The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket is a rugged three-layer rain jacket that’s waterproof enough to keep you dry yet breathable enough to provide all-day comfort. The jacket meets Patagonia’s H2No performance standard which tests their proprietary materials and subsequent product on four criteria: waterproofness, breathability, surface repellency, and durability. I’ve now worn this jacket doing a variety of activities in a variety of weather—windy daysailing in coastal Maine, paddleboarding in the Teton Mountains during sun showers, and hiking up shrubby trails in New England’s summer humidity—and have been impressed with its performance and comfort in every condition.
The most important considerations for any rain jacket are how well it keeps water out for an extended period and how comfortably it’s able to do so. The Torrentshell 3L is made with a 3.3-oz nylon ripstop face, a polycarbonate polyurethane membrane, and tricot backer and finished with a durable water-repellant (DWR) coating. Many rain jackets are made of just a ripstop outer surface with an internal membrane which can cause clamminess and stickiness. The addition of the tricot backer, a woven nylon inner fabric, helps wick moisture from the body, and I’ve found it to be very effective in this jacket.
When you zip on the jacket, it’s easy to appreciate the attention to detail. The front central zipper has external and internal flaps that prevent leaks. The two-way-adjustable hood has a laminated visor that’s rigid enough to hold its shape in a downpour, which keeps the hood from drooping and drenching your face. The entire hood rolls down and stows with a simplified cord-and-hook design. The sleeve cuffs have Velcro straps to pull the fabric tight to help keep water out and heat in. The two front zippered pockets have an additional layer of insulating polyester stitched in, which helps to warm chilled fingers. When the jacket needs to be packed, it can be stuffed into one of those pockets. And perhaps my personal favorite feature: the 6″-long “pit zips” which can ventilate the area from the lower armpit to mid upper arm. The placement lets air circulate and yet keeps rain out. After wearing other, non-ventilated rain jackets, especially on hot rainy rays in the American South, I can enthusiastically say how luxurious these zippers are.
The Torrentshell has a loose enough fit in the upper arms, elbows, and torso to accommodate a moderate mid-layer on days when there’s a nip in the air, without feeling oversized and baggy while worn with a thin base layer. While I found the jacket to be comfortable as it was, what really impressed me was just how adjustable it is. A drawcord hem can cinch the bottom of the jacket for a snugger fit. There are also two drawcords on the front of the jacket that can tighten the hood to your face to prevent spray or rain from leaking down the neck, and another drawcord on the back of the hood that pulls the visor back to keep it from obstructing your vision. With all the handily accessible adjustments, I can easily tailor the jacket for whatever conditions I’m in on a given day. When it’s time to pack the jacket, it stuffs into one of the front pockets.
A noteworthy side benefit to the Torrentshell is Patagonia’s commitment to environmentally friendly materials. Though no new article of clothing can currently ever be truly “green,” the company places a heavy emphasis on using recycled materials in its product line. The Torrentshell 3L is made of 100% recycled materials. I also appreciate the company’s “Ironclad Guarantee,” which is a lifetime warranty. Reusing worn material will always generate less carbon than producing new items, so Patagonia will repair damaged items or re-recycle the material in return for store credit.
Delaney Brown is the associate editor of WoodenBoat.
Is there a product that might be useful for boatbuilding, cruising, or shoreside camping that you’d like us to review? Please email your suggestions.