Columbia Watertight II Rain Jacket Review

The Columbia Watertight II Rain Jacket is a popular budget rain shell. While not designed for heavy weather, it will provide protection from light rain, and its dirt-resistant coating means it stays looking smart in all conditions.

Columbia Men's Watertight II Jacket, Bright Indigo, Large

Please note: Whilst we’ve featured a men’s version of this jacket, it is suitable for all genders. 

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Affordable price
  • Stain-resistant Omni-Shield coating

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Not very waterproof
  • Not very breathable

The main thing you want from a raincoat is to keep you dry; under normal conditions, the Columbia Watertight II rain jacket will do that. However, it’s not very breathable, and it doesn’t have any pit zips. While this is not the jacket to take on a long hike, it is brilliant for the occasional walker who wants something to protect them from showers.

See all products covered in our guide: 10 Best Waterproof Rain Jaackets for Hiking. 

Compare all 10 waterproof rain jackets side by side: 

Arc'teryx Beta LT
Black Diamond StormLine
Outdoor Research Helium Rain
Marmot PreCip Eco
Arc’teryx Beta
Marmot Minimalist
Rab Downpour Plus 2.0
The North Face Venture 2
Columbia Watertight II
The North Face Dryzzle Futurelight
Buying Options
Our Awards
Best Women's Performance
Best Stretchy
Best Ultralight
Best Men's Performance
Best Womens
Best Mens
Best Budget
Weight
13.9 oz.
11.3 oz.
6.3 oz.
10.6 oz.
10.6 oz.
13 oz.
13.2 oz.
11.6 oz.
13 oz.
12 oz.
Waterproof
3L Gore-Tex
2.5L BD.dry
2.4L Pertex
2.5L NanoPro
3L Gore-Tex
2.5L Gore-Tex
2.5L Pertex
2.5L Dryvent
2L Omni-Tech
3L Futurelight
Pockets
2 zippered hand
2 zippered hand
2 zippered hand
2 Zippered Hand
2 Zippered Hand
2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest
2 zippered chest
2 zippered hand
2 zippered hand pockets; 2 internal drop-in pockets
2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest

Analysis and Test Results

When you buy a budget raincoat, you don’t expect to get the performance of more expensive models. The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is one of the better budget rain shells you can get. It won’t keep you dry for more than a couple of hours, and if it really tanks it down, you will get wet very quickly. It is only a 2-layer material, but it has an efficient DWR coating that is also dirt-resistant. At this price point, you can’t expect great breathability, which is this jacket’s weakest feature. However, it is surprisingly durable, and the Stain-resistant Omni-Shield coating performs above expectations. It looks smart enough to wear around town, and it packs down into a pocket. It has an adjustable hood and two hand pockets. If you are looking for a reasonably priced rain shell with all the features you need, the Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is an excellent option, so we have chosen it as our Best Budget Rain Jacket.

See the Columbia Watertight II Rain Jacket in more detail: 

Performance Comparison

Columbia Watertight II rain jacket

Type and Style

According to Columbia, the Watertight II rain jacket is designed for “light to medium rain and snow, mild conditions, and moderate activity”. It is a standard fit, but many users find it baggy. While this makes it easy to fit layers underneath, you might need to size down for a more compact fit.

The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is only available for men. Columbia’s Arcadia II is a very similar rain jacket designed for women.

Water Resistance

The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is composed of 2-layer Omni-Tech material. While Columbia doesn’t give the waterproof rating of this fabric, it has been independently tested as 10,000 mm. The rain shell has an Omni-Shield DWR (durable water repellent) coating. The seams are all sealed. The cuffs have Velcro adjustment tabs, and there is a drawcord around the hem. The hood is adjustable, and the zips are all protected by flaps. While the material is not highly waterproof, the DWR coating is excellent, and water beads well on it, making it more waterproof than expected.

best rain jacket

Breathability

As you would expect from 2-layer fabric, the Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is not very breathable. Columbia doesn’t give figures for its material, but independent testing measures it as 10,000 g/m2/24h. There are no pit zips, although you can try opening the pockets to provide ventilation. While the breathability of this rain shell could be better, it is not designed for long hikes, and it should be more than adequate for everyday use with little exertion.

Comfort and Mobility

Thanks to its baggy fit, the Columbia Watertight II rain jacket has a good range of movement. It doesn’t tend to ride up or pull across your shoulders when you move your arms.

The mesh lining provides a barrier between the outside material and your skin, but it can feel clammy due to its low breathability. A nice feature is a strip of fabric at the top of the zipper that serves as an abrasion-resistant chin guard.

Columbia Watertight II - 2 layer rain jacket

Materials

The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is made from 2-layer Omni-Tech fabric. The outer layer is a 100% nylon plain weave that is bonded to a synthetic microporous layer. The outermost layer has a water-resistant and stain-resistant Omni-Shield coating. The lining is 100% polyester mesh.

Appearance

The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket looks smart enough to wear around town as well as on the hills. Although the bagginess doesn’t give it a crisp silhouette, the flaps over the zippers help make it look more streamlined. The logos aren’t obtrusive, with the company name on the chest and the word ‘Omni-Tech’ just above the cuff on one sleeve. The logos are heat-transfers, not embroidery, and are either white or black, depending on the background color.

There are plenty of colors to choose from, including Bright Indigo (blue), Raw Honey (yellow), Shasta (turquoise), Columbia Grey, Black, Collegiate Navy, Warp Red, and Graphite (dark grey).

Columbia Watertight II rain jacket best waterproof

Durability

The facing fabric of the Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is not ripstop material, but it does have the Omni-Shield coating. However, despite being only 2-layer fabric, this jacket is surprisingly durable. If cared for correctly, there should be few problems with it. The main weakness is the zippers, which could be of higher quality.

Columbia has a Limited Lifetime Warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship but does not cover damage caused by normal wear and tear, improper care, or the natural breakdown of materials over time. If the warranty covers your issue, your rain jacket will be either repaired or you will get a credit note.

Weight and Packability

Thanks to its 2-layer construction, the Columbia Watertight II rain jacket can be packed down quite easily. It is designed to be folded into the left-hand pocket, which has a two-way zip so it can be closed to form a neat packet. When packed into the pocket, it is about 6 inches / 15.2 cm by 9 inches / 22.9 cm.

The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket comes in a wide range of sizes. The average weight is:

Men

360 g (12.7 oz) – 499 g (14 oz)

columbia watertight II packed size

Features

One of the great features of the Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is that you get two hand pockets, which some more expensive raincoats don’t have. The pockets are mesh-lined, with flaps over the zips to help keep the rain out. The left-hand pocket also serves as a bag if you want to fold your rain shell up.

The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket also has an excellent hood. It is a generous size, so it will comfortably go over a hat or cap, but it is not big enough to go over a helmet. It can be adjusted using the drawcords on each side at the front that pull it close to your head without restricting your peripheral vision. The brim is slightly stiffened to keep the rain out of your eyes. The abrasion-resistant chin guard is a nice feature, but the collar doesn’t cover much of your face when zipped up.

columbia watertight 2 hood adjustment

Sustainability

Columbia is committed to improving the sustainability of their products. They state: “Columbia is proud to support initiatives that focus on doing right by the people we reach, the places we touch, and the products we make.” The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is Bluesign approved, which means the environmental impact of the entire supply chain is reduced. Columbia is also partnered with the Clean by Design program, which focuses on optimizing facility energy and water efficiency.

best waterproof rain jacket

Conclusion

The Columbia Watertight II rain jacket is a budget rain shell, but it over-performs for its price point. While it doesn’t have high waterproof or breathability ratings, it will keep you warm and dry for several hours in moderate conditions. It looks smart and has useful features such as pockets and an adjustable hood that similar-priced rain shells often lack. The Omni-Shield does a very good job at resisting both rain and dirt and helps to make this a practical and durable rain coat. If you are looking for a budget rain jacket, the Columbia Watertight II rain jacket could be the perfect choice.

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