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Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Pant - Women's Review

Simple and lightweight but also light on features
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $120 List | $119.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, recycled materials, lightweight, great zipper and vent design
Cons:  Heavier 3 layer material
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 12, 2020
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Water Resistance - 25% 9
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 7
  • Breathability and Venting - 20% 7
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Packed Size - 10% 6
  • Features - 5% 7
  • Durability - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The updated Torrentshell from Patagonia is a very impressive improvement on an old classic. Patagonia employed 3 layer shell fabric for this iteration, making the pants burlier than before. With the same simple design, this ramps up the utility of these shell pants. The generous size zippers allow you to don these pants over bigger footwear, and feature dual zippers which make theme double as side vents — a brilliant thought for these now-thicker pants. Three-layer fabrics are typically considered "hardshells", which we would use in higher mountain settings. These pants are not fully featured to make them our first choice for activities involving snow and crampons, but they will stand up to a trip or two, and will be reliable and durable enough to inspire confidence.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Patagonia Torrentshell pants are new and improved. The 3 layer design is much more inspiring for long term durability as well as broader versatility (like higher trips in the mountains). The internal face fabric is now softer to the touch.

Performance Comparison


The Patagonia Torrentshell rain pants are great when it's torrential.
The Patagonia Torrentshell rain pants are great when it's torrential.

Water Resistance


The Torrentshell pants are a burly 3 layer shell pant, making them a reliable wet-weather companion.


The H2NO material has been a mainstay of Patagonia's waterproof line for a long time and has held up in our tests. The side zippers and hand pockets have storm flaps instead of waterproof zippers which improves long term durability with little consequence to waterproofness, in our experience. That said, expensive smartphones should not be trusted in a so-called waterproof pocket.

With the update to 3 layer shell material  the Patagonia Torrentshell pants are burlier than ever.
With the update to 3 layer shell material, the Patagonia Torrentshell pants are burlier than ever.

Comfort and Mobility


With Patagonia's 3 layer update, comfort and mobility are drastically improved. The new fabric has a soft-to-the-touch face fabric, which improves feel, and reduces clamminess. The burlier fabric is also a little stiffer, which keeps the pants from clinging to your leg or pants underneath when it is humid.


The long side zippers rise to your knee, making them exceptionally easy to put on and take off over footwear. This won't help you get them on over mountaineering boots, but most other wet-weather footwear should be negotiable, making them fast to put on in inclement weather.

Donning the Patagonia Torrentshell pants in a hurry? No problem  with the generous knee-high side zippers.
Donning the Patagonia Torrentshell pants in a hurry? No problem, with the generous knee-high side zippers.

Breathability and Venting


These pants were reasonably breathable and featured double zippers, which could be unzipped to function as side vents; this is a brilliant feature and one which makes them highly versatile as a 3 layer shell pant.


These are now a bit thicker than the previous 2.5 layer iteration, but we think it was a wise change. With the emergency venting, the slightly thicker material does not hinder the versatility of these pants. We would take these on the occasional summer mountaineering trip, but also find them to be a useful go-to for lower elevation adventures in wet climates.

We loved the dual purpose side zipper: For easy on/off  and for venting! The key: Zippers on either end allow you to vent from the knee.
We loved the dual purpose side zipper: For easy on/off, and for venting! The key: Zippers on either end allow you to vent from the knee.

Weight


At 11 ounces for a size small, these pants are certainly lightweight enough for most backcountry use. Given the added versatility of the 3 layer fabric and clever side zip and vent design, as well as overall ease of donning and comfort, we think these are likely worth it for year-round versatility.


Packed Size


These are not the most compact pants in this review, but the simple feature set ensures they are stuffable enough for most backcountry enthusiasts.


They stuff into the left-hand pocket and have a clippable loop in case you want to clip them from something. We did not find this feature to be helpful, but perhaps it can help protect the material of the pants from dirt and sharp objects while traveling.

The Patagonia Torrentshells are impressively light and compact for 3 layer rain pants!
The Patagonia Torrentshells are impressively light and compact for 3 layer rain pants!

Features


We like side zips and vents on rain pants. The dual purposed side zippers worked well on these pants, unzipping to the knee to put them on, or unzipping from the knee to ventilate.


We could put these pants on over most footwear except bigger boots. The pants have two zippered hand pockets and can stuff into the left-hand pocket, revealing a clippable loop. We do not commonly use the stow pocket on our rain pants, but it can be good for protecting them in a duffel full of gear.

Side zippers to the knee make for easy on/of with the Torrentshell pants.
Side zippers to the knee make for easy on/of with the Torrentshell pants.

The cuffs are only minimally adjustable with a button closure system that can be snapped closed in two places. There is no shoelace catch or loops to tie a cord to hook under your shoes, so the cuffs stay low around your shoes. These features would improve their versatility.

Durability


The 50-denier 100% recycled nylon ripstop proved plenty durable during our testing period. This is a relatively high durability rating for fabric, and certainly on the higher end of this review.


The simple design of the pants also contributed to their durability, as well as the straight-leg, athletic fit, which keeps the material closer to your body when moving. The stiffer materials also help prevent the pants from catching on shrubs and small trees, which we appreciate.

We love the simplicity of the Patagonia Torrentshell pants: There is little to fail.
We love the simplicity of the Patagonia Torrentshell pants: There is little to fail.

Value


For a product you can feel good about purchasing, these pants are a good deal. They are made of recycled nylon ripstop, and we were surprised, ultimately, to see such an affordable price tag from one of our favorite ethical outdoor apparel companies.

Conclusion


The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L pants are an impressive update from the old 2.5 layer version. This was an intelligent move by Patagonia, and it makes them more comfortable and versatile. We like the softer feel of the internal face fabric, as well as the more durable material. In combination with one of our favorite side-zip/side-vent combinations, these pants are a great choice.

Storm brewing on the horizon? No worries if you have the Patagonia Torrentshell ready to deploy!
Storm brewing on the horizon? No worries if you have the Patagonia Torrentshell ready to deploy!

Lyra Pierotti