Patagonia Torrentshell 3L - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Waterproof fabric, protective storm flaps, stowable
Cons: Crinkly and stiff, zippers not waterproof
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Torrentshell is a 3 layer jacket made of 100% recycled nylon made with Patagonia's H2NO treatment. It packs into its left-hand pocket and features an adjustable hood and hem, Velcro wrist cuffs, and dual direction pit zips.
The H2NO treatment on the Torrentshell's recycled nylon exterior does a solid job of repelling water. In both our extensive rain trials and our water pooling tests, it showed no weaknesses. This triple-layer construction makes a good barrier against the rain. However, none of the zippers are waterproof. The pockets and vents are small, fine zippers covered by storm flaps that will keep most rain out under non-intensive, regular use in moderate rain. The main zipper is wider toothed but protected by 2.5 storm flaps - one large flap inside, one large flap outside, and a second much narrower flap outside on the opposite side from the main storm flap. This system does a pretty good job of protecting the zippers from getting too wet in most rainstorms that can't be described by the words "deluge" or "gale".
The hood has dual adjustment points on either side of your chin, as well as a third on the back of your head. A modest brim helps protect your eyes. The hem is also adjustable on both sides, and the wrist cuffs adjust with velcro. Overall, the Torrentshell provides protection from the rain that's good enough for most people in most circumstances.
Unfortunately, when it comes to comfort, the Torrentshell is one of our least favorite models. It's stiff and crinkly and thick. It feels louder than normal to wear, has no stretch at all, and doesn't move with you very well. Putting our arms up in this jacket leaves our wrists more exposed than a lot of other models. The microfleece-lined neck Patagonia advertises is a narrow patch on the back of the neck; this was in a spot that barely touched the back of our necks. It doesn't have any microfleece on the chin, as many of its competitors do. The hood itself is on the small side and tends to leave your face exposed if you're sporting a ponytail.
We're also perplexed by the stowability of the hood. Said to "stow with a simplified cord-and-hook design", we can't figure out why you'd want to. To stow, it rolls down toward the back of your neck and a small hook from the adjustable back of the hood then hooks to a little loop on the tag in the jacket. It causes the chin guards to partially fold inward toward your face, completely covers the little microfleece neck patch, and holds the bulk of the hood on the back of your neck, which feels odd. At the end of the day, we found that the Torrentshell falls short of our comfort desires.
A lightly textured interior helps this jacket wick away moisture a bit if you find yourself sweating in it. 10.5" dual-direction pit vents are also a big help. However, that's about where the breathability of the Torrentshell ends. Like many other rain jackets we tested, this one works fine for moderate-intensity activities but doesn't quite attain the level of breathability we prefer in a running jacket. It does offer decent wind resistance, though, but those non-waterproof zippers are a weak point on that front.
Constructed of ripstop recycled nylon, the Torrentshell is reasonably durable. Its DWR treatment held up well during our several months of testing and can be easily reapplied in a regular washing machine. It doesn't stretch at all, which could present issues if you're planning to be exceptionally active in your jacket, but we didn't have any problems with it throughout its many trials. Yet it's up against some seriously tough competition and just isn't as impressive as many others we tested. The single stitched seams are perfectly adequate but don't exactly give off the same "bombproof" impression as some other models do. Though it's worth noting that Patagonia backs all their products with their lifelong "Ironclad Guarantee".
Weight and Packability
Weighing 11.7 ounces, the Torrentshell is one of the heaviest rain jackets we tested. It does pack into its own left-hand pocket, though. This is a less pleasant process, though, as the stiff, bulky coat is difficult to jam through the comparatively small pocket opening. Once you do finally get the whole thing crammed inside, there's a small carabiner loop on the outside so you can easily clip this bulky mass to whatever you want.
The Torrentshell is on the low side of the average price among raincoats we tested. For the performance it brings to the table, there are much cheaper options. There are even cheaper options that perform better than this jacket. However, if you prefer buying sustainable options and don't need anything special from your rain jacket, this Patagonia piece is created using more sustainable methods than most - and that just might be worth the extra dough.
The Patagonia Torrentshell is an adequate rain jacket that does a solid job keeping the wearer dry. It's crinkly and bulky and not the most comfortable option, but it's also not the worst.
— Maggie Brandenburg