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.
Patagonia Torrentshell - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Waterproof, affordable, packable
Cons: Baggy fit, not comfort-driven
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
The Torrentshell wasn't a total disappointment in the water resistance category, but we did have a few criticisms worth noting. With sustained exposure to even the slightest sustained rain, we observed some slight leaks around the sleeves cuffs. This along with the fact that the front zipper although equipped with a storm flap, isn't fully watertight, kept it out of the awards circle. This was also one of the jackets that needed to have its DWR finish redone before testing wrapped because it seemed to wear off rather quickly.
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.
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 was the baggy fit caused the zipper to pucker out giving it an uncomfortable feeling when wearing a pack. The hood, however, was among the better ones we tested, fitting well with and without a helmet and maintaining good mobility and peripheral vision with or without a helmet. It is easily adjusted with two front cinches and one at the back of the head; this is the jacket to choose if you tend to like large, spacious hoods.
The Torrentshell weighs in at 10.0 ounces, placing it on the heavier end of the jackets we tested but still making it light enough to not be a burden on weight restrictions for most of your outdoor activities. The modest weight makes it a great shell for hiking or backpacking, and it's a great stow and go choice. If you want something ultra-lightweight for longer 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.
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 in turn, reduces waste.
Patagonia really got it right with its stow-able pocket; the jacket stuffs easily into its own pocket. 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 or pack if there is imminent weather afoot. 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 when gearing up for our outdoor drizzly exploits.
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 and is optimized for backpacking, hiking, and climbing.
At $129 this jacket won't break the bank, but it was just slightly overshadowed by our Best Buy winner, the Marmot PreCip which performed slightly better and costs slightly less. It will hold up over time and comes 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 good balance of water resistance and breathability. It was thoughtfully crafted with the outdoor enthusiast in mind but just in't quite on par with the award winners.
— Katherine Elliott & Lyra Pierotti