The latest model of this jacket, the Torrentshell 3L, features a 3-layer fabric, an updated design for the storm flap to mitigate zipper snags, and a roll-and-stow hood design. The jacket is also slightly heavier by about 1.5 oz. Compare the two jackets below; the updated 3L is shown first, followed by the older Torrentshell we tested.
We link to the Torrentshell 3L in this review, however, the text below pertains only to the previous model.
Hands-On Review of the Torrentshell
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.
Its large, boxy fit wasn't the most flattering but it did make it a great choice for easy, comfy layering.
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 spacious hood is easily adjusted for a comfy fit with the easy to use pull tabs below the chin.
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.
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.