Little Donkey Andy Vs. Columbia Hiking Rain Jackets

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out on the trails, having the right rain jacket can make all the difference when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Two popular options for keeping dry on the hike are the Little Donkey Andy and Columbia hiking rain jackets.

Both offer waterproof protection and packable convenience, but they also have key differences that may make one a better choice for your needs. This comprehensive guide will compare these two jackets in detail, looking at the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is the best rain jacket for your next adventure.

We’ll look at important factors like price, materials, breathability, features and more so you can find the perfect jacket to keep you comfortable on the trail. So buckle up your pack and let’s hit the comparison trail!

A Brief Comparison Table

FeaturesLittle Donkey AndyColumbia
Waterproof Rating20,000mm10,000mm
Breathability Rating20,000g/m2/24hr10,000g/m2/24hr
Pockets2 hand pockets2 hand pockets, 1 chest pocket
HoodAttached, adjustableAttached, adjustable
ZipperWater resistantWater resistant
Seam SealingFully sealedFully sealed
Weight1lb1lb 5oz

Little Donkey Andy Rain Jacket Pros

Little Donkey Andy Hiking Rain Jacket
  • Lower price point – The Little Donkey Andy jacket is a budget-friendly option, usually retailing for around $$ depending on size and color options. This makes it a great choice if you need reliable rain protection without breaking the bank.
  • Highly waterproof – With a waterproof rating of 20,000mm, the Little Donkey Andy offers excellent water resistance in moderate to heavy rain. Water beads up and rolls off the jacket nicely.
  • Very breathable – A breathability rating of 20,000g/m2/24hr means heat and sweat can easily escape the jacket. This is vital for staying comfortable even when working hard on the trail.
  • Lighter weight – Weighing in at just 1 pound, the Little Donkey Andy won’t weigh you down on long hikes. It can easily be packed in your bag when not in use.
  • Full seam sealing – All seams are sealed to prevent leaks for complete water protection.
  • Variety of sizes – Available in sizes from S up to XXL, it can accommodate most body types comfortably.
  • Attached hood – The adjustable hood provides extra protection for your head when the rain starts coming down.
  • Packable convenience – It folds up neatly into its own pocket for compact storage while hiking or traveling.

Little Donkey Andy Cons

  • Fewer pockets – Just two hand pockets means less room to store small hiking items and accessories while on the move.
  • No color options – Only comes in plain black, so you can’t add much style or visibility to your rainy hikes.
  • No chin guard – Lacks a protective chin guard to prevent chafing from the zipper.
  • Runs large – Sizes tend to run a little big, so you may need to size down for the best fit.
  • Not as durable – Thinner fabric may be more prone to rips and tears if exposed to branches and rough terrain.

Columbia Rain Jacket Pros

  • Trusted brand – Columbia is a leading outdoor gear brand known for quality and performance. You can rely on their rain jackets to get the job done.
  • More pocket storage – Includes two hand pockets and one chest pocket for storing small items and keeping them dry.
  • Variety of styles – Comes in a wide range of color and style options to match your preferences. More visibility and fashion choices.
  • Comfortable fit – Slimmer athletic cut provides a flattering fit while allowing full freedom of movement.
  • Chin guard – Added zipper garage helps prevent skin irritation from the zipper.
  • Durable – Made of thicker nylon fabric that can better withstand abrasions and snags during rugged use.
  • Adjustable features – Allows you to customize the hood, cuffs, and hem for optimized coverage and protection.
  • More sizing – Extra small sizing expands options for those needing a more tailored rain jacket fit.
  • Lightweight – Still weighs just over 1 pound despite added features, so it won’t weigh you down.

Columbia Cons

  • Higher price – Retails for around $$$ depending on features, so it’s a more costly investment than the Little Donkey Andy.
  • Less waterproof – With a 10,000mm rating, it may leak in very heavy rainfall. Seams may also be more vulnerable.
  • Less breathable – Lower 10,000g/m2/24hr breathability rating means more sweat and condensation may build up inside.
  • Can run small – Sizing does not account for layering underneath, so consider sizing up if you need to wear layers.
  • No color consistency – Colors displayed online are not always accurate once the jacket arrives.
  • Crinkly sound – The nylon fabric tends to make a crinkling noise with movement.
  • Spot clean only – Cannot be safely washed in the washing machine, so hand washing and spot cleaning is required.
  • Weak stitching – Some users report loose threads and seams coming undone after minimal wear.

Little Donkey Andy Vs. Columbia: In-Depth Comparison

Now that we’ve covered the basic pros and cons of each jacket, let’s take a deeper dive into how they compare across some key factors:

  • Waterproofing
Columbia Hiking Rain Jacket
Columbia Hiking Rain Jacket

When looking at waterproof ability, the Little Donkey Andy is the clear winner with its very high 20,000mm rating.

This far exceeds the Columbia’s more moderate 10,000mm, meaning the Little Donkey Andy can withstand much heavier rainfall without wetting through.

Users report staying reliably dry even in downpours and storms.

Meanwhile, the thinner Columbia jacket may struggle in the same conditions, with moisture bleeding through prematurely.

For maximum water protection no matter the weather, the Little Donkey Andy is the better bet.

That being said, both jackets do come with fully taped seams to help prevent leaking around stitching. The Columbia also offers adjustable cuffs and hem to seal out moisture, while the Little Donkey Andy relies solely on its superior waterproof fabric for protection.

Unless you commonly hike in monsoon-like conditions, the Columbia will likely keep you dry in most cases. But for the very wettest environments, go with the Little Donkey’s unbeatable waterproof rating.

  • Breathability

Similar to their waterproof ratings, the Little Donkey Andy again boasts a much higher breathability rating at 20,000g/m2/24hr compared to the Columbia’s 10,000g/m2/24hr. This shows how well moisture can escape the jacket from the inside out.

The Andy’s very high rating means you’re less likely to overheat and sweat, as that internal condensation can readily evaporate through the jacket’s material. With its lower breathability though, the Columbia runs a greater risk of becoming hot, clammy and uncomfortable during strenuous use.

That being said, both jackets do use similar proprietary technologies to improve airflow and ventilation. The Columbia relies on its Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable membrane, while the Little Donkey Andy uses DryCellar technology.

But based on the numbers, the Little Donkey clearly provides superior moisture control and cooling comfort as you pick up the pace. Unless you hike only in cool conditions, favor the Andy for staying driest on the inside too.

  • Weight
Little Donkey Rain Jacket
Little Donkey Rain Jacket

In terms of heft, the Little Donkey Andy is the lighter of the two jackets weighing in at just 1 pound.

That beats out the Columbia’s 1 pound 5 ounces.

Since rain jackets are something you’ll likely be packing up and stowing when not needed, this weight savings can make a noticeable difference in the overall weight of your gear.

Those extra ounces add up fast, so the Andy helps pare down your load.

However, the weight difference is not drastic between them. At just over 1 pound, they are both on the ultralight end of the spectrum for waterproof shells.

Unless every ounce counts for an extended thru-hike, the minor weight advantage of the Andy may not be a dealbreaker compared to other factors. Both can easily be compressed down small for packing, so pick based on features and cost rather than slim weight difference.

  • Pocketing

When it comes to storage and organization, the Columbia pulls ahead with its trio of integrated pockets. You get two standard hand pockets plus an additional zip chest pocket for safely stowing small essentials.

This gives you quick access to items like phones, maps, snacks, and other hiking gear without needing to take your pack off. Meanwhile, the sparse Little Donkey Andy only has two hand pockets and lacks additional storage options.

If you like having multiple pockets for on-the-go item grabbing, the Columbia is the pockets winner. But if you are happy keeping everything in your pack or pant pockets, then the Andy gives you the basic pocketing you need without excess bulk.

Think about if quick-access extra pockets are a big priority or deal breaker for your rainshell needs.

  • Cost

Looking at the price tags, the Little Donkey Andy is clearly the budget buyer’s choice at around $$ retail. This affordable price makes it very tempting if you want decent rain protection without spending big bucks.

In contrast, the Columbia comes in way higher at approximately $$$ MSRP thanks to its brand name and included features. While this price is justified for some by the Columbia quality and reputation, it is still a very significant difference from the Andy’s minimal cost.

In the end, it comes down to how much money you want to invest in a hiking rain jacket. If you’re on a tight budget but still need wet weather capabilities, the Andy delivers the basic performance you need.

But for those who prioritize premium materials and construction, the Columbia commands that higher price. Think about budget and how much use you plan to get before deciding if that extra cost is warranted.

  • Sizing and Fit
Columbia Hiking Rain Jacket
Columbia Hiking Rain Jacket

An important factor that can vary significantly between these two jackets is their sizing, cut and overall fit on your body.

Starting with sizing availability, the Columbia does come in a wider range from XS all the way up to XXL.

So if you really need that extra small or slimmer athletic cut, Columbia has you covered.

The Little Donkey Andy starts at size S which may still be too roomy for smaller hikers. It also only goes up to XXL so taller guys may find it tops out too small.

When it comes to the actual cut and drape on the body, the Columbia offers a trimmer athletic fit shaped closer to the body.

Its adjustable features also help achieve a dialed-in fit. Meanwhile the Little Donkey Andy runs larger and boxier in comparison.

There is extra material through the body and sleeves for more room to layer, but it’s not as flattering. Be sure to try on each brand for yourself to assess the fit based on your specific body shape and proportions. Don’t rely solely on the size chart.

  • Fabric Durability

Durability is another key consideration when comparing any outdoor performance wear. You need something that will hold up to rugged terrain, not fall apart after a few hikes. Here the thicker nylon fabric of the Columbia is likely to fare better long term.

It can better withstand snags, scratches and abrasions from branches and rocks. The Little Donkey Andy’s thinner cost-saving fabric is more vulnerable to tears or punctures as it brushes up against obstacles. This could quickly compromise the waterproof design through rips and holes.

Keep in mind though that no rain jacket is indestructible, and any can suffer wear and tear from rough conditions. But the Columbia seems built to handle more hard use if you are tough on your gear and want something super resilient.

The Andy trades off some of that burliness to keep the price low. Just take care not to push its limits and inspect it for damage after demanding hikes.

  • Weather Protection

As the whole point of a rain jacket is keeping you dry in wet conditions, both models deliver on this crucial factor – just to varying degrees. The Little Donkey Andy is simply better equipped to handle more extreme rain thanks to its very high waterproof rating and fully water-tight seams. Wind-driven downpours are no match for it.

But the Columbia may be overwhelmed in the same heavy rainstorms if moisture is able to penetrate its thinner membrane. Light to moderate rain is handled fine, but push the limits and it loses out to the Andy.

For features to combat the elements, both have attached hoods to shield your head and adjustable openings to seal out moisture. The Columbia does add handy touches like a chin guard and adjustable hem/cuffs for a more customizable barrier.

But the Andy leans on its robust fabric instead of bells and whistles, excelling at repelling even monsoon-like water levels. Consider typical rainfall and wind exposure where you hike most to choose adequate wet weather protection.

  • Breathability and Ventilation

We’ve already looked at the breathability ratings, clearly favoring the Little Donkey Andy for allowing internal moisture to evaporate quicker. But it’s also important to consider how the jackets are designed and ventilated to promote airflow.

Little Donkey Andy Lightweight Puffer Jacket
Little Donkey Andy Lightweight Puffer Jacket

Both jackets lack underarm zip vents or mesh inserts you see on more technical pieces.

However, they both utilize similar waterproof-breathable membranes to balance water resistance with internal humidity control.

The Columbia relies on its Omni-Tech coating that is decent at preventing stuffiness and sweat buildup during aerobic activity.

Little Donkey uses its own DryCellar membrane with impressive moisture wicking considering its lower cost.

Adjustable cuffs and hem on the Columbia also help seal out drafts while promoting needed ventilation.

Overall the Andy gets the nod for breathability on paper, but in real-world use both are capable of preventing excess sweat and dampness using their proprietary technologies. Just don’t expect ventilation on par with a running jacket.

  • Ease of Use

When it comes to user-friendly design, the Columbia may be a bit easier to use effectively thanks to helpful inclusion like the chin guard and adjustable openings. This allows you to really tailor the fit and coverage so no moisture sneaks in.

The pockets are also conveniently placed and zippered for usability on the move. Besides the basic hood and zip front, the Little Donkey Andy is very no-frills when it comes to usability enhancements. What you see is what you get in terms of simple operation and on-off layering.

This simplicity does make the Andy quick and easy to put on, zip up and head out without fussing with extra settings. But the Columbia offers those bonus features for a bit more custom protection.

Think about if you want a simple pull-on-and-go jacket, or one with adjustable settings to play around with – both options work fine and seal out the elements.

  • Packability

One area where both jackets excel is packability thanks to their thin, minimalist designs. They both can fold down surprisingly small and compact to stash in your hiking pack without hogging space. Then quickly unzip and unstuff when the rains roll in.

The lighter Little Donkey Andy may compress a hint smaller, but the Columbia still crams down with the best of them. So you really can’t go wrong with either choice in this category.

The packable convenience lets them pull double duty as an emergency rain layer and also a standalone wind shell when the storms pass. Easy carrying is a definite perk that endears them to hikers and travelers who need reliable waterproofing without the bulk.

You’ll come to appreciate how small they stash down after long days on the trail.

  • Care and Maintenance

To keep either jacket performing its best, proper care and cleaning are key. Both models need to be washed gently by hand and hung to dry – no washing machines or dryers which can degrade the fabric.

The Columbia is especially high maintenance, as you cannot launder it normally. It requires only delicate spot cleaning by hand. The Little Donkey Andy is not quite so strict, but still never fully submerge or scrub it roughly.

Durability can suffer if proper washing routines are not followed. Check out the care instructions for your model to learn the best practices. With care they will last season after season.

Be especially careful not to store them long term while still damp, as moisture leads to damage over time. Treat your jacket well and it will deliver reliable protection hike after hike.

  • Style and Color Options

While technical performance is a top priority, it is nice when rain jackets also bring visual flair to your hiking kit. Here the Columbia provides way more choices for personalization with a wide selection of colors and prints.

Men’s options range from bold brights to soft pastels and camo patterns, so you can pick a look that suits your taste. The Little Donkey Andy comes only in basic black.

So for standard models, the Columbia has far more versatility. But Little Donkey Andy does also offer customizable colorblock versions. This allows you to pick complementary colors for the main body, hood, pockets and zippers.

Mix and match to get more unique. Still, the Columbia wins if you simply want instant color variety right out of the box rather than DIY customizing.

Wrapping Up

To wrap up this in-depth comparison, both the Little Donkey Andy and Columbia deliver quality raingear for hiking at reasonable price points. The Columbia costs more but justifies it with added features, branding, and style options.

Yet the budget-friendly Andy still holds its own, with strengths like superior waterproofing, breathability and packability.

Think about which factors matter most like weather protection, fit, ventilation and cost. If you want tested reliability from a leading brand, the feature-packed Columbia is a strong choice despite the higher price tag.

Otherwise the affordable Little Donkey Andy provides amazing waterproof performance that punches far above its modest cost. Either way, investing in the right rain jacket will serve you well for seasons of hiking dry and comfortable on the trails ahead.

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