Best Lightweight Waterproof Jacket: Columbia Switchback Review

In this article, I review the Columbia Women’s Switchback II Jacket. There are a lot of rain jackets on the market, but I believe I’ve found the best lightweight waterproof jacket for women in terms of value, style and price point. 

Best Lightweight Waterproof Jacket

On a recent spring trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, I boarded a ferry to the city of Victoria from Port Angeles, Washington. Sunny skies suddenly turned to cloudy drizzle are caught me by surprise. I found myself wrapping my inadequate sweater jacket around myself. I really wanted to spend this ferry trip at the helm, marveling at the passing Olympic Peninsula waters, instead of hunkering down inside and drinking stale coffee.

Ferry to Vancouver Island

The temperatures were mild, but the incessant drizzle was soaking my jacket. I realized I had made a mistake: I did not bring along a suitable light rain jacket on this trip, something that was pointed out to me my by some locals as a rookie mistake to the Pacific North-West, as it randomly rains a lot.

But a little post-sailing shopping spree never hurt anyone, right?

Vancouver is a very trendy modern city, with a down to earth nature vibe to it. Home to such brands as Lululemon and RYU, the friendly people are active and tend to dress in layers often due to random rainy drizzles much like the one I found myself in.

If there is one thing a lady needs, it’s a high-quality, durable waterproof jacket. Whether I am walking the city streets, or going for a hike on a forest trail, having a light wind-breaking rain jacket is a must. I needed one that was waist-length for ease of movement, fashionable and functional. A warm-weather coat that spoke to my adventurous side when traveling, and to also be an everyday jacket.

Best Lightweight Waterproof Jacket

Columbia Women’s Switchback II Jacket Review

Amazon Reviews

My trip to Vancouver Island included checking out many touristy spots on the Island and then taking another ferry ride over to Vancouver to visit Granville Island, Stanley Park and parts of the North Shore. It was a three-week vacation that felt too short. There were lots of things I wish I had time to check out, but do plan to do so when I return.

The weather was very unpredictable, but not cold. I felt silly not getting a rain jacket beforehand, but any excuse to go shopping is a good one.

I talked with a few people working in clothing stores on the Island about what they would recommend as the best lightweight waterproof jacket but found most of the best information online the first night I arrived. After much research, one name brand kept coming back to taunt me was Columbia Sportswear. This iconic Pacific Northwest outfitter has recognized the world over. The Columbia Switchback jacket is my new go-to lightweight jacket for a number of reasons. The main one being it’s just a great practical jacket for light rainy weather!

It has a retractable, pack-away hood that folds up into the collar, so when it’s not raining, you can zip in the hood and flip up the collar for a bit of fashion flair. And when the wind has its way, you can zip the jacket all the way up and protect your neck from the elements. As with any Columbia jacket, it’s got the unmistakable Columbia logo on the upper left side.

The Switchback jacket has Velcro, cinch sleeve cuffs to keep water from seeping up through. The fit runs pretty true to size, and you can wear a thicker sweater underneath it without feeling stuffed. This is a great jacket to wear in town, even when it’s not raining. It goes great with capris or jeans, and its fitted style makes it a fashionable jacket to wear over just about any shirt or sweater.

Columbia Switchback Review

Jacket zipped up into the pocket carry pouch

It comes in so many great colors too, however, I went with just a basic black.  It’s packable – you can roll up the entire jacket and zip it into its own pocket! It’s perfect for tossing into your suitcase or backpack. This is a great windbreaker and hooded raincoat for milder temperatures – it is considered a shell jacket, so doesn’t have any lining for warmth.

I wore my new Switchback II Jacket on a rainforest hike in Quarry Rock in North Vancouver. It’s a beginner hike, nothing crazy but the friends I was with were more interested in chatting and catching up on old times. During the 45-min hike, there was a light drizzle, and then started raining heavier. I flipped the hood up over my head and the jacket kept me dry during the entire hike. And even though the jacket is not lined, it kept my body heat in for those moments when you could really feel a chill in the forest air.

I received more than a couple of compliments on the jacket, particularly with the fact it fits me so well. Columbia Sportswear does a great job of combining fashion-forward style in a great technical piece.

Product Specs

  • 100% Nylon, fine mesh: 100% polyester
  • Zipper Closure
  • Hip-length for easy fit and comfortable range of motion
  • Stow-away hood
  • Waterproof, Omni-shield water and stain repellant.

Available At Amazon – Take advantage of the free shipping.

Even though the jacket is not lined, it traps in your body heat and keeps out the moisture. Overall, I would say this is one of the best lightweight waterproof jackets on the market. The high-quality and durability of Columbia Sportswear jackets will last you quite a long time.


About author View all posts

Liane Corbin

Liane Corbin describes herself as a traveler that takes pictures for her, not for Instagram. She likes meeting new people and trying new foods all over the world. Liane and her new husband randomly pick spots to see. In her downtime, she has recently taken up blogging for Slick Panda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.