If there were a category for best name, Patagonia would win for its clever play on words. The Torrentshell is a solid, all-purpose rain shell. It does not stand out in any category but performs decently overall, and is versatile enough to be carried into the backcountry or used as an everyday, around-town rain jacket. It crosses over readily to skiing or other winter activities because of the extra room for layers and is optimized for backpacking, hiking, and climbing. Ultimately, it's up against some stiff competition in this category, and it just doesn't quite make the cut to be among our award winners.
Patagonia Torrentshell - Women's Review
Cons: Baggy fit, not comfort-driven
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Patagonia Torrentshell - Women's
|Price||$96.73 at REI||$119.26 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Waterproof, affordable, packable||Water resistant, wind resistant and breathable, dual direction whole side/pit vents, dual direction main zipper||Exceedingly water resistant, great fit, comfortable fabric, good zipper design, very durable||Incredibly stretchy, comfortable, breathable, long arms, not crinkly||Simple but functional, can pack away hood, high pockets for waistbelt, inexpensive|
|Cons||Baggy fit, not comfort-driven||Very difficult to pack into its pocket, sleeves a bit short, main zipper difficult to match up||No pit zips for dumping excess heat in a pinch, doesn't pack into a pocket, expensive||Thin, hood not great coverage, not windproof||Not the most durable, hood not great protection, difficult to fit into pocket|
|Bottom Line||Not an incredibly high-performer in any category, this model was solid for all-purpose use.||In spite of its relatively large packed size and weight, this jacket will meet every other expectation you have for a rain shell.||Offering impressive protection from the elements in a very comfortable and well-fitting jacket.||You'll pay more for the stretchy fabric of this model, but it just might be worth it if you partake in a lot of aerobic activities that keep you on the move.||A decent jacket that works well without costing a ton.|
|Rating Categories||Torrentshell||Aspire||Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Women's||Stretch Ozonic||Marmot PreCip Eco - Women's|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Weight And Packability (10%)|
|Specs||Torrentshell||Aspire||Arc'teryx Zeta SL...||Stretch Ozonic||Marmot PreCip Eco...|
|Measured Weight||10.0 oz||11.4 oz||9.4 oz||9.4 oz||8.7 oz|
|Number of Fabric Layers||2.5||2||2||2.5||2.5|
|Material||H2No (2.5-layer), 100% recycled nylon ripstop, DWR treatment||GORE-TEX with PACLITE technology 2L, 100% polyester 50D plain weave||40D ripstop (N40r) GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus, DWR treatment||Dry.Q Active Stretch 40D 2.5L (100% nylon)||NanoPro Eco 100% recycled nylon ripstop 24 oz/yd|
|Pockets||2 hand||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Stows into Pocket||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Carabiner Loop in Stow Pocket||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Torrentshell is made of Patagonia's H2No technology on environmentally friendly, 100% recycled ripstop nylon with DWR treatment. This 2.5 layer jacket has two hand pockets, a helmet-compatible hood, and stuffs into its own pocket.
The Torrentshell isn't a total disappointment in the water resistance category, but we do have a few criticisms worth noting. With prolonged exposure to even the slightest sustained rain, we observed some slight leaks around the sleeve cuffs. This, along with the fact that the front zipper, although equipped with a storm flap, isn't fully watertight, makes it less than impressive in this metric. This is also another one of the jackets that needed to have its DWR finish redone before testing wrapped because it seems to wear off rather quickly.
This jacket has an exceptionally baggy fit, making it easy to wear warm layers underneath, but a bit too roomy when wearing minimal layers. One relatively minor design issue we found is that the baggy fit causes the main zipper to pucker out, giving it an uncomfortable paunchy feeling when sitting down or wearing a pack. The hood, however, is among the better ones we tested, fitting well with and without a helmet and maintaining good mobility and peripheral vision. It is easily adjusted with two front cinches and one at the back of your head. If you like large, spacious hoods, you'll be a fan of this one.
The Torrentshell is constructed of 2.5 layer H2No Performance Standard shell with waterproof/breathable 100% nylon ripstop. This material breathes well, but it isn't the most impressive we reviewed. Pit vents and a roomy fit aid also in air circulation, which ultimately helps this jacket breathe.
This jacket is fairly rugged and reasonably dependable. Ripstop nylon helps stop tears, making it pretty well-suited to climbing and other abrasive adventures. Patagonia also submits each of its shell jackets to what they call their "Killer Wash," a durability test that has established a fair amount of notoriety. Their high standard for durability is part of their overall high-quality standards, as well as their commitment to minimizing environmental impacts. A durable jacket will last longer, and in turn, reduces waste.
Weight and Packability
The Torrentshell weighs in at 10.0 ounces, placing it on the upper end of jackets we tested but still making it light enough to not be a burden on weight restrictions for most of your outdoor activities. Like many newer rain jackets, this one stuffs into its own pocket. It also has a carabiner clip loop sewn into the inside of said pocket so you can clip it onto your harness or pack if there is inclement weather afoot. The clip loop is also a contrasting color, which makes it easier to locate. These may seem like small things, but we appreciate this attention to detail when gearing up for our drizzly outdoor exploits.
This jacket won't break the bank, but it's overshadowed by others in this review. We tested several impressive competitors that either perform better and cost more (but we think are worth their price) or perform better or nearly as well and cost about the same or less than the Torrentshell. However, it does come complete with Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee, so if you do encounter any technical difficulties along your journeys, they guarantee their products for a lifetime.
The Torrentshell is a simple rain shell, and although it is not loaded with tons of comfy features, it is light, rugged, and boasts a reasonable balance of water resistance and breathability. It is thoughtfully crafted with the outdoor enthusiast in mind, and without anything to compare it to, it's a decent option. Unfortunately, in the shadow of some impressive contenders, it just can't quite compete.
— Maggie Brandenburg & Katherine Elliott