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Patagonia Torrentshell - Women's Review

A solid, all-purpose rain shell that did not stand out in any category.
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Price:  $129 List | $95.93 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Waterproof, affordable, packable
Cons:  Baggy fit, not comfort-driven
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Maggie Brandenburg & Katherine Elliott  ⋅  Nov 13, 2019
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Water Resistance - 30% 6
  • Comfort - 25% 4
  • Breathability - 20% 6
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Weight and Packability - 10% 6

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 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.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Waterproof, affordable, packableWater resistant, wind resistant and breathable, dual direction whole side/pit vents, dual direction main zipperExceedingly water resistant, great fit, comfortable fabric, good zipper design, very durableIncredibly stretchy, comfortable, breathable, long arms, not crinklySimple but functional, can pack away hood, high pockets for waistbelt, inexpensive
Cons Baggy fit, not comfort-drivenVery difficult to pack into its pocket, sleeves a bit short, main zipper difficult to match upNo pit zips for dumping excess heat in a pinch, doesn't pack into a pocket, expensiveThin, hood not great coverage, not windproofNot the most durable, hood not great protection, difficult to fit into pocket
Bottom Line A solid, all-purpose rain shell that did not stand out in any category.Waterproof, breathable, and comfortable, it's an all-in-one marvel.A seriously protective jacket that's also impressively comfortable and could double as a lightweight hardshell in a pinch.Its status as a highly functioning stretchy rain jacket sets this model apart and will suit your active lifestyle be it rain or shine.A solid, non-technical rain shell that will get the job done without making you broke.
Rating Categories Torrentshell Aspire Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Women's Stretch Ozonic Marmot PreCip Eco - Women's
Water Resistance (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Comfort (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Breathability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Weight And Packability (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
8
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
Pit Zips Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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.

Performance Comparison


Its large  boxy fit wasn't the most flattering but it did make it a great choice for easy  comfy layering.
Its large, boxy fit wasn't the most flattering but it did make it a great choice for easy, comfy layering.

Water Resistance


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.


Comfort


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 spacious hood is easily adjusted for a comfy fit with the easy to use pull tabs below the chin.
The spacious hood is easily adjusted for a comfy fit with the easy to use pull tabs below the chin.

Breathability


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.

Pit zips are simply a must for any rain jacket; these are easy to use and the zippers ran smoothly.
Pit zips are simply a must for any rain jacket; these are easy to use and the zippers ran smoothly.

Durability


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.


Value


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.

Conclusion


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