Outdoors Magic: Reasonably light, proper ethical credentials, no-nonsense design, okay breathability, pit-zips. Helmet compatibility. Feels durable. Great value.
Outdoors Tragic: Could use a stiffened hood peak, occasional zip-snagging issues. Pit-zips are small.
Outdoors Grabbit? A sturdy, no-nonsense waterproof at a great price. The Torrentshell's not astonishing light, breathable or packable, but it has proper sustainable credentials, feels decently durable and will cope with a helmet too making it surprisingly versatile.
'Unfussy lightweight waterproof jacket with excellent ethical credentials and no-nonsense all-round performance'
Lightweight, packable waterproof jacket / 2.5L H2No waterproof fabric / 100% recycled Nylon face fabric / Bluesign-approved material / two-way adjustable hood with laminated visor / micro-fleece lined neck / inner and outer main-zip storm flaps / adjustable hem and cuffs / packs into hand-pockets with clip loop
Full Review Below
Torrentshell Jacket - The Tech
Patagonia has a pretty claim to being the most eco-aware and sustainable brand in the outdoors world and that's apparent in the choice of fabric. It's a 2.5 layer own-brand H2No material, with the tough outer fabric being 100% recycled Nylon - still unusual.
'There's nothing radical here, but you get a lot of features for your £100 including pit-zips, a hood that just about takes a helmet, adjustable everything and a double storm-flap'
Plus the material as a whole is Bluesign approved, showing that it's produced along strict ethical lines.
Like other 2.5-layer fabrics, it saves weight by using an internal printed pattern to protect the waterproof membrane part of the material sandwich, but the Torrentshell is 'medium light' rather than ultra-lightweight at 310g for a medium. That material feels decently durable too rather than feathery and fragile.
Otherwise there's nothing radical here, but you get a lot of features for your £100 including pit-zips, a hood that just about takes a helmet, adjustable everything and a double storm-flap on the main-zip to keep the rain at bay. All very thorough and properly done.
Torrentshell Jacket - Performance
There's something reassuringly unfussy and reliable about the Torrentshell Jacket. Patagonia themselves say 'unpretentious' and that feels about right.
For starters, it's decently light at 310g, but the recycled Nylon face fabric gives it a gently rugged feel, unlike most 2.5-layer fabrics. Then there's the conservative design, no posh zips or clever, clever lamination, just good old storm-flaps and a two-way adjustable hood that will also roll away using the rear cord pull as a hook closure. Cut is medium too: medium volume, medium length, medium sleeves.
'No posh zips or clever, clever lamination, just good old storm-flaps and a two-way adjustable hood'
In use it works pretty well. The fabric's not super breathable, but it does okay and the pit-zips - yes, pit-zips on a £100 jacket from a big name brand - give you some extra venting options. The hood, if it were British, would probably have a wired peak too, but it doesn't.
That aside it works pretty well, seals you in nicely and moves with your head. As a further bonus, it will take a climbing helmet in its stride. Not as well as a full-on high mountain shell admittedly, but certainly well enough to cope with rock climbing downpours when you're sat on belay.
Flaws? We had issues with the main-zip snagging on the internal one of the two mini storm-flaps slightly at chest level. It always cleared with a gentler approach, but it was a little irksome and, erm, the pit-zips could be longer. Finally the smooth inner surface of the fabric feels a bit meh against bare skin, but there you go. How much?
Torrentshell Jacket - Verdict
It's not the lightest, flashest or most packable waterproof jacket out there, but for a combination of no-nonsense all-round performance, the unfussy Torrentshell is hard to beat.
It's 'light enough', 'packable enough' and, good grief, it even manages to cool your arm-pits and swallow a climbing helmet if you need it to. And while it's not super breathable, it's not bad and we've found it both reliably waterproof and durable too.
All that and it comes complete with Patagonia's impeccable ecological credentials. Bargain lightweight waterproof all-rounder for walking and climbing.