket

Best Features

  • Hydroplus nylon shell to keep you dry.
  • Omni-Shield water-repellant coating. 
  • Hood stores in the collar when not in use.
  • Adjustable cuffs and hem.
  • Lightweight jacket packs into a pocket for transport and storage.
  • Two zippered hand pockets. 
  • Reasonable choice of colors and sizes.
  • Budget-friendly at around $50.

Conclusion

This Columbia women’s jacket has two back darts to give pronounced waist tailoring for a woman’s fit. It has a stylish classic fitted appearance, and the hood stores neatly into the collar, so it doesn’t ruin your style by flapping around in the breeze. The water-repellent coating means the rain beads and rolls off and does not sink into the fabric. This Columbia rain jacket packs neatly into one of its zipped pockets so you can stow it in your backpack, handbag, suitcase, or briefcase for surprise rain showers. 

It does not have an external storm flap on the center zip, but the inner storm flap is enough to prevent water penetration. A chest pocket would be an excellent addition but would spoil the classic lines. The price is easy on the budget, and the small range of colors suits most tastes. 

Columbia Heavenly Hooded Jacket – Winter Warmth

columbia rain jacket women

Best Features

  • Insulation without bulk – synthetic down and Omni-Heat thermal reflective coating keeping your body heat inside the jacket. 
  • Water-resistant outer shell.
  • Three zippered pockets (one internal).
  • Comfortable cuffs featuring a thumb hole.
  • Lightly quilted with a hood and a drop tail.
  • Slight tailoring in the waist for a feminine silhouette. 
  • Excellent range of colors and sizes. 

Conclusion

This Columbia rain jacket for women gives you warmth as well as weatherproofing. Depending on your climate, you may need extra insulation to keep you comfortable in rainy, windy weather. It gives you additional insulation with minimal bulkiness by employing Omni-heat – a thermal coating that reflects your body heat into the inside where it belongs. The principle is the same as using a thin but reflective space blanket for warming you up quickly. 

The outer shell is water-resistant rather than waterproof, as is common with these types of jackets. The quilting to hold the synthetic down in place around your body is angled to complement your appearance – the diagonal lines have a slimming effect. The waist is slightly tailored to reduce bulk.

An interesting feature is the soft inner cuffs that incorporate a thumb hole – these keep the top part of your hand covered and warm. The zippered hand pockets have zip pulls to make it easy to open them. If your showery weather comes with a side helping of chill, this Columbia women’s rain jacket is the one for you. A staggering 88% of all Amazon reviews gives this jacket 5*.

Columbia Kruser Ridge II Softshell

columbia softshell jacket

Best Features

  • Durable, water, and wind-resistant outer shell. 
  • Two zippered hand pockets.
  • Excellent range of colors and sizes.
  • Budget-friendly price.

Conclusion

This Columbia softshell jacket is comfortable and stylish for those who prefer a quieter jacket. A softshell is never fully waterproof, but it will keep a lot of the water out for a long time. If you are hiking in conditions where you expect a torrential downpour, then you should add a waterproof shell to deal with that extreme weather. 

Softshells are popular because they are as comfortable as a sweater, and they provide enough waterproofing for most outdoor activities. You get slight tailoring at the waist, and a choice of fifteen solid colors. For the technology, comfort and style, you receive phenomenal value for a durable Columbia soft shell jacket. 

Best Columbia Rain Jackets For Men And Women

These four Columbia rain jackets come in men’s and women’s sizes. These are the most popular raincoats in the range and feature the latest technology. 

Columbia EvaPOURation™  Rain Jacket For Men

Columbia rain jacket men

Columbia EvaPOURation™  Rain Jacket For Women

columbia rain jacket women

Best Features

  • Waterproof nylon shell with microporous Omni-Tech for waterproofing and breathability.
  • Omni-Wick-Evap – moisture management technology that allows moisture on your skin to absorb into the fabric and then evaporate through the microporous coating. 
  • Adjustable hood, cuffs, and hem.
  • Underarm vents.
  • Sealed seams prevent leaks.
  • Storage – two zippered side pockets.
  • Packable – folds and zips into a pocket.
  • Plenty of color choices.
  • Plenty of size options.
  • Budget-friendly.

Conclusion

The feature technology in this Columbia rain jacket is sweat-wicking and evaporation. Microporous coatings and membranes allow water vapor to pass through the fabric but not water droplets. On an active hike or other physical activity, you may generate sweat as water droplets instead of water vapor. The 2.5-layer construction pulls the internal water droplets into the fabric. It spreads them out over a greater surface area, allowing your body heat to convert them into water vapor, and they evaporate away from you and into the air: the result – a fresher drier experience for you. 

You get all the other excellent Columbia rain jacket features – taped seams, superior waterproofing, and ease of packing and storage. You even get arm vents. Plus, there is a range of colors and sizes at a budget-friendly price. 

One reviewer stated, “I love this jacket, I have used it in the rain several times now and it hasn’t let water in. Even with the pit zips closed I don’t sweat in this like l do in the Columbia Watertight II. The pit zips are an awesome feature for higher intensity activities, they really help a lot.”

Columbia Inner Limits™ II Rain Jacket For Men

Columbia rain jacket mens

Columbia Inner Limits™ II Rain Jacket For Women

columbia rain jacket womens

Best Features

  • Waterproof polyester shell with microporous Omni-Tech for waterproofing and breathability.
  • Packable – packs into one of the zippered hand pockets.
  • Adjustable hood, hem, and cuffs.
  • Storage – two zippered hand pockets and a secure chest pocket.
  • Soft chin guard.
  • Seamed sealed to prevent leaks.
  • Fun color options and a budget-friendly price. 

Conclusion

The selling feature for this Colombia rain jacket compared with other models is the color blocking. You get a waterproof, breathable, lightweight Columbia rain jacket that packs neatly into one of its hand pockets for storage. The proprietary Omni-Tech microporous coating keeps the rain on the outside and lets your skin breathe. A chest pocket is a convenient place to stash your cash and mobile phone.  

But the distinguishing feature is the choice of two or three contrasting or complementary color options allowing you to add a splash of pizzaz to your rainwear choices. The weather may be a monotone grey, but you can shine brighter with a cheerful Columbia rain jacket. 

Columbia Norwalk Mountain Jacket For Men

Columbia rain jacket men

Columbia Norwalk Mountain Jacket For Women

columbia rain jacket women

Best Features

  • Waterproof and breathable outer shell.
  • Two zippered side pockets.
  • Sealed seams prevent leaks.
  • Lightweight.
  • Attached hood.
  • Ladies’ version has a drawstring waist adjustment. 

Conclusion

This Columbia rain jacket uses Hydroplus to provide a waterproof but breathable membrane. The Norwalk Mountain jacket is one of the older models; it won’t be around forever. Currently, you can pick it up at sale prices which means you get a fully waterproof Columbia rain jacket at a bargain price. 

The women’s version adds a drawstring waist so you can tailor your jacket to suit your form. The sealed seams keep out the rain and the wind, and this is an excellent Columbia rain jacket as an outer layer of weatherproofing or as a standalone garment. 

Columbia Flash Forward Windbreaker For Men

Columbia mens rain jacket

Columbia Flash Forward Windbreaker For Women

columbia womens rain jacket

Best Features

  • Water-resistant outer polyester shell to keep you warm and relatively dry.
  • Full hood stows into the collar when not in use.
  • Adjustable hem.
  • Three zipped pockets.
  • Reasonable range of sizes and colors.
  • Budget-friendly – under $50.

Conclusion

This Columbia rain jacket for men and women provides an outer layer that is wind resistant and provides some protection against showers. It is not the highly waterproof rain jacket needed for heavy weather, but it will give the added protection you need for areas where the most significant hazard is windchill. A full hood is helpful for the odd shower, and it tucks neatly away when not in use. The chest pocket is invaluable for the secure storage of small valuables like a wallet and mobile phone.

The color options cover plain black and other color blocking designs, giving you a choice of style and visibility. The sizes range from small to 3X, which is more limited than other classic Columbia rain jackets that offer tall and wide options. The price is low, and you can expect to pay around $40 for this windbreaker. 

Buyer’s Guide To The Best Columbia Rain Jackets

Staying Dry

The primary purpose of a Columbia raincoat is to keep you dry in wet weather. Extreme weather can include heavy rain, snow, and high humidity. The trick to staying dry is to keep the water out and allow your sweat to exit the jacket. A Columbia rain jacket that is only waterproof would leave you drenched from sweat within a few minutes of fast walking. An effective Columbia rain jacket keeps you dry by repelling external water and allowing your body to breathe and expel internal moisture. 

Omni-Tech™

Omni-tech works as a multi-layer package – an outer waterproof layer with an inner microporous layer that wicks away moisture. It works similarly to the gold standard Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane but retails at a lower price point as part of the Columbia rain jacket range. 

The waterproof outer layer has Omni-Shield™ as a water repellant coating. A bonus feature is that this coating resists staining – your Columbia rain jacket remains cleaner for longer. Repelling water is essential because it prevents the fabric from becoming wet. The water landing on the outer shell forms beads and rolls off the material instead of sticking around and sinking through the layers. 

The inner fabric layer allows water vapor to pass through micropores and evaporate. The EvaPOURation Columbia rain jacket goes a step further. It allows the inner lining to absorb water droplets from your skin, spread it over a greater surface area, and let your body heat evaporate the water away. This property is known as moisture-wicking. 

Some earlier Columbia rain jackets use Hydroplus technology to blend nylon fabrics to give higher water resistance.  Nylon fabrics are naturally water-resistant and popular material for tents as well as Columbia raincoats. A durable water repellant coating upgrades the nylon fabric to waterproof instead of water-resistant. The right coating forms micropores for breathability. 

In other words, your Columbia rain jacket is a marvel of chemical engineering at the water molecule level. 

Water Resistance vs. Waterproofing

In most cases, water resistance is all you need from a rain jacket. A water-resistant rain jacket or Columbia soft shell jacket will keep you dry in drizzle and a short burst of a heavier shower.

On the other hand, you expect a waterproof Columbia rain jacket to keep you dry when exposed to heavier rain for a longer time. However, regardless of how waterproof your jacket is, extreme weather may eventually get through the jacket’s weak points or overwhelm the waterproofing after prolonged exposure. But you can expect your waterproof Columbia rain jacket to keep you drier for longer in heavier rain, snow, and sea spray than your water-resistant rain jacket. 

You know what sort of weather you encounter, so choose the most appropriate jacket to meet your typical needs – water-resistant may be good enough. 

Other Features

When it comes to keeping you dry, how your rain jacket is constructed matters as much as the shell material:

  • Sealed seams – seams are a weak point that water and wind can use to get into your jacket. Sealing the seams stops leaks.
  • Storm flaps – pockets and the center zip benefit from extra waterproofing in the form of a protective flap diverting water away from the zips. 
  • Drawstrings and Velcro – adjusting the jacket around your waist, hands, and face keeps the water on the outside and removes any gaps for water to enter. 

Last Word

Columbia produces a large selection of rain jackets with excellent weatherproofing and wind proofing. Better yet, most of them are offered at exceptional prices for the quality and features supplied.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.