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Patagonia Rainshadow Review

A step above the most basic options, it's at home on a week-long backpacking trip or on a rainy cruise to the market
Patagonia Rainshadow
Credit: Patagonia
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Price:  $200 List
Pros:  Excellent DWR, good storm protection, looks sharp, great fit, well-designed hood, stuffs into a reversible zippered pocket
Cons:  Clammier than some, average performance
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 17, 2021
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71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance - 30% 8.0
  • Breathability & Venting - 25% 6.0
  • Comfort & Mobility - 18% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Durability - 5% 8.0
  • Packed Size - 7% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Patagonia Rainshadow is a great all-around rain jacket at a respectable price. With a price just slightly above the most basic options, it offers solid performance when it comes to weather protection and breathability. The Rainshadow will keep you dry on extended backpacking trips and will still provide the style you might be after for a trip to the farmers market. This versatile jacket is ideal for those willing to spend a bit more than the cost of a basic model in exchange for performance that is better, but not on par with a much more expensive model. While there are more functional or higher-performing models, the Rainshadow offers more than enough performance for most adventures.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - the rainshadow is a step above most basic 2.5-layer priopriatary...
The Rainshadow is a step above most basic 2.5-layer priopriatary models but its cost is also a little more too. It is perfect for those who demand a little more out of their jacket but are willing to pay a little more.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Water Resistance


The Rainshadow uses Patagonia's proprietary H2No in a 3-layer construction that offers some of the better weather protection for its price. Even directly compared to the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L, which in theory is made of the same fabric, this model repeatedly took notably longer to wet out in every single one of our tests. In fact, this model took the cake for weather protection among proprietary fabrics used on a sub $200 shell.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - patagonia's 3-layer h2no fabric is above average for weather...
Patagonia's 3-layer H2No fabric is above average for weather protection and vastly outperformed more basic price-oriented 2.5-layer options. All of our testers were impressed by the longevity of this model's DWR.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Its DWR impressed our review team. It provided a like new DWR, even after several months of relatively heavy wear. Its front zipper is watertight and features a full-sized rain gutter that kept the water off our shirt, even during our garden hoses tests.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - this model features three points that help it to accommodate a wide...
This model features three points that help it to accommodate a wide range of headwear from a baseball cap to our bare head. While it has a versatile hood, it did not fit very comfortably over a bike or climbing helmet.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Hood Design

The Rainshadow offers a nice, functional hood design, which does a great job of cinching down around our heads — without reducing our peripheral vision. It cinches in three points to accommodate a wide variety of headwear but didn't fit very comfortably over a bike or climbing helmet.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - our review team loved the hood design, which did an excellent job of...
Our review team loved the hood design, which did an excellent job of cinching down without reducing peripheral vision. It moved with our heads as we looked side-to-side.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Breathability and Venting


The Rainshadow offers noticeably better breathability than nearly all the basic, price-oriented 2.5 layer models, but doesn't quite offer the same performance as the higher-end models, which is to be expected.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - we aren't sure if it was the tricot liner or its 3-layer...
We aren't sure if it was the tricot liner or its 3-layer construction, but it felt less clammy than many other models in its price range.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

To increase breathability, the Rainshadow feature two pit zips, which are an excellent way to dump heat and moisture. Our testers are impressed with Patagonia's design, as we were able to keep these zips all the way open, with little to no water being allowed inside.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - the rainshadow features two average-sized pit zips; they were...
The Rainshadow features two average-sized pit zips; they were positioned in such a way that they allowed very little water to get in from the outside, enabling us to dump heat even while it was raining.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Comfort & Mobility


The Rainshadow checked in average overall compared to the competition and was generally less clammy than most basic 2.5 layer coated models. For those accustomed to basic $100 shells, you will undoubtedly find this to be an upgrade.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - a nice upgrade from more basic options, the rainshadow provides...
A nice upgrade from more basic options, the Rainshadow provides decent but not exceptional freedom of movement. It boasts well-designed articulation and a good fit.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

The Rainhadow's mobility is respectable and above average. Its fabric doesn't really feature much stretch, but it offers nice articulation and an action-focused fit. This model is far from restrictive and will provide enough freedom of movement for all but the most demanding users.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - our testers could reach forward without our sleeves pulling back and...
Our testers could reach forward without our sleeves pulling back and raise our arms up without the hem of the jacket lifting too much.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Pocket Design

The Rainshadow offers one Napolean-style chest pocket and two lower handwarmer pockets. The handwarmer pockets aren't really raised and are generally not super useable with a backpack with a hip belt on. They are low enough profile that they didn't pinch us, even if they became pinched under the waistbelt of a loaded pack.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - these handwarmer pockets aren't really raised and aren't very...
These handwarmer pockets aren't really raised and aren't very useable with a backpack on. We did find that they are low enough profile that they didn't pinch much, even under the waistbelt of a loaded pack.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Weight


This model weighs about 14 ounces, which is pretty middle-of-the-road. It isn't ultralight, but it isn't heavy either, and is plenty light enough for most backpacking, hiking, mountaineering, or other human-powered adventures. It's also still light enough to be considering a "just-in-case" shell, which can live in the bottom of your pack on day hikes, ready for an unexpected thunderstorm. It is lighter than most "heavy-duty" 3-layer jackets and is only a few ounces heavier than the majority of options we tested.

Packed Size


Like many of Patagonia's products, this one stuffs into this model's left-front handwarmer pocket, which doubles as a stuff sack. Unlike many other models that offer a similar design, this Rainshadow's pocket is sized to compress the jacket into a reasonable size. After polling our testing team, 100% of them would rather have a reversible stuff pocket take more energy to compress the jacket if it meant the finished package was more compact in nature. Similar to most Patagonia products, the stuff sack has a carabiner clip-in loop to hang it off your harness or wherever you please.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - the rainshadow packs smaller than average and can be seen here on...
The Rainshadow packs smaller than average and can be seen here on the far right.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

The Rainshadow offers average compressibility. It packs down plenty small enough to keep most backpackers and hikers satisfied.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - the rainshadow packs down in a reversible zippered pocket. while it...
The Rainshadow packs down in a reversible zippered pocket. While it took a little more effort to pack it away, we appreciated that the pocket compressed it down nicely.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Durability


This model uses a 30-denier 100% recycled nylon stretch ripstop face with Patagonia's proprietary PU H2No membrane and a tricot backer, which provides for decent durability. It held up to overgrown trails and some alpine rock climbing reasonably well and proved average for tear and abrasion resistance. We were impressed by the longevity of its DWR and ability to bead water, even after extensive use.

Value


The Rainshadow is a slightly more expensive proprietary, non-air-permeable model; however, its performance is above average. It vastly outperforms most basic 2.5 layer models in the $100-$150 price range, and its 3-layer construction and quality materials add to its overall performance and value. While the Rainshadow isn't a screaming deal, it does provide a higher level of performance over the more basic models.

Patagonia Rainshadow rain jacket - the rainshadow is a solid, versatile jacket that will work well for...
The Rainshadow is a solid, versatile jacket that will work well for all but the most demanding of users.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Conclusion


The Patagonia Rainshadow is a slightly above-average jacket at a slightly above-average price. It's a non-air-permeable proprietary option that offers solid performance and vastly outperforms nearly all 2.5-layer models in the lower-priced range. Our testing team found it quite versatile and note that it will perform well for all but the most demanding users. It's perfect for those who demand a little more performance than the most basic of models and are willing to pay a little more for these attributes.

Ian Nicholson
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