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Patagonia Torrentshell Pant Review

“Normal” rain pants for occasional and light-duty use
Patagonia Torrentshell Pant
Photo: Patagonia
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Price:  $119 List | $119.00 at Backcountry
Pros:  Light, with enough weather protection for most
Cons:  Limited durability, zippers that leak a little in extended use
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 29, 2019
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Water Resistance - 25% 9
  • Comfort and Mobility - 18% 7
  • Breathability & Venting - 18% 7
  • Features - 5% 8
  • Packed Size - 12% 9
  • Weight - 17% 8
  • Durability - 5% 6

Our Verdict

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.

Product Updated

Patagonia revamped these pants for 2020. Check out the details to follow.

February 2020

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $119.00 at Backcountry$89.73 at REI
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$49.95 at Amazon
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$60 List
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$49.99 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Light, with enough weather protection for mostBy far the lightest and most compact pant in our review, great mobility, elastic waist band is extremely comfortable and functionalCompact, light, affordableInexpensive, lightweight, excellent packed size, reasonably weather-resistant, baggy cut makes it easy to wear over other layers, low profile waistband doesn't pinch under a backpackBest pant among $50 and under options, above average durability, excellent storm worthiness
Cons Limited durability, zippers that leak a little in extended useLess durable than most, hard to pull on over bootsThin fabric prone to tearing, limited breathabilityNot especially breathable, clammy with moderate aerobic activity, no front hand pockets, below average articulationNo pockets, breathability, ventilation, not easy to put on without removing footwear
Bottom Line “Normal” rain pants for occasional and light-duty useHard 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 issueBudget, lightweight pants totally suitable for occasional usePerfect for those who want to bring a pair of rain pants but aren't likely to use them very oftenA killer pant for the price, offering better than expected feel and weather resistance, but does not offer much in the way of features
Rating Categories Patagonia Torrentsh... Outdoor Research He... Marmot PreCip Pant Co-op Essential Columbia Rebel Roamer
Water Resistance (25%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Comfort And Mobility (18%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Breathability & Venting (18%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Features (5%)
8.0
5.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Packed Size (12%)
9.0
10.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Weight (17%)
8.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Durability (5%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Patagonia Torrentsh... Outdoor Research He... Marmot PreCip Pant Co-op Essential Columbia Rebel Roamer
Measured Weight 9.5 oz / 271g 6.5 oz / 184g 8 oz / 225g 9.5 oz / 271g 12.5 oz / 354g
Waterproof Fabric Material H2No Perfomance Standard 2.5 Layer Pertex Shield+ Nano Pro 2.5-layer REI Proprietary waterproof breathable fabric Omni-Tech Waterproof/Breathable
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 2.7-oz 50-denier 100% recycled nylon ripstop 30D 100 Nylon Ripstop w/ Pertex Shield+ Waterproof Breathable Insert NanoPro100% Nylon Ripstop 2.2 oz/ yd 40-denier nylon ripstop 70D 100% Nylon
Pockets 2 pockets 1 pocket 3 pockets 1 pocket 0 pockets
Side Zips Length? 3/4 length side zips 1/4 Length Ankle Zips 1/4 Length 1/4 Length Ankle Zips None
Put on Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots Yes No Yes No No
Inseam Length, Size Medium 32 in 31 in 32 in 31.5 inches 30 or 32 in
Stows Into Pocket? Yes Yes No Yes No
Waist band Style Elastic + shock cord Elastic + Shock Cord Elastic + shock cord Elastic + Shock Cord Elastic + Shock Cord

Our Analysis and Test Results

Torrentshell 3L Pant vs. Older Model


Since our last test period, Patagonia remodeled these pants. Instead of the previous 2.5 layer construction, these are constructed with a full 3 layers, using recycled nylon. The first photo depicts the updated pant, the second photo is the model we tested.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

We've purchased the updated pant for testing, but until we release our findings, the review to follow is our account of last year's Torrentshell Pant.

Hands-On Review of the Previous Torrentshell Pant


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.

Over even the bulkiest of backcountry ski boots, the 3/4 side zips...
Over even the bulkiest of backcountry ski boots, the 3/4 side zips slip easily in both directions. Only snowshoes or skis will have to be removed.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Water Resistance


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.

The cuffs of the Torrentshell are best used over regular-sized...
The cuffs of the Torrentshell are best used over regular-sized hiking and mountaineering boots. Over low cut trail shoes they won't seal and it takes work to get them over the top of even low profile AT ski boots.
Photo: Jediah Porter

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.

Patagonia's proprietary "H2No" fabric saves money for you and for...
Patagonia's proprietary "H2No" fabric saves money for you and for Patagonia, but it just doesn't breathe as well as Gore-Tex or EVent.
Photo: Jediah Porter

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.

Venting the Torrentshell side zips does indeed increase airflow. It...
Venting the Torrentshell side zips does indeed increase airflow. It also increases, of course, external water incursion.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Features


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.

Every one of our testers liked the dual hand-warmer pockets of the...
Every one of our testers liked the dual hand-warmer pockets of the Torrentshell. Rain pants generally have minimal features. Most have just one pocket, if any. This dual set is refreshing and welcome.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Packed Size


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 Torrentshell cuffs are tight over ski boots. This isn't their...
The Torrentshell cuffs are tight over ski boots. This isn't their designed use, but some will surely go there.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Weight


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 drawstring waist of the Torrentshell saves weight and bulk over...
The drawstring waist of the Torrentshell saves weight and bulk over different designs. It does all you need it to do.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Durability


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.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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