These pants are nothing special; that is a good thing. They aren't the best, they aren't the worst, and they aren't the most expensive. They simply keep the rain out when you need it, and pack away quietly when you don't. Others are lighter while others are more protective and durable, but the Patagonia Torrentshell hits a sweet spot. For more dollars, our Editors' Choice winner deserves a look. For a nice intersection of value and performance, check out the Torrentshell.
Patagonia Torrentshell Pant Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Light, with enough weather protection for most
Cons: Limited durability, zippers that leak a little in extended use
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Patagonia Torrentshell Pant
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|Pros||Light, with enough weather protection for most||Lightweight, excellent stormworthiness, packable, sweet 3/4 length side zips, impressive breathability||Lightweight, stormworthy, quiet fabric, good breathability, 3/4 length side zips, effective elastic cuffs||Mega stretchy fabric, best breathability in the review, built in belt is the bomb||By far the lightest and most compact pant in our review, great mobility, elastic waist band is extremely comfortable and functional|
|Cons||Limited durability, zippers that leak a little in extended use||No pockets, waist band is not as nice as others, expensive||No zip fly, one marginally useful pocket, DWR didn't last as long as other models and needed to be retreated more frequently||Not quite as abrasion resistant as other models, so-so weather-resistance||Less durable than most, hard to pull on over boots|
|Bottom Line||“Normal” rain pants for occasional and light-duty use.||Lightweight, yet tough, comfortable, and articulated enough for a week long backpacking trips where it rains every day.||Highly protective pants that are light and compact for tucking away in your backpack.||A fantastic all-around pant with rad stretchy fabric, which offers exceptional freedom of movement and the best breathability.||Hard to beat for any trip where weight and packed space are at a premium - as long as there isn't too much off-trail travel, where their lower than average durability could be an issue.|
|Rating Categories||Patagonia Torrentshell Pant||Arc'teryx Zeta SL Pant||Outdoor Research Foray Pants||Stretch Ozonic Pants||Outdoor Research Helium Pant|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Comfort And Mobility (18%)|
|Breathability & Venting (18%)|
|Packed Size (12%)|
|Specs||Patagonia...||Arc'teryx Zeta SL...||Outdoor Research...||Stretch Ozonic Pants||Outdoor Research...|
|Measured Weight||9.5 oz / 271g||8.6 oz / 245g||10.2 oz / 289g||10 oz / 283g||6.5 oz / 184g|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||H2No Perfomance Standard||Gore-Tex Paclite Plus 2L||Gore-Tex||2.5 Layer Dry Q Active Stretch||2.5 Layer Pertex Shield+|
|Face Fabric and Layer Construction||2.7-oz 50-denier 100% recycled nylon ripstop||40-denier nylon ripstop||2L 100% Polyester 50D||40D Dry Q Active Stretch||30D 100 Nylon Ripstop w/ Pertex Shield+ Waterproof Breathable Insert|
|Pockets||2 pockets||0 pockets||1 pocket||1 pocket||1 pocket|
|Side Zips Length?||3/4 length side zips||3/4 length side zips||3/4-Length||Full Length Side Zips||1/4 Length Ankle Zips|
|Put on Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Inseam Length, Size Medium||32 in||30, 32, 34 in||30 in||30, 32, 34 in||31 in|
|Stows Into Pocket?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Waist band Style||Elastic + shock cord||Nylon Belt + Elastic Band||Elastic + shock cord||Nylon Belt + Elastic Band||Elastic + Shock Cord|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Torrentshell Pants from Patagonia are simple, lightweight, waterproof shell pants for short-term and occasional use. They are very similar to many products on the market, in a number of ways. The attribute that best differentiates them is the environmentally friendly materials, construction, and business model behind them. For many, this alone will be worth the modest price of admission, especially when the product works just fine in a category that doesn't demand maximum performance.
In total, these are nothing super special. They aren't the lightest, aren't the most durable, aren't the most comfortable, and aren't the most weatherproof. However, they aren't the most expensive either, and Patagonia backs them up with their renowned warranty and environmental consciousness.
Rain pants, for most users, need to keep out periodic short showers and occasional lengthier deluges. In this context and these uses, the Torrentshell pants will hang in there. The lining is a little vulnerable to long term wear, and the zippers aren't as water-tight as some. Again, for short term and occasional use, the Torrentshell will keep out the weather.
Comfort and Mobility
Patagonia's athletic cut leaves room for motion. Some testers wish the pants were less baggy. When wet, the thin fabric and clingy lining stick to inner layers and bind up a little bit. The drawstring waist holds the pants up and stays low-profile beneath even heavy backpack waist belts.
Breathability and Venting
There are two clear strata (with one exception) in the realm of waterproof fabric breathability. At the top of the heap is the externally branded, licensed coatings and laminates. Gore-Tex and EVent definitely breathe better than the proprietary coatings and laminates. Patagonia, in the Torrentshell Pants, uses their own branded "H2No" fabric. The most significant difference between it and one of the licensed fabrics is the breathability.
Ventilation is separate from breathability. To us, breathability is the transmission of water vapor through the fabric itself. Ventilation is the ability to open zippers or other closures for full air exchange. The ventilation option on the Torrentshell is the 3/4 length side zips. They open from both top and bottom and can pretty effectively shed air. The catch is that open vents on your rain pants will definitely allow rain in just as effectively as they let air move around. This is the case with any rain and shell pants. The 3/4 side zips of the Torrentshell are similar to those on the Outdoor Research Foray and on the Arc'teryx Beta AR.
A couple pockets are all we can comment on, in terms of features, for the Torrentshell Pants. Two hand-warmer style pockets on rain pants, though, makes for a pretty robust feature set. For the most part, shell pants are very simply constructed. We dig the dual pockets on the Torrentshell, which even our Editors' Choice winner is lacking.
The Torrentshell Pants pack to about the size of a 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew; this is typical for pants in this price and protection category. The Top Pick Outdoor Research Helium Pants pack even smaller, while the Arc'teryx Beta AR shove down to a size that is almost three times the bulk of the Torrentshell.
The size medium Torrentshell Pants we tested weigh 9.5 oz. A few pairs are lighter, and lots are heavier. A close competitor, in a variety of ways, is the Marmot PreCip Pant. The non-full-zip version of the PreCip is about an ounce lighter than the Torrentshell. The Top Pick Outdoor Research Helium is much lighter at 6.5oz.
The thin fabric of these and the "2.5 layer" construction won't be the most long-lasting choice. You don't select these for durability. We have seen other products made with Patagonia's "2.5 layer H2No" fabric lose all waterproofing after a few seasons of use. We haven't yet tested the Torrentshell Pants long enough to ascertain maximum durability, but our experience with similar products suggests some durability limitations. This shouldn't be a huge deal-breaker, as most just won't use their lightweight rain pants often enough to wear them out prematurely.
These are the pants you tuck in the bottom of your ice climbing pack as extra warmth or that you carry the length of the Appalachian Trail to use just a handful of times. They are light and unobtrusive (though not as light and compact as others) with just the right amount of protection when you need it.
Patagonia backs up the Torrentshell Pants with a guarantee and assurances of environmental sensitivity. If these things matter to you, the value of the Patagonia product may exceed that of the Best Buy award winner.
We don't have much to say about the Patagonia Torrentshell Pants. This is a good thing. They'll work when you need them to and stow away largely unnoticed when you don't.
— Jediah Porter