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For my first performance waterproof breathable shell, the Patagonia Torrentshell rain jacket was a huge step up from my cheaper jackets I used for my first hikes. So, why the Patagonia Torrentshell?
I needed a durable performance shell for when I first went travelling around SE Asia. After trying one on in the Ellis Brigham store in East London I could tell it was well-made and of good quality. It was stronger than any other jacket I’d previously tested and it was the first jacket I’d owned with taped seams and made of 100% recycled nylon. It was going to come in handy for the torrential rains I’d encounter in Indonesia while riding motorbikes and hiking through rainforests.
How did it do?
For 6 months of travelling around SE Asia it was perfect due to its lightweight, packability and durability. It coped with heavy downpours as well as bumps and scrapes while hiking up volcanos and through dense jungle. The first time I noticed the waterproofing start to degrade was when I was riding a motorbike into Denpasar and a huge rainstorm suddenly dumped itself into the highway. The combination of strong side winds and heavy rain managed to drive through the waterproof shell fabric and I was quite soaked underneath. This is, of course, a very extreme case, but I knew it wasn’t condensation because I wasn’t actually working up a sweat while riding the motorbike. While hiking in moderate drizzle with little wind, the jacket still works well and keeps water out.
I’ve used it since on the South Downs Way and various other hikes and it’s still as good as new in terms of the stitching and build quality.
How breathable is it?
The trademarked H2No material is supposed to be highly breathable, but while hiking up steep slopes and building up a sweat, quite a significant amount of moisture builds up on the inside. That said, it is a very comfortable and well-fitted jacket to wear. Recently I’ve been testing a Rohan Helix jacket which after just some short day hikes I can tell it’s much more breathable with its stretchy material while also being very waterproof.
Value for money
I purchased this jacket for £110 a few years back, but recently Patagonia released an updated version of the jacket, the Torrentshell 3L which has an updated zipper which doesn’t snag as well as better waterproofing, however, I haven’t tested it. This jacket is now around £80 now so it’s much better value for money.
- Durability 90% 90%
- Comfort/fit 80% 80%
- Waterproofing 60% 60%
- Breathability 50% 50%
- Quality 90% 90%
- Value to weight ratio 80% 80%
- Value for money 70% 70%
- Highly durable
- Seam taped
- 100% recycled
- Hydrostatic head drops quickly
Waterproof/breathable H2No™ / 100% Recycled Nylon
- Fully Seam-Taped
- YKK® AquaGuard® Center Front Zipper
- Fully Adjustable Hood
- Single-Separating Front Zipper
- Zippered Napoleon Pocket
- Internal Pocket Doubles as Stuff Sack
- Carabiner Loop
- Elastic Cuffs
- Drawcord Hem