I can think of a few times when a jacket like the Patagonia Torrentshell would have come in handy. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons for hiking. It's never too hot, and you don't run into people. But the fickle weather has gotten me many times, assuming the day would stay dry, only to be soaked by the evening. Or the times I'd layer up in the morning, and sweating like a pig on the mountain in the afternoon.

This is why I love a good 2.5-layer rain shell. They’re so versatile and portable that I don’t mind the changing weather. And they don’t have to be very expensive. The Patagonia Torrentshell is a bargain compared to some of the higher-end shells. But how does it stack up to the competition?

Comparison Table

The Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket

The new, upgraded Patagonia Torrentshell is a tough 2.5-layer jacket shell for a variety of settings and situations. It’s for those unpredictable days when you want to hike but can’t be sure what to prepare for.

The Patagonia Torrentshell has many of the features of high-end adventure rain jackets, but a much lower price. Can it compete with more expensive jackets? Yes, though you will sacrifice some of the special gimmicks. But overall this is a great-looking all-purpose shell, with exceptional quality for the price. On top of that, it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Features

The Patagonia Torrentshell isn't as feature-packed as some of the higher-end jackets, but what it does, it does well.

Hood

Pockets

Materials and hardware

The Patagonia Torrentshell hiking experience

man hiking on mountain

At the end of the day, a softshell is only as good as its ability to keep the rain and wind out. Lightweight, affordable shell jackets don’t always do a great job at this. But the Patagonia Torrentshell does. It will keep you warm and dry on adventures in moderate conditions and shorter voyages in harsher conditions. But that’s not to say it’s completely waterproof.

With longer exposure to heavy rain, the shell will begin absorbing some moisture. The damp material may eventually press against your skin. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a whitewater adventure, a sailing trip, or a long trek through deep, wet snow. But it's still a great choice for all moderate adventures and everyday use in rainy climates.

On the positive side, this jacket is easy to adjust in variable conditions. Tightening or loosening the cuffs, hem, and hood, and folding the visor are almost instantaneous. The pit zips are also easy. When everything’s closed, wind and light rain are no problem whatsoever. One thing that could be better is the main zipper’s storm flap design, which can be somewhat inconvenient.

Fit and comfort

woman taking coffee camping

The Patagonia Torrentshell isn't the fluffy, formless sack we’ve come to expect of cheaper shells. While it’s not a tight, form-fitting cut, it’s snug enough to stay firmly in place. It won’t affect your mobility the way a loose or bulky jacket would. And it’s still roomy enough to accommodate a good layer of insulation like a fleece or a light down puffy.

The Patagonia Tortoiseshell is long enough to keep your midsection and upper legs dry and warm, as well as to sit down without worries. But it's not so long that it restricts mobility. There are situations where you’d want a longer jacket, but this one is good enough for practically every condition. Amazon reviewers say it’s good for rainy days, and that it fits great.

The adjustable hood makes it easy to establish a comfortable fit for anyone. It provides great coverage without restricting your peripheral vision much. The cuffs are easy to get right too. One thing to note though, if you have long arms like me, the sleeves may be a bit short.

The breathability is good, but you can tell it’s a budget-oriented shell. Strenuous activity in moderate temperatures can get you sweaty pretty fast, and it gets damp in there after a while. It’s a great choice for colder conditions if you layer right, and it’s not bad in moderate temperatures either if you don’t push yourself too hard. But if you want a waterproof shell that breathes well, you'll have to face higher prices.

Packing and carrying

woman backpacking

The Patagonia Torrentshell is easy to remove and pack. Shake it dry, stuff it into its own left pocket, and secure it with the double-sided zipper. The bundle will be the size of a large orange. A strong loop lets you secure it to your backpack, harness, bike, and more for easy carrying. It’s light enough to carry around like this on longer treks. A men's medium weighs in at 11.3oz. There are lighter options available, but the differences are insignificant.

How We Reviewed

We researched professional and consumer reviews as well as customer reports from all over the web. We’ve also compared user reviews and comments from sites such as Amazon and Reddit.

How Patagonia Torrentshell Compares

Quality is always relative. How does this jacket stand up against the competition? For comparison, we'll look at the PreCip Marmot, The North Face Venture 2, and Patagonia’s Cloud Ridge.

Marmot PreCip

Sale
Marmot Men's PreCip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket, Black, x Large
  • Nanoart technology, waterproof/breathable% seam taped full visibility Roll-up hood with integral storm flap over zipper...

This is the strongest competitor, a well-received and popular 2.5-layer jacket of this price range. It’s very similar to the Patagonia Torrentshell in most regards and offers the same functions and features.

Performance

Packing and carrying

The North Face Venture 2

The North Face Women's Venture 2 Jacket
  • WOMEN'S OUTERWEAR: Stay warm, dry & shielded from the elements wherever adventure takes you with The North Face...
  • MORE THAN JACKETS: If you're looking to spend more time on the slopes or the trails, get equipped with jackets for...
  • GEAR FOR EVERY WEATHER: From rain coats, parkas, ski jackets, pullovers, windbreakers, and vests to base layers, snow...

The Venture 2 is another popular rain shell of similar caliber. It's reasonably priced and lightweight, but how does it perform?

Performance

Carrying

Patagonia Cloud Ridge

Patagonia Men's Cloud Ridge Jacket

Image via patagonia.com

This is, in essence, a high-performance version of the Torrentshell. They’re similar in most regards, but this one is higher quality and more luxurious in general.

Performance

Packing and Carrying

Pros and Cons

With all that information in mind, it’s time to round it up. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of the Patagonia Torrentshell.

Pros

  • Light and easy to carry
  • Great weather protection in modest conditions
  • High-quality, durable build
  • Good fit and comfort

Cons

  • The main storm flaps
  • It could be cheaper

Our Verdict

Given its nice balance of performance and affordability, it’s hard not to recommend this rain shell. It will cover all your basic needs and make rainy and sleety days much more enjoyable. We give it four stars out of four. It has the same rating on Amazon.

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