Hands-on Gear Review

Patagonia Torrentshell - Women's Review

A solid, all-purpose rain shell that did not stand out in any category
Patagonia Torrentshell - Women's
By: Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 15, 2016
Price:  $129 List  |  $129.00 at REI
Pros:  Good waterproof/breathable standard, affordable, packable, climber-specific and function-driven
Cons:  Not the most tailored fit, not comfort-driven
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Water Resistance - 30% 8
  • Breathability - 15% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Packed Size - 5% 5
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Our Verdict

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 did not stand out in any category, but performed consistently and solidly. Ultimately, it lost the Best Buy award to the Marmot PreCip by only a hair, and this was due to some fairly minor differences: the Torrentshell costs $30 more, and the fit had a minor paunchy quirk.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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The field of rain jackets is a very competitive one these days. Patagonia's Torrentshell performed very well in all categories, but it fell short in just a few minor aspects, and that was enough for it to be edged out of the winning categories. The tried-and-true Marmot PreCip, similar in design and feel, just pulled ahead of the Torrentshell. But if Patagonia's signature environmental ethics are a priority for you, this is an excellent rain jacket that will not disappoint.

Performance Comparison


Patagonia Torrentshell
Patagonia Torrentshell

Water Resistance


The Torrentshell is on par when it comes to water resistance. While we did see a little wet-out on the wrists after prolonged exposure to moderate rain, overall the jacket kept us dry and comfortable.

Water beading up on the face fabric of the Torrentshell.
Water beading up on the face fabric of the Torrentshell.

Breathability


The Torrentshell is constructed of 2.5 layer H2No® Performance Standard shell with waterproof/breathable nylon ripstop. This material breathes well, but it wasn't the best we reviewed. Pit-zips and a roomy fit aid in air circulation, which ultimately helps the jacket breathe.
Showing the Torrentshell's cuff adjusters  pit zips  and other features. This is a standard 2.5 layer rain shell.
Showing the Torrentshell's cuff adjusters, pit zips, and other features. This is a standard 2.5 layer rain shell.

Comfort


This jacket is cut larger than the rest of the jackets we reviewed, making it easy to wear warmer layers underneath, but a bit too roomy when wearing minimal layers. One relatively minor design issue we found was in the cut of the chest. On all of our testers, who are of several different body types, the jacket paunched out in the middle of the chest. This was a mild annoyance when geared up for climbing, where side-to-side mobility and visibility is important when accessing gear from a harness. The hood, however was among the better ones we tested, fitting well with and without a helmet--and maintaining good mobility and peripheral vision when wearing a helmet. It is easily adjusted with two front cinches and one at the back of the head.
Checking out hood mobility of the climbing-optimized Torrentshell.
Checking out hood mobility of the climbing-optimized Torrentshell.

Weight


The Torrentshell weighs in at 11.3 ounces, placing it on the lighter side of the jackets we tested. This makes it a great shell for climbing and backpacking, as well as any travel or urban adventures you can drum up. If you want something ultra-lightweight for long distance backpacking trips or light and fast climbing or skiing missions, check out our Top Pick winner, the OR Helium which is half the weight .

Durability


This jacket is rugged and dependable. Ripstop nylon prevents tears, making it well suited to climbing and other mountain 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 that reduces waste!

The side pockets  showing the carabiner clip loop (orange). The pockets are not ventilated.
The side pockets, showing the carabiner clip loop (orange). The pockets are not ventilated.

Packed Size


Patagonia really got it right with its stowable pocket. The jacket fits tightly (and still easily) into its own pocket, making it one of the smallest packed jackets we reviewed. It also has a carabiner clip loop sewn into the inside of the pocket so you can clip it onto the back of your harness if the skies look dreary at the start of your climb. The clip loop is a contrasting color which makes it easy to locate. These may seem like small things, but our reviewers appreciated the keen awareness of climbers' needs.

The rain jackets packed up into their stowable pockets. From left to right  top to bottom: Sierra Designs Stretch (didn't pack into a pocket)  Columbia Arcadia II  OR Helium II  Marmot PreCip  The North Face Resolve  OR Aspire  Patagonia Torrentshell.
The rain jackets packed up into their stowable pockets. From left to right, top to bottom: Sierra Designs Stretch (didn't pack into a pocket), Columbia Arcadia II, OR Helium II, Marmot PreCip, The North Face Resolve, OR Aspire, Patagonia Torrentshell.

Best Application


The Torrentshell works well for virtually any activity in wet and rainy conditions. It 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. The jacket is optimized for climbing, mountaineering, and backpacking.

Value


At $129 this jacket falls right in the middle of our review's price range. Our Best Buy winner, the Marmot PreCip, performs similarly but costs $30 less. We think the Torrentshell is a great deal for a rain shell very similar to the PreCip, but it is more geared toward technical climbing and mountain use. It will hold up over time, comes complete with Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee, and will do its job keeping you warm and dry.

Conclusion


The Torrentshell is a simple rain shell with a very clever name. While not loaded with comfort features, it is light, rugged, and boasts a good balance of water resistance/breathability. It was thoughtfully crafted with the climber in mind, but still a great all-purpose rain shell.

Lyra Pierotti

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Most recent review: November 15, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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  • 5
 (1.0)

0% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 50%  (1)
Hiker

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   Jun 24, 2016 - 01:18am
Tulsi · Hiker · Ferntree Gully

On your recommendation I purchased this product. I wore it for one hour in light rain and was really wet especially on my back. It's true what you say, the end of the sleeves get very wet. Your recommendation states that this occurs after a long time of wearing. For me this happened after just a few minutes. There seem to be parts of my jacket which repel water for just a short time then they become darker in colour and let water in — a lot of water. After just 10 minutes in light rain today I returned home very wet and cold. I regularly walk long distance over many days and was looking forward to what I thought would be a jacket superior to my usual ponchos and shower proof coats. But they do a much much better job. I'm hoping to return the jacket tomorrow. My advice to anyone considering this jacket is DON'T. Get something else. And it's a shame. I don't know now whether I can trust other recommendations on this site. I don't want to whinge but I do hope I can spare some other poor soul having my unfortunate experience. All the very best from a disappointed Tulsi.



Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.


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