There was a time when Patagonia only seemed to occupy the upper price echelons, yet there doesn’t seem to be any compromise at all in the build quality or fabrics with the excellent Torrentshell, even at this lower price point. A fantastic jacket.
- Eco-friendly and ethically made
- Wired peak hood
- Great price point
- Rucksack hip belts can cover pockets
The only difficult decision in choosing the Patagonia Torrentshell as a waterproof jacket is picking a colour – there are 10 available for men and nine for women. The outer shell is made from a tough, recycled nylon, with a membrane to let sweat escape, while a ‘knitted’ tricot liner provides a soft layer next to your skin – with comfort levels enhanced even further at the neck by a micro-fleece lining to snuggle into when the heavens open.
Velcro cuffs and a hem drawcord provide a seal against sideways rain, as do the internal and external storm flaps on either side of the front zip, while the hood adjusts for a close, face-hugging fit. When the weather is more benign the hood folds and hooks down, and pit zips help you let off steam. And when it’s sunny, the whole jacket stuffs into its own handpocket for easy carrying. It’s constructed from recycled materials, and to top it all, it’s fair-trade certified.
- Browse the best waterproof jackets in our buying guide
- Want to know how to stay dry while hiking? Read these tips
- Pack all the hiking essentials with this advice
On the trails
The biggest surprise with the Torrentshell, after its cutthroat price, is how solid and robust it feels. Most jackets that fold into one of their pockets are thin and flyweight, whereas this has the reassuring heft of a year-round three-layer waterproof.
Right enough, when the rain started falling like stair-rods, I retreated into the hood, tightening it for face-fitting snugness and nuzzling my chin into the micro-fleece lining.
Velcro cuffs effectively stopped water from downpours creeping up the sleeves, a double storm flap on either side of the front zip stopped any rain ingress, while releasing the hem drawcord helped to spill heat when working hard climbing hills.
When it’s windy, rather than rainy, the hood folds and hooks down, while pit zips help you let off steam. Stuffing the entire jacket into its own handpocket when it’s not required is simple enough, and makes it a great option as a high-performing, just-in-case jacket.
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