The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Patagonia Torrentshell Pant Review

“Normal” rain pants for occasional and light-duty use.
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Price:  $100 List | $99.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
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
#6 of 11
  • 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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $99.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$139.99 at Backcountry
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$149.00 at Amazon
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$94.98 at Backcountry
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$54.98 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Light, with enough weather protection for mostLight, protective, quiet fabricMega stretchy fabric, best breathability in the review, built in belt is the bombBy far the lightest and most compact pant in our review, great mobility, elastic waist band is extremely comfortable and functionalCompact, light, affordable
Cons Limited durability, zippers that leak a little in extended useFew features, no full side zips, no zip flyNot quite as abrasion resistant as other models, so-so weather-resistanceLess durable than most, hard to pull on over bootsThin fabric prone to tearing, limited breathability
Bottom Line “Normal” rain pants for occasional and light-duty use.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.Budget, lightweight pants totally suitable for occasional use.
Rating Categories Patagonia Torrentshell Pant Outdoor Research Foray Pants Stretch Ozonic Pants Outdoor Research Helium Pant Marmot PreCip Pant
Water Resistance (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Comfort And Mobility (18%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Breathability & Venting (18%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
Features (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Packed Size (12%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Weight (17%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
Durability (5%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
Specs Patagonia... Outdoor Research... Stretch Ozonic Pants Outdoor Research... Marmot PreCip Pant
Measured Weight 9.5 oz / 271g 10.2 oz / 289g 10 oz / 283g 6.5 oz / 184g 8 oz / 225g
Waterproof Fabric Material H2No Perfomance Standard Gore-Tex 2.5 Layer Dry Q Active Stretch 2.5 Layer Pertex Shield+ Nano Pro
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 2.7-oz 50-denier 100% recycled nylon ripstop 2L 100% Polyester 50D 40D Dry Q Active Stretch 30D 100 Nylon Ripstop w/ Pertex Shield+ Waterproof Breathable Insert NanoPro100% Nylon Ripstop 2.2 oz/ yd
Pockets 2 pockets 1 pocket 1 pocket 1 pocket 3 pockets
Side Zips Length? 3/4 length side zips 3/4-Length Full Length Side Zips 1/4 Length Ankle Zips 1/4 Length
Put on Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Inseam Length, Size Medium 32 in 30 in 30, 32, 34 in 31 in 32 in
Stows Into Pocket? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Waist band Style Elastic + shock cord Elastic + shock cord Nylon Belt + Elastic Band Elastic + Shock Cord 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.

Performance Comparison


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 slip easily in both directions. Only snowshoes or skis will have to be removed.
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.

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. Our Editors Choice winner is made from Gore-Tex and will keep you drier for longer and in more stout conditions. Check out the Outdoor Research Foray if you need to carry the pants more than you wear them.

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.
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.

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  but it just doesn't breathe as well as Gore-Tex or EVent.
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.

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

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 Torrentshell. Rain pants generally have minimal features. Most have just one pocket  if any. This dual set is refreshing and welcome.
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.

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

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

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