Patagonia Rainshadow Review
Cons: Clammier than some, average performance
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|Pros||Excellent DWR, good storm protection, looks sharp, great fit, well-designed hood, stuffs into a reversible zippered pocket||Great storm protection, above average breathability, no clammy feeling, packs tightly into reversible stuff pocket, deep helmet-compatible hood, less crinkly||Incredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume||Versatile, durable, long lasting DWR, good stormworthiness, minimal clammy feel||Insanely lightweight, tiny compressed size, stows tightly in a reversible pocket, hood design maintains great peripheral vision, respectable stormworthiness|
|Cons||Clammier than some, average performance||Average freedom of movement, less stretchy than most other air-permeable models, fit, low handwarmer pockets could be more functional||Wets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior||Heavy, average packed size, mobility, and freedom of movement||Average breathability, minimal hood, only one pocket, not as versatile in the traditional sense|
|Bottom Line||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||This jack-of-all-trades jacket offers some of the best weather protection and durability for an air-permeable model||One of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features||A durable jacket with function focused design that will keep most satisfied, without putting a hole in your wallet||Light and compressible, ideal for trips where low weight is paramount|
|Rating Categories||Patagonia Rainshadow||Outdoor Research Mi...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Patagonia Torrentsh...||Outdoor Research He...|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (18%)|
|Packed Size (7%)|
|Specs||Patagonia Rainshadow||Outdoor Research Mi...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Patagonia Torrentsh...||Outdoor Research He...|
|Measured Weight (Medium)||12 oz||14.5 oz||12.5 oz||14 oz||6.3 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||3L H2No Performance Standard||Ascentshell 3L||2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite||3-layer H2No Performance Standard shell||2.5-layer Pertex Shield|
|Face Fabric and Layer Construction||100% recycled ripstop stretch||100% nylon stretch ripstop||Polyester||350-denier 100% recycled nylon, polycarbonate PU membrane, tricot backer||30D 100 nylon ripstop w/ Pertex Shield+ waterproof breathable insert|
|Pockets||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand||2 zippered hand pockets||1 zippered hand pocket|
|Are lower pockets hipbelt friendly||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Helmet Compatible Hood (not only fits but not too tight)||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Stows Into Pocket?||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Rainshadow offers average compressibility. It packs down plenty small enough to keep most backpackers and hikers satisfied.
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.
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.
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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