Patagonia Storm Racer - Women's Review
Cons: Less breathable, less comfortable, super expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Storm Racer is a unique, waterproof layer meant for racing in bad conditions. It fits over your running pack without blocking access to your essentials and is tough enough to handle whatever the weather throws at it.
One of the main things that sets running jackets apart from all the other types of jackets you have in your closet is breathability. These products are meant for life on the move, and as such, they need to be able to keep you comfortable when you're working hard. There are a few ways jackets can do this, either by employing a breathable fabric or including vents at the spots where you tend to heat up most.
Unfortunately, the Storm Racer is not a very breathable jacket, but it also isn't really made for that. It's difficult for any garment to keep out the elements while allowing air to flow, so this jacket clearly made a decision about its use. This would not be a good jacket for anything less than truly horrible weather. At some point, the rain can be bad enough to be more important than ventilation, at which time the Storm Racer is the best tool for the job. But until that point, this jacket is not our top pick.
Most of the time, we have to admit that we tend to stay indoors if it's raining cats and dogs. But what if you have a race scheduled, or you've traveled halfway across the world to explore a new trail, and it's dumping? Well, then you need a running rain jacket like the Storm Racer.
Most of the jackets in this review are explicitly not rain jackets, but what if you must venture out in a downpour? That's where the Storm Racer shines. It's meant to fit over your pack so you can keep all your gear dry, too. It has two front zippers that come right up to the face to lockout blowing rain. Additionally, the hood is bombproof, with a great brim and fantastic adjustability. It's also one of the only jackets in this review that's actually waterproof, not just water-resistant. If you live in a chronically rainy place or you have some races planned during monsoon season, this puppy may be your new best friend.
Comfort and Mobility
In running, we've learned that comfort can be just as much a metric of performance as breathability and weather resistance. A garment that fits poorly or has uncomfortable materials may seem like no big deal a mile from home, but keep running and soon you'll find these details nagging, chafing, and rubbing.
This category is not where the Storm Racer excels. It has no stretch, and while the inner material isn't uncomfortable, it doesn't have the luxuriousness of some of its competitors. The hood is adjustable and fits nicely, which is a plus, but the fit is strange overall. It's meant to be worn over a small pack, which means that without the pack, it's quite baggy in the upper torso. While the fit is great with a hydration vest or something similar, we wouldn't usually wear the Storm Racer without one.
Weather can change in the blink of an eye, which is why it's important to have a jacket that's light enough and packable enough to carry. The Storm Racer is not a super light jacket, but it brings a lot to the table. It has multiple layers of weather protection with an interior layer that's much more comfortable than its outer layer. All of this comes at a cost, though; in this case, it's 6.3 ounces for a size small. There are lightweight jackets in this review that weigh less than half as much.
One thing we like about this jacket is its unique solution to packing away despite not having pockets. There's a small pouch in the hood for this, and the Storm Racer easily stows away for times when the sun comes out, and you don't need it anymore.
The Storm Racer doesn't have a whole lot of features, including pockets. It makes sense, though, when you realize that this jacket was made to be worn over a pack. Its dual zippers make accessing your stuff easy, so why would you need more exterior storage?
Additionally, this jacket has no reflectivity, which is less important on trails than it is on the road. We do love the snaps at the waist that allow for both easier movement and easier removal. But other than that, the Storm Racer is really simple, which is why it gets a low score in this category.
This jacket is expensive, but it also has a few characteristics that none of the other jackets we tested do. First, it fits over your pack, not under it; second, it's actually waterproof. If you're looking for a race day rain shell, we think you'll find that the Storm Racer is worth its expensive price tag. But, if you're a casual runner just looking for basic protection from the elements, this probably isn't worth it.
The Patagonia Storm Racer finds a niche that, frankly, we didn't even know existed. Simply put, this is a race day shell for distance runners who need to bring a pack and don't want everything to get wet. It is not an everyday product for the average runner, which is why it has a low overall score despite taking home a Top Pick Award. However, if you find yourself frequently running in the rain, you'll be ecstatic that this jacket exists.
— Lauren DeLaunay